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Koubru: Need for sanity amidst provocative rhetoric

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 6 minutes read

By: Ph Chingkhei Ng
Mt Koubru and the adjacent hill ranges are gift of geographical formation and its preservation is as much as vital as preservation of any other forests areas in other hill ranges and not just it. Unfortunately, the current trend rising out of the Koubru row has deviated from the path of mutual existence and cooperation instead of going forwards and seeking for an amicable solution. Hyper sensitive reactions and provocative rhetoric from several quarters’ particularly religious bodies and some prominent individuals have permeated all mediums without understanding the nature of the row. The consistent employment of derogatory words to hurl abuses and describe a community is not constructive for mutual development in the long run as both Meiteis and Kukis happen to be immediate neighbours and their existence and life are intertwined at different levels.
The question remains as to whether there are any perceivable threats to the existence of Mt. Koubru and whether there exists any ideas to destroy the entire hill range and the site turned into a dumpster.
The possibility of Mt Koubru and the hill range disappearing from the pages of history due to artificial interference is an unlikely event. Employing terms similar to “Save Koubru” to manipulate the ignorant masses needs to be questioned with the self-reflection as to “save Koubru from what.” On the contrary, such deceptive slogans create an atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty, not conducive with coexistence.
The most disturbing rhetoric rising out of Mt. Koubru issue is the call for retaliation at the place of worship of Manipur Kukis by few ignorant groups. The rhetoric to ban entry of Kukis in certain areas of Imphal valley is totally against all sanity and civilized norms and those who harbour such thinking should be made accountable as per existing laws. Alarming and more shocking is the call of a civil body urging the masses to remain prepared to meet any forms of obstacles. What exactly is the preparation this particular body is suggesting for? The state has witnessed a violent and horrific episode in the nineties of the last century and learning from that painful chapter would be a way forward rather than relentless devious ways to incite another episode.
Religion is a highly sensitive matter for all and not just Meiteis but so are the land laws of the state and any attempt by bodies to bypass, politicize and manipulate it to garner publicity or gain political support is the last thing any sane individual requires.
Certain Kuki groups and individuals at the foothills of the hill range have made it clear in local media that there is no question of obstructing pilgrims on their way to pay obeisance to the animist deity and that the obstruction is only on the proposed land survey and any artificial construction without taking the stakeholders into confidence. Such clarification should be more than enough but unnecessary tears continues to flow as if demanding to see thousands lining up with garlands, bowing to the pilgrims when they arrive at the site, and to swirl the communally charged seven-coloured flag which again is not at all symbolic or representative of a multi-ethnic society.
As to destruction of government properties, it should be known that unwanted miscreants will always exists and create troubles. Such activities by mischievous elements which likely are also a fallout of consistently disturbing and provocative rhetoric are not the handiwork of an entire community and would be extremely senseless to blame the whole community for it. On the contrary, such destruction is meant to be dealt by law enforcers instead of harbouring ways to make retaliation and instigating civil unrest. Civil bodies should ensure that authorities take their own course of action instead of raising the tone to a communal level and retaliate with dictums of banning entry of Manipur Kukis in certain parts and sabotaging their places of worship. Hyper sensitive Meiteis should furthermore be aware that today’s Manipur is governed by laws under a Constitution and it would be highly primitive in nature to presume they own the state and is free to indulge in any activity anywhere without taking into consideration the stakeholders and these existing laws.
Concerning the false reporting of the burning down of a temple at Koubru hills, efforts should be launched by the “medium gatekeepers” to ensure such sensitive misreporting does not occur at crucial and sensitive periods.
Deforestation is a global phenomenon and would be wrong to target a particular community for it. Large tracts of forest lands, wetlands and groves in valley areas too have disappeared with the flow of time and agricultural lands in valley areas continue to shrink alarming due to human interference. It would be highly hypocritical to target poor farmers in the hills simply seeking to make a living as the valley consumes larger portions of those forest products from the hills. Rather a constructive approach as to sustainable development of the forest areas needs be formulated and practiced.
With the cliché “Chingmi Tammi” becoming increasingly redundant, perhaps it is time to realize that making basic amenities available throughout the hill areas particularly in remote areas may prove to be more significant in building ties instead of symbolic exchange and “cheap rhetoric” for publicity. Perhaps, making all weather roads, medical facilities to treat patients experiencing seasonal diseases and most importantly infrastructures to assist women giving birth might be better to build stronger ties than meaningless looking into historical love stories. Establishing better educational opportunities for little children and enable them to aspire for a sound and realistic dream would only serve to bring an emotional unity.
True that unlike the Imphal valley; the scale of development may not be on par as geographical factors have to be counted in, however it will yield more results rather than the superfluous promises and slogans.
Last but not the least, Meiteis should know that not the entire Manipur Kukis claim to be Bnei Menashe and those who identify to be the lost tribe have enough reasons based on their own faith. Be that it may, this is an internal matter of the Kukis and just as other communities refrain from making comment slinking Meiteis to that of the Mahabharat epic, it better be left untouched as Meiteis have completely no say over it. Consistently indulging in specific terminology and disturbing contents will under no circumstances be beneficial for seeking a solution to any issue and creating a conducive atmosphere for co-existence.


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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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