Tuesday, 12 November 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Nov 12

Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh once more appealed the people of the state to remain calm as the state government has full faith to the central leadership in connection to the final settlement of the Naga issue.

“We trust our Union Home Minister as we honour our central leadership, he had assured us time and again that stakeholders of all neighbouring states will be consulted while bringing a final settlement to the Naga issue”, N. Biren Singh today said in a press conference held at his office.

“Our leaders have political commitment unlike other political party’s leaders and as our leaders had assured us that the settlement of the Naga issue will not affect the state of Manipur”, the Chief Minister said while appealing the people to stay calm.

“Give us some time as we are in the government, if we are helpless we will definitely come to the people for help”, Biren said with full confidence to the assurance given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Chief Minister appealed the people of the state particularly the COCMI and the Meira Paibis which is spearheading agitation due to apprehension on the safety of the integrity of the state, to lift the ban on Sangai Festival and to remain calm as the picture of insecurity may create bad impression to the tourists from outside the country. He said that during the last 2 and half years, the law and order condition of the state has been improved and relations between various communities of the state too have been strengthened restoring peace in the state. Postponing or rescheduling of the Sangai Festival will give unfriendly picture of the state to the tourists for things that are not going to happen.

“After our meeting with the Home Minister for the second time, the Governor of Nagaland who is also the interlocutor of FA with the NSCN-IM and NNPGs had stated that there will be no separate flag or constitution or greater Nagalim accepted in the settlement, it clearly indicates that territory of Manipur is safe”, N. Biren Singh attempting to clear the apprehension to the people of the state. He also said that the Union Home Minister had assured the state government team to meet with the Civil Society bodies of the state particularly the COCOMI for consultation of the agreement before bringing a final settlement. He also said that in the next one or two days the state government will invite the COCOMI and other stakeholders to have a discussion before meeting the Union Home Minister.

Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar, Works Minister Th. Bishwajit, Education Minister Th. Radheshyam, Health Minister L. Jyantakumar, CAP & PD Minister Karam Shyam, Deputy Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Robindro, MLA of Thanga AC Robindro, MLA Dingo, MLA Sapam Ranjan among others were present during the press conference. 

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Imphal, Nov 12

The 12th edition of the Film Southasia in Kathmandu is scheduled to begin from 14 November, Thursday and this biennial fest of documentary films from the South Asia region has been made extra special with the selection of two films from Manipur. Dr Meena Longjam’s ‘Achoubi in Love’ is scheduled to be screened on 16 November and Sonia Nepram’s ‘Bloody Phanek’ on 17 November.

According to the organisers, this edition recorded a submission of 2500 films out of which 63 from seven countries have been selected for the four-day fest. The screening will be held at the Yala Maya Kendra, which is spread over three halls in Patan, Lalitpur located 20 minutes away from the Tribhuvan International Airport. It will begin at 10am on 14 November with the specially curated students section. The fest will officially open with the screening of ‘Indus Blues’ at 5.00pm the same day.

At Film Southasia, selected films are judged by a three-member Southasian jury and the best film is awarded the ‘Ram Bahadur Trophy’ for Best Film along with a citation and a cash prize of USD 2,000. The second best film is awarded a citation and cash prize of USD 1,000. There is also a UNICEF Nepal Award for the film that best portrays social/children’s issues, with a cash prize of USD 1,000. Past juries have been headed by well-known Southasian auteur filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Goutam Ghose, Tareque Masud, Saeed Mirza and eminent journalist Mark Tully.  

Moreover, after each FSA fest, about a dozen films are selected to travel across the subcontinent and the world as the Travelling Film Southasia (TFSA) package. This campaign to promote and popularise Southasian documentaries stops at more than 20 international venues between the parent FSA festivals that are held every two years in Kathmandu. Since the beginning, this was a festival backed and organised by print journalists of the Himal Southasian magazine. This time, the Southasia Trust has taken over the responsibility of organising the fest.

Amongst the two films from Manipur, Dr Meena Longjam’s ‘Achoubi in Love’ tells the story of Achoubi and her love for the threatened Manipuri ponies. Defying the odds of age, ill-health, financial challenges and strained familial relationships, she fights passionately to save these endangered beings from extinction. Previously Dr Meena had won a National Award for the documentary ‘Autodriver’. She is also the proprietor of Airameen Media.

Sonia Nepram’s ‘Bloody Phanek’ was first screened at a global premiere in South Korea. Then it has travelled to several countries including Greece, France, Serbia, Bangladesh as well as numerous domestic fests and special screenings in India. The second documentary from the filmmaker, ‘Bloody Phanek’ blends the personal and the political while exploring how Manipuri women use phanek as a medium of protest and this attire can challenge masculinity. Sonia also runs the Yelhoumee Pictures production house and has started working on her third film.

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Imphal, Nov 12

Alert demonstration demanding disclosure of the agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM continues at different part of the state.

People of the state under the aegis of the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) continue to gherao the residence of MLAs and more Congress MLAs joined the protest with the people.

Amidst appeal by the government to remain calm assuring safety of the state,   Coordinating Committee Wangoo and Development Committee Wangoo jointly organised a sit –in –demonstration at Wangoo Tera Lupa Marup MDS Community Hall in Kakching district, . In the protest, Congress MLA of Sugnu Assembly constituency K Ranjit along with large number of people from across the area joined the protest. Ranjit appealed people to remain alert as anything could happened to the final settlement of the Naga issue. 

In Thoubal district, Committee on People’s Welfare Yairipok (JCPWY) organised the alert protest under the aegis of the COCOMI at Yairipok bazaar.

All Manipur Sound Association also joined the protest by staging a sit-in-demonstration at Moirangkhom in Imphal West. Similar protest was also staged at various part of Imphal West including at HVS Brick firm at Patsoi.

In Imphal East Coordinating Body Khurai in association with Star Club and Moirangkampu Sajeb Woman Welfare Association staged the alert demonstration at Khurai area.

On the other hand large number of people from Khurai area thronged and gherao at the residence of Khurai Assembly Constituency MLA and Wangkhei Assembly Constituency’s MLA at around 11.30 am today.

Students of various schools also continue to form human chain and protest on the road. Slogans demanding disclosure of the agreement were shouted.  

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Imphal Nov 12,

Echoing the demands of the COCOMI in connection with the Indo Naga peace talk, Manipur University communities staged a sit-in-protest inside the varsity demanding restoration of communal harmony and integrity of Manipur.

Speaking to media person, executive member of Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) Dr. N Sanatomba said that the people feel apprehension that the Indo Naga peace talk will surely disintegrate the territorial, emotional, cultural and administrative integrity of Manipur. 

He stressed that the varsity community felt the same as similar to the people and COCOMI where the deployment of various paramilitary forces in the states and the closure of NSCN IM designated camps signifying that the integrity of Manipur is disintegrated in one way or other.

He urged that the integrity of the land should not be compromised at any cost.

The people of the land should unite and save the integrity with the strong motive of ‘Do or Die’ or else such integrity cannot be replenished in the future, he added. 

Sanatomba further said that the government should never try to disturb the communal harmony among the communities and the integrity of the land.

President of Manipur University Students’ Union K. Lebanan said that even though several assurance were given by the government that the talk will not affect the integrity of Manipur, people of the land still fails to trust as the assurance were not given in written form.

He further said that the union will follow the future course of action taken up by the COCOMI for a unified and integrated Manipur.

Slogans such as ‘Long Live Manipur’, ‘We want peace’, ‘integrity is our soul’ and ‘Don’t Destroy Harmony’ fills the air around the varsity campus.

The protest was jointly organised by Manipur University Teachers’ Association, Manipur University Students Union, Manipur University Staffs Association and Manipur University Women Association. 

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Shillong, Nov 12

Ningol Chakkouba organizing committee Shillong organised Ningol Chakkouba festival on November 10 at State Central Library, IGP Point Shillong.

As a part of Ningol Chakkouba festival, Ningol Chakkouba organizing committee in collaboration with Centre for Resource Development, Manipur also organised a Fashion show and beauty contest to promote the traditional attire of Manipur.

The fashion parade first title was won by Nirupama Laishram, second title by Jeena Shamurailatpam, third title by Mayanglambam Mercy and Subtitle Best Cat Walk title by Nongthombam Ongbi Devarani.

Moreover, on the Beauty Contest first title was won by Khanganbi Chanu, Second title by Waikhom Kalpana and Third title by Athokpam Helena. Subtitles, Best Cat Walk title by Athokpam Victoria, Best Admiration (Thougalon) title by Victoria Okram and best beautiful face (Ningthibi Maithong) title by Yanglem Monisha Devi.

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Whether to believe or not on what the Chief Minister of Manipur had said is certainly left to the people, however, if he is a leader he should be able to make people believe in whatever he said and promises.
Well, people of the state seem to have no doubts to the integrity of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and his team. All know that before being Chief Ministers or Minister, almost all of them who had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah the previous day, are Manipuri first. They all know that if the speculations of the people of the state turn true than they will no longer manage to stay in the position that they are now. For one reason, the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh would have no differences from what the people of the state like, as the idea of bifurcation of the state or making of a state within the state would means dethroning him out of his seat.
The air is still thick with talks about the dissident BJP MLAs wnating to replace him. For the sake of the chair of Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh will certainly play no foolish game by sacrificing the historical identity of the land. He might have been convinced by the promised of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
And, why not, the duo have been known for their political will in fulfilling the promises they made before they were being elected by the people of the country. The latest example can be seen by the recent landmark verdict of the Supreme Court on the Babri Mashajit Case. During the election campaign Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised for construction of a Hindu Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and they did it.  The promised for abrogation of the Article 370 was fulfilled and now the promised for introduction of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will also be fulfilled. With the political will and integrity of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, why shouldn’t N. Biren Singh and his team believe in what they had assured?
But how could the people of the state believe the central leaders, when they had never fulfilled their words in the past. The way the erstwhile kingdom was merged to the Indian Union and degrade it into a Part C state was not in a judicious manner. The way the then Prime Minister Jawarhal Nehru treated Manipur by sacrificing Kabaw Valley to neibouring country Burma was never for the interest of the people of the state and if one recalled June 14 Bangkok Agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM, it was a day after the then Defence Minister George Fernandez assured the people of the state that there would be no such thing that will include in the agreement that might affect Manipur, that the three words that burn the state – “without territorial limit” to the extension of the cease fire was added. When people had experienced whole lot of things, how a mere assurance could be believed. Even a written assurance will not be able to calm the people of the state unless they revealed what are the contents in the agreement that they had signed for a final settlement.
Well, there may be reason for not disclosing the agreed area by the government of India as revealing it would either anger the people of Manipur or the NSCN-IM. Some unfair game seems to be going on to the process of the so called peacemaking. Hadn’t the agreed proposals contain nothing that will affect the state of Manipur or the content fulfilled whatever the NSCN-IM had demanded, the agreement would already had been on the public domain by now. After all, the Government of India is eager to announce it by December 1.     
The silence to the demand for revealing the contents of the agreement certainly is doubtful. Either it burns the state of Manipur  or a hostile activities of the NSCN-IM  returned.
A hasty solution at this hour will only bring bad name to the BJP.

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By -  Dr. Aniruddha Babar

“The object of Primary Education is to see that every child that enters the portals of a primary school does leave it only at a stage when it becomes literate and continues to be literate throughout the rest of his life”.
~ Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
An article published on 6th April 2018 in Northeast Today Magazine, which flashed a determination of 73 year old man from Mizoram to complete his school education made me happy as well as thoughtful. While reading the story I recalled my solo travels through the remotest regions of Nagaland, Assam and Meghalaya where my curious eyes observed everything. I have lived in jungles, climbed mountains, met people, experienced their love, shared not only their household but food,sorrows, hopes and dreams too.However, my personal experience in different states of the northeast region brought a serious problem to my notice which revolves around the ‘education system’. The failure to ensure quality education in government schools in remote villages has evidently compelled many parents, sometimes many belonging to the BPL, to send their children to private schools in the capital cities. This has a direct impact on the economy of the family, often leading to poverty. Parents today send their children to private schools with great difficulty, where one parent has to work in the village while the other parent has to move to town to look after their children pursuing education in towns. Many a times such children are even look after by their relatives who are living (where kids, more often are also required to provide ‘unconditional’ help (service?) in household work) in cities and the towns.
Government Schools are not functioning properly since the people responsible for them are not functioning with their fullest potential, abilities and ethical standards, moreover, the seriousness to maintain the quality of education at the grass root level is somewhat missing. The evil of proxy teaching, nepotism, corruption and other malpractices has been openly mushrooming. Owing to this paradoxical situation, many students are compelled to leave their education halfway only to be continued in inescapable abyss of poverty, suffering, humiliation, injustice and eternal darkness. Many end up in losing hopes in the system. However, in spite of all the odds, there are some who made torch of their own soul to light up their path. They refuse to surrender before the challenges. They disallow their dreams to be disappeared into thin air. Mr. Lalringthara is one of them.
In the context of hopeless education system of northeast region of India it is pertinent to give due weightage to an inspiring story of Mr. Lalringthara of Hruaikawn village of champhai district in Mizoram who hasenrolled in 5th class in the only school in village in 2018. Mr. Lalringthara could not complete his school education due to the hardships he had to face in his childhood. With the death of his father and second marriage of Mother Mr. Lalringhthara who was then raised by a distant relative had no other option but to leave his schooling to work in the rice field. Poverty stricken, hard-working Lalringthara could not accomplish his dream to finish his school education. The unfinished dream to finish his schooling inspire him to join village school once again at the ripen age of 73. This event is very important in a time when many students are giving up their studies by succumbing themselves to the hardships of life, certain uncontrollable circumstances as well apathy from teaching fraternity (barring exceptional exceptions). Let us take an example of the state of Nagaland which has a literacy rate of 80.11%, being 83.29% for males and 76.69% for females as per Census 2011 where, on the other side, a dropout rate of students is very high in concurrence with high rate of prevalence of HIV infection and Alcohol as well as psychotropic substance abuse related disorders. The problem of children leaving their schools before finishing their studies is a biggest challenge before the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme. The implementation of the scheme needs proper monitoring and review by the competent authorities to establish the accountability. The seven sister states of North East India which consists of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim have been sharing a kind of bond of being different than the rest of India in terms of their culture, language, cuisine, lifestyle and of course the ‘education’. It has been observed that in spite of having good literacy rate in the northeast states, the statistics of students aspiring to take higher education is very low in comparison with the rest of India. However, there are many factors like poverty that influence the parents’ decision to send child to study further. The major obstacle is non-availability of quality schools and colleges in the vicinity, this fact I personally experienced when I visited Pungro, Dist. Kiphire which is in close proximity to the international border with Myanmar. While interacting with respected elders and other dignitaries of Pungro village I learnt about grass root realities of the status of ‘education’ in the region. Many students have been exposed to extremely hostile education environment where teachers are devoid of any accountability to students and profession. It has also been observed that the village school kids end up getting good marks in their tests and other assessment activities however on the contrary they also exhibited lack of basic knowledge and understanding of the subject in which they scored well,. The positive correlation between ignorance and marks is worrisome. The type of practices where students are given ‘blind’ numbers by their teachers to show ‘false positive growth trajectory of school, students and teachers’inevitably take students to the complex mental state of illusion and false positive conviction about their academic abilities and subject knowledge which has extremely dangerous future implications. These are some of the most common problems that the students from northeast states have been facing. However, situation as of now has seen to be improving with the setup of some private schools and colleges, however, those institutions are still beyond the reach of a common person whose livelihood depends on meagre income from agriculture and daily wages.  Another important factor that needs to be considered is the absence of quality teaching in village schools. This is a commonly identified problem all over India, however, much visible in the states like Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The inability of a teacher to teach the subject in the school is also a major factor which is responsible for the dropout of students.  It has also been observed that the large number of offspring in the family also makes it difficult for parents to provide their children the quality education which has now become a very expensive affair. It looks like quality and money goes hand in hand in education sector (Really?).
Almost an year ago Government of Maharashtra announced that it would shut down 1314 village schools due to lack of enrolment and attendance of students. The Right to Education Act has a provision that empowers the state to close down the schools having less than 20 students. Now the question arises as to who is responsible for the low enrolment/attendance of students in the classroom of a village school? is it a teacher, students themselves, their parents or the state? The problem will not be solved with closing down the schools.  On one hand Nagaland has village schools with good initial enrolment rate and on the other Maharashtra has village schools with no or less enrolment. One state is struggling for its existence with the aid from the centre under the shadow of AFSPA and suffocating corruption and the other is one of the most prosperous, internationally recognized, self-sufficient states in India that blessed to have Mumbai as its capital. The problem of Education brings these two states which are pole apart on the single platform. It is not that children of 21st century are not aware about the importance of education, but they need means to reach and assurance of future to stay in the school. People correlate education with the secure financial future which is not a wrong or unreasonable expectation, however, could students studying in village schools where quality of teaching is neither monitored nor accountability is established, imagine a better future for themselves? A nation where rapid corporatization has been taking place, Air conditioned offices, Applied intelligence, Practical Knowledge,European accented English and polished manners becoming a passport to prosperity, how will kids studying in a village school in extremely backward states like Nagaland or Manipur could ever dream of the better future?  It is not that the village schools have failed the nation; great people that shaped this great nation have also been produced by these schools which are now largely ignored by the government.
World is changing rapidly. In this day and age, when petabytes of information is at our disposal, teachers need to prepare the students for the upcoming Machine Revolution. They need to nurture their creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, management techniques and collaborative skills. Teachers also need to prepare their students for the challenges that the future will present. In the context of rising societies like that of in the northeast regions ‘education system’ and ‘teachers’ has multiple responsibilities to shoulder.
The meaning of education in the tribal societies of northeast India must not be kept limited as to make students able to get a job that feed them and the dependents, however, education system and the educators will have to play far bigger role in facilitating as well as helping studentsto visualize the greater responsibility they require to shoulder;a divine responsibility to construct a ‘New world’, a ‘New society’ and also an ‘evolved culture & civilization’, therefore, it is a primary task before Education system, Teachers, Policy Makers in ‘our’ world of northeast India to see that the students remain in the system andDO NOTgive up their path of education for any reasons. If teachers play a role of a leader, role-model, friend, philosopher, guide and counsellor, if teachers keeps on pushing their students towards intellectual excellence by putting extra efforts in helping them in their academics, if teachers introduce the students to the world of knowledge than just text-book information i sincerely believe that the students would definitely be motivated enough to stay in the education system in spite of all the hardships and odds. Educators and teachers from the northeast Tribal regions must necessarily understand the responsibility that is entrusted upon them. They are the ones who are the first generation or at the most second generation educated people who are required to academically engage as teachers with the students who are also either first generation or second generation learners. Teachers are intellectuals of the society as well as the custodian of knowledge and consciousness who not only have a responsibility to give intellectual direction to the masses but also to sacrifice their individual interests, pleasures and selfish desires to carve out the destiny of the people out of ‘void’; and this noble task must be accomplished by them in partnership with their students. These efforts will make students understand the greater purpose of education in broader spectrum.
It is not easy and fair to expect student to independently understand and shoulder his responsibility towards himself, his family, nation and walk the lonely path through the hostile schooling system and therefore, to correct the damage which has caused serious injury to the ‘Right To Education’ of a Child which the Constitution of India guarantees, the Ground work needs to be prepared by the state government. It is also important to see that the thatching, muddling and tented huts should not be constructed in the name of school buildings. There are government teachers who never go to school to teach. There are schools that remain functional but only in paper,there have been instances wherein grass root realities have either been attempted to be kept hidden or grossly misrepresented in media and official reports. There have been instances where teachers who got a government job to teach in schools have found to be roaming in big cities enjoying themselves, some take up additional job or enrol themselves in some career oriented courses. These teachers rented out their teaching job to some needy people who would attend school on 50/50 salary sharing basis and retire with pension benefits. How should one address such problem which is absolutely visible and known in almost every state of the northeast India?
The time has come to take concrete, constructive and corrective steps to make students studying in village schools feels secure about their future, and for that the state has to come forwardwith constructive changes in its education as well as Human Resource policies which would enable the authorities to keep good checks on the growth trajectories of the schools as well as performance of teachers and students. No matter what, teachers must be made accountable for their actions. Moreover, a fact that needs to be acknowledged that on average thousands of drop-outs have been produced by the north-east states every year. It is a general fact that drop outs contribute to a major part of anti-social activities in any society due to frustration and severe depression which consequently makes them as social liability. The education system that facilitates drop outs needs serious scrutiny and people (including teachers) responsible for such a disaster must be made individually and collectively accountable for their failures.At the end, I as an academician associated with one of the most reputed colleges in Nagaland unquestionably believe and affirm that theTeachers in the lands of rising world must be willing to sacrifice their present for the glorious tomorrow of the future generations.Let us understand that the needs of our society, our world where people were introduced to the modern idea of ‘education and schooling’ few decades ago are different. Therefore, approach to the ‘teaching methodology’, ‘students’ and ‘education’ should be innovative and different and for that ‘attitude’ of teachers should be different too. Whether one may like it or not; our academicians, teachers cannot afford to escape from the divine responsibility that they are entrusted upon by the ‘lord almighty’. God gives life to Man, but it is a teacher who should shape it and make a man fit to serve the mankind as a divine vessel of almighty. I believe, that it is only a teacher who can inspire student to undertake relentless struggle. It is only a teacher who can inspire student to study not only for his own better future, but the transformation of the ‘tomorrow’ of a world he is part of. A student of today can change the world of tomorrow provided his MASTER is willing to write his destiny with his own ‘Blood’, ‘Sweat’, ‘Wisdom’ and ‘Selfless Sacrifices’. THERE IS NO RESTING DAY FOR AN ACADEMICIANBECAUSE TEACHING IS A MISSION MORE THAN JUST A PROFESSION.

(The writer teaches at the Dept. of Political Science, Tetso College, Dimapur, Nagaland. He can be reached at E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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