Halloween party ideas 2015

Kut is an important festival of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo group of people.

By L.Keivom*

Pu Chaltonlien Amaw unexpectedly rang up from Imphal. I was then lying on my couch half-awake nursing bouts of chronic rhinitic allergy plus pneumonic chest infection I caught during a recent visit to Shillong in September.  As chief organizer of the 2010 Kût celebrations he inquired if I could join them as Kût Pa, a rare honour difficult to decline which unfortunately I had to because of personal preoccupations and an important family engagement.  I however promised to write a few lines for the Kût Souvenir. Hence this haphazard and disjointed Kût Ramblings.

Kût is not only an important cultural event and a merry-making occasion. It means much more as the uniting force of our mongoloid kindred tribes and communities at home and abroad. It is one of the elements of our collective national identity, a symbol that represents an ethnic community with a distinct myth of common ancestry and homeland, a shared historical memories and a collective destiny.  The cultural pageantry on such occasions depicted the ethnic panorama from the ancient roots to the present day and provided a picture of how far this ethnic community had evolved and how much absorbed and assimilated it had become through centuries of contact and association with the more sophisticated cultural communities in and around them.

The first time I attended Kût celebrations was in 2000 at the soccer field in Churachandpur. A large pandal was erected with a raised platform where I was also seated along with the VIPs. Within an eyesight around was a sea of human heads, jostling and tossing like waves and speaking more than a dozen dialect but miraculously understood each other like the day of the Pentecost. Cultural presentation by various groups was thought-provoking. It gave you a picture of how far we had travelled and how assimilated we had become by the more culturally advanced communities with whom we were in contact with.  The slow and monotonous dances conveyed an impression that they were the ones with no further infusion of new ethos and ideas, a cultural moron awaiting for burial into oblivion. To survive, culture has to evolve and grow continually with sinews of nerve drawn internally and externally. Otherwise, sooner or later, it becomes a museum piece.

I came away from the Kût celebrations in Churachandpur with a mixed feeling. While accepting Kût as a day of revelry that one had to celebrate it with wild abandon, I felt that its solemnity had to be maintained and preserved by all means.  Wrongly or rightly, I had the impression that the spirit of Kût was hijacked and negated by two things (1) beauty contest and (2) drunkenness. It is not that I am against beauty contest or drinking. No, I am not. Beauty contest event provides an opportunity for all the communities to participate and show to the world our women are also blessed with assets no less inferior to any best on earth and that given an opportunity we can challenge any best- the bold and the beautiful.

What I am concerned about is the excessive importance attached to the beauty contest and the manner sponsorship is raised which to me virtually amounts to prostituting apart from taking away much of the solemnity of the Kût. I believe this item should focus on fashion designing, creativity and the richness of our culture. We should select a theme for each Kût and our talented but unsung designers (of which we have many) should come up with new designs based on our traditional craft but laced with modernity. Our main emphasis should be originality and creativity in fashion designing and not on statistical figures, legs and faces alone.  We need to maintain equilibrium.

I know and I am proud that we have a huge reservoir of untapped potentials. We are capable of producing many more Mary Koms if given chance and opportunity. If my daughter could make a mark in fashion designing in London, why not others who are more capable and talented than her, if given a chance. It’s our community that produced majority of the upper echelons of the civil service in Manipur. We put our stamps even in the national capital of India where you will find the face of our people especially from Churachandpur District in almost every ministry and no community from the north-east can match us. I know this as I have been chairman of UNAU FORUM we have established in Delhi.

As for the second point about drunkenness, I don’t need to elaborate. We all know that drinking is a worldwide phenomena and no amount of legal or religious restrictions can stop this social practice.  But drunkenness is a malady afflicting the weak and those with no self-control. It brings out the animal in man, its beastly character and uncivilized behaviour, ending in fighting and rowdyism.  It was unfortunate that our Kût on many occasions had not been free from this ugly scene which invariably took a communal colour  and created communal tension.  I hope this year’s celebration is different. Strict policing may help.

Kût dedication

I fondly remember the Kût we celebrated at Delhi in 2002, the first we had at the national Capital since the turn of the third millennium. As Chairman of the Kût, I thought it appropriate that all the Kûtters solemnly recite together an invocation at the start of the celebration as we used to do at Sikpui Kût. Therefore, I hurriedly composed four-stanza lyrics (November 5, 2002) under the title KÛT DEDICATION which runs as follows:

We give our thanks to Thee,

Thou Creator and Sustainer of our nation,

From generation to generation.

From our misty homeland,

Through our uncharted journey to this day,

Thou art our Unseen Guide and Protector.

As we Kût together,

And march together in joyful union,

Be Thou our host and fill our cups of joy.

We dedicate to Thee:

Our Kût, ourselves, our nation and future;

Bless us, protect us and lead us onwards.

The year 2010 is celebrated as Gospel Centenary Year by all the churches and their affliliates under the mission founded by Watkin Roberts after his first visit to Senvon village in South-west Manipur on February 5, 1910. This Mission was first known as Thado-Kuki Pioneer Mission (TKPM) and its name was changed in 1923 into North-East India General Mission (NEIGM) as it’s mission now encompassed Manipur, Tripura, Assam, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Sagaing Division and Chin Hills in Burma. This Mission concentrated mainly on Chin-Kuki-Mizo (CHIKUMI) ethnic groups living in peripheral areas not covered by the calculations of the mission works of the established churches operating in these outlying areas. The main beneficiaries were the people from Churachandpur District predominantly inhabited by Chikumi ethnic group and they have become a major force in Zoram khawvel.

Therefore, as we celebrate Kût in this eventful year of the Gospel Centenary, it is all the more appropriate for us to dedicate afresh ourselves, our nation, our country and our future to the Almighty.

May Kût’s spirit of peace, joy, goodwill and unity be to all the Kutters.  (October 25, 2010, Delhi)

* The writer is a retired Indian diplomat, the first Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer from Manipur State. He is a poet, writer and translator with more than 20 published books to his credit. He now settles in Mayur Vihar, East Delhi with his wife.

Post a Comment

Comments not related to the news or article may be deleted.

Powered by Blogger.