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By Robert L Sungte

If Rosa Parks had not been angry, forget about Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States of America.

Many people might have told you 'Bawia, Baiwnu, you get angry too quickly! Why don't you just calm down a bit?' If you come across such people again tell them this: 'Well, I need to get angry Anger Management_Studentsnow in order to be a successful person later in life." The aim is to turn your anger into a weapon and use that weapon to get what you have always dreamt of.

This may be of an extreme take on anger. But as a student to get what you wanted, anger in its various form is a necessity. As a student and a human being we are prone to get angry, but the questions few ever asked is: 'Why not turn my anger into a motivating force to reach my goal?'

Many people associate the word 'anger' in a negative sense. A student needs to realise that 'anger' has its positive side as well, especially when it comes towards achieving their academic goals. In fact, it can do miracles if it is controlled in a sensible way.

In our society many are ashamed to say 'I'm angry with my life' or 'I'm angry with this kind of life.' The only consolation is that few have the courage to say 'Ka thang a tlawm ngei (I'm really annoyed / upset)'. That's a big relief! It keeps the hope alive that future generations of the Hmar tribe will continue to can get their daily bread.

Looking back, we can see successful people who had turned their anger into a weapon. Most of them belonged to the first generations of the Hmars educated. They were angry with their love life, economic conditions, social outcast, etc. It might sound ridiculous but rumour has it that even the noted Hmar writer and former Indian Foreign Service officer Pu Lalthlamuong Keivom was angry about his personal life besides other 'humiliations' before he wholeheartedly put his heart and mind into his studies for the pursuit of his dreams.

However when asked, Pu Keivom humbly told me, "It was not anger. I would call it 'thangtlawm' (passing annoyance). Anger of any kind is not beneficial." Even though the word "thangtlawm" is not equivalent to anger, the two are synonymous.

Reacting to Pu Keivom's statement, another successful Hmar government official based in New Delhi who does not wish to be identified said, "Anger is a part of our success story... I'm not ashamed of saying 'I was angry' before other tribes. But I avoid saying it within our community as our social setup hardly accepts a man who is angry."

A friend of mine in Bangalore, a very active social worker, said, "Two years ago, my locality was a mess and I was angry. Something had to be done, so with a few neighbors and a little monetary help from one IT company we have turned the neighborhood into one of the cleanest in Bangalore. You can make a difference — turn your rage into action."

Anger, You & Me

Let's now tackle the word 'anger' from a layman's point of view. I believe as a student and human being we all know what it means. We all felt it: as annoyance, frustrations, irritation or as a fury.

What we need to know here is that anger is normal and usually healthy human conduct expressed in different ways. The sad thing is, when it gets out of control it can lead to crisis — at schools, colleges, work place, in your personal life, studies and so forth. It is also natural to express anger aggressively. On the other side it inspires and in some cases becomes a means to allow us to fight and to defend ourselves.

A very good example of how anger of a person changed the history of the United States of America is Rosa Parks (1913-2005). On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Rosa was angry at the bus conductor who told her to give up her seat to for a white passenger. The case was taken up by Martin Luther King later who harnessed that anger during the Civil Rights Movement and the rest is history. If Rosa had not been angry about the injustice of the time the world can forget about Barack Obama becoming the president of the United States.

A certain amount of anger, therefore, is indispensable to our survival! However, we can't physically beat up everyone who annoys us. Social norms, laws and common sense must prevail over our anger.

Three Common Ways to Deal with Anger

1. Let it out: We can express our anger in a forceful way without being aggressive. Being assertive doesn't mean flexing our muscles only. It also means mental determination to work out a solution and thereby arriving at a sound resolution that will turn anger into our advantage.

2. Let it stay: We also suppressed anger and then redirect to strike useful targets. We can hold our temper by thinking positive things.

3. Being calm: Finally, we can extinguish anger from within. One can do it by controlling the heart beat through meditation like deep breathing.

Anger & Me

Many of my friends who have known me for years and with whom I have shared much joys and less of my sorrows often got the impression that I was one of the cool headed guys. But the truth is otherwise, I get angry and often quickly but I always appeared calm and relaxed. That's my secret revealed now. Following are the three means I employed when annoyed or angry at certain things that crossed my path.

The first technique: 'Silence' prevents me from using the four letter-word and other slangs. It prevents aggravating the situation from going out of hand. In short I keep my mouth shut when an emotion mounts into anger.

The second technique: 'Can do better…' I adopted this when I was (ahem) courting my wife. As a youth many of us had encountered anger or disappointment in the path of boyfriends and girlfriends. If you are involved in a relationship that's too hot to handle or going out of your hands, say these words "I can do better...in studies, even if I'm not good for her/him". Repeat these words five times if not a hundred times with your eyes closed and you'll be surprise to see your anger flying away as you open your eyes towards a brand new life ahead.

The third technique: The final one which I still used today is changing my outlook. I believe this is the most difficult thing to do especially for students who are young and often impulsive. I found it was only when I was ready to accept the changes around me that I could arrived at conclusions that are meaningful, realistic and most of all productive for me. Changing outlook can turn the very cause of one's anger into fun and humour.

For a student, the underlying aspect of learning to cope with anger is to see less of your feelings during unpleasant events which are aplenty. However,anger is a serious business so it needs your full attention. No matter how hard you try to avoid, it will always be there in your life under different degree of definitions. For a student who wants to achieve certain goals you need turn that anger into a tonic to cure your frustrations, pains, losses and the unpredictable actions of others. You simply cannot flush out anger from your life until death, but you can certainly change the way it affects you.

*Dateline: 2009, Bangalore.

Post a Comment

  1. Basically, anger if can be controlled can be very useful. I don't accept L.Keivom's statement on his alleged "never angry" with about THOSE things. I know him too well. He was angry and that prompted him to write stories and even composed songs. We must admit that anger if can be controlled can be quite fruitful. Take for example, the latest Arab protests...in the Middle East. They are angry and they are now asserting themselves. Good arguments by the author.

  2. A classic case of misquoting and swift jumping of guns on presumptive context. Many of the concocted stories circulated about my life have nothing to do with me as the above observation that it was anger that prompted me to write stories and composed songs. Far from it. I am glad to know that there's someone in the dark who knew me too well as to pass judgment on the why and how I did things in life. It's a tall claim indeed! I do not know well of myself as does anybody else How many persons have you met who are fully self-realised? I haven't met even one one. LK

  3. @L.Sansuok, the way you pass judgment or should i say conclude about Pu L.Keivom's life is quite amusing. Even the author of the article who talked to L.Keivom did not say that the retired officer studied hard because he got angry, how can you say that it was anger that prompted him to take the hard route to be what he is today?

    I may be wrong but can you use your real name so that we can all know that you are telling the truth bravely. This will clear the doubts.

  4. I think, what all of you are talking is really not about anger, but honour or for that matter dignity. There are certain types of people who will do anything in a positive way to see their (or to things they identified themselves with) honour or dignity intact when slighted by the action or inaction of others. This kind of persons dreams with their eyes open. I guess that's what really is behind their success stories.

  5. I feel Pu Keivom is right is saying 'thangthlawm' rather than 'lungsen'. That is the richness of Hmar language. Everything can be used in a positive way no matter how destructive they might be. BTW, thanks for the good article Pu Sungte.

  6. I also support that anger is a very power tool which can be both positive and negative. Take this issue of the recent happenings in Mizoram. My humble is that the Hmar peoples are not yet angry enough and that's the reason why they postponed the rally. The general trend today is like this quote by my grandad: "In olden days brave men don't say 'I love my tribe and I'm fighting', instead they used to say 'I am angry and I'm fighting". I guess this write up makes a lot of sense, we should first get angry and be passionate the cause that we are trying to achieve. 

  7. What is 'thangthlawm'? If I was to translate this I would make it like this:- A form of anger a person experienced when he is shunted or rejected or violated or treated unfairly. 

    I see the element of anger in 'thangthlawm'.


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