By L.Keivom, Inpui.Com Columnist
Kha hmaa ka hung phor langhai kha trum khatah ni hnih ni thum diary inkop dam a ni a. Tuta trum ruok chu khawvela ni poimaw pakhat, film hmingthang le hlawtling Born on the Fourth of July (1989) khom an siem hiel, USA-a an Independence Day a ni bok a. Chuleiin, hi ni chauha ka diary ei hung tar lang ding a nih.
July 4, 1997, Friday, Churachandpur
Got up at 5 which, in Churachandpur standard, is neither early nor late as it is atleast 3-4 hours ahead of Delhi though the same Indian standard time is used (IST is also derisively nicknamed by some as Indian stupid time perhaps for the lack of respect shown by VIPs when attending public functions). The distance between Churachandpur and Hanoi (Vietnam) by air is nearer than Churachandpur to Delhi. This being so, it is ridiculous to enforce one standard time zone for the whole of India. USA has four time zones
At 0800 hrs we proceeded to Saidan, visiting on the way, first my immediate brother’s daughter Mina L. Pari whom I named at Tuibuong (she’s the wife of Minlianthang who suffered from serious burnt injuries); my eldest brother U Khawtinkung and my immediate elder brother Kamzabiek at Khawmawi and many other relatives and friends. At Saidan, we visited first my eldest surviving sister U Dotling at her new residence (Thanghrim’s house) and gave her Rs. 1000/- and then U Hrangthatlur’s house where my eldest daughter Margaret Thangmawi was born. The house which had thatched roof in my last visit was now roofed with C.I. Sheets and most of the children, all boys, got married and lived independently. Saidan remained basically as backward as before and the canal dug right across the street remained unutilized, displaying how insensitive and myopic the concerned authorities had been by allowing such a diabolic thing to happen.
Brunch at Khawmawi at U Kamzabiek’s house at 1100 hrs. After meal, we were not allowed to proceed to Churachandpur town as curfew was imposed from 1200 hrs. Fortunately, Minister Chaltonlien’s security convey arrived and we went along with them. This was the first time I met Chaltonlien face to face.
We stopped over at the Police Station where the Peace Committee and Mizoram Peace Mission had a meeting. I greeted them but did not participate at the discussions. In stead I headed right to U Rokung’s house to attend a meeting in my honour organized by the Hmar Arts and Culture Association (a new name of Hmar Cultural Society) of which L. Rokung was the Chairman and R. Tawna Khawbung the Secretary. Inter alia, we discussed about the cultural plot at Rengkai Road/Nehru Marg and its future development.
I requested them to consider 3 things: I was not in favour of dissecting the plot further in order to accommodate HYA’s request to build a hall from Rs. 1 lakh grant it received from DC. I gave the background history of how I had been opposing suggestions from Pu Rokung and others to sell part of the land to build up funds for the construction of a hall. In view of the fact that the plot is a national property and it is physically impossible to acquire such property, they should reconsider their earlier decision to accommodate HYA’s request; (b) We should construct a building along facing Nehru Marg, part of which can be used for a Library-cum-Museum and the rest for renting for shops which would earn regular income to pay the cost of running the Library and the Museum; (c)In order for us to approach the Central government for loans, we should draw up a blueprint of the building by hiring a professional architect who has some knowledge of creating library and museum facilities.
Later, Minister Chaltonlien joined us for a meal and we broke up at 1530 hours. From there I proceeded to Inspection Bungalow with Chatonlien to meet Mizoram Peace Mission. Only Pu Lawmkima was there when we arrived- Pu Chawngkunga and Zathruama having gone to the Police Station to sort out distribution of 2 truck-load of rice they brought with them as a token gift to victims of the ethnic clash. We therefore went down to join them at the Police Station but met them on the way at the start of the Tiddim Road and stopped them. Argument ensued as to how to distribute the rice as some group was objecting to the formula worked out before- to give one truck each to the Kukis and the Paites.
As such, we headed back to the Police Station and discussed the issue. Pu Zathruama was arguing about the wisdom of the formula worked out earlier as the number of refugees greatly varied. I also spoke, first saying that we should not go against the formula as equal distribution to the satisfaction of all was impossible, something even God could not do. Besides, the rice brought by Mizoram Peace Mission was a token gift and not a relief measure which should have been done by the Manipur Government and therefore we should not insist on how they distribute the rice. Pu Selkai Hranghcal and Pu Lawmkima also spoke in favour of the formula. Ultimately, it was decided to distribute the rice as earlier decided.
After this, Pu Chawngkunga reguested me to accompany him to visit the refugee camps. We first visited CRP/BSF Camp where 2710 Kuki refugees were being housed in makeshift tents. The inmates were mostly from Phailian and Bungmual villages. One of the inmates we met was a Jew with kippa on his head. Pu Chawngkunga interviewed him along with some other refugees.
From there, we visited three Paite refugee camps- (a) at Tiddim Road’s Convention Church compound adjacent to Lamka College; (b) at near football ground at the compound of Evangelical Convention; and (c) at Lower Lamka opposite the cemetery. I met a few Saikul victims at the second camp, two of them migrated from Saidan who knew me well. Most inmates in this camp were from Saikul, Tuithrapi and the suburbs of Churachandpur. It was doubtful all the inmates were direct victims of the ethnic clash.
At dusk, we reached the house of C.Thant (Lala Khobung’s younger brother) who killed a pig in my honour. We invited Mizoram Peace Mission Team and a few friend and they all came, including Pu Selkai Hrangchal who arrived dead drunk but did not make any nuisance as he slept through the meal in his seat.
At 8 pm we headed for Sielmat. The road was empty and silence reigned supreme because of curfew. Slept at Dr. Jacob Pudaite’s house. Thang Dailo and his wife Lalthrazo also joined us. Jacob and Zingi looked after us marvelously well. Jacob told me of his plan to come down to Delhi to head their Delhi Office and stay at Rochunga Pudaite’s flat at Delhi Police Apartment in Mayur Vihar One, a two-room partment he bought it from Pu Lalduhawma, an IPC officer turned politician for about Rs. 7 lakh. We were happy to hear of the plan as they were going to be our neighbor- our flat at Purvasha being a few blocks from Rochunga’s flat.
It’s a hectic day, a day worth remembering.
Hi Serial hi trum thuma zo ka tuma chu a zompui a la’n tieng hnŭr el leiin zona ding chun trum hni dang a la ngai el thei. A nawka chuh HPC thruoitu lu pahnih Imphal tienga ka thruoi thlak thu le ni thum sung zet pawlitiks fe pei dan ding chungchanga ka titipuina threnkhat ei hung phor lang ding a nih. (July 4, 2014 Friday, Delhi)