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By L.Keivom, Inpui.Com Columnist
L. Keivom

July 5, 1997 Saturday, Churachandpur

After morning tea at Jacob’s house at Sielmat, we proceeded to Lalbiekvel’s house at Rengkai Road and thence to Darneimawi’s house, youngest sister of my wife, a nurse who married to Lalneithang, a teacher at Rengkai High School, originally Pant Standard High School where I worked as Headmaster in 1963. Both are Darngawn, the wife a Faiheng, and the husband a Ruolngul and are blessed with one daughter and two sons. Had a sumptuous meal.

After brunch, we headed back to Lalbiekvel’s house. Lots of visitors came to greet us, amongst them Darkamlo Faiheng, composer of two popular love songs (Lalnunnem ka ngai em che & O Di); Damkung, General-in-Chief of Hmar Volunteers’ Force during the 1960 Kuki-Hmar Conflict; Senior Lecturer Raltawnluoi (who had now changed his name as R.Tawna Khawbung) and many others. R.Tawna informed Darkamlo that he had handed over to me Rs. 50/- being a part of Lalnunnem’s marriage price but did not clarify whether it was ‘Panghak’ or something else. Lalnunnem is the eldest daughter of Darkamlo and I gave her name after the title of the popular song composed by her father which also became the title of my short story, a hit for many years in the community and Zoram khawvel.

U Buonsing who could now be about 80-81 also came to greet us. Gave her Rs. 500/- as I used to do from time to time whenever we came to visit Churachandpur. Earlier, I also gave Rs. 1000/- to Darhmangpui for his daughter Hnemi’s admission; Rs. 200/- to Damkung as a token of affection and our long association since 1964 when I was high school headmaster at his village Parbung. I bought his typewriter (Baby Hermes), the first typewriter I ever possessed and it’s this typewriter which produced many songs and short stories including (eventually) my first book Hmar Hla Suina (1980). One day, I visited him at his home in Satthriek Veng in spring time and listened to his Hindi record played in a hand-winded gramophone and one of the songs really transported me back to my childhood days at Pherzawl when we used to listen to Hindi songs from our chief Pu Dolur’s gramophone. I was so captivated by the melody of this nostalgic song that I returned to my place of stay at Rev. Ruma’s house and wrote one of my best compositions, Sakhming Khawvel (Hril a hai dawn kir changin) using the tune of the song. If I were to write the background history of this song I composed at Parbung in 1964, my days with Pu Damkung would figure very prominently.
HPC President Hmingchunghnung and his lieutenant Lalropui also came stealthily to greet us. They had to be careful because of the political movement they had spearheaded in Mizoram which badly spilled over to the neighbouring States especially Manipur, causing unwanted reverberations. They were being under constant watch by the intelligent agencies and were liable to arrest and incarceration without any further provocations. Therefore, I shoved them into the black ambassador car belonging to the Chief Secretary of Manipur which they assigned it for my use to accompany and assist Mizoram Peace Mission. My idea was to sequester the two at Imphal for a few days, talk to them and learn about the status of their struggle and deliberate with them possible peaceful solution without further armed confrontation and mayhem. We talked many things on the way to Imphal.

Having come all the way and spending a hefty sum, it was unfortunate that because of the ethnic conflict, we could stay only two nights at Churachandpur and that too under a siege condition. We stayed abroad continuously for 21-year long on a posting, the longest intermittent posting of an officer in the history of external affairs and we enjoyed the comforts that the world could offer, but we always missed home, our community, our place of birth which we all could legitimately claim and in our deepest soul call, our ‘own’- my home, my land, my country, my people….many mys. And this was our first visit to Manipur after returning to Delhi on posting after more than two decades. And we could stay only two nights in Churachandpur! It’s one of the saddest parts of my experience in life. It’s the inhabitants who turned paradise into hell and hell into paradise. The so-called the ‘The Holy Land’ had, for thousands of years, been turned into a war zone by the glorious children of Abraham and is still riddled with hatred and bullets. Manipur apparently fared no better.

We left Churachandpur at 1315 hours, visited U Khawtinkung at Khawmoi. He was now reduced to a skeleton, suffering from acute stomach pain suspected to be an ulcer turned into cancer. Very painful to see him suffered like this. I knew his end was near. He could still speak in a faint voice as if coming out of a grave. My original plan before coming was to spend at least a week with him to record the history of our family. Being the eldest brother and head of our family, he was the custodian of our family’s history and with his passing our biggest library would be lost forever. I gave him a thousand rupees as a parting gift knowing fully well that this was our last farewell. He thanked me profusely and enquired about the welfare of our four children and blessed all of them. He was running 83 and he knew where he was going after he shed off of his mortal form and entered into an eternal glory. My brother, though not educated by human standards, was a wiseman.

I also visited my brother Kamzabiek, a Pharmacist, at his house to bid him goodbye. He had been a diabetic patient for some time and his condition as well as the family’s was not very encouraging. He told me of a heavy debt incurred from medicines taken on loan from U Rokung, owner of Senvon Drug Store which remained unpaid. I told him not to worry but first to get ten thousand from C.Thant and pay it to U Rokung and I would settle the rest in due time.

Lallawmsang who looked after my eldest brother asked for a small tractor which could be bought by giving Rs. 70,000/- and the rest by installments. The family seemed to be in dire straits for reasons I didn’t know but something definitely went wrong. U Lura seemed to be okay though considered the poorest and the most hardworking amongst the brothers. None of his many sons were matriculates and most of them got married and led independent lives but they all looked happy and satisfied including their wives and children, something absent in the lives of other better-placed and well-fed children of their siblings. Only my bed-ridden eldest sister Dotling mired in poverty and my middle brother U Lura were the two who still retained their innocent smiles. Their faces exuded an aura like Zechariah who came out of the Holy of Holies in the Temple after meeting Gabriel, the messenger of God (Lk 1:22), the face of people who have seen God.
We had no problem on the way to Imphal and hardly came across vehicles on the road as if curfew had been imposed. We reached Imphal as 1530 hours and stayed at Checkon.

Hmingchunghnung shared with us his assessment of the political developments in Mizoram and his intention of returning there as an elected MLA from Suangpuilawn Constituency and even as a Minister. He seemed to be well-informed of the Constituency from where he planned to contest the coming elections in Mizoram but his information appeared one-sided and highly unrealistic as if he did not seem to know the divide of Mizo community on the basis of party affiliations not on ethnic lines. He believed the Opposition could form government in the next elections. I expressed serious doubt about it and told him it might not happen because of split within MNF and PC which would provide a leeway for the Congress to continue in power.
Had dinner with Dari and u Lalngatta at the residence of Dr. Chaltonlien Amo, Minister of State (Medical). He gave us a long briefing on the development works he initiated and implemented in his Tipaimukh constituency including construction of bridge on the Barak River at the Taithu-Patpuihmun crossing. It’s a long and boring monologue on self-pontification which we, in the diplomatic world, normally tried to avoid imposing on our guests.

After returning to Checkon at 2130 hrs, I had a long chat till midnight with Hmingchunghnung and his lieutenant Lalropui. They gave us completely another picture of the activities of Dr. Chaltonlien whom they alleged of trying to build up his position and electoral chance by (a) raising his own underground force even at the cost of national interest; (b) exploiting Lalhmingthang and his group to weaken HPC (D)’s unity and (c) sending some of their men for armed training somewhere in Jowai (Meghalaya) along the Indo-Bangladesh border. It’s a serious allegation worth pondering.

I advised Hmingchunghnung to return to Mizoram to work for the realization of his unfinished tasks as a long absence would work against him. I also told him that he would not succeed by opening two fronts- Mizoram and Manipur fronts. His main worry seemed to be security of his own life.

July 6, 1997 Sunday, Imphal
We continued our discussions on the national politics and the economic situation in Hmar occupied areas. We also talked about the logic of maintaining ‘Hnam Sipai’ which to me was an unnecessary burden than a solution to the national problem, a creation of a Frankenstein monster beyond control. Hnam Sipai killed more of their own than their adversaries.

Remained at home after brunch to receive streams of visitors. At 1230, I left for the airport with Lalngatta, L.R.Infimate, Samuel and others to try if we could get seats for Guwahati. We failed. The scene of the airport was pathetic, smelling of corruption, where only those who bribed the gang could go and the rest even with confirmed tickets did not get seats. They almost beat up the manager who ran away for his life.
We returned from the airport at 1530 hours and went straight to P.L.Thanga’s residence to call P.K.Singson at Gauhati to cancel our booking for Gauhati-Delhi by Rajdhani for which I left Rs. 4000/-. I told him that Khupzalun (L.B.Sinate’s son) would collect the baggage we left behind at his house.

Dinner at Lalngatta’s residence. Their neighbours belonging to Zo-Paite community came to visit us and sat upto 2300 hrs. Our discussions concentrated on Zoram khawvel and not the ongoing Paite-Kuki clash. The mind and spirit of Zoram khawvel do not divide but bind all us together as one.

July 7, 1997 Monday, Imphal
Went to Goodwill Travels with Lalngatta and Daniel and gave them our tickets for Imphal-Guwahati for changing into Imphal-Calcutta and paid Rs. 1620 more for two. After that we went to Presbyterian Bookroom and bought Pherzawl Titi for Rs. 75/-, Mihrang leh Sahrang by A.Thanglura for Rs. 45 and 8 cassettes for Rs. 400 for presents and then went to Doordarshan Office to meet Louis Lalsanghlun Keivom with whom I went to Lamphelpat to preview films he had pains to take on important historically and culturally important sites in Hmar Area. Very nostalgic indeed. He told me that he had spent not less than Rs. 30,000/- from his own pocket for the films, which he hoped to sell it to Doordarshan. It’s a selfless and patriotic venture and one the best ways to preserve and popularize cultural heritage to the outside world.
I came back to Checkon and took rest till 1900 hrs when we left for Lamphel to have dinner at Louis Keivom’s residence. Lalsanghlun is the middle son of my eldest brother Khawtinkung and like Abrahamic days married to the middle daughter of my middle sister Khawkim who all settled in Khawmawi. Returned to Checkon at 2100 hrs.

I rang up P.L.Thanga to enquire about the situation in Churachandpur. He told me that an accord to ceasefire was signed during the day. He further told me that there was armed clash between the Paites and the Kukis at Singat in the morning which left 17 dead, 11 wounded and as many as 80 houses gutted. Most victims belonged to the Paite community. This situation could vitiate the atmosphere charged already with intense hatred and distrust.

Hi po hi tuta truma ei hang tar lang thei chu ni phot sien. A’n khat tawka unau hmêlhai thaw a, hringna le in le lo tam tak chân pha khopa inchemhâr a, ei insik bur bur el hi ei mawl lei le dawn tawi lei am a ni? an naw leh Pathienin a luok suok hnam eini leia Setanin a nuom nuoma hmang dinga a pek suok le hnawmhnawl ei ni lei? ti hi chîk nawkzuola ei ngaituo non a poimaw khop el.

Chun, mimal khuolzinin an thil hmu an rikawthai hi a hnung peia chanchin suinaa poimaw a nizie thu a hmasa taka khan a thu hongnaah ei hril ta a, a tiemhai chun ei la hriet zing ka zing. June 27-July 7, 1997 sunga ka diary maksan po hin thi ieng zat am a fûn ti hriet ding chun kha hun sunga mihai thil ziek le chanchinbua rikawt an siehaia inthoka a ngirhmun tlangpui chu hriet thei a ni ka ring. Amiruokchu, ka tukvera inthoka ka thlir dan ruok chu ka diary-a inthok chauh naw chun hmu thei a ni nawh.

Hi truma kan inzin hin Mizoram le Meghalaya State-a hmun poimaw tam tak kan sir bakah an ram le sorkar chanchin ziekna lekhabu tam tak ka lak khawm a. Kum 1906 March thlaa Khasi ram Mairanga harna hmasa tak ei zu lakna hmun ka sirna chanchin dam chu a hran topa lekhabua ziek tham a nih. Hi truma kan inzinna hin lekhabu pathum bek hring suok dinga ka beisei laiin, sina buoina leiin pakhat khom a hring suok naw a, a poi takzet. Lalpan rem a ti chun, chuong laia poimaw zuola ngaihai chu hun remchangah ei la hung phor suok pei dingah beisei inla. (July 11, 2014 Friday, Delhi)

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  1. A tiem anhawi el khela information tamtak a funsa anih Pu Keivom thilziek hin. 1996-1997 Thadou le Paite buoi laia details iemanizat ka hrietdawk thei talo tamtak ka zuk hmusa bawk...a tangkai khawpel!


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