So, that day I came back to Dimapur and lodged at Hotel Yak. The next day i, e on Sunday I fasted and prayed in the hotel room for this particular problem.
A few words I wish to share with my Poumai brethren
Thiwa village isone among aged old indigenous traditional village of the Poumai Naga tribe. Thevillage is known as Dapei by Thiwa villages, also known as Pouhmai or Pamai byother Poumai Villagers. It is located in Purul Sub Division of SenapatiDistrict, Manipur 101KM away from the state capital and 54km from districtheadquarter. A total of 218 families are residing in the village with apopulation of 1309 (census 2011). Original inhabitants of the village arehistorically, socially, politically, traditionally and culturally Poumai Naga.The most significant historical, traditional, social and cultural facts arethat traditional Poumai edible salt called the POUTAI was manufactured here byThiwa villagers and supplied to other Poumai villages. And before the light ofChristianity came, the wealthy families of the village did, and unlike theTangkhul Feast of Merit who would erect only wooden post as told by thevillagers all the Feast of Merit performers had erected stone monolith and nonehad erected wooden post. Folk dance, songs and traditional dress are same asthat of all the Poumai villages. Recently, all the Poumai people and otherNagas witnessed the performing dance troupe of Thiwa representing Poumai Tribeduring Lui-Ngai-Ni festival 2015 held at Tahamzam (Senapati).
The administration of the villageis the same as that of all the Poumai villages. It is a sub-administrative unitof Khongdei circle under Chilivei Naga Union which is zonal unit of Poumai NagaUnion, Purul Block, 47 Karong Assembly Constituency in Senapati Distirct ofManipur. Mention may be made here that the educated persons from Thiwa (Pouhmai)village led the people of Chilivei area in the organization of Chelivei NagaUnion, Chilivei Student Union, other programmes and activities for developmentand unity. Mention also may be made here that Shri. Thuingalen Lamgahva aninhabitant of Thiwa (Pouhmai) village was the founder President of the ChiliveiNaga Union in 1963. The gospel of Jesus Christ wasbrought to Thiwa village by Tangkhul brethren, established the Church andnurtured it till 1973. The villagers were taught using Bible and Hymnal booksin Tangkhul dialect. So, Thiwa villagers were very used to this dialect. But inthe year 1974 during the Manipur North Baptist Naga Association’s conventionheld at Punanamai, Rev. Ningol Woleng the then Field Director of WesternTangkhul Naga Baptist Association (WTNBA) officially handed over Thiwa BaptistChurch to Manipur North Naga Baptist Association (MNBA) with the view that itwas not wise for Thiwa Baptist Church to be attached to WTNBA because Thiwavillage is a Poumai Village. Then, Thiwa Baptist Church became full-fledgedBaptist Church affiliated to Poumai Naga Baptist Association (PNBA) since theinception of PNBA in 1978. Mention may be made here that Thiwa Baptist Churchhosted the annual fellowship of PNBA in 1982.
In the year 1984, Thiwa BaptistChurch affiliated to WTNBA/TBCA without having any recommendation from PNBA ledby some vested interest leaders when PNBA imposed disciplinary action on theground that Thiwa Baptist Church defied rules and regulations of the PNBA. Butsome of the Thiwa villagers revolted against the affiliation of Thiwa BaptistChurch to WTNBA/TCBA. As such the PNBA with a view to reunite church membersdeputed Pastor Woba Kadu to Thiwa village in 2009 and served there till 2014 ashe was recalled by the PNU on the 8th Nov. 2014. Even though there is problem inthe church matter, the village is a unit Poumai Masou Me (now Poumai Naga Union)and other frontal organizations of Poumai Naga Tribe. Till today they activelyparticipate in all social and political affairs. But recently, along with thechurch problem, some villagers claimed that they belong to Tangkhul tribewhereas the original inhabitants of the village are against their claim on thehistorical ground that it is against the tradition, norms and practices ofNagas.
The fact of the tradition, norms and practices is that when any outsiders(new comer from other village) seeks for settlement in an indigenoustraditional village, they can be given permission to settle down in the villageby the condition that they are attached to any of the existing clan/khel oftheir choice and with an oath to abide by the law of the land, they are notallowed to form a new clan or khel in the village. Another recent problem isthe dispute in Headmanship and leadership in the village politics. The Thiwavillage was for sometime divided into two groups headed by two chairmen andthere was clash of interest in the leadership. But it was resolved by the PNUamicably by setting up of one unanimous administration. Some of the evidencesare enclosed (See Annexures-I) The problem crop up today as thevillage was still divided in the church matter due to the undue influence andinstigation by the Western Tangkhul Church leadership. The Major interventions of PoumaiNaga Union into the Thiwa village problem so far are:
The Zingtun Longphang Karot (TNZL)Western Tangkhul leadership in connivance with the NSCN leadership continued tointerfere and instigate the Thiwa villagers not to cooperate with Poumai NagaUnion and the Poumai Naga Baptist Association and this continue for long 33years, long enough to wear out the patience of the Poumai people. And hence,the Poumai Masou Me (Poumai Naga Union) submitted a representation to the KiloKilonser, GPRN dated the 16th December 2006, wherein No.2 of thecharters of demand stated as follows “Stop annexation of Poumai villages onceand for all and particularly the Thiwa village and withdraw all arbitraryorders made by NSCN (IM)and stop interfering in the Poumai internal village affairs” This has been demanded with theclear mandate of the people that Thiwa village problem is a family or internal matter, and as such interferences of the NSCN (im) in the people of Thiwavillage.
In reply to the above demand, the Chief Principal Secretary, Government of the People Republic of Nagalim, Mr.Samson Jajo wrote a letter dated the 7th July 2008 to the President,Poumai Hoho wherein Point No.2 stated as follows “it is the principal of GPRNthat all Naga tribes, big or small are equal on the issue of the tribalidentity. Imposition of one identity to other is prohibited. However, in theTheiva village, Poumai and Tangkhuls have been living together peacefully formany years. So their identity remains as it is and shall be under theadministrative jurisdiction of Poumai. This had been clarified by theGovernment when Mr. R.H. Raising was then the Kilo Kilonser.” (Annexure-II)
The Poumai Naga Union in itsGeneral Assembly held on the 26th April 2011 at Tusii Ngani KhumaiSenapati village with Mr. P.T. Daniel Speaker PNU in the chair passed aunanimous Resolution No. 5 endorsing the PNU executive council to deal with theThiwa issue and also empowered the executive Council/member to set upvolunteers if and when need arises out of the issue. The said resolution wasreaffirmed on 26th May 2012 and 26th April 2014 atRikhumai Taphou respectively. The PNU Executive Council underthe leadership of Mr.Ng.Lorho the then President of Poumai Naga Union after aseries of consultative meetings with the Thiwa villagers, came to a conclusionthat there shall be only one village Authority council and one Church under thejurisdiction of PNU which is duly signed by all the parties. But the problem ofone church could not be complied. Then the Poumai Naga Union in itsgeneral Assembly held on the 8th of November 2014 at Thiwa villagewith Mr. C.D. Jongeo John Speaker PNU in the Chair passed the followingresolutions on Thiwa village problem:
Resolution No. 1. That existingThiwa Baptist Church will have only one administrative unit under the under thejurisdiction of the Poumai Naga Baptist Association (PNBA).
Resolution No.2. That PNBA shouldwelcome and receive the Thiwa Baptist Church without restoration service andexempt them from all the past dues.
Resolution No. 3. That PastorPeter is asked to take responsibility of looking after the Church members ofthe village with equal treatment.
Resolution No. 4. That all the formalitiesfor re-affiliation of different authorities, social organizations like Studentbody and women society to their respective parentsauthorities/organizations/unions such as Poumai Naga Union, Poumai Naga BaptistAssociation, Poumai Naga Catholic Mai Me (PNCM), Poumai Naga Naotou mai Me (PMNM)Poumai Naga Tsiidou Me (PNTM). Etc, should be completed within December 2014.
Resolution No.5. That,appropriate action will be initiated against the Thiwa Village if the villagefails to comply the above resolutions of the PNU.
And in the process if anyproblem arises out to the matter all expenses incurred will be borne by theThiwa village. Since the Thiwa villagers failedto comply with the above resolutions adopted by the Poumai Naga Union GeneralAssembly, the Poumai Naga Union held a Peoples’ Convention on the 30thJanuary 2015 at Koide (Nahmai Zho) wherein declared, “to protect and safeguardthe Thiwa village from any external threat and disturbance”. The Poumai people are convincedthat Thiwa was founded by the Poumai ancestors and to defend a Poumai villageis the birth right of every Poumai Naga and in defending the Poumai land thereis no any violation of the Universal Human Right principles. In the process of Poumaisattempt to defend its land and people we have been thrown a challenge by theWestern Tangkhul that they would bring double the number of the Poumaivolunteers to defend the Thiwa village as a Tangkhul village.
Now that thePoumai people though weak and small shall defend its own land and people at anycost. As per the declaration of thePeoples’ Convention, the Poumai Youth front was raised to defend and safeguardthe Thiwa village from any external threat. Thereupon, the Kilo Kilonser of theNSCN (IM) invited the Poumai Naga union executive members wherein a leadershipof strong 25 members went to meet the NSCN to have a discussion on the matteron the 16th of February 2015 at Hebron. In that meeting the Poumaileadership feeling that the NSCN (IM) has been fed with a one sided story ofour opponent, the leadership clearly clarified the position and the stand ofthe Poumai people. The Kilo Kilonser told the Poumai delegates that now he hadheard the story from both sides that he would meet the Poumai leaders within ashort span of time. And without meeting the second time, the NSCN (IM) issuedan order banning the Poumai Naga Union dated the 18th of February2015, the official copy of which was delivered to the Poumai Naga Union officeonly on the 28th February after widely circulating the order in Dimapur area and publishing it in the local dailies and in the internet.
The Poumai leadership is curiouswhether defending its own land or aggressing against others land is violativeof the Universal Human Rights principles. Thiwa village issue is just aninternal and family problem of the Poumai Naga and the PNU has never usedcoercion to assimilate anybody into our fold nor has it tried to aggrandizeanybody’s land into our jurisdiction. To the contrary of what the NSCN hasalleged the Western Tangkhul people have been trying to forcibly wrest away outland and people into the Tangkhul fold. The Poumai People feel that wehave been doubly sinned against by banning the Poumai Naga Union and brandingthe Poumai People as Anti-national for it is the conviction of our people thatwe have not committed any serious blunder tantamount to be termed asAnti-national.
Issued By: PNU Consultative Body.
R.B. Thohe Pou *
In this modern era – who would like to travel 5-10 hours on foot? Do you believe that most of the villages in Purul Sub-division, Senapati District, Manipur still travel 5-10 hours on foot to catch the Bus from the nearest village bus station or from NH39?
Even if you believe this fact – you need to travel on foot to these villages to feel the reality in your heart as you burn your feet and ache your entire body. The Purul Sub-division in Senapati District is dominated by Poumai Naga tribe with one of the highest population growth rate in India. There are 60 revenue villages and about 40% of the total villages have not Jeepable road during rainy season .
Recently a friend of mine – name John Basho Pou, a Journalist – who loves to preserve the rich traditional culture and an enthusiastic explorer to new places – took a trip together to the eastern parts of Poumai Naga dominated areas to see the ground reality of these villages.For the first time – the Bus commenced to ply from Senapati Headquarter to Lakhamai village in 2004. However till today, no Jeep or TATA Sumo is plyable during the rainy season. Most of the village in Chiliive circle (Purul Sub-division) are located around 60-70 Kms away from Senapati Headquarter.
In 1990s people traveled on foot around 14-16 hours to catch the Bus from NH39 at Maram Bazar. Just ponder how the villagers from Songdo, Thiwa, Ngari, Khongdei, Kodom, Ngamju etc still travel around 6-8 hours on foot to catch the Bus from the nearest village Bus station (Purul village).
As there is no Bus service from Senapati to Sirong village, which is one of the main village to reach the other villages. We took a TATA Sumo from Senapati and went to Sirong village (original village of NSCN leader Muivah, before migrated to Ukhrul District).
We were excited as we reached Sirong village since we’ve never been to this circle also we are going to travel on foot and encounter the ground reality. From Sirong village – we went on foot to Khongdei (Dumai) village, which took around two and half hours.
The Kutcha Road is small and copious with bushes; it is also sloping steep from Sirong to Iril River and from Iril River to Khondei village. From Khongdei village, we went on foot to Kodom Khavii, Kodom Khullen, Lakhamai and back to Sirong village. However we are regretted for we could not go to Songdo village (Poumai Indigenous Salt producing village) and other villages like, Thiwa, Ngari village etc due to rain and exhaustion.
As we traveled in the wilderness – we heard the sweet song of Cicada, birds and other wild animals. If John Keats or Alfred Tennyson or any poet would have travel on this less travel road – they would have composed a beautiful poem. However we had recorded only the sweet song of Cicada in my friend’s type recorder as a memento of our trip to less trodden road.
The Bus ply in the Kutcha Road from Maram Bazar (NH39) to Purul village is in a pathetic condition forget about plying the buses after Purul village.
In this computer era – when people possess their own Helicopter and Mercedes – some of the villagers in Chiliive circle have not even seen the Bus – forget about travelling by Bus from their villages to District Headquarter.
As we talked to the village authorities (Gaonboras) and asked about their problem – the villagers are crying for help to construct the bus playable road linking to their villages from Senapati Headquarter. It seems the villages in this areas are the forgotten villages in Manipur.
In this less or less trodden road – how many Politicians, Political leaders, NGOs, Government Officers etc have travel on foot to these villages? Who dare to travel on foot to see the ground reality or have the patient to listen the grievances of these villagers? In this less educated villages – who will voice their grievances in local or national Newspaper?
This year there was an epidemic occurred in some villages but it was reported very late to the concern officers. There was also drought in some villages in this area but only God knows and who else will know. There is Primary Health Sub-Center in some villages but there is not Doctor or Nurse.
Due to road transportation and communication problems – many villagers also died every year as they cannot take the sick people to the district hospitable.
The newly constructing road from Senapati Headquarter to Phaibung village is going to pass through many villages in this areas but only God knows when it will be completed and ply the bus.
If the present constructing road is successful – it would ease the problem of travelling on foot on this areas. Not only ease the problem of travelling on foot but it would also boost their economic life as there is great potentiality of truck farming in these villages.
Once the road transportation is improved and commence the truck farming in these villages – it would be a great help to many people in Imphal, Senapati, Kohima and Dimapur to get fresh vegetables in abundant. Vegetables farming is possible to carry out in some villages in Mao-Maram and Paomata Sub-division as there is better road transportation and marketing facilities.
Once the Mao’s potatoes, cabbage, plum etc were very popular in Manipur and Nagaland due to high quality and cheap availability. But today the Poumai’s Potatoes and Cabbages are becoming more popular in Imphal, Senapati, Kohima and Dimapur as the farmers do not use the chemical fertilizers and it is cheaply available with high quality.
In Paomata sub-division a village name Tungjoy is very famous of cabbage cultivation. On an average they earned around 40-50 thousand rupees per year from cabbage cultivation. The Poumai Naga tribe has one of the biggest cultivable farm land in Senapati District and there is great potentiality to do truck farming both in Paomata and Purul Sub-division once there is good road transportation and communication facilities.
In conclusion, I would like to suggest many things to be done for these poor villages like construction of road, regular electricity, medical facilities, educational institution etc.
However the present urgent need is to have good road transportation. Therefore I would like to request and suggest the Government of Manipur, local politicians, political leaders, Poumai Masou Me (Poumai Naga Union), Poumai Tsiidoumai Me (Poumai Students Union) and the public leaders to seriously consider the urgent need of these villages and construct the bus plyable road.
As I mentioned above – once there is good road transportation in these areas, there will surplus fresh vegetables in Imphal, Senapati, Kohima and Dimapur through out the year, which will be a great benefit to these villagers and to the people in the periphery villages and towns.
Written on 17th Dec.05
R.B. Thohe Pou, a resident of Manipur, contributes regularly to e-pao.net
You can email the writer at email@example.com
This article was webcasted on 07th January 2006.