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Declaration: HSA Shillong Jt.Hqrs

Saturday, September 11, 2010

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
Declaration of the Hmar Students’ Association, Joint Headquarters, Shillong on the occasion of 53rd Freshers’ Social Meet –cum- 100 years of Modern Education among the Hmars celebration, 11th September 2010, Shillong.

On the Occasion of its 53rd Freshers’ Social Meet –cum- 100 years of Modern Education among the Hmars celebration, 11th September 2010, Shillong, the Hmar Students’ Association, Joint Headquarters, Shillong would like to bring to the attention of the press that modern education among the Hmars have played crucial roles in all levels of their development- be it socio- cultural, socio- economic or socio- political.

That modern education which was introduced among the Hmars by the erstwhile British government opened the hitherto closed world of the Hmars to the outside world bringing in its wake all- round changes. The first written literature in Hmar dialect was the translation of St. Mark of the New Testament done by Rev. F.J. Sandy with the help of Thangkhup and Thanga (Rasi) only in the year 1917. Again, in 1919 a Hmar vernacular text book called Buhmasa (Primer) prepared by Rev. Edwin Rolands came into being, and by 1922 the Hmars had their own book of Hymns compiled and printed under the initiative of H. K. Dohnuna. R. Sankey’s Hymns were also translated into Hmar dialect and made in the form of a book in 1926. Dr. Peter Fraser, the medical-missionary of the Welsh Calvinistic Presbyterian Mission translated and printed the gospel of St. Mathew in the year 1929.

Among the many changes brought about by the introduction of modern education and its development during a hundred years, increase in literacy and employment opportunities affecting both income and occupation of the Hmars are noteworthy. This has led to better quality of life, standard of living and increased participation of the people in the development process. Furthermore, increased literacy, awareness, capacities, employment, income, etc as a result of modern education and its development among the Hmars also indirectly triggered two very important socio- political changes that have major ramification on the linguistic, identity, political and territorial consciousness of the people. One such instance is the translation of the Bible in Hmar and publications of the Independent Church Hymn book called Independent Hlabu in 1921 and 1923 respectively, publications of Buhmasa (Primer), a newspaper called Hmasawnnathar (New development) 1941, Sierkawpbu (Mathematic textbook), Thuthlungthar (New Testament Bible) 1946, a monthly magazine called Sikhawvar (Morning Star) and Inchuklainun (Students’ life), a monthly magazine for Hmar students in 1952 inspite of stiff opposition from Lushai speaking leaders. Further, the founding of the Hmar Students’ Association in 1939 at Imphal, Manipur to cater and promote the tribe’s culture, tradition and encourage education among the youths followed by the establishment of the Hmar Literature Society at Lungthulien village, Tipaimukh in 1945 to promote and develop the Hmar dialect and literature is also another outcome of this new development.

Another instance is the increased political and territorial consciousness among the Hmars when some educated Hmar. All these educated Hmars are concerned with protection of the Hmars’ identity and of integration of all the Hmars scattered all over North-East India.

Thus, the development of modern education among the Hmars of Tipaimukh not only brought about higher literacy rate, increased participation in the development process, economically better quality of life by providing more employment opportunities, higher aspirations, etc but also contributed in building up their capacities and creativities to have a new perspective and understanding of their culture and traditions, broader outlook, thoughts, perceptions and worldview on issues like linguistics, identity, polity and territory both within and without.
With respect to the above, the Hmar Students’ Association, Joint Headquarters, Shillong would like to declare on this day, the 11th September 2010 that:

Education is not only about going to school and getting good marks, but to also disseminate one’s knowledge to others;

Education is first and foremost, the most important tool for all levels of human development- be it social, economic, political or spiritual;

Modern education among the Hmars have been the centrifugal force behind the development of the Hmars and all along, the key to everything;

There should be a holistic understanding on what education means. It is not only going to school and getting good marks but also includes extra- curricular activities that taught an individual many important lessons not taught in schools;

There should be equal opportunities to education to both male and female and no discrimination should be made between them on grounds of gender;

Education should be to build up and serve fellow human beings, the society, the nation and the world rather than corrupt, destabilise or harm fellow human beings, the society, the nation or the world;

Education should be about building up one’s or peoples’ capacities, dignity and make unfreedoms freedoms as these are the nucleus for a sustainable future;

It is high time for educated Hmars to practice what have been preached and learnt during a span of a hundred years;

With these understanding of the above declaration, the Hmar Students’ Association, Joint Headquarters, Shillong, knowing full well the importance and cruciality of a good education in building up a peaceful, understanding, cohesive and God- fearing society, will persevere further with new vigour in spread and development of education among the Hmars in particular and to humanity and the world in general through and by its motto “by deeds, by words, by assistance and by leading- Serve The Nation”.
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