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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
~Dr. L.Fimate MD.FAIMS.WHO Fellow.

I was born and brought up at Parbung,the sec­ond biggest vil­lage in Tipaimukhsub divi­sion, Chu­rachand­pur dis­trict, Manipur. Sub­se­quently, the vil­lage became the head­quar­ters of the Sub-division and Assam espe­cially from Silchar came through the Barak river, opened shops and traded with the localpeo­ple who offered their prod­ucts like oranges, gin­ger, cot­ton, pineap­ples, chill­ies and oth­ers along with for­est prod­ucts in exchange for fin­ished prod­ucts and essen­tial com­modi­ties like salt, sugar, kerosene, med­i­cine, etc.

Until the 50s and through the 70s, Tipaimukh was sub­sis­tently self-sufficient in almost every­thing. The mis­sion schools pro­vided basic edu­ca­tion and the first high school in the hill areas of Manipur at Pherzawl pro­duced ambas­sadors, high civil ser­vants in cen­tral and provin­cial ser­vices, qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als in med­i­cine, engi­neer­ing and teach­ing, church lead­ers and social work­ers. The lit­er­acy per­cent­age of the Hmars, the dom­i­nant tribe in the area was the sec­ond high­est among the tribes of Manipur. In short, Tipaimukh area once held a pride of place in Manipur in gen­eral and in Hmar his­tory inparticular.

Tipaimukh Today : Hav­ing gone throughthe rigours of a vil­lage life dur­ing my for­ma­tiveyears, and, hav­ing tasted the golden period of Tipaimukh area, I have been enchanted by the beauty and charm of Tipaimukh. Even when I was in Europe or Amer­ica or other advanced coun­tries in the Far-East, my heart con­tin­ued to revolve around Tipaimukh, always engag­ing in thoughts of how I could make use of the good things and I came across as an instru­ment to bring back the area from its pathetic plightto a more respectable and self-sufficient level of exis­tence. This is the desire and dream ofevery Hmar as Tipaimukh has been and will con­tinue to be our Jerusalem, how­ever remote, back­ward and dif­fi­cult area it might have become to.

After study­ing and serv­ing away from Tipaimukh for a few decades, I came back to visit my old home­town, Par­bung, the head­quar­ters of  Tipaimukh sub­di­vi­sion where I spent my child­hood days. To my utter sur­prise, I found the vil­lages and the peo­ple in a most deplorable con­di­tion.  The vil­lageswhich enjoyed the pride of respect and self­suf­fi­ciency in the remote past, have turned into slum-like con­di­tion: dilap­i­dated bam­boo huts with thatched roof, much worst than my boy hood days fifty years ago. There is endemic famine and star­va­tion and peo­ple are prac­ti­cally liv­ing from hand to mouth. There is no Pub­lic Dis­tri­b­u­tion Sys­tem. Gov­ern­ment Rice from civil sup­plies are sold at the rate of Rs.20/kg  or more. The vil­lages are not con­nected with motorable roads. There is no sign of mod­ern civil­i­sa­tion at all. Their liv­ing con­di­tions are many cen­turies behind. It appears as if the­yare being pre­served for museum spec­i­mens. There are no proper schools and chil­drenare deprived of their fun­da­men­tal rights toe­d­u­ca­tion. Many intel­li­gent and tal­ented boys and girls, who could have been the pride ofthe coun­try, are wasted away unsung and unutilised due to lack of edu­ca­tional facil­i­ties. No health cen­tre is func­tion­ing in the entire­sub­di­vi­sion of 45 vil­lages with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 40,000 except a Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre (CHC) at Par­bung. How­ever, this CHC is also only par­tially func­tion­ing with only one doc­tor in hand. Con­struc­tion of quar­ters meant for doc­tors and OPD has been aban­doned before com­ple­tion. Qual­i­fied med­ical staff is hard to come by. This has invited many quack prac­ti­tion­ers, result­ing in many avoid­able deaths. For exam­ple, 25 peo­ple died within 3 months in a par­tic­u­lar area in 2009. Even the 64 years of Indian inde­pen­dence does not seem to have any impact on the peo­ple of Tipaimukh, so far devel­op­ment is con­cerned. They are stil­l­liv­ing in an extreme poverty and back­ward­ness while Mizo­ram, just on the other side of the Barak River has shown remark­able progress in every field. They (Mizo­ram) enjoy the sec­ond high­est lit­er­acy rate in the coun­try. Such a great con­trast between two imme­di­ate neigh­bors, though belong­ing to the same com­mu­nity, requires deep think­ing by the author­ity. It is aslap on the face of the government.

What the Gov­ern­ment did for Tipaimukh : For all the back­ward­nesses and poverty of  Tipaimukh, can we blame the gov­ern­ment for neglect and apa­thy? Can we say that gov­ern­ment did noth­ing to develop Tipaimukh area? That, most of the time, it was under Con­gress min­istry. Then, can we say that the Con­gress is neglect­ing Tipaimukh?

When we exam­ine the his­tory of the devel­op­ment in Tipaimukh area with impar­tial and detached view, we can clearly see that the Con­gress did every­thing to develop Tipaimukh. Funds were made avail­able for con­struct­in­groads, schools and Health Cen­tres and for the devel­op­ment of all facets of infra­struc­tural facil­i­ties in Tipaimukh sub-division. But thep­eo­ple blame their rep­re­sen­ta­tives for their insin­cer­ity imple­ment­ing the projects. It is acom­mon knowl­edge that the rep­re­sen­ta­tives par­tic­i­pated in all the con­tract works within the con­stituency. But most of the works are either par­tially exe­cuted or unim­ple­mented at all. As a result, funds are either mis­used or in some­cases can­not be utilised at all. Even the so called motorable roads con­structed by them on offi­cial records, were not motorable. There­fore, it is gen­er­ally felt that, it was the insin­cer­ity of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives and not the gov­ern­men­tas such, which is solely respon­si­ble for the back­ward­ness of this area. The suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments in Manipur have always given spe­cial atten­tion to Tipaimukh by giv­ing min­is­te­r­ial berth to MLAs from Tipaimukh most of the times. But, it was the min­is­ter who failed to imple­ment devel­op­ment pro­grammes of his con­stituency. This has greatly dam­aged the image of the Con­gress in Tipaimukh. One senior cit­i­zen from Tipaimukh has said that though con­gress min­istry is a bless­ing for oth­ers, it is a hin­drance to the devel­op­ment of Tipaimukh.

Because of the unbear­able hard­ship faced by the peo­ple, and, because of the loss of faith in the lead­er­ship, Tipaimukh has for the past few years wit­nessed exo­dus of pop­u­la­tion who have migrated to the neigh­bor­ing states. Peo­ple felt that they had been betrayed by their lead­ers. There was a strong appre­hen­sion that, if the con­di­tion con­tin­ues, the entire Tipaimukh sub­di­vi­sion may be aban­doned by the Hmar com­mu­nity in the near future, which will be a big blow to the Hmar tribe.

Fear­ing that, such extreme humil­i­a­tion could occur in the Hmar com­mu­nity of Tipaimukh, senior cit­i­zens and pub­lic lead­ers of Tipaimukh strongly felt the need for a rev­o­lu­tion to change the exist­ing polit­i­cal lead­er­ship which will lead them to rapid socio eco­nomic reforms to save Tipaimukh fromthe brink of dis­as­ter. Pub­lic lead­ers and right think­ing peo­ple felt that the best alter­na­tive and the fi rst step to tackle the prob­lems of Tipaimukh is a change of lead­er­ship of a proven qual­ity by giv­ing a chance to the under­signed to become their rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the State Assem­bly. The under­signed is, there­fore, approached by sev­eral lead­ers to come out and lead the com­mu­nity as MLA in the inter­est of the peo­ple of  Tipaimukh inpar­tic­u­lar and Manipur in general.

See­ing the plight of my peo­ple, and the pathetic con­di­tions in which they have been liv­ing in this 21st cen­tury, I can no more be a silent wit­ness to their prob­lems. I feelun­com­fort­able to live a life of com­fort whenmy peo­ple are liv­ing in such an extremely deplorable con­di­tion in this mod­ern age.

There­fore, set­ting aside all the lucra­tive jobs with attrac­tive salaries offered to me after my retire­ment in 2010, I have decided to answer the SOS call of my peo­ple and my inner voice to serve them as their rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the assem­bly in order to sal­vage them from the bondage of poverty.

On being elected as MLA,serious attempts will be made to achieve the fol­low­ing goals:- To work for the devel­op­ment andu­plift­ment of the peo­ple and thus, regain the past glory of  Tipaimukh to become the prideof the state and the country.

1. To con­struct motorable roads for all the45 vil­lages who had suf­fered for over a cen­tury with­out motorable roads, to improve trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem so as to improve the eco­nomic con­di­tion of the people.

2. To trans­form the back­ward Tipaimukh into a self-sufficient area and a model constituency.

3. To re-establish schools, health cen­tres, elec­tric­ity and water-supply sys­tem to improve the qual­ity of  life and stan­dard of liv­ing of the peo­ple, and nur­ture them to be good cit­i­zens and assets to the country.

4. To estab­lish Higher Sec­ondary School in Tipaimukh and bring about Edu­ca­tional and Eco­nomic Rev­o­lu­tion in Tipaimukh.

5. To estab­lish tourism cen­tres in Tipaimukh area. Attempts will be made to estab­lish Ruong-le-vaisuo Cul­tural Cen­tre to host Annual cul­tural meets for all the 12 tribes whose ori­gin was Ruong-le-vaisuo and make the cen­tre one of the major tourist spots of the country.

6. To restart reg­u­lar bus ser­vices between Churachandpur-Aizawl by con­struct­ing Tuivai bridge and reha­bil­i­tat­ing NH-150 ( for this, I have already started the work).

7. To pro­vide tin roof­ing for all the house­hold in Tipaimukh.

8. To com­plete construction/rehabilitation of Jiri-Tipaimukh road, by renam­ing it “ Rev.Thangngur Road”.

9. To con­struct Model Vil­lage with all mod­ern ameni­ties viz, road, school, Hos­pi­tal, Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tre, Post Office, Bank, elec­tric­i­ties, water­sup­ply, play­ground, mar­ket shed, com­mu­nity hall, etc.

10. To extend inland water­way from Fuler­tol upto Tipaimukh so that we have another national high­way through water.

11. To be MLA with a dif­fer­ence– To be an MLA for the peo­ple (not only for my vot­ers) and be fully devoted to them.

–To serve as a role model for others.

- To play a clean and trans­par­ent pol­i­tics which will be accept­able to the church.

–To break the walls of sep­a­ra­tion between the var­i­ous polit­i­cal par­ties in our com­mu­nity so as to bring about social and moral inte­gra­tion in our society.

Given a chance, I am con­fi­dent that, with the co-operation from the gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple, I can trans­form the back­ward Tipaimukh into a devel­oped con­stituency, which can be a model for other con­stituen­cies and a pride for the country.


Prof.L.Fimate MD.Former Direc­tor, RIMS Imphal. (Pre­pared on pub­lic request)


~Hma­sawnna Thar, Oct. 18, 2011

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