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Pu L. Keivom in Memorial lecture a pek

Thursday, June 11, 2015

/ Posted by Simon Infimate
Imphal, June 11, 2015:Zani June 10, 2015 khan Lamyanba Sanglen, Imphal AIR Station bul Palace compound­-ah 15th Arambam Somorendra Martyrdom Anniversary & The 10th Arambam Somorendra Memorial Lecture hun hmangna ah Pu L. Keivaom, IFS Retd. chun “Ethnic Churning: Chikumi Style” ti thupui hmangin thuhrilna na a nei.
A hnuoia hi Pu L. Keivom thuhril laktawi Hueiyen Lanpao hai i ziek a nih

The “valley-hill divide” has to be bridged if the people have to be effective in “dealings with others and ourselves.” This was stated by Pu Lalthlamuong Keivom, IFS (Retd.), the first Indian Foreign Service officer from Manipur while delivering the 10th Arambam Somorendra Memorial Lecture titled “Ethnic Churning: Chikumi Style” at the Lamyanba Shanglen, Konung Lampak on Wednesday.
In his first part of the lecture, Pu Keivom recalled his experiences as an IFS officer which made him ponder over issues confronting a State like Manipur. Taking cognizance of the power of anecdotes, his narratives gave a hint to how certain conclusions could be drawn while not generalizing the resultant experience.

For instance, his comparison between diaspora Manipur Muslims in Jeddah and Meeteis in Yangon and Mandalay throws up questions pertaining to the notion of allegiance vis-à-vis spatial and temporal contingencies. He pointed out that the Manipur Muslim or the Pangal’s “longing, emotional and social attachment” far surpasses expectations as compared to the Mandalay Meeteis.
Pu Keivom said the Mandalay Meeteis seemed “unaffected” by the necessity of establishing or fulfilling the longing for roots so long as they “remained within” the borrowed caste system which deprived them of ethnic origins. His observation is significant in identifying or locating the idea of homeland or the place of birth.

Further delving into the main topic, Pu Keivom explores the world of “Chikumi” or the Chin-Kuki-Mizo ethnic conglomeration. Tracing the origin and eventual “dispersal” of the Zo group of tribes, he outlined how the colonial power had immense impact on the social formations as a result of administrative divisions.

While doing so, he also gave a critique of the Meetei popular narrative on the idea of “kingdom” that encompasses a vast area while occupying just the valley alone. Stressing on multiple identities, Pu Keivom seemed to suggest finding a common root irrespective of faith and belief that have created a chasm between communities.

Holding people responsible for their choices, he suggested that there is a need to build “mutual respect and understanding” by introducing “multi-layered forums” to collectively organize events related cultural exchange and sports.

Photo Credit: Immanuel Varte
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