Saluting Mothers of the worldFiner meaning of Ima Keithel
‘Give me a good mother and I will give you the world’ to ‘The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother’ to ‘My mother is a walking miracle,’ from Napoleon Bonaparte, Theodore Hesburgh and Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio respectively and the central theme that connects the three profound observations is Mother. It was on this premise that the world got together to observe the second Sunday of May every year as International Mother’s Day. Manipur too followed suit and Mother’s Day was observed all over to place the Mother on a pedestal. To Manipur, the day should be more special for the only all women market, Ima (Mother) Market, is dedicated to the Mothers of the land and mankind in general. In fact without the understanding of Mother, how could the Meira Paibi movement have been such a significant characteristics of the land and her people ? Same is the case with the historic nude protest at Kanglapat, which then housed the Assam Rifles back in 2004 when the battered and ravaged body of Thangjam Manorama was discovered after she was picked up by Assam Rifles personnel the previous evening ? It was that particular nude protest and the days of protest that followed that saw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act being lifted from the areas that come under the Imphal Municipality Corporation (then Council). And it was to placate the hurt sentiments of the people that the Centre decided to hand over Kangla to the people of Manipur, which was then occupied by the Assam Rifles.
Placing Mothers on the pedestal and acknowledging her role, cannot be seen in isolation of where exactly women are placed in society. This should be the thumb rule. Does not make sense at all when Mothers are placed on a pedestal but women are reduced to punching bags in the confines of one’s home or are treated as second class citizens. Placing Mothers on the pedestal then should also mean a place where women are treated with respect and as equals, a place where the birth of a daughter is rejoiced as much as the birth of a son. The question is whether society in Manipur can sincerely stand by this observation or not. Women placed on the pedestal in the public sphere is a given here, but the question of more importance is whether women are given the place of importance or not in the private sphere. This is a point which has been touched on many earlier occasions and as long as crimes against women continue, this point will continue to remain relevant. Even as Manipur joined the rest of the world in observing Mother’s Day on May 12, came the news of yet another man being held on charges of raping a woman. Mother’s Day cannot be understood without a reference to where women stand in society and this is a question which all should sincerely introspect and only then will observing Mother’s Day have any significance. The very fact that the Centre Church of Manipur Baptist Convention has been honouring a chosen Mother on Mother’s Day for years is a significant indicator of the role of Mothers in shaping the future of their children.