“Cry of a Dying River”: Pinning hope on the future of Nambul river

W Ibohal Singh
Kudos to Dr Rajendra Kshetri who has been relentlessly setting effort to save Nambul river from being emaciated with her bank increasingly transforming into a worthwhile place for dumping garbage. Dr Rajendra feels the pain, nothing short of the spear-thrust at the chest of a frail woman, of the river that once served as one of the inland waterways reaching the heart of the Khwai Bazar known as Sana keithel epitomizing the beauty of a tiny hill state of the East.
Dr Rajendra, as I feel, has every reason to be elated and excited at the prospect of Nambul river enjoying a new lease of life leaving behind, the tortuous life, that would help enhance the glamour of the capital city of the state. While tracing the memory of his childhood days, Rajendra finds it difficult to shun himself away from the Nambul. So entwined his life with that of’ the river is that he lamented for the near possibility of her burial in the sand of time along with the undefinable filth piled all along the bank. It is still heart-warming episode, indeed an affair to remember, is the way he got on with the Nambul (A heart-touching affair expressed so poignantly and powerfully in his one hundred poems). Angling during the current receding season, collecting snail, oyster from the riverbed, tossing pebbles over the surface of water, swimming and frequent ablution to beat the summer heat quite unmindful of the abuse and clamping down of the chastising rod of the elders- the pleasure nothing short of any kind of enjoyment on the lap of nature are the events the memory of which still stays green in his mind.
What accounted for Rajendra’s projection of the picture of the river Nambu1 is his kind of belief-system he wants to pursue. Normally people could not get on without a belief in something outside themselves. Such is the case for Rajendra too. He has a belief in the divinity of nature. He could see the beauty and innocence of nature. Fortunately he could discover more of this during his seventeen years stint in Nagaland (where he taught Sociology at Nagaland University) that provides a fertile soil for the research work for environmental Sociology in particular. The popular notion, “One can find solace in the green” finds expression in all his poems and approach towards the greening of the capital city, Imphal. Needless to say that a land studded with mole hills, rivers meandering through the valley surrounded by nine ranges of hills is an asset for the people endowed with aesthetic eyes. We can well imagine of the picturesque feature of the state we consider as a slice of heaven on earth. Only a concerted effort tenaciously pressed in the process by the Centre and state government in particular can deliver the desired-end within a stipulated time-frame.
Dr Rajendra Kshetri’s “Cry of a Dying River” echoes the cry of every concerned citizen and civil society who long for a rekindled and rejuvenated Sanaleibak Manipur.