Dzuko ‘the Nagmani’
We all know Dzuko valley; it is partly in Nagaland and mostly in Manipur or vice versa. Even the Centre treats it like that. The Union Home Ministry calls both the State authorities to douse the fire in and around Dzuko, of course with the assistance from the Central agencies including the watering choppers. It appears that no fire fighters could reach the inferno area except the water from the Air force Choppers. In the last 11-12 days the entire mount Iso has turned into ashes and a large part of the forest ranges surrounding the Valley has been destroyed. Media still blurts that the wildfire is not yet fully under control.
It is unnecessary to dwell on the controversies like who came first to stop the fire? We really don’t want to indulge in senseless issues like who requested the Air force first to water down the blaze? Who informed the Home Ministry first? Who took up the matter with the Environment Ministry? Who sent the firefighters first? Who were the leaders inspecting the wild fire from above or below? Whether the calamity managers have reached the affected areas? We really don’t know what is happening there - are they really helpless? The Google image still shows smoke in and around the border.
A few years back I was in the room of Yambung Ninai, the then versatile Secretary to the Governor of Manipur. We were discussing the fire that broke out in Major Khun, that day. Suddenly I saw a photo of Dzuko valley beautifully framed and hung on the wall of his room. The photo was nicely shot perhaps by a wide angle camera; the view is wide and clear. With his permission I took a mobile picture of the photo. He was unhappily sharing with me that though Dzuko is ours we are still unable to reach there by road without entering Nagaland.
I was going through a write-up by Clay Khongsai, an active IPS, who visited the valley in 2019. The article was reprinted a few days back due to its relevance considering the current wildfire. He narrated a local folklore from the Nagaland side “the spirits in Dzuko wanted seven human lives, the inhabitants bargained with seven pigs- spirits didn’t agree - spirits got angry – people left the habitation”. Towards the end he also made a request for a road that may bring us closer to the valley from Mao; that will certainly open a new vista for tourism; we may attract more tourists, trekkers and mountaineers as our connectivity is better.
It is reported somewhere “Dzukou about 30 km from Kohima is a sanctuary for the endangered Blyth’s tragopan - Nagaland’s State Bird - and other species of birds and animals”. The reporter is perhaps not aware of the fact that in the actual valley - birds, animals and fishes are hardly found. It is a very strange phenomenon. And more strangely human habitation is nil though not impossible. Is the valley controlled by a kind of supernatural power? nobody knows!
For the last 30 years or so we have been listening to the story of constructing a road for the Mao side towards Dzuko valley. One government goes, another government comes but the same story repeats; they make the same pledge, do the same kind of planning, sanction initial funds etc. They start doing something then leave or abandon the project. It is a difficult terrain for construction, fund not adequate, construction stops, cost overrun, time overrun etc . Consequently the road is not built. It seems recently a Cabinet held in Senapati has taken a decision to complete the road. Let us hope this time it works and the road is fully and finally constructed.
At the same time we the people of both the States would like to urge upon the Union Government to finally settle the border disputes between the two at the earliest. The Competent Authority may kindly intervene and do the needful. Otherwise the State machinery in both the sides is facing trouble every now and then whenever there are untoward incidents happening on the issue of jurisdiction. ADG Kailun had to rush this time too to deal with such a situation; handled well but how long and how many times?
Those who are doing serious research on diamonds, jewels and precious stones might have heard about the significance of “Nagmani”. It is a mythical powerful diamond, which can bring back life to the dead (closely associated with Buddhist and Hindu mythology). It was told that once a beautiful Naga girl revived the life of a great warrior who happened to be the husband of a Manipuri Princess. So, ‘Nagmani’ is believed to be discoverable either in Manipur or Nagaland. Dzuko may turn out to be the ‘Nagmani’ for both sides, if shared peacefully – life & livelihood of both the people will be ensured.