Ukhrul : Playing the perfect host Indigeneity of both

Ukhrul played the perfect host. Playing good host is the nature of the Tangkhul folks and adding that extra bit to playing the good host was the matter of fact welcome address delivered by the MLA of Ukhrul Assembly Constituency Ram Muivah. The occasion was of course the Cabinet meeting held at Ukhrul district headquarters on October 18 and apart from the foundations for different projects amounting to Rs 64.38 crore laid by the Chief Minister, what made the Cabinet meeting all that more remarkable was the brief recall of the past which underlined the close ties between the Meiteis and the Tangkhuls. A point which was so succinctly delivered by MLA Ram Muivah. Summer Capital of Manipur, harking back to the distant and not so distant past, a new Ukhrul township near Sirarakhong-the place synonymous with the big, delicious chilli-addressing the water scarcity at Ukhrul town etc were all assurances given by the Chief Minister and these must have surely gone down well with the people of Ukhrul. Late Yangmasho Shaiza and late Rishang Keishing were the names that the Ukhrul AC MLA took the opportunity to refer to and underline the point that the Tangkhul folks have always been at the forefront in the affairs of Manipur. The two obviously need no introduction to the people of Manipur-the first named personality being the first tribal Chief Minister of Manipur and the second being at one point of time the longest serving Chief Minister of Manipur-a record which was only broken by O Ibobi with his three term in office on the trot. Ukhrul AC is also the first to send a woman MLA to the Assembly in Manipur, with the late Hangmila Shaiza wife of late Yangmasho Shaiza, getting elected in 1990. A point which was again reminded by the Ram Muivah in his welcome address to the Chief Minister and his Ministerial team as well as MLAs from the ruling front. All these are known facts, but points which need to be reminded to the people from time to time, particularly the younger generations for this is about the history of the land and the reality of Manipur at one point of time. That the Ukhrul AC MLA had done a thorough home work to present Ukhrul to people can be gauged from the manner in which he rattled off from the Cheitharol Kumbaba and the works of late Professor Gangmumei Kamei to underline the close ties that the Tangkhuls had and have with the Meiteis and how Kangla would not have been the place that everyone knows today had it not been for the service rendered by some Tangkhul folks. The same thing goes for the stretch presently known as BT Road.
A welcome address with that little dose of ‘something different.’ That ‘something’ which can be of immense benefits to the younger generations, those born in the 1990s and later. This is what is needed at this point of time when attempts have been made to distort the history of the land and to let the facts be recorded for posterity. And talking about posterity, it would do good for the political leadership of the day to acknowledge that the Assembly Constituency which gave Manipur its first Naga Chief Minister in the person of Yangmasho Shaiza has not seen any of its elected Member in the Council of Ministers for more than 20 years. In effect this would mean that while Ukhrul AC has seen MLAs come and go for four or five terms, it has not seen any of them being made a Minister. Ukhrul Assembly Constituency definitely deserves better. On the flip side it is encouraging to note that Ukhrul is perhaps the first hill district headquarters to have hosted a Cabinet meeting two times. All should work towards translating this uniqueness into something concrete at the ground level. A place which experiences heavy rainfall during the wet season but which reels under acute water scarcity during the dry season and more than obvious that a lot more still needs to be done. A perennial problem it is for the Ukhrul people and one hopes that the Chief Minister keeps his word and goes about ensuring steady and adequate water supply to the Tangkhul people of Ukhrul.