A requiem to RV Mingthing Unity is thy name
Not a regular political heavyweight like in the mould of the late Rishang Keishing, the late Yangmasho Shaiza or any of the other bigwigs who have etched a name for themselves just by winning one election after the other, but the name of RV Mingthing has its own unique flavour, which no other political leader can touch with a barge pole. His standing as a political leader with a difference was all that more remarkable coming as he was from the Tangkhul community and he was seen as the perfect foil to the idea of a Manipur that was prominently held amongst the many Tangkhul personalities. In a way RV Mingthing belonged to that generation when a good number of Tangkhul individuals identified themselves with the idea of Manipur, that generation which stuck to the line of thought that knowing how to read Meiteilon was a pre-requisite to fit into the social reality of Manipur and generally that generation which took pride in saying they are from Manipur once they step outside the territory of the State and go to any of the cities of India. What made him stand out from the others of his generation is the fact that he minced no words in underlining the unbreakable relationship between the hills and valley, or rather between the Meiteis and the Tangkhuls in particular and the Nagas in general. It is also remarkable that the late man spoke out his mind when there were immense pulls and pressures on the idea of Manipur from different directions, most notably the demand raised for a Greater Lim, with the leadership mostly drawn from amongst the Tangkhuls, the tribe to which the late personality belonged to. The Sangai Express did not have the fortune of interacting with the late man on a one to one basis, but his line of thought was closely followed, not because he was a political heavy weight, but because his train of thought was what Manipur needed and needs now more than anything else. Not surprisingly many have mourned his passing away, and while death is a certainty, there is no certainty when it will come knocking at one’s door and even though RV Mingthing was already in the winter of his life, having crossed 9 decades on earth, his death must have caught many unexpectedly as it was sort of sudden, with no history of any serious ailment.
It must have taken something special to speak about hill-valley unity particularly at that point of time when fissiparous tendencies were pulling apart the idea of Manipur, but this was what RV Mingthing did, and with so much conviction. And this is what will add that extra halo whenever his name crops up in the coming years. Perhaps this is where a brief recap of the reality that was Manipur will make his stand all that more meaningful and significant. It was at that point of time when the Nagas of Manipur, particularly Tangkhuls had distanced themselves from the idea of Manipur that Mingthing talked so passionately and vociferously about, about the filial ties between the Meiteis and the Tangkhuls. Those were the days when the divide ran deep and any talk of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality was seen as standing as something of an obstacle to the aspiration of a Greater Lim. It was at that point to time when the Government at Imphal was crudely referred to as the ‘So called Government of Manipur’ and Manipur was the ‘so called State’, that RV Mingthing talked about the oneness of the indigenous folks of the land, though he may have not have directly used the term, ‘indigenous folks’. His stress on the close ties between the Tangkhuls and Meiteis is a reality that cannot be wished away by any stretch of the imagination and today even as many of the younger generations of the Tangkhul community may like to think otherwise, the truth is, the Tangkhuls share a much more closer ties with the Meiteis than they do with the Aos or Angamis of Nagaland. Take a train ride from Delhi to Guwahati or a bus ride from Guwahati to Imphal and this point will come out in all its sublime truth. May the soul, who epitomised Manipur, rest in peace. Amen.