Tragic story that has come tumbling out Tales from relief camps

Tales of tears, anguish and pain and many more punctuated by a faint hope, however far fetched that hope may be that they can return to their abandoned homes, could well sum up the story of many, many who have been fortunate enough to escape death. Fortunate enough may be the words used here, but it may not exactly fit into anything that comes close to the understanding of ‘fortunate’. This in brief is the story that can be told of the thousands who are presently surviving in the different shelter homes set up by the State Government in different parts of Manipur. This story cuts both ways but this story has been silenced by the loud din of the ‘war cry’ that keeps coming from either side and it is from this war cry that one sees quite a number of well known and not so well known personalities trying to make their life grander than what it was before. Nobody in Manipur seems to have realised this or have refused to see it and there can be nothing more tragic than this. Names and personalities who did not feature in the collective consciousness of the people have today suddenly become sort of ‘famous’ or ‘infamous’ depending from which side of the telescope one looks at the present turmoil in Manipur. Feeding off the trauma and suffering of the people with their senseless arbitrating and churning out their own narrative to feed their ego and take their name one or two or three or even four notches up and this is one by product of the tragedy that has become Manipur from the evening of May 3, 2023. Caught in this madness that has been scripted and churned out with so much finesse are those who have become refugees in their own native place and this tragedy should hurt all. Refugees in their own land and this is the reality that thousands are living through right now and while the acts of killing each other may have seen a lull in the last few days, to many the ‘battle may have only just begun’. This is to borrow a line from a young student who came out from her relief camp to take part in the candle light vigil at Kangla on August 26 evening.  Here is maturity writ large on someone as young as a student and here is a case of young people talking about life as a refugee while ideally she should have been discussing school or college life with her peers and family members at the dining table savouring the meal cooked by the elders of the family !
August 27, 2023 was Day I of the counselling session of the students who had cleared the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) and while it was a delight to see the beaming young students and their even more proud parents and elders of the family arriving at JNIMS, there was something markedly absent-the absence of any students from the Kuki, Paite and Hmar communities. To the many who had gathered at JNIMS, this did not come as a big shock for this was an extension of the scene that one witnessed during the NEET exam held earlier on June 6, 2023. It was the same when young students had to appear for the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for both undergraduate and post graduate programmes and here is a case of the young students being hit the hardest in the ‘game’ of clash and hatred engineered and played out by adults of society. Many killed, many missing, houses torched and razed to the ground, thousands displaced and this is the story that Manipur and mankind will remember when the chapter on the clash closes and it is amidst this reality that false narratives have been fed to the media and it is from this man made human tragedy that many others have tried to capitalise and in the process send their stock rising in their profession. Nothing can be more tragic than this and feeding these self serving elements are the war slogans such as ‘Solution first, Peace next’. The story of the dead people, the remains of the burnt houses and the displaced people has been perfectly scripted by the hate mongers whose only claim to fame at the moment is  raising war cries.