As scheduled, the Freshers’ Meet, 2008 of two sessions organised by the Kuki Students’ Organization, Delhi (KSOD) was held on 16th August at MTNL Hall, Sector 6, RK Puram. The first session was delayed by more than an hour due to non-completion of the decoration and other arrangement works.
The First Session
The first (seminar) session, coordinated by Mr. Jangmang Guite, that began at 11:15 am was attended by some thirty ambitious students. Pu Hethong Haokip spoke on “Injustice in the Kuki society.” He requested the seminarians not to see his presentation as one that is directed against a particular individual(s), system or organization but to see it as facts based on his case study.
At a regular interval, a question, ‘who will speak for them (victims of injustice)’ was resonated. Of the systematic denial of justices under chieftainship, according to him, inequality in land holding/rights and misappropriation of development funds by the chiefs are the two most glaring examples. He does not agree with the term ‘khochaga’, which has a discriminatory connotation, as the most appropriately worded one for the villagers.
“While the land size remains constant, increase in population has resulted in space problem. Besides, ever deteriorating fertility of land has also adversely impacted on sustenance by means of traditional shifting cultivation,” he said. Regarding clannish mindset in the Kuki society, he finds that a person of lone clan in a village is made to feel insecure by potent threats of expulsion from the village any time.
Referring to the pitiful lives in Tipaimuk, he said “not to speak of saving from income, people who toiled throughout the twelve seasons can merely gather food for just six months,” and continued, “when everyday life there is a battle for just a square of meal, survival is the remains unanswered question.” Highlighting the absence of civic amenities due to total negligence by the concerned authorities, he lamented “the compounded hardship faced by the people at the time of serious illness is unimaginable because, to get the patient to the nearest hospital takes about two days.”
He also cited few injustices faced by woman at home due to gender-inequality. On insurgency problem, he said, “the absence of peaceful atmosphere has prevented many good Samaritans from delivering services to the poor and needy.” Factional clash among the armed groups, according to him, has only produces fear environment, more number of widows and drop-out children from school. “The victims are nevertheless tight lipped in fear. Who will speak for them?..” he rued.
Referring to a very popular NGO worker, A. Roy, the woman who has influenced the government of India to enact Right to Information (RTI) Act 2006, he stressed that change in the policy from the top is by far efficacious in delivering justice than directing efforts at the grass root level. Finally appealing to the Kuki youths, he said “if you are dissatisfied with the quality of services rendered by the government employees, political leaders, church leaders, social systems, etc., then you are the right person to initiate the process of delivering justice by being a part of an NGO, the third sector.”
On the second paper ‘Mass Media’ or ‘the Fourth Estate’, David Buhril spoke at length on the subject. ‘A look back at our education history’, he said, “it is lamentable that we are narrowed to few avenues, particularly the government sectors.” He added that in spite of promising opportunities offered by journalism, even talented writers of Kuki youths do not find themselves interest in it. Lacking behind others in the field of journalism, according to him, is responsible for the Kuki issue being not presented well before the concerned authority. He recollected the biased media on the recent brutalities of UNLF in Chandel and Churachandpur.
He also said that our society is living with journalism vacuum. According to him, absence of strong media that bridles public leaders’ moves or actions negates the development because our politicians often tend to act at their whims. He urged the students to first identify their interest and explore their inherent talent in it. In conclusion, he appealed to those who could easily fit into the Fourth Estate by saying, “while pursuing your interest and getting a handsome reward, you are also delivering justice to others.”
Mr Haothang Kilong spoke on ‘Career in Civil Services’. In his prelude, he stressed the need for dead serious in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam for an aspirant. He then briefed on the opportunities, pattern, strategy and mystery of the exam. He gave answered to some frequently asked questions as follow.
The question on the best optional and scoring subjects, and their choice, he said, “the subject you master well.” Over the most effective style of study to be followed, his reply was “it varies from or depends upon person to person.” About joining coaching institute, he said, “it might not be necessary.” Over the question of keeping oneself constantly motivated, his responses were; the desire to come out of hardship, constant faith in God and devoting ninety percent of one’s heart and soul to the exam.
In his last word, he said, “Kuki have a rich and proud history as a community of Civil Servants. It is for the present and future generations to keep the traditions and preserve the ‘Legacy’. Best wishes and Good Luck.”
Ms Vahsi Kipgen who spoke on ‘Career in Airlines’, gave details of the opportunities in it, the criteria for entry into it and said that this is a career not only for the girls but also for the boys. She said, “obtaining training from Aha or Fran fin does not give 100% entry guarantee into airlines” and added “a good number of people have entered into it without any pre-training.” According to her, it is rather constant aspiration and motivation that pays one.
After the first session was over, there was a tea break.
The Second Session
Because the chief guest and his team were late, the second session that was scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm had to be delayed by more than an hour. However, to be optimistic, all the seats were fully occupied before arrival of the chief guest and this is unprecedented. As the chief guest, president of the Kuki Inpi Manipur, Pu Holkholun Lhungdim arrived, everyone stood up from their respective seats in honour and in the mean time, Mr Khukhup Baite, vice president, KSOD was called upon to deliver his welcome speech.
Then, a music band from The Last Resort, a rehabilitation home, presented two songs that overwhelmed the hall. Observing their skill in the musical instruments in harmony with the songs, they were rated second to no band.
Then, in line with the Bible verse ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God,’ Chaplain of KWSD, Rev. Dino then gave a piece of advice to about 40 fresher students and also prayed for them.
This was followed by Miss Neneo who on behalf of the senior students gave guidelines to the new comers regarding time management, social morality, specialized education, etc. Whereas on behalf of the freshers, Miss Zinia Doungel expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the seniors for organizing the auspicious meet as such.
The performance of a classical ballet with music – ‘Ging dengdeng e Japan Lenna Huilenkong’ the famous Thadou song of World War-II and the modern styled ‘Kathange’ by Delhi University (DU) area cultural troupe consisting of seven pairs of boys and girls added glamour to the occasion.
Taking his time, president of the KSO (General Headquartes), Mimin Simte appealed to the new arrivers to live up to the organization’s motto i.e. love, unite and serve.
The Guest of Honor, Pu C.S. Thanga Haokip who came all the way from Aizawl, after releasing the CD of 2007 KSO Rally at New Delhi, spoke few words on nationalism. On our attitude towards change and development, he said “to speak the least, it’s surprising that a Kuki who has tasted modern life styles in cities on returning home would use the same old twigs instead of toilet paper.” He also donated a sum of Rs 20,000/- (twenty thousand) to the KSOD.
The time then came for awarding meritorious certificates to outstanding students in the previous academic session. Among them was a footballer by name Mangneo Chongthu who is reported to have got the title of Top Scorer at the national level in the junior category.
With traditional greeting ‘Chibai’ to all, Pu Holkholun Lhungdim, the chief guest spoke on unity among the Kuki tribes. Besides sa-aw, the modern day equivalent practice might be that of flower presentation, he also cited few clans common to more than three or four tribes, vindicate our common origin. Further, he elaborated on the old lines ‘Ningju heisa nehni leh mi laiyo; Tuonglam doh a lupni leh kei laiyon (In the days of merriment, you are the brother of others; on the day you lay prostrated/death by the roadside, you are my brother).
Recognizing the KSOD’s contribution and efforts for the nation during 2007 rally, he reaffirms KIM’s commitment to fight to the finish the case against the formers lying before the court. Announcing the dinner to be provided by KIM, he requested everyone to join it.
Thethem Kipgen orchestrated traditional couple show of the Kuki tribes – Thadou, Simte, Hmar, Vaiphei, Zou, Kom, Gangte and Paite – was presented. This was followed by speeches from special invitees – the brethren organizations including the KSDF.
The election commission took its time, distributed and collected back the ballot papers after the people had ticked the candidate of their choice from the options given on it. In the mean time, Mr Len Jose presented his song ‘If You go before me’ composed for the freshers.
After announcement of the election result, the newly elected office bearers were sworn in before W.L. Hangsing, the chief election commissioner. W.L. Hangsing said, “I have been to many places in India on election duty as an Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) officer but have never found so smooth an election as this.” Rev. Dino dedicated them by saying a prayer.
After the dedication service, the program was carried on with songs from individual song stars and bands. Also, Zinia Doungel was crowned Miss KSOD Fresher, 2008 by her precedent Miss Nengneivah Haokip.
When the stage program was wound up for the dinner at 6:30 pm, there was mix reaction from the crowd. While for the majority, it was time to satiate their hungry stomach, some had to grind their bare teeth for not getting a chance on the stage. But, time and tide waits no man.