Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Football Tales: Brief Recall - 1

By Donn Morgan Kipgen

They all have gone. All the big guns had already been sent home, save one, by a resilient bunch of rag-tag gunslingers from Euro-2008 in fantastic display of marksmanship when it mattered most. The amazing “sudden Draws of Death” in the dying moments of footballing sands of time have covered up some forgettable dull matches. For the tame co-hosts Switzerland and Austria, its all about home away from home farther. No host nation with impressive performances in both World Cup and European Championship trophy has ever played such apathetic style of soccer at home.

Remember what “rank outsiders at home” South Korea and Japan superbly did in 2002 World Cup as co-host nations? Super-coach Guss Hiddink (Holland) took the well-inspired home team South Korea upto the Semi-Final stage as he did with Russia in this Euro-2008, whereas Japan were knocked out by the eventual champions Brazil in the pre-quarters. Hiddink had taken Holland upto the semi-final in World Cup as a coach.

Here in Euro-2008, the sensational Flying Dutchmen brought down Les Bleus (France) by ripping apart the Azzuri (Italy) sky by playing a near-Total Football, which sometimes falter to deceive in crunch time. The best Total Football Team was the Flying Dutchmen led by Johann Cruyff who were unfortunately beaten in the 1974 World Cup Final led by “Kaiser” Beckenbeaur’s West Germany (2-1), the home team.

More unfortunately, the last of Total Footballers, ie, Holland in 1970s, once again were beaten by Daniel Pasarella led host Argentina in the next 1978 World Cup Final Match, 3-1, in extra time. Ironically, the hot favourite Dutchmen were beaten by same margin, ie 3-1 by more opportunistic Russians in Euro - 2008 qtr-final in extra time. Had not the host Argentina fixed their last knock-out match outrageously with 6-1 “half-football” match against the neighbouring Peru, who were already eliminated before that fixed-match, the Flying Dutchmen would or could have won the World Cup itself !!! Host Argentina needed a near impossible task to thump the dark horse Peru with a 3 goals margin without letting in more than 2 goals to pole-vault a young Brazilian team in then qtr-final League match for the last Semi-final spot.

Like Bennito Mussolini (1938 World Cup) and Adolf Hitler (1936 Olympic), the Argentine Military Junta literally bought the 1978 World Cups Finals and then shamelessly bought out third place Peru for a 3-0 or 4-1 or 5-2 win with millions of dollars plus economic aid package. Buy-out Peru “struggled hard” to let in just 6 goals and even “struggled harder” to refrain from scoring just 1 goal in real counter attack, thereby gifting 2 extra goals and checked themselves to score just 1 goal as conspired. A beautiful game indeed!

In the 1982 World Cup, the eventual winners, Italy, booked themselves a place in the 2nd round with last minute goals, thanks to the Italian Super-sub Paolo Rossi (Higher goal scorer with 6 goals, repeated again in 1990 WC by another Italian Super-sub Salvatore Schillaci). However, it was the losing Finalist West Germany who ‘co-fixed’ their last league match with neighbouring Austria, 1-1, at the expense of the undefeated Cameroon (3 draws) with a disgusting “walking football” to ensure a safe place in the 2nd round as the top two group leaders in goal difference. In the Espana ‘82, Michel Platini led “Carre Magique” Frenchmen (the best ever French team who won European Cup two years later in 1984 with attacking centre-half Platini as the top scorer with 9 goals ) were beaten shockingly with the mother of all-comebacks by West Germany.

The hot favourite France were leading 3-1 upto the 2nd half of the extra-time, but the physically strong Germans equalised with two stunning goals in 10 minutes and beat the French in a heart breaking penalty shoot-out for the Final match with Italy who were good enough to hold their 3-1 lead to lift the WC trophy, thanks to the “Butcher of Bilbao” Claudio Gentile, G. Bareisi and Giuseppe Bergomi, the three full-backs and the versatile Bruno Conti and Marco Tardelli, the two half-backs, to form two-tier defence formation.

The hard tackling Claudio Gentile literally chopped down one young maestro called Maradona and neutralised the Brazilian centre forwards and midfielders with bone-cracking tackles. When asked as to why he was so hard on young Maradona and other great players, Gentile like a Mafia Don, shot back, “No, signor, this is not a dancing school-class.” That’s how the famous “Butcher of Bilbao”, Claudio Gentile and Co successfully dealt with the “two-man German Panzer Armee”, i.e, Peter Hans Briegel and Karl Heinz Rummanigge, with a back-to-back 3-1 World Cup Final match scoreline. In Mexico ‘86, the last of attacking WC Final match with thrilling goals at both ends, Maradona led Argentina beat “Kaiser” Beckenbeaur’s West Germany 3-2.

The only questionable part of it was that of the lively left-back Lothar Mattheus was literally forced to engage and baby-sit the danger-man Maradona by Beckenbeaur which left a huge gap in the otherwise originally solid defence put up in real Teutonic discipline formation. A wrong move in sending 8 Germans forward in the last 10 minute of the regulation time gave Maradona to put through Burruchaga to score the decisive match winning goal in the 84th minute. The rest is history.


Ccpur gets Rs. 10 crs under nregs for 2008-09

By : M Kaimuanthang

Churachandpur, Jun 27: For the purpose of executing various development works in Churachandpur during 2008-09 Rs. 10 crores has been sanctioned through the national employment generation scheme, NREGS and only those villages who have executed works properly in 2007-08 will be given the schemes with project coordinators of NREGS being made ready to do the needful, said the deputy commissioner A Sumant Singh, IAS, today while briefing the press at his office.

He further said that all BDOs/PO as well as DRDA staffs will be sent to verify villages, who will collect facts on whether concerned village authorities ensure card holders performed the 100 days work, whether only 50 days have been paid to the villagers, is the sanctioned cost for kutcha/earth work and materials utilised for the purpose and whether expenditure record has been submitted to the concerned authorities and so on.

In Churachandpur there are 10 TB blocks and the verification process is nearing completion, he said.

Stating that in case a fake job card is detected it will be cancelled outright, he said village authorities who didn’t get the schemes later than others for the period of 2008-09 owing to their failure to carry out as per the guidelines cannot blame the district programme coordinator and for the same reason all allocated funds may be taken back and even a police case will be made against such village authorities.

While expressing his satisfaction over the manner of implementing the NREG schemes, he said certain hitches that cropped up during the process of implementation were not due to militants but because of the village authorities.

Maintaining that he has submitted a proposal of Rs. 19 crores to combat Mautam famine at interior parts of the district, he said so far the government had not complied with it and if all the funds coming from the government were properly implemented no separate funds would be needed.

Imphal Free Press

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Ethnomedicinal use of Croton

Dr. Hanjabam Manoranjan Sharma

There is horticultural confusion of Croton with Codiaeum, a small and distantly related Malesian genus of Euphorbiaceae whose common name “croton” refers to the worldwide cultivated ornamental varieties of Codiaeum variegatum (L.) A. Juss.

The genus Croton belongs to the flowering plant family Euphorbiaceae which include 313 genera and over 8100 species that are cosmopolitan in distribution. Croton is a “giant genus,” with 1223 species accepted in The World Checklist and Bibliography of Euphorbiaceae by Govaerts et al. (2000). But others put the number of species under Croton at 1797 starting with Croton abaitensis (1st species) and ending in Croton zeylanicus (1797th species). All the species under Croton are herbs, shrubs, trees and occasionally lianas (climbers) that are ecologically prominent and important elements of secondary vegetation in the tropics and subtropics worldwide (Webster, 1993; Govaerts et al., 2000).

Croton belongs to subfamily Crotonoideae, which is characterized by mostly lactiferous taxa having pollen with an unusual (crotonoid) exine pattern of triangular supratectal elements attached to a network of muri with short columellae (Nowicke, 1994 ). Most of the subfamily, including Croton, is also characterized by inaperturate pollen, which is an unusual condition in the angiosperms. The subfamily has been divided into as many as 12 tribes (Webster, 1975, 1994; Radcliffe-Smith, 2001).

From India more than 30 species of Croton have been reported so far. In Manipur 4 species of Croton i.e. Croton bonplandianus, Croton chlorocalyx (Manipuri name-Iton phaibi), Croton joufra and Croton roxburghii (Manipuri name-Thoungang) have already been described. The fifth species is the Miracle Plant of Saikot i.e., Croton caudatus Geisel. (Manipuri name-Yong Khullokpi and Khagi laikoi).

Croton is rich in secondary metabolites including alkaloids and terpenoids (Rizk, 1987), the latter including irritant co-carcinogenic phorbol esters (Phillipson, 1995). Some of the phytochemical present in different species of Croton includes 1-5% volatile oil including eugenol, vanillin, crotsparinine, crotoflorine, oblongi-foliol, triterpenic acid, sparciflorine, dotricontamol, b-amyrin and b-sitosterol. Some of the species may cause contact dermatitis (the phytochemical phorbol myristate is the most active skin irritant) while the seeds of others are supposed to promote tumours. Croton oil which is present in many of the species including Croton tiglium Linn., is one of the most purgative substances known, itself not tumour-inducing but when applied with a sub-effective carcinogen it is and may account for high level of oesophageal cancer in China (Croton flavens Linn., may do the same in West Indies). Diterpene resins found in many species of Croton have been used experimentally in studies of tumour initiation and conceivably prove to be useful in cancer therapy. Several species of Croton are used in traditional folk medicine throughout the world. The red sap of several South American species, known as “sangre de drago” or dragon’s blood, is used medicinally at the local level as well as in the international herbal supplements market (Meza, 1999). Thus presence of croton oil and phorbol myris-tate may be responsible for side effects like diarrhoea and skin allergy while using Croton species in traditional folk medicines.

In India only five species of Croton are used in ethnomedicine. The species are Croton bonplandianus Bail., Croton caudatus Geisel., Croton chlorocalyx Linn., Croton joufra Roxb., Croton roxburghii Balakr. and Croton tiglium Linn. These species are used in the treatment of various diseases, disorders and ailments like antifertility, boils, bowel complaints, chicken pox, cholera, cold and coughs, constipation, cuts and wounds, diarrhoea, dysentery, eye diseases, epilepsy, fever, gastric disorders, insanity, jaundice, liver complaints, malaria, rheumatism, ringworms, scurvy, spasmolytic agent, snake bite, sprains, etc. Recently the use of the powdered roots of Croton roxburghii Balakr (known as Hongkai in Arunachal Pradesh), in the treatment of cancer by the Khamti tribe of Arunachal Pradesh have been briefly reported.

The Miracle plant of Saikot:

The botanical name of the Miracle plant of Saikot is Croton caudatus Geisel. This species was first known to botanists in the year 1807 when it appeared in Croton Monograph. The plant is also known by different synonyms. In Indian flora, J.D. Hooker (1888) gave a very good description of the plant in his Flora of British India (volume V, page no. 388-389) along with its distribution and different varieties. From his description we can assume that this plant is known in India for the last one hundred years or so. Since then it appeared in different state and regional floras of India.

The generic name of the plant, Croton is derived from the Greek word ‘Kroton’ meaning a sheep tick which the seeds of this plant resemble whereas the specific name, caudatus is derived from the Latin word ‘caudum’ meaning ‘Tail like’ which the shape of the inflorescence resembles.

This plant is a straggling shrub. The leaves are extremely variable, the smaller ones being ovate-cordate and 2.5 to 7.5 centimeters long and the larger ones, orbicular-cordate and 10 to 18 centimeters long. The margin is coarsely toothed and often has a gland at the sinus or else in the teeth. The racemes are very long, slender, 10 to 18 centimeters long solitary and terminal. The male flowers are hairy, with sepals and petals of equal length. In the female the sepals are ovate or oblong and the petals are very minute, subulate and long ciliate. The fruit (capsule) is woody nearly spherical or broadly oblong, 2 to 2.5 centimeters long, terete or with 6 slender ridges, densely yellow-brown stellate-hispid. The seeds are unusually variable most often dorsally compressed and slightly rugose. Flowering may occur during May-August, fruiting during July-October.

Croton caudatus Geisel seems to have some varieties like C. caudatus var. harmandii Gagnepain; C. caudatus var. malaccanus J. D. Hooker; C. caudatus var. hispida; C. caudatus var. ruminata; C. caudatus var. globosa and C. caudatus var. tomentosa.

In India the plant is reported from the north eastern states like Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. It is also reported from Western Ghats, West Bengal and Orissa. It is a new record for the state of Manipur and grows wild in Saikot area of Churachandpur District and Jiribam sub-division of Imphal East District.

It is also reported from Southern China (SW Yunnan) and southward to Sumatra, Java, Christmas Islands, Borneo, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and North Australia.

In the Philippines the plant is known as Alimpai. In Malaysia it is known as Tapasan Komudi. In China the plant is probably known as luan ye ba dou. In India this plant is known by different names in different dialects or local languages. In Assamese it is known as Ghahe-lewa; Sawaka in Garo; Kum-kumarong in Karbi; Soh-lambrang in Khasi; Matau in Lushai. It is also known by the names of Sonaphula and Tilaker-rik in other Indian dialects. In the Jiribam sub-division of Manipur the plant is known by the Manipuri names Yong Khullokpi and Khagi laikoi. In Saikot area of Churachandpur District, Manipur the plant is known as Ranlung Damdawi or Chawilien Damdawi in Hmar language.

The plant is used in traditional folk medicine mainly in South East Asia. It also forms an important part of Dai medicine in China. In Malaysia root is boiled and the infusion to treat weak body and to avoid diseases. In the Western Ghats region of India the leaves and root of this plant is applied as poultice in sprains, as diuretic and in malaria. Kirtikar and Basu, Chopra and Caius state that the leaves are applied as a poultice to sprains. Burkill and Haniff report that the leaves may be used for poulticing during fevers. Burkill and Haniff continue that a decoction of the root causes purging and so it is administered for constipation; and, as purging may help fevers, it is used for them also. Colds are similarly treated. In Lakhimpur the young leaf buds are powdered with the leaves Caesalpinia sappan and used for liver diseases. In the Chandrapur area of Kamrup, Assam the plant is known as Bonmahudi and the barks and roots are used as antidysentric and in relieving pains. In Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh, the leaves are used in liver complaints and the poultice in trauma and injury. In the Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh, the decoction of the leaves and roots are used in cold and cough. In the Balphakram Wild Life Sanctuary area of Meghalaya (Garo Hills), the decoction of the roots is used in malaria. In the Totopara and Jalpaiguri areas of West Bengal, the leaf is used in sprains. In the Jiribam sub-division of Manipur the Meitei community used the plant in the treatment of ringworms. It is also used in treating wounds of cattle. However the use of this plant in the treatment of cancer in the Saikot area of Manipur is a new record in the world of ethnobotany in general and ethnomedicine in particular.

Proper identification of any medicinal plant is of prime importance in ethnomedicine as any two species under the same genus may not give the same result. In China Croton caudatus is an important species in Dai folk medicine. Some other Croton species, in particular, C. kongensis, C. cascarilloides, C. crassifolius, C. lachnocarpus and C. olivaceus are often marketed as C. caudatus, and thus, the therapeutic effects of C. caudatus are not achieved. The respective morphological features of the plants are similar, and they are not easy to distinguish morphologically from each other. Besides this plant also have some varieties which are morphologically very similar to one another.

Thus in China in an attempt to find a method for discriminating among these species, their nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region are compared by the researchers at the College of Life Science, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China. In this method species-specific probes were derived from the ITS region of these species for species identification. According to them this method provides effective and accurate identification of C. caudatus Geisel. Similarly Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Smithsonian Institution (USA) the ITS and TRNL-TRNF DNA sequence data1 method is employed to determine the molecular phylogenetics of the giant genus Croton and tribe Crotoneae (Euphorbiaceae).

Thus it is the right time to establish the true identity of this very interesting plant species using the above mentioned techniques or any other suitable technique at some reputed research laboratory in India instead of depending upon the gross morphological characters alone. Books published on the flora and medicinal plants of Manipur used different botanical names for the same plant or the synonyms of the same plant are used for different plants found in Manipur.

**The writer is working as Reader in Botany at Thoubal College, Thoubal-795138 and can be contacted at

The Sangai Express

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Employment News Promotional Mail


Employment News issue dated 28.06.08 contains several attractive advertisements from some of the leading PSU/GOVT. Departments as below:-
  1. Indian Army invites applications for 3rd Short Service Commission (Technical) Women Course (Apr-2009) Officers Training Academy, Chennai.
  2. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited needs Field Executive (Civil, Production, Mechanical, Electricals etc) and Graduate Engineers Trainees-2008.
  3. NSIC Technical Services Centre, Okhla offers admission to various Technical courses.
  4. Indian Institute of Science Education & Research invites applications for the recruitment of Scientific Officer, Pvt. Secretary, Personal Asst. Etc.
  5. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited invites applications for 1500 posts of Engineer Trainees and Supervisor Trainees.
  6. Union Public Service Commission invites applications for various posts.
  7. National Board of Examinations invites applications for the posts of Dy. Director, Asst. Director, Multi Skill Asst. and Stenographers.
  8. Life Insurance Corporation of India , Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad requires 349, 334 & 291 Assistants respectively.
  9. Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. invites applications for the posts of GM, AGM, Sr. Manager, Manager, Dy. Manager and Asst Manager etc.
  10. RRB, Patna declares the results of written examination for the posts of Clerks.
  11. Indian Navy invites applications from candidates for enrolment as Sailors for Sailor-Sr. Secondary recruits (SSR)-1/2009 Batch.
  12. Indian Air Force invites applications for Sportsmen for Group �Y� Trades.
  13. Central Road Research Institute invites applications for the posts of Scientists.
  14. Krishi Anusandhan Bhawan, New Delhi invites applications for the posts of ADG, Directors and Head of the Departments.
  15. Union Public Service Commission declares the results of National Defence Academy & Naval Academy Exam-II, 2007.
  16. Staff Selection Commission declares the results of Section Officer (Audit) Examination, 2007.
  17. National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. invites applications for the posts of Sr. Project Executive, Jr. Engineers etc.
  18. Directorate General of Employment & Training, Hyderabad offers admission to various Technical courses.
  19. Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering invites applications for the posts of Project Fellow, Research Associates, SRFs etc.
  20. Software Technology Parks of India invites applications for the posts of Sr. Admn Officer, Sr. Finance Officer, Admn Officer etc.
  21. National Book Trust, India invites applications for the posts of Asst Director, Asst Editor, Asst., UDCs, LDCs etc.
  22. Ircon International Limited invites applications for the posts of Engineers, Technicians etc.
Employment News issue dated 28.06.2008 contains advertisement for job vacancies of more than 128 Govt. Departments.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The power of togetherness

By : Haumuanlun Samte

As the sun was going down with a blaze of yellowish display over the distant hills, a bus slowly grudges and tackles its way up the unkempt, pot-holed and dusty Teddim Road, while small children of the area, grim and dirty, dressed in rags, waved and smiled to the passengers inside the bus. Nearby was a pile of recently burnt wood for charcoal and stacks of wooden sticks for firewood, chopped and arranged in neat order.

A little further down were a group of men engaging in the hardest of physical labour - cutting a huge trunk of a tree with their bare hands using giant manual saws. And as a Shaktiman truck roared by spewing dust and fumes, Mr Hausuan, a Timber Contractor from Muallum village commented with a shrug, “Since we have already depleted our forests of trees, we have no choice, but to go further beyond into the deeper forest. And across the border if we are to survive.”

Never did he realize then, that he himself would be one of the 20 plus odd people arrested by the Myanmarese Army, spending months in jail on charges of illegal border crossing and illegal logging of timber, sentenced and convicted to 12 years by the military junta, and be a character in a drama where efforts to secure their release, unbeknownst to many, have been played out at the highest level of international diplomacy, co-operation and collaboration from local organizations.

This is not just an attempt to sensationalize a story about breaking laws, international if you will, or securing the unimaginable feat of the release of a group of desperately poor villagers from a punishment handed cruelly to them for a crime they purportedly committed by a cruel and reclusive Military junta that the world has not confronted yet. A crime they were accused of committing. A crime, if that is - they had to commit. To survive!

This is, but and more so, a cry for awareness of the common interests of the Zomi entity, recognition of the bonds and the similarities - for oneness and the need for a unified stand among the Zomis.

This story will try to unfold and recount, regardless of petty differences, tribalism or clan induced one-upmanship, how things, which may seem impossible, can be made possible when people and organizations work together selfless, in unison, can achieve a happy ending to what could otherwise be not only a life scaring traumatic ordeal, but a life changing experience for the 20 plus odd people and the families they have to provide for - in this part of a forgotten world.

And this is just the beginning. We still have along way to go.

I. The Background

For decades, the inhabitants of Singngat and Behiang, south of Manipur, and predominantly of the Zo tribe, were dependent on the produce of the forest across the river Guun, particularly timbers, for their survival. Needless to add, it’s inside Myanmar and a very dangerous livelihood due to the bad and hostile terrains, the hard physical labour involved and to be endured; and it does not pay much either. But they have to feed mouths. Even though there are many life-threatening risks involved in life inside deep jungles, including occasional confrontations with the armed Myanmarese army.

However, a deal was often reached that the Timber Contractor from this side of the border, paid a sum of Rs.20,000 – Rs.40,000 for a certain period to a local Village Chief inside Myanmar, for his labourers to cut the trees from a certain patch of forest under the Chief’s jurisdiction, who in turn greased the army so as not to interfere, or look the other way. But there were also others involved in the business - who paid nothing. Freelancers, you may say.

“We pay around Rs.60 for every cubic metre of wood beam, and sell it for Rs.90, and we occasionally pay Rs.500 to the labourers,” says one Timber Dealer in Singngat.

II. The Confrontation

As usual, in early May of 2006, a convoy of trucks with around 100 labourers set out towards Aisih, a village across the border, to log trees in the prime forest. But this time, luck didn’t seem to hold out too well. And as they crossed into a foreign land, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by the Myanmarese Army. Most of them managed to escape, while 3 trucks with 21people, including a 9-year-old child were arrested. The date was the 6th of May.

They were immediately taken to Cikha, a nearby town and after about a week, were taken further down to Tonzang where they were locked-up as prisoners in a 20-square feet area. Fortunately, the prisoners were not abused except for minor instances where certain individuals loose their tempers or were at odds with the Myanmarese authorities.

During their arrest at Cikha and Tonzang, food was provided for and arranged through the locals by the contractors and not by the Myanmarese authorities.

III. The Judgement

During their detention in Tonzang, the prisoners were made to appear 13 times before a local court without any legal representation - where the prosecution laid out their cases and the judge, on the basis of the charges, passed the sentences, without the accused ever being represented.

The Tonzang Township Court ruled on the 25th August 2006, for the minor Pauminthang to be released while a certain Manglianlam from Tangpijol village was sentenced to 19 years for poaching. The rest were convicted to 12 years each, for illegal entry into Myanmar and illegal logging. Deep inside a foreign country, all hopes now gradually faded as they were again transferred to serve their sentence at Inndainggy prison-cum-labour camp in Kalemyo, a town in Sagaing Division.

However, it took sometime for the 9 year old Pauminthang to be released due to the absence of relatives or people to take care of him. With no one to take care of him, he was forced to endure a long period in a strange land with people he’d never seen or knew. Somehow he was escorted to Champhai during September 2006. His journey from the south of Mizoram to the comforts of his home in Manipur is another sad story.

Describing his ordeal after he was released - and the adults were sent to Kalemyo, he said to Hausuan on their re-union and who had been looking after him as a guardian since he was a small child, “You know Pa Suan, after you all were sent to Kalemyo , I was alone and so afraid. I knew no one, and there was no way I can get home by myself. I wanted to go home so much. All I could do was cry.”

IV. The Destination

Inndainggy prison-cum-labour camp housed around 1,300 including 270 female inmates. Their daily routine starts at 3:am in the morning and tea at 6:am. After that, it’s minor work inside the jail premises and breakfast is served at 10:am. At 11:am, inmates are locked up again till 1:pm in the afternoon. Then back to work till dinner at 3:pm. Light out is at 5:pm!

Besides the appalling conditions at the jail, the food given to inmates, according to one of the prisoner ‘ was not even fit for pigs’. One can only imagine when the typical food they eat at home is rice and vegetables and the occasional ‘dal’ or potato. And if any of the inmates got sick, with a headache, stomachache, dysentery, fever etc., they were given the same medicine - Paracetamol, if available.

The days turned to weeks and weeks to a month.

V. The Release:

Then early one morning, at 5:am came the news of their release. It was the 30th October, 2006. They were taken to Namphalong, and further escorted to Moreh, the border town on the Indian side. Since all their personal belongings were confiscated when they were arrested, they were given a shirt and a ‘lungee’ each on release. The three trucks in which they went still remain at Cikha.

During all their ordeal of arrest, the conviction and their experience inside a much feared Myanmarese penal system, these simple villagers never lost hope. “We were never worried, because we knew that we worship a living God. And I had come to know about the actions taken by the ZHRF in Delhi and that our MP was already involved with our case”, said a grateful Hausuan.

Behind The Story

I. The Mobilization

As the news came to light that as many as 21 persons have been arrested by the Myanmarese authorities, people were shocked. The topic became a hot issue for discussion in the SSPP (Siamsinpawlpi) Yahoo Group, which has members all over the world. As far as it is known, the news of this incident was first brought to light by H. Khamkhansuan from Varanasi, India, and was posted in the SSPPNet. Nobody seemed to be aware of the incident, as there seemed to be no report of it in the local or state media in Manipur.

However, after 18 days into captivity, and with no complaints or queries whatsoever forthcoming from the public or the families concerned, Mr. Kamzathang, Officer-in-Charge, Singngat Police Station filed a FIR on the 24th May 2006. In the meantime, families of those arrested were reported to approach the local sitting MLA, Mr. Thangso Baite for help.

Due to the intense discussion among the members in the SSPP Yahoo Group, the ZHRF (Zomi Human Rights Foundation), Delhi Cell gathered the details and facts on the ground, and then approached Mr. Charenamei, Member of Parliament, Manipur on the 24th of June, 2006 to do anything he can in order to secure the release of the prisoners.

Mr. Charenamei, deeply appalled by this incident, immediately set out to work on it by personally contacting the concerned divisions in the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the Ministry of External Affairs. He also assured the ZHRF Delhi Cell that he would be intimately looking at the case.

II. The Bureaucratic & Diplomatic Efforts

At the same time, a high ranking Zomi Diplomat currently posted as an Indian Ambassador to DPR Korea, Mr. NT Khankhup, IFS, concerned at the plight of his fellow Zomis and knowing too well the hardships and the inhuman conditions inside Myanmar, not to speak of their prisons, contacted his colleague and friend, Mr. Manoj Kumar Bharti, DCM at the Indian Embassy in Yangon, and apprised him of the matter.

However no official communications in this regard had been received by the Indian Embassy in Yangon at that time.

On August 3, 2006, Mr. Charenamei, MP tabled in the Parliament in New Delhi about the plight of these unfortunate prisoners and explained the local, historical and ethnic composition and situation of the people, geography and how it was a normal practice that people from both sides of the border interact and travel freely since many have families and relatives on each side of the border and urged the Myanmar government to release the detainees immediately.

After a month, E. Ahamed, MOS (External Affairs) informed Mr. Charenamei, MP, that the Indian Embassy in Yangon had been instructed to take the matter up with the Myanmarese authorities. The Myanmar Foreign Office, in a bid to justify the arrests also came out with a statement that the 21 persons were arrested for illegally crossing the border and logging timber from their forest.

(And while the case dragged on, it was learnt on the 25th August, 2006 that 20 of the 21 arrested persons were convicted to prison terms of up to 12 and in the case of one person - 19 years).

By late August, Mr. NT Khankhup, in response to his concerned query was assured by his counterpart in Yangon, Mr. Bhaskar Mitra that he would immediately look into the case as and when all the necessary information are made available to him. However, at a meeting with Mr. Mitra in Delhi in early September for the SE Asian Ambassadors Conference, he learned that the necessary information still had not been received by the Indian Embassy in Yangon.

In order to fast track this bureaucratic delays, Mr. NT Khankhup personally met and spoke to Mr. Mohan Kumar, Joint Secretary (BSM) at the MEA Headquarters in Delhi on the 5th September 2006. The Joint Secretary acknowledged Mr. NT Khankhup’s concern and immediately took action to inform the Indian Embassy in Yangon to take necessary action the same day.

In the meantime, Mr. Charenamei also put pressure on the Embassy of Myanmar in New Delhi as well as the Ministry of External Affairs relentlessly, and needless to add, Zomi government employees in the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha in New Delhi did whatever they could to contribute to the solution of this case.

Alarmed at the outcome of events and while closely monitoring the developments the case discussed in the SSPP Yahoo Group, a fellow Zomi, Mr. Lealyan Thomte, presently residing in Copenhagen, Denmark offered to donate Rs.20,000 for any expenses that maybe incurred in pursuing the case further and to secure the release of the detainees.

On September 13, 2006, during the 12th Indo-Myanmar Home Secretary Level Talks, the Indian delegation apprised the Myanmarese Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, of the incident and requested the Myanmarese government to immediately consider the case and release the prisoners.

Again, during the New Delhi Siamsinpawlpi, Joint Headquarters conference in October 14, 2006, and in collaboration with the ZHRF, Delhi Cell, a request was again made to Mr. Oscar Fernandez, MOS (Labour) who had graced the conference as Chief Guest for his office to look into the case.

Though the exact dates are not available, it is learnt that as soon as the Indian Embassy in Yangon received directions from the MEA Hqs. in New Delhi, Mr. Raj Srivastava, First Secretary immediately requested the Myanmarese authorities for consular access of the prisoners and had a meeting with them.

Diplomatic talks continued. And the prisoners were eventually released on the 30th October, 2006.

III. The Sigh of Relief

After their released, Ambassador Mitra expressed his relief at the safe release of the prisoners, especially after being convicted, since he was well aware of incidents where people arrested by the Myanmarese Army on similar charges being shot.

And it maybe worth mentioning that while the Myanmar authorities arrested these poor villagers for violating their laws, which they have every right to - the Government of India did not just forsake - their (law breaking) citizens - to rot high and dry in a foreign jail - but did everything to secure their freedom and moved things at the highest level.

With years of experience as a diplomat spanning the globe, from Canada to Cyprus to North Korea, Mr. NT Khankhup chose to only modestly advise – “If you have or face any problems in a foreign country, you should immediately contact the nearest Indian Embassy or the Ministry of External Affairs.”

Mr. Charenamei suggested that if the leaders of the area, and the Zomis in particular were to come up with a concrete proposal for a policy that can be applied effectively along those areas, where either side of the border is inhabited by the same ethnic Zo people, he would be only too willing to take up the proposal earnestly with the concerned authorities.

Now, that’s a point worth heeding.


Singngat: A far-flung town in Manipur

By : Haumuanlun Samte

Singngat, a beautiful town in south-west of Manipur, lays a moldering ruin today. It is around 30 kms down south of Lamka, the district headquarter of Churachandpur, around 115 kms from Sinzawl village bordering Mizoram and approximately 25 kms from the Indo-Myanmar border. It had been a prosperous town with different ethnic people living together harmoniously. Sadly, it now turns into a seemingly small hamlet - quiet, dark, desolate, empty, neglected and abandoned. The Government machinery has completely collapsed and there is little, or no, sign that this place is part of the Indian state.

It happens to be one of the most devastated arenas where political gladiators – using ethnicity as a political tool to mobilize support and gain power – are engaged in real political combats. The poor people have been bogged down by deprivation and hopelessness over the years. And the breaking of a new dawn seems a far cry for them.

Countless volumes have been written on the subject. Innumerable voices have been raised. But these seem to be read by blind eyes and heard by deaf ears.

It's time for the pictures to do the talking now.

Singngat Hospital building

Gone are the days when well-equipped doctors and nurses attended to patients under the sprawling expanse of the hospital building in downtown Singngat. The building is now stands in a forgotten corner, slowly wasting away as time goes by.

Community Hall

Wonder what the hell is this. Seems like a colossal wreck, eh?

Power House

In April 23, 2005 CM Ibobi Singh laid the foundation for a 33 kV sub-station in Singngat. And everybody's damn sure that the project wouldn't just be completed till the foundation stone withers away.

Sub-Divisional Officer's office

Yes, the office building is functional. But where are the office guys? No wonders, they have been working somewhere in New Bazar, the heart of the district headquarters. Reason is: security.

Singngat Hospital building

Gone are the days when well-equipped doctors and nurses attended to patients under the sprawling expanse of the hospital building in downtown Singngat. The building is now stands in a forgotten corner, slowly wasting away as time goes by.

Treading the dreaded Tedim Road

Whopping Rs. 112.04lac has been spent in Lamka - Singngat road construction for the last three years. That's what Devendra Singh said in the Assembly house last year. Where the hell have these moneys gone?

But this is not the end of the story. A new dawn seems to be emerging from the beautiful hills of Lentang...

Community Information Center

It first came in January 2003. Thus began a new chapter of IT here, in this part of a forgotten world. But poor electricity continues to impede its proper functioning.

Border Model Town

General JJ Singh, Chief of Army Staff laid the foundation for the Model Town project on September 9, 2006. Singngat will hopefully serve as a springboard for empowering the untouched, but unquiet hills beyond.


I too am an Indian

By : Haumuanlun Samte

It was a usual humid Delhi evening when I was boarding a bus for North Campus. As I got into the bus I heard someone from the back row yelling, ‘Hey, Bahadur’ Oh, my God! Not again! I didn’t look back. I didn’t care. After all, I’m not a ‘Bahadur’. However, a slight feeling of embarrassment and anger began to creep into my psyche. Such insulting words being flung at us – we, the north-eastern tribals - have become quite a common experience. And by now, I’m beginning to get used to it. My take here is that it’s all part of a modern city life.

Racism is a bit too endemic here in New Delhi. Themes like ‘democracy’, ‘secularism’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘unity-in-diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ don’t seem to find their place in the common man’s world. You maybe holding a MotoRizr phone, a Nokia N70, or sporting the latest in fashion trends, and you maybe far better off in every way, but you just can’t escape these age-old racial stereotypes – as long as you are a ‘chinky’. The mindset of the mainland Indians are transfixed on the belief that we, north-easterners, are inferior to them in every way which has a deep psychological root from generations past and would continue through generations to come. I often ask myself, why don’t they call us Japanese or Korean instead? Why Nepali? Why Bahadur?

As I rode on the bus, painful memories of all my past experiences began to flood my mind. From the moment I stepped down at the New Delhi railway station in early 2004 - the sneaky auto-driver, the brutal bus conductor, the first day at my college where I was ragged thrice, the cunning landlord, the constant glaring at the market places, et seq. - to this day I have been going through numerous stresses. Why do we have to be targeted and humiliated and abused simply because we ‘look’ so different? All these reminiscences made the blood in me boil. I wanted to scream out loud, ‘I too am an Indian, stupid!’ Well, I’ve got to keep my cool. There’s nothing I could do.

The man who sat right next to me seemed quite a gentleman. He was well dressed and had a friendly, cheerful face. His eyes told me that he genuinely had an interest in me for some reasons unknown to me. The man introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Ravish,” and I responded, “I’m Lun.” After spelling out and teaching him how to pronounce my name, we began to converse intimately.

At some point he said, “You must be from Manipur?”

“How could you say that?” I asked.

“Oh!” he grinned, “I’m just guessing,”

I still wonder how the hell did he guess!

“I’m not from Manipur,” I told him point-blank. You don’t know how I hate to be called a Manipuri, and that I am from Manipur. When people asked me what my native place was, I usually told them that it’s, rather, Mizoram or Nagaland. To be a Manipuri here is a huge liability, what with landlords refusing anyone who they know hails from the god-forsaken state. And Manipur is being associated with all the ills afflicting the whole north-eastern states.

“Then where are you from?” came the next question.

“I’m from Zoland, the land of the Zo people.”

I’m tired by now and thought that, with this he would stop bothering me. I was wrong. He seemed to be more and more enthusiastic about our new topic of discussion, and even told me that Regionalism and Linguistics had once been his chosen preoccupation.

“Where is that place?” I now felt sorry that I talked to him in the first place.

“Well, it’s a long story. You would never know where I come from. Nobody would know that. I too don’t know where I belong. And I’m still working on it.”

He was completely amazed.

“I had never heard of such a place. Is it somewhere in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, or somewhere else?”

To me this guy was still a mystery. He was innocent, polite, friendly, humble and truthful. And yes, quite curious.

For the sake of the intimacy we had just created, I began to narrate who I am and where I belong. “We are a people, independent from time immemorial. We lived peacefully in our own land, far away from the bustling world. We had our own chiefs who looked after our welfare. However, our legacy began to fall apart with the advent of western imperialism, like you had faced a couple of centuries ago. By the middle of the past century, when the Queen of England left India our land got demarcated into separate nations. And as of the present day, we are being cut across by three countries - India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Her Majesty, the Queen had done a terrible mistake for leaving us to our own fate. And worse, she never knew that.”

Ravish listened attentively. I was too engrossed in my own discourse that I didn’t even give him a chance to speak anymore. Whether he was interested in all that I had said or not, didn’t matter, my own enthusiasm let me go on and on. And, thanks to his curiosity, he didn’t lose his interest either.

I said, “Actually, I’m coming from the state of Manipur. But you can’t call me a Manipuri. Our place is called ‘Outer Manipur’ and we are alienated from the real state.”

He seemed a bit surprised.

“See, the mainland Indians treat people from the north-east as if they are foreigners and that too with pure humiliation, we are being oppressed and treated as different people in our own tiny state. All channels of growth have been barred for us. Our interests, traditions and cultures are different from those of the plain people.”

I awaited some questions from him, but he was rather looking for an answer on my face. So, I continued, “The condition of our land and our people is pathetic. Our future looks bleak. The systems of local government run by corrupt politician chain our people, while the rest of the country is shining. And though small, secluded and marginalized, we fight and kill amongst ourselves due to identity crises.”

“This is why I told you I don’t know where I belong. I do know that I’m a Zomi. But the land I referred to as the place I’m from, called Zoland, is just a romanticized aspiration for our dreamland. A dream that someday we would have our own land and live freely.”

He tried to say something, but rather stopped mid-way.

I paused for a moment, and said, “Rest assured, one thing is for sure. I come from a place somewhere I belong.”

Time seemed to grind into slow motion as I went on unveiling layer by layer the intricacies of identity consciousness in Manipur. The snarling traffic got a sigh and our bus speeded up for a moment. Now we were nearing my stop. We exchanged some more friendly words and then, bidding goodbye I stood up from my seat and rushed off into the busy traffic.


Zodawn Shining: The Dawn of New Age

By : Haumuanlun Samte

Home coming, for me, is a bittersweet idea - the happy memories of past years faced off against the nagging fear that the outcome could be opposite to those very pleasant memories.

It was November the 3rd, 2006. Our bus slowly crawled, gentle in its motion, up the rough, bumpy Tedim Road, spewing clouds of dust behind. As I stared out the window, I was appalled to see the dreary condition of the surrounding land. The place looked so forlorn and desolate. All I could see was the detritus of poverty. No more fresh green vegetation. Small huts, made of thatches and bamboos dotted along the dirt tracks. Dirty children, dressed in rags, waved at us with pigs and dogs. Then I paused for a while, trying to inhale the fresh and fragrant Zolei breeze that I had longed for. But all I could inhale was the rough scent of dry dirt lingering in the air.

As we rode on, I began to ponder: what had become of us, of our land? A couple of years had gone by since I was away from home. Nothing had changed. In fact, the land just got poorer, much poorer than when I last seen it. The condition of the road was simply horrendous. How the hell did they drive here? Electric wires hanged loose from the poles. When was the last time these carried current up here? Some women passed by, carrying pots of water on their heads. Their faces bore a haggard look, their skin weathered from hard work.

A co-passenger said, “Is there any government here?” But I was too tired, then, to respond.

I think it’s about time, now for every responsible citizen to answer that question. Elections are coming up and they offer the only opportunity to interrogate our representatives. It is the responsibility of the new generations to expose and question the wrongs committed by our leaders. That is the little mite we can give back to the society – and poor Zoland - that has nurtured us.

It is now time to ban the shameful custom of receiving red shawls from our MLAs. That was a historical symbol of our colonial subjugation and oppression under the British rule. The latter tricked our tribal chiefs by giving them red shawls. And now our MLAs still wish to perpetuate this shameful legacy. It is time to educate public opinion on such issues. Our people no longer need red shawls and empty promises. What we need is any explanation for mis-governance –or rather non-governance.

The paralyzing spirit of cynicism is very annoying in present Manipur, where the bandh addict public and corrupt politicians out perform each other in pulling down the fabric of development. The colonial-style of power equation and feudal system of local government chain our people while the rest of India is flying.

However, we are not entirely doomed. I am very optimistic about our future. If history of the West has a lesson for us today, the surging tide of India’s roaring economy will eventually lift up everyone. And I hope it wouldn’t spare us either. I don’t think that government will improve overnight. Anyway, the success story of the new India is created not by the government. It is private entrepreneurs and market forces which are guiding our country to new heights. For example, the entry of market-driven players like Airtel and Aircel in Lamka qualitatively improves even the sarkari BSNL. And now, they are making their way up the Tedim Road and Guite Road, to Singngat and the hill horizon beyond.

The most existing development in 2007 will be the entry of foreign Retailers in India. They may eventually arrive in Manipur with some time gap and then to Lamka. And it will generate new jobs while changing the expectations of consumers by cutting cost and adding value to products.

The only obstacle is our political dinosaurs and outdated Left “intellectuals”. These people had vested interest in poverty as their vote bank. They can’t digest the idea of transforming India into a country of rich or (at least) middle class consumers. But that process is happening right under our own nose. Our corrupt politicians will do their best to slow the process; but they will no longer be able to stop the wheels of change. Beware, the genie of market reform is out of the bottle!

Our MLAs have an illusion that they can go on cheating voters and stealing funds. But common citizens will sooner or later learn how to use the recent Right to Information Act (RTI). This will be the last nail in the coffin of the stinking of bureaucratic secrecy and political corruption. If our country maintains the current rate of economic growth (around 8%), I believe you and I may be the last generation to witness “absolute poverty”.

(Zodawn literally means the hilly region where the Zo people live. The Zo’s spread across the southern part of Manipur and Mizoram in India, and down the Chin Hills in Myanmar and parts of Bangladesh)


ZSP Strongly Condemn the brutal & inhuman killing

General Headquarter
Churachandpur – 795 128, Manipur
Registration No. 1328 of 1974

June 24, 2008

The Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, General Headquarter, Lamka, Manipur strongly condemn the brutal killing of Pu T. Khamkhanpau (50) @ Lawmpaneu s/o (L) Pu T. Siankhohau, Chief of T. Zomunnuam of Chandel District on June 22, 2008 by the United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF) based in Chandel and Sugnu Area.

Pu T. Khamkhanpau is a Branch Post Master of Kana Area and a well known Social Worker who work ceaselessly for the Zou Community as a whole and for the area in particular.

The Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, General Headquarter demand from the killer to furnish ans state the reason behind which a civilian life was untimely plucked under the guise of cowardice and motivated publicity stunt within 10 days.

The government should book the culprits at the earliest and a befitting punishment be given to them. Also, an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakhs be given to the bereaved family.

The Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, General Headquarter further urged the Central and State government to review the SoO with regard to UKLF and see to it that whether the SoO has given the group to use the same for self justification, publicity and license to kill.

The Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, General Headquarter will be compelled to take necessary action if any indifference is shown by the government in this regard.

Information and Publicity
The Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi
General Headquarter

More reflection on ‘Corruption culture’

By C Doungel

The article on ‘Culture of Corruption’ written by Hanjabam Iswarchandra in The Sangai Express on 9th June 2008, encouraged me to supplement with the following observations. The saddest part today in Manipur is the acceptance and patronage of it under this regime. Rather than serving the people, all attention is focused on financial transactions and these are guided by the extent of gain which will accrue thereof. Award and execution of works are approved only when bargaining is completed.

Every conceivable pressure directly or indirectly is exerted to clinch the deals favourably. The power wielded by them is mainly used for extracting maximum gain for themselves. Over and above these, the help of police commandos and even those of some insurgents who are prepared to do their bidding, are availed of on a sharing basis to further their aggrandisements. These groups devise their own modus operandi by way of threats, blackmailing and sometimes outright intervention.

Though there is open condemnation of UGs from every platform and counter-insurgency operations are carried out against armed wings of various insurgent groups yet help of some so-called friendly Finance Wings etc are welcome in Imphal area (because head offices are all here) as long as secrecy is maintained. These in turn naturally build up nexus between police commandos and those section of DGs useful to them. However, if there is danger of exposer, they are silenced through elimination. These would explain bizarre incidents of killings.

As most police personels including commandos like those in other departments entered service through hefty payments, no one dare enforce discipline on them as they also enjoy protection. In fact, because of their services being utilised during elections, particularly in urban areas, there is very strong bond between them and those in power. Thus, they can be said to attain the position akin to Hitler’s Gestapo because they wield powers even over other wings of the police forces. Therefore, to begin with unless they are reined in, disciplined and rotated at regular intervals, the image of the police will not improve and public will never place their trusts on them.

Syphoning off and diversion of funds, are done after drawal and making payments for works where percentage cuts/shares have received ignoring the others. Similarly in cases of big projects, like Capital Project, National Highway expansion, Sewerage and Sericulture projects etc, works were started by construction of site fencing walls or digging up roads of the city. These are done in most cases after acquiring land by evicting settlers and demolition of buildings to enable drawal of earmarked funds. Same is the case followed in relation to smaller works too. How much progress is made or time schedule is followed is a different matter altogether. In addition, funds relating to Centrally Sponsored Schemes are drawn and kept in the State miscellaneous funds thereby converting them as State resource or reserved funds. These would explain the inability of the State Gov’t to furnish utilisation certificates.

It may be added that all these are possible because a section of officers/engineers is always more than willing to co-operate and help in every way. Those of them who are close to the establishment are a part in the Scheme of things. They can also operate more freely as they enjoy protection and are immuned from scrutiny of their actions, the system having been reduced non-functional. The failure of the Government is commonly attributed to the bad law and order situation caused by insurgency. This is true to a great extent but at the same time, it provides good opportunity/excuse for exploitation for personal gains.

Corruption as we know is one of the oldest evils of any society and Government in the world through out all ages as the same is born out of human greed leading to misuse of power. However, the difference in the case of Manipur today is its all pervasive nature from top to bottom. Therefore, any semblance of vigilance works of ‘Ombudsman’ appointed to oversee the functioning of Government agencies are rendered totally ineffective under the existing dispensation. There is simply no political will to tackle the menace of corruption beyond paying lip service when allegations are countered. Moreover, the concept of accountability hardly exists. The permissiveness of democracy makes it possible for election of all types of persons as people’s representatives including quite a few who are regarded as poor specimen of human beings. Further, the stringent anti-defection law enacted in 2004 amendment, had no doubt been greatly effective in checking defections and ensured stability of Governments. On the other hand, this has also led to many Chief Ministers becoming too authoritative because the danger of being toppled had been very much minimised, proving the principle correct that too much job security tends to make one autocratic. And the age-old adage attributed to Pluto that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is what we find and experience today.