But as a community being looked down upon by other larger or smaller communities, what is the need of the hour? There could be a number of things that we always feel are those need- military, politics, good leader or combination of all these.
Some say, “Well, if we just had a good UG...?” Would a number of barrels alone be the answer? This is quite relevant in this era of gun culture. Our UG(s) should have the potential to match the skill and strength of any other existing UG s around, the need of the hour?
Others say, “If we only had a good leader- God fearing, selfless, teetotaler, etc.” A Zou leader should indeed be a perfect or super human being. This is a society where the messiah is being betrayed by his own people. We are the one who called Gougin a 'cunning fox', someone who is 'too clever for the people.' We called Thangkhanlal a womanizer or a wine briber with our eyes painfully shut to see up to what extent he did good things for us. Hangkhanpao is criticized from top to bottom with or without supporting clues unaware of the fact that we've never done half what he had done for his people. Oh yes, we need a good leader, a leader more capable than all other leaders we had- another need of the hour?
To know what you need, you ought to know what you lack. We lack so many things as a community. As mentioned, we need good leaders as well as strong military power. We are in need of not only better politicians but also a worthy politics. It is politics that will leap us up high above our friends and foes. Good diplomacy is essential in this unavoidable inter tribe relation. Policing through negotiations and discussions will solve misunderstandings and problems. Unless, if not solved with these, the next step would certainly be the manipulation of Force. For example, there were times when the so called Thangkhal group was immature. Leaders had to talk to the responsible initiators and made policies like using the common Zou Holy Bible and Zou Hymn Books in Thangkhal Baptist Churches rather than their conventional Paite/Tedim literature. If they weren't willing to abide to the policy, use of force. The difference in their literature from the mainstream literature made them gone astray. We lacked visionaries.
What is the need of the hour? Where do we start? Frankly, I don't believe it is any of these. I am convinced that until and unless we have a high percentage of literature and a good number of top officers, we will fail in our endeavor. At this hour, a community is foremost judged by the number officer (bureaucrat) it has, the number of graduates and the overall capability. I believe a good number of IAS, MCS, IPS, IFS, and IIM& IIT product business tycoons, high posts in government and private enterprises will really transform the image of our community. People will start respecting the name Zou. Socio-economic condition will automatically be elevated. Education will make us much wiser hence more organized and united.
Shall we know where we stood in the 1980s and where, others? It is pathetic compared to other communities who shared the same condition and opportunities with us all. That difference in the past makes us more different today. Below is a table showing the level of higher education among the Zo ethnic groups in 1981 census.
Sl. no / Name of tribe / No. of Graduate / Postgraduate / Degree in teaching
1. Gangte / 76 / 7 / 2 /
2. Hmar / 236 / 19 / 2
3. Paite / 361 / 18 / 7
4. Simte / 25 / 1 / 0
5. Thado / 306 / 18 / 9
6. Vaiphei / 120 / 7 / 4
7. Zou / 40 / 4 / 2
[Source: Computed from statistical data of Census of India, Series 13, Manipur, Part IX].
The highest number of graduates (361) belongs to the Paite tribe. Gangte with half our population has double the number of graduates we had. What to do? By that time, these tribes already had top civil officers like the Indian Administrative Service.
I had the opportunity to stay a couple of days at the quarter of Lianzalal Phiamphu, Asst. Manager, RBI while going for an exam at Guwahati. I still remember his words he talked while sitting at the living room before bedtime. “If Paite has 500 officers as of now, we, Zous will have just 50 or less than that. These officers have higher chances and opportunities of bringing up more officers than the less privileged. Therefore the difference will be much higher in times to come.” If those three hundred graduates grew up to 900 at this decade, ours will merely count 150, assuming the same rate of growth.
However there is no hard and fast rule that officers will beget officers, although it may universally be acceptable. Most of ours and others’ officers were from humble background. The above calculation isn’t meant to let us down rather to make us aware where we stood and stand. We still have chances, we can do!
Brethren, we have no more time for futile strife and dispute, trifling and gossiping. We need to grow fast, fast and fast. To grow slowly will be as bad as standing still or even moving backward. We need to grow the fastest to be at the same footing with the rest of them. Motivate the Sangnaupang to aim and achieve high as Abdul Kalam rightly said, “Small aim is a Crime”. Let us make an environment where students could struggle at their tables with minimal hindrance. If you have a sangnaupang lying idle besides you, tell him to open his book, scold him with brotherly love. Coz, we have miles and miles to go. One thing to be kept in mind; everyone isn’t good in studies. Each individual has his own field of excellence. It is crucial to recognize this field and give all the resources we have to it. Be a master of yourself and never turn your head away from God and community, you will not fail. This is what we need.