Tera kakcheng

“An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.”   Lao Tzu

We came from the land of Pakhangba
The dragon of the land
Or was he the king of the dragon?
No matter what
he was the ruler.

Now we are our own masters
We kill for the dreamland
For anything we will block the newsstand
So what if we don’t have a leader now?
We can make those people-elect
Run for their money
We have guns
We have bombs
And we are the authority.

Unfortunate it was that day,
In the jungle where we have made our home
Where we sing our songs of freedom,
Our chief was killed
Not by khurak-kee ee
Not by the Indian bullet
That the Shingnaba poet wanted so earnestly
But our rebel hero,
His soul be ever pure as a new Rs 500-note
He was killed, bitten by a tera kakcheng.


A revolutionary movement, if it is to be successful like we have read in history books, is characterised by the support of the mass. Its definition is as varied as the number of underground outfits in Manipur. But the meaning has again changed altogether when we talk about such movement in this state. These groups claim they are fighting for the people, but it does not necessarily mean that the people are to be exploited, more specifically in the false credo of overall well-being. The condition is unfortunately more complex than the interwoven network of politicians, contractors and the business-minded lovers of motherland.
    Ultimately, what we aspire for is living in peace with dignity.
    Despite the tragedy caused by the tera kakcheng, I do hope humanity--and sanity and goodwill--will reign, wheresoever the proponents of these values belong to. So that one day we live in peace, compete with the best minds of the world and occupy a space of our own in this globe.

Tera kakcheng, in Manipuri, is a kind of big ant like the weaver ant or fire ant that bites and stings by spraying chemicals.

Khurak-kee ee : Taken from Khurak-kee ee na lai saba, a byword which means our own family and friend doing harm to us. Here the shortened form indicates those type of people...

Shingnaba (Challenge): An anthology of poems written and published in 1974 by Thangjam Ibopishak, Yumlembam Ibomcha and W Ranjit.

The reference is from the poem I Want to be Killed by an Indian Bullet by Th Ibopishak




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