Localities around the Loktak
View Larger Map: A Google map of the Loktak Lake
When the Loktak dries
When the world ends we know it
Morons be vanished
When the world ends we know it
Morons be vanished
The world knows a half of Manipur for the Loktak Lake. Countless bouquets and garlands and heaps of praises have been adorning it; and, describing in words would only limit its beauty. Here I am concerned about a few places around this place. And a few perspectives.
No matter how many poets and common people have lost themselves in a tangle of using the most remarkable adjectives in describing the place, no one can deny the scum of the society, read legal and illegal gunmen, who have turned the place into a hell. As if these gunmen are insufficient, the state government is merciless in force eviction of the dwellers around the lake. It is amazing how we would cross all sorts of line for farcical development works.
Just to be clear, Manipur is a forbidden place, where law enforcement agency is more interested in contractual works on ad-hoc basis. The revolutionaries have been molesting Marx on the other hand. It is seemingly futile to aim for unreachable aspirations of peace and justice. We are in a democracy, the biggest in the world, where an army ‘sepoy’ can afford to ignore the chief minister’s official order with no harm. There are laws like AFSPA that gives a shit about the fundamental rights. This is not a fictional account as in many of us would love to fantasize about the Loktak.
Yet, the cold reality is apparent with the tribulations of a frontier state, which is significant in the national politics only based on its unaccredited yet perfect strategic location. Nothing else. Perhaps, the mainstream leaders are only worried about losing us, as it would set a very bad precedent in other Indias. Therefore, they send in armies and troopers in bulk while they package nationalism in the barrels of the guns.
Unidentified flag furls in the hinterland
In school we were taught that the Indian tricolor flag was hoisted for the first time in Moirang — a sort of county nearly 43 kilometers from Imphal — where the Loktak is located. In history textbooks, we were repeatedly asked to answer that Subash Chandra Bose and his INA cadres pulled up the Indian flag in 1945 for the first time in this area, where there is as well a public building aptly named the INA Memorial.
Yet it is not surprising. It was not a fact but a highly concocted lie for reasons best known to the respected academics. For that matter, we were taught in those days that we are living in the largest democracy. Little ironies and absurdities of life!
Folks and lore
As in Romeo and Juliet, Laila Majnu and other lovesick couple, we have Khamba–Thoibi in Manipuri. Their stories are weaved in present Moirang and its localities. Though it has been passed onto each generation through an oral story-telling tradition as it has been from the beginning, I have seen more in theatres. We also have Yaithing Konu Thangjahanba–Tonu Laijinglembi and Khubomba–Pidonnu.
The lake is also located close to the Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the home for rare Sangai deers.
Home sick home
It is always ironical to state that we go home for vacation as some sort of a pilgrimage. Last time in one such vacation, some of my friends and I drove to Sendra, where there is a rest house overlooking the breathtaking Loktak. Before we reached the location, we saw hundreds of patriotic soldiers patrolling the area, so we dropped the idea of swimming at the Loktak and headed to Leimaram, known for its waterfalls. I remember, we went to the other side of the valley at Kanglatombi, after basking in the Leimaram glory for a couple of hours.
If we talk about Manipur, we are sympathizing with the rebels; and about India, we are just conforming to the hopeless system and against the rebels. The caveat: Our stand is outside the box, related with none of them. It is clear cut and there is no middle way.
The vicinity of the lake is now the playground of the patriots. There are small islands and hillocks, such as Thanga, Karang, amongst others. The army keeps flushing out the rebels in the name of one motherland. The rebels keep pushing for the other motherland.
As a matter of fact, we belong to a fatherland, which is quite evident from the song Pari Imom Samu Pangalbasa. It is more significant as the patriots simply cannot do away with having intercourse with the motherland. Some backbenchers remark, it is not patriotism, it is just employment as in economy and they talk about motherland because they have an intercourse relationship. All we want is, though, some peace for hell’s sake.
Legally, in its purest sense, the government is not allowed to interfere in the Loktak after a court directive. In a land, where might is right, the laws are too redundant. A couple of years ago, the government, teamed up with the police and the Loktak Development Authority, a public sector agency. The name is leading with the suffix ‘development’; perhaps it would suit if it adds ‘personal’ or ‘family’ as well. First, they loot the people and make fool of everyone. They even hosted a website in Russian language! Farce at its best. Second, they coerce the people to move away on their own devices.
In this world deprived of justice, this would have been no issue, provided the government has taken care of issues like the pollution issues from the Ithai Barrage. Unfortunately, we would need to replace the system to see and grow with the changes.
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released a report earlier this year. They had filed a petition labeled: ‘Immediately stop evicting and threatening the floating huts-dwellers of Loktak Lake’ and listed the name of victims and the perpetrators of the latest scuffle.
Place of Incident: Langolshabi area, Loktak Lake, Manipur
Date of Incident: 23 February 2013
1. Around 200 floating hut dwellers/fishing folks belonging to the Meitei ethnic community
2. Mr. Haobijam Premjit (33), son of Haobijam Thonglen of Langolshabi Area, Loktak Lake, Manipur
3. Mr. Haobijam Bino (49), son of Haobijam Roto of Langolshabi Area, Loktak Lake,
4. Mrs. Salam Ongbi Memcha (55), wife of Salam Bino
1. Personnel of Loktak Development Authority, Manipur.
2. Manipur Police personnel stationed at Moirang Police Station
We might continue romanticising the Loktak, for the sake of our pride, mistaken sense of tourism potential, the never-ending folklore and so on. However, the Loktak cannot ignore the filth that our society is filled with. One day, we believe we will get out of this abyss and stand tall in front of the world. We should say we take the pain to rise above petty sense of patriotism, double standards of the union and the general hollowness of the society in every aspects of life.