An urgent need for the Kuki Society

Published on March 20, 2008

By Ngamjahao Kipgen


For the nation to move on and in achieving its desirable goals, there are few things to look on – which is imperative and prerequisite in the context of the Kukis. To begin with, as the philosopher A.C. Grayling points out, “Freedom of Speech is the fundamental freedom. Without it you can’t have any others.


There would be no due process of law because you couldn’t defend yourself; no democracy because you couldn’t argue your case; no assertion of your rights because you wouldn’t be able to explain why those rights are being threatened. All our freedoms balance on this pinpoint.” 


In this piece of writing, the writer intends to highlight few important issues which are deemed essential. Without going in deep details about the theory and meanings of free speech, and by simply taking the above viewpoint into consideration, the core issue of the Kukis can be highlighted into bringing a solution.


Whether we are fighting for a separate ‘Kuki homeland/ Kukiland’ or in establishing a ‘Zalengam’; over the last decades, we have arrived almost subliminally and without any real debate – on various issues involving the Kuki interest. Now, our concern here is not to discuss the Kuki interest, but to visualize the debates so far concerning the Kukis.


Skeptics sometimes would say that we make too much of free speech. True, some of us love to do and are constantly engaged in writing or expressing whatever strikes our big head. We should also not forget the fact that ‘not every subject is everyone’s business.’ Also, too much cook spoils the food. I guess we all are good armchair critics.


How many of us do really stand up for ‘free speech’ and for that matter with a right cause? And how many of us engage ourselves in a constructive judgmental debate? I believe very few of us (in fact none). Should we blame ourselves for this? Is it because we are not provided a platform to do so?


We do have many educated and rational thinkers even within the Kuki society; do they really care or dream of the Kuki nation marching ahead? We do have a dream; we do construct an ideal for the future development and betterment of the Kukis. However, eventually all these are shattered and remain a utopia.


Let it be a reminder to all sane Kuki individuals that freedom of expression is integral to tolerance, which is also a basic value in society. This principle involves a special act of carving out an area of socio-political dialogue or interaction for extraordinary and matters concerning the society. 


The purpose of which is to develop and demonstrate a capacity to control feelings evoked by others through their expressions and insights. I felt that the freedom of expression principle should be left with the concern of nothing less than helping to shape the intellectual character of the society.


Many of us are in constant fear, in expressing what is desirable – our wisdom, skills and ideas are buried under the carpet, because we are scared of offending other individuals or groups. Even when an individual come up with a constructive ideas, either he is discouraged or threatened to stop thinking so! Often we are more interested in knowing who the person is (his background or to which clan he belongs) rather than seeing or observing what rational opinion or insight the person has.


Even much before knowing or understanding what someone really says or speaks, we bluntly disagree and consider him negatively. I feel that unless a society is open and constructive enough, there is no scope for progress. Mention may be made that there are instances of some local mouthpiece or magazines being banned for it hurt the sentiments or speak against the interest of a particular group or individuals.


Should we be more concern of not hurting a small section and distort all our thinking at the cost of the whole Kuki community. I think this is where we fail, and we ought to rectify this blunder or mistakes. Then only can we achieve what we wish and struggle for.


If this continues, then this makes no logical sense at all. I have never been able to understand why people and some group are avid defenders of free speech. Unless we stop living and thinking in a cocoon, the wind of change will never breeze on us. Hence, the rays of victory will remain a cloud.


Rather than engaging ourselves in a blame-game theory, it is better to jaw-jaw and have a meaningful dialogue on every issue and matters relating to the Kukis. The continuing debate in the kuki Forum network is a good beginning, yet it needs to go further – beyond a mere mudslinging/backstabbing or personal vendetta.


It is not for us to reminisce with past mistake, but to look forward and march on. We should always bear in our rational mind that ‘one monkey must not stop the show.’ We can no longer act as a blind or mute spectator, for the fruits of our mistakes now would be reaped by our own children in the days to come.


It is undenying fact that we are a nation already in chaos and turmoil – the steps ahead is to submerge ourselves in quagmire. How long can we remain in a deep slumber, it’s a clarion call and high time that we all act. Let us all stand up for a free speech and expression, then only ‘freedom’ will be ours!


The writer is a Ph.D. student of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. His area of research is on Land, Cultural Identity and Nationalism.