The need for paradigm shift: Kukis perspective

Published on January 28, 2008

By Ngamkholet Haokip


January 29, 2008: We always heard people echoing the need for change and we usually anticipate with a sense of hope and betterment. CHANGE is a phenomenon so powerful that with the right attitude and astuteness we can reap countless benefits out of this.


In the current run up to US presidential election campaign, one of the democratic candidates, Barack Obama, bases his campaign with the tagline “CHANGE WE BELIEVE IN”. He is the underdog compared to the high profile and known faces opponents like Hillary Clinton.


Whether he wins or loses the election is a different issue, but he has created history by edging over his rivals in the state of Iowa in the opening 2008 democratic contest. This implies that people recognize the inevitability of change. 


That change is inevitable whether we like it or not, the only thing that is constant is “CHANGE” in this universe.  From birth till death, we go through a lot of changes that is by nature. For instance, the colorful and pleasing butterfly came out after painful process of transformation from larvae inside the cocoons. Successful people tune their attitude and make changes in their actions to adapt to the changes around them.


Even business powerhouses constantly change their strategy to survive in a highly competitive environment. We have seen the launch of the cheapest car in the world “The nano” by Tata Motors, is another audacious attempt by Indian company which is going to send ripples in the automobile industry. Competitors in the lower- segment car are forced to change their strategy if they are to survive the threat.


Now in the context of Kuki society how changes affected us and how do we allowed CHANGE worked for us? According to my observation, we have not reaped much fruit out of the phenomena happening around us. The way we eat, the way we celebrate festivals, our general lifestyles be it in villages or cities are pretty much the same, except some inevitable differences.


Therefore, the idea is to put my views across younger generation to ponder upon why I am so concerned all of a sudden? As time passes, we need to be innovative and adapt to changes in accordance with Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest”. Today, let us look at some inseparable customs that we Kukis are practicing and how we can make modifications for the better.


Festival Celebrations: As a part of our customs and traditions, we have few well recognized festivals particularly KUT that has a great cultural significance. Every Kuki/Chin/Mizo member celebrates with great pride wherever they are, that is a good thing. In villages with traditional folk dances, sports, songs, etc are displayed with full participation of the whole village members apart from feasting. That is still fine.


However, when we are outside our homes and villages, it is important to recognize external factors and make changes in tune with the places. Our folk dances and songs with slight modifications and improvements can be more attractive and appealing to people around us. This can bring us recognition from people outside our community as well. Especially celebrations in cities have to be very innovative, for instance roping-in sponsors and media coverage by marketing well can be a huge benefit for our people and culture.


Inviting well known people from outside to grace the occasions will be a great start as well. Collecting individual contribution from students, families, etc. every time of the festivities is not the best option anymore. Therefore, there is a pressing need to have paradigm shift. Not only KUT festival, but also freshers’ meets, KSO sports, etc should be made more innovative. More avenues and options must be explored in the way of celebrations.


Christmas Celebrations: It is more disappointing to see that Christmas too is celebrated like any other festivals. Our traditional practice of fund collections for feasting and dining is very much the same in cities and villages. Sometimes members who cannot give their contributions are subjected to guilt feeling and therefore go untraceable during Christmas; the purpose is defeated completely. We can spent less and yet make the most out of it if we leave our old practices. Contributions should be voluntary and should not be made compulsion. This is against the spirit of Christmas. The message of Christmas is still the same whether we feast of not.


Civil Bodies: When it comes to forming bodies and organizations, the Kukis are not far behind. We have bodies like KIM (Kuki Inpi Manipur), KSO (Kuki Students’ Organisation), KMHR (Kuki Movement for Human Rights), KMA (Kuki Mothers’ Association), and the most recent one KISC (Kuki Internationl Support Centre), to name a few. The objectives are one and the same, to work for the interest of the Kuki community although they have different roles to play.


Needless to mention, these organisations have great responsibilities, for instance, the mushrooming of several armed Kuki revolutionary groups can be brought together to form a conglomerate rather than having factions and independent groups which are often found fighting against each other. Enough blood has been spilled. How long will we allow the killings to go on? KIM and its sister organizations need to chalk out long-term plans and rope in the resources and expertise of talented and educated Kukis. Now is not too late, probably the right time to act.


Politics and Religion: Politics and religion existed from the time of Adam and Eve and are inseparable opposite sides of the same coin. Both require art and skill to handle them. Our politicians have not been able to master the art of politics, and as a result, brought us to where we are now. Divide and rule, self-centered, power hungry politicians make mockery of Kuki politics which now requires painful and tactful maneuvering. On the other hand, religious leaders have split our society into several groups to further our weaknesses.


As a society, religions plays tremendous role not only spiritually, but with one faith many worldly complications can be simplify. Having separate identity like KBC, ECA, KCC to name a few is nothing but the outcome of ego clashes among the so called Pastors and Reverends. We can certainly do away with these man-made denominations to form more robust single entity to provide our religious identity and culture.


Revolutionary Groups: Revolutionary or non-revolutionary, they also need to change. Enough of killing and extortions, the time is up for gun culture at least for the time being. Factions and groups should listen to the urgent call of the beleaguered Kuki society pressing needs and mend their recalcitrant ways. It is the time to reconcile and appease one another for the benefit of all. Nothing is impossible if we give our best and try to resolve differences with broader mindset.


There are long list of issues that we can discuss on and on. But the message needs to reach the hearts and souls of people who want to make a difference. Keep the messages rolling and feedbacks are always welcome. The best is to do the right thing at the right time.


The writer is an Information Technology Senior Engineer at GAIL (India) Limited.