A Journalist’s Take on Tipaimukh – 1

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When people talk about Tipaimukh, the term “Lamyen” always strike in my mind. As far as I know, this particular type of bird can run very fast. I noticed that newly hatched small chicks used to follow swiftly after their respective female breeds like that of “Urenkonthou” bird. It seems that there are many numbers of “Lamyen” being concentrated in Churchandpur district alone.

It may be because the climatic condition of this place suits the bird. There are also people who say that meat of this bird taste delicious though I have not tried it yet.

Frankly putting, I am not too fascinated or know much about “Lamyen”. But I am recalling this because of a related incident that took place during my maiden 5-day Tipaimukh tour on March 29- April 2, 2008.

After joining the “Poknapham” newspaper, the Tipaimukh tour was my second night-hold visit to hill places. Earlier, I had visited the Thanlon village in Tamenglong district for news coverage. And, it was in Tipaimukh trip that I encountered with the much-talked “Lamyen” bird.

As I was curious and thrilled, I started collecting information about the species through internet. Then, it was through the website of Environment Information System and Advice Centre, Manipur that I came to know that the “Lamyen” bird is classified into three different types namely Lamyen angangba (Gallus gallus), Lamyen wahongman (Polypection bicalcarlum) and Lamyen makhal (Toragopan). Amongst the categories, I have no idea to which group it belongs to the one that I saw in Churchandpur district. Guessing it, it may be under the Lamyen Wahongman group.

Since there are not concrete measures particularly in hill areas of the State to stop hunting and killing of birds and animals, there is high possibility of extinction of rare species including “Lamyen”. Forget about birds and animals, can anyone create any tribes of the State which have been settling since time immemorial whether it is Meitei, Hmar or others if it became extinct?. Definitely, it is not possible. Any living species cannot be created in science laboratories.

The memorable Tipaimukh tour was organized by Action Committee against Tipaimukh Dam. The tour was held in order to attend a public hearing which was scheduled related with the construction of the Tipaimukh dam. For it, I was accompanied by a team of reporters- Naren (Hueiyen Lanpao), Shyamchand (Naharolgi Thoudang), Gyanan (Matamgi Yakairol) and Mungyamba (ISTV).

Regarding the tour, I was given instruction from the newspaper house to wait at Keishampat, Churchandpur bus parking at early morning. This time, I was handed with a camera to facilitate the coverage and taught me how to click photos. Prior to the journey, they also told me to take extra precautions during the tour and avoid mosquitoes as the place is malaria prone area. I was also reminded not to forget clicking photos of foundation laying stone of the dam. Agreeing and exuding confidence to their words, I was all set for the journey.

After reaching the Churchandpur bus parking, I met my other colleagues which also included three females. Then, we altogether headed up to Churchandpur bazar. After having lunch at there, we further proceeded for Tipaimukh by hiring two Tata Sumo. For me, the Churchandpur district happened to be a new place, with its new look new people and it was the first time that I am visiting far flung places within the district.

 

During the journey, many colleagues were engaged talking to each other while some were seen sleeping inside the vehicle itself. Then after a long drive, I started noticing Lamyen along the way. The Sumo driver in between the way halted the vehicle in continuous manner. When some colleagues questioned him why he was doing like that, he politely replied that he was following after the Lamyen.

During his bid, he used to stop the vehicle suddenly, opened the window of the vehicle and was seen throwing stones towards the animal.Seeing at his action, we all used to make fun out of it. It seems that he was trying to catch and killed the bird. But looking at the speed of the Lamyen, there was in everyone mind that his effort of trying to catch the animal would go in vain.

It was not only for couple of times, the driver was running after the animal four to five times trying to catch it by his hand. Interestingly, during the ride female colleagues were also seen trying to fetch eatable leaves and fruits whatever it comes along the way. Looking at it, some of the colleagues expressed unhappiness saying that the thing they are doing was not at the right time. But later, everything was all cleared as other male colleagues stopped bullying them.

As the journey started lately from Imphal and with the time consumed wait at Churchandpur for vehicle purposes, the team could not headed much towards Tipaimukh. Since it was becoming dark, we were compelled to night hold at a nearby village.

There, the female colleagues started preparing food with the vegetables which they have fetched it along the way. Like this, we had meal together and the night was passed.  

 Following the next morning, we further started the journey with everyone anticipating when it will reach Tipaimukh. The place where the team had lunch also happened to be a lovely place. Though I cannot recall the name of the village, the place is situated in a beautiful hillock. There is also a river passing through the village.

The hot temperature of the place is like of Moreh, kwatha, Noney, Renglong and Jiribam areas. When some members are busy in preparing meals others including me were having bath in the river. There, I felt very relax and the bathing team had a good time at the river with some trying to catch fish and take shots of the place.

Amidst of the all good things about the journey, the national highway- 150 which connects Tipaimukh looks in a deplorable condition. It is said that at one time when the Manipur State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) was active, heavy vehicles like buses used to ply up to Mizoram through this highway.

Despite of the continuous ride, we was still far away from reaching Tipaimukh and again the team was compelled to hold another night and for this the organizers were preparing for the team’s accommodation. The village which we were staying that night is called “Lungthulian”. And, the organisers informed to us that Tipaimukh is not too far from the village. As the team was headed by the organisers, we had to accept every arrangement made by them. With the apprehension that the team would be reaching Tipaimukh early next morning just after leaving the village, members of the team happily spend the night.

 

 To be continued….

 

Translated by Rakesh Lourembam, Manipur Times.

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