Travel Diary of a Journalists – Episode 2

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After a long drive with some uncanny incidents, we reached Thanlon and stayed at a Church’s guest house located at a hillock. The Church looks very beautiful; it might have built after considering the most suitable site. After witnessing their hand crafts and other skilful works, one can’t say that people of the hill are fool. There are many innovative works designs by people residing in such areas where valley’s people have not experience it yet. After introducing us to villagers, village authorities and pastor, arrangement were made for our team’s accommodation to the said guest house which is located just nearby the Church. For this, a big room was prepared for our team which comprise of doctors, medical staffs and reporters. On the other hand, workers of “Mapi Council” were seen busy unloading grocery materials, medicines and other products from the vehicle.

Few were engaged in preparing meals including 2-3 women of the village. In my childhood, I was afraid of hill people thinking that they are different from valley’s people. Now, in this context I am compelled to
bring the issue of Greater Nagalim. In this complex issue, Naga people residing in different part of the State might have considered valley’s people as their enemy. It is just after joining
 the press that I came to know the different sub-groups of Naga tribe. There are many Tangkhul, Mao, Maram, Poumai, Jemei, Liangmei, Rongmei etc. Likewise, the Kuki tribe is also divided into many sub-groups. During my childhood, I was struck with a fear psychosis thinking that they would kill us using their ancestral weapons. When the issue of Greater Nagaland swept across the State, many people have in their mind that hill people are all same and they do not have mercy. Generally, people from valley in particular do not have faith on them. But after the joining the media house, I realised that the fear, bias and attitude meted towards the hill’s people is just a stereotype, a hype which has been blown out of proportion and I felt ashamed thinking of this. Contradict to this, hill people considered valley’s people as their own brothers and sisters. Looking at their sense of brotherhood, I am not in a belief that they want to part away from the people of valley. Those people who travel to hill places frequently would understand it. As evening arrived, I can see those twinkling and shining stars which was viewed from the beautiful hillock nearby the church. For me, it was the most captivating sight which I have ever seen. Even though there was no electric current on that day, the shine moonlight lilted the whole place brightly. As there was no cloud scattered on that night, the shine of the stars was coming even more profoundly and at that point of time, I have in mind that one could count the number of stars. As my mind and body was tired and exhausted because of the long journey, the fresh and cool wind that swept across the area lightens me up forgetting the boredom. After experiencing all the happenings in and around the places, suddenly in my mind the story of Lord Jesus Christ execution in a cross bar struck me. In between the stars, I could see a set of five stars in shape of a cross bar and it stunned me. Back home, when I came back after the tour again I could see that cross bar shape set of stars but it was not the same. Enthralled by the all scenic beauties of the area, I have to say that the team after gathering at the church ground for a chit-chat enjoyed fully on that night. Then, the team get fresh up themselves through a water tank which was kept at the back of the church. As the dinner time come, all the members of the team have meal together. With all this, the first day passed. Following the next morning, using loudspeakers, the team started giving awareness about the medical camp which it started from the church area. In the process, doctors and pharmacies were seen busy preparing their stalls. As the camp started from morning around 7, people including women and child were seen coming towards the camp area.

The camp kick-started with members of “Mapi Council” distributing sweets to children along with giving awareness to the people on why the camp was held. And, reporters as expected started
writing down notes to build news with some clicking photos of the event. After this, some reporters were seen taking rest at the bed while some were noticed roaming here and there spending times.
As far as I am concerned, to draw some information about the village, I along with a school teacher of the village went for a walk talking to each other. In between, the teacher offered me of having a drink at his house as a goodwill gestures. Out of curiosity, when I asked him what kind of drink he is going to offer me, he said it is kind of a fruit juice and is tasty. After hearing his words, I thought that I must give a try but at the same time I also feel uneasy since my stomach was empty at that time. Since I could not turn down his request, we headed to his place thinking that I might get a worth news story out of it. His house was not too far. In between the walk, when I asked him “Oja, why is that I cannot see a shop in this area”, he replied politely, “There is only one shop and that is also run by a non-Manipuri”. When I query him about the situation of the place, he further said one Manipuri woman used to come for selling rice and fish in the area. He even told me the name of the woman which I cannot recall it. Further, out of fun when I said to him that I would want to shift here for doing a business, he said happily, “It’s very good. Come, I will provide you land for doing business”.
We laughed and exchange a lot during the walk and in between reached his house along the way where I saw huge plantation of orange around his house. There, I was warmly welcome by his wife.

Dhanabanta Loukrakpam Achievement Profile :-

1 DIPR Govt of Manipur “State Journalist Award 2009” in Rural Reporting

2 “Panos South Asia Research Media Fellows 2011” to investigate and write on Dam and  Development in Northeast India. 

3 “Kangleipakki Meira Best Male Journalist of the year Award 2012(Print Category)” given by Kangleipakki Meira

4 Second Prize winner of “Sangai Festival 2012 Photo Compitition” in Tourist Spot Category Organised by Tourism Department Govt of Manipur

To be continued.

Translated by Rakesh Lourembam of Manipur Times

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