Few hours ago, someone text messaged me saying, ‘you are lucky enough to be a Zomi’ ! My first reaction was, ‘what a joke ?’. It’s like reminding myself that I am alone in Kabul and have still to wash the cup I drank coffee with in the morning. Alas ! as if I have won the state lottery!. I relooked the message and ponder was I really lucky to be a Zomi. This message indeed gave me more sadness than happiness. Is this the time to feel happy to be a Zomi ? Is this the time to be proud of being called a Zomi ? Just because a handful of people are trying to force the overfed but malnourished horse to gallop, should I jump up with joy to realize that I am so lucky to be one of the Zomis of the world ? Just because some of my brothers and sisters will be gathering in a hall for one day in the capital, should I feel so happy and announced to the world I am a lucky Zomi ?
Individually, I always regarded myself one of the luckiest guys alive. Born and brought up in a jungle farm, among wild animals I started having education with a matriculate teacher. My parents who were just able read and write not because they went to school but by self learning at home, were encouraging their children to study. In fact, in my family, every one of us studied as long as we want except my eldest brother. Those sisters who stopped going to school, did so entirely to their sweet will. I had the best of my teens in Mission Compound, jokingly called Misual Compound, tasted the premature extravagant life of the pampered Naga youths in Kohima and Dimapur in early 70s and finally passed graduation course at Lamka, regarded to be our own town. Due to my brother’s support, I had even a chance to study in Delhi University and later on joined a government service. Even in the government service, I was able to visit different countries with my family, so far visited around 10 countries in the world, including the one closest to my heart, Israel. With a beautiful and dutiful wife and two sons, I have no reason to regard myself unlucky at any given times. I thank God, my provider and guide for all his blessings.
But as a Zomi, denoting political side of my life, I am sorry to record that it will not be possible to regard myself lucky, not at all. Basically, I feel that I don’t need this political life in the first place. I would rather very much like to see the life - simple, clean and safe that I have had in my childhood days. Why has my birth place, a village called Lawibual got burned down ? Why did a gun fire has to killed two of my villagers ? My own niece, an innocent girl was killed in a cross-fire between two groups. Why ? It’s because of what we called politics. Historically, before the advent of the British, this part of the land was simply forgotten. No foreign power ever ruled the area. The only enmities ever seen were within the family of our forefathers. Even the Meitei Maharaja never ever set foot in these parts of the area. But, when the British has to withdraw from the sub-continent, they have demarcated the land by observing from their warplanes and put a boundary just in these areas thus parting the piece of land into two different countries. Not only that the power centers closest to the land were simply asked to take over the administration of the land where our forefathers reside. From that moment till today, political problems remains because of which so many valuable lives have been lost.
The displaced group of people called themselves, Chin, Kukis, Mizo, Zomi. They have forgotten their father. They refused to remember their father’s name. They looked here and there in confusion, adopting one name today and another the next day. Taking advantage of their confusion and newfound love for money powers, the Indian government continues the dreaded divide and rule policy of the British and systematically destroyed whatever family connections left amongst the groups. They continue to manipulate, misguide, and even encouraged our people to fight one another. In living memories, the Nagas fought the Kukis, the Kukis fought the Hmars, and in the latest, the Kukis fought the Zomis as late as in 1997. There has never been a winner in such family in-fighting. It is only the family that was hurt. Government of India is watching in amusement and efficiently playing the role of a dishonest umpire. The most depressing development is that, even when fighting between different groups is halted by the security forces, so much in-fightings, even selective killings were reported within the groups.
And not by choice but by birth, origin and land, I happened to be a Zomi. Should I regard myself lucky enough ? Had I been anything else but Zomi, would I have been lucky enough. You tell me !