S. Gurumanickam – Assistant Engineer at the DD Kendra, Chennai-a mi chuan The Hindu (August 12, 2012) khan he thu hi a rawn ziak a, a ngaihnawmin ngaihdan pawh min siam ve khawp mai. Full article chu a link-ah khian a chhiar theih e.
“I found the Mizos practise honesty and trust effortlessly. Why donâ€™t we give it a try?”
There is a lot of misconception about the North-East in many parts of India. That people there are â€œculture-less tribals, head-hunters, that they eat wild animals,â€ etc. In short, there is a definite, palpable and unmistakably condescending attitude towards the people of North-East in the mainland. The general apathy and animosity sometimes manifests as hostility we see elsewhere.
Initially, when I was called a mainland Indian I was irked. Why should I be singled out? Are they not Indians? Soon, I realised thereâ€™s a Himalayan difference between â€˜themâ€™ and â€˜usâ€™. I experienced this the day I set my foot on Mizoram. And when you ask for the luggage they will never ask for your identity or to prove yourself. They simply trust you and hand over things. Phew! They implicitly trust others!
The Mizos celebrate Christmas as a society. Everybody contributes money. Vehicles passing through their areas are stopped and occupants, Christians or not, are asked to contribute. Once you donate, they give you a flag (a piece of yellow/green cloth tied on a bamboo stick). If this flag flies on your vehicle, they donâ€™t stop the vehicle again.
My fellow mainland Indians settled there were put off by this Christmas collection. They felt that being Hindus they need not donate money. But they may be subjected to harassment by drunkards. So they came up with an ingenious idea â€” they simply put up their own flags on their vehicles (jugaad!) without paying money.
This is not to simply sing paeans to the Mizos. They have their own foibles. Many of them drink or chew guthka. Drug-addiction is rampant. Teenage pregnancy is common. Women, more so spinsters, face harsh treatment from society. Yet. . . Yet, people-to-people they practise honesty and truthfulness as a trait. They honour their word. Crime is unheard of. It was my experience for 10 years in Mizoram.
My fellow Indians from the mainland have long had a grouse that Mizos havenâ€™t tried to learn Hindi or assimilate with Indians. I differ. Let them be Mizos, be honest and truthful. Let us not corrupt them. Maybe, Mizos too have something to learn from the mainland. Let good things be exchanged. Not guthka or cheatsing.
If someone has to change, I think it is we the mainlanders.