SILCHAR: Though located close to the busiest market place of this town called Fatak Bazar, Kaguiluang or punji dominated by Rongmei Nagas today set an example of a clean and hygienic environment by undertaking cleanliness drive in their entire area from the morning.
Men, women and young with broomsticks and buckets cleaned the wastes, garbage and other objects littered here and there. They opted for the day, being the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who taught ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’
There was another important reason it was on this day of October 2, 1990 that they formed All Assam Rongmei Naga Students’ Union. It is this Union which has been the prime mover behind the cleanliness drive, pointed out Pou Kabui King Rongmei, ex general secretary of the central committee. The day broke with the youths and students took the vow to keep their environ free from pollutants after offering their glowing homage to Gandhiji.
King Rongmei admitted there has been filth and garbage, even selling of illicit country liquor, in and around their punji. Now, they are conscious and vigilant. By next Gandhi jayanti, there would be no more dirt and filth. Those still selling liquor would be motivated to take up other jobs. But, all are one there should no more of such things. Rongmei Nagas take pride in the fact that since the setting up of their punji in 1880, there were only 5 families. Today, the punji is humming and bustling with 250 families.
The punji has also emerged as a place of literacy to be proud of. 500 students are pursuing studies from lower to higher stages of education. Besides study, they organize blood donation and health camps as well as participate in anti drug drive. It is growing literacy, as Seiailong Rongmei, social worker, said ‘has brought the Nagas out of their ghetto to enlightenment to think better and live better’. The Nagas feel proud to have 3 doctors, 8 engineers, 4 lecturers, 7 teachers, 80 government employees, I advocate. 1 research worker and 12 defence personnel amongst them.
They have some demands which they would like to place before the authorities concerned. Youths and students need to be educated about their great leaders, freedom fighters, Houkip Jadunang and Rani Gaidinlui who fought against the British for liberty and freedom. Their statues, Seiailong said, should be put up at Lakhipur and Silchar as a source of inspiration to the present generation. Another demand is for a hostel for Naga students of their tribe who come for studies to this centre of education from different parts of Barak Valley. A day long programme was chalked out by All Assam Rongmei Naga Students’ Union to make the day eventful and memorable. Besides speeches on relevant subjects, there was spelling contest, debate and quiz competition as well as variety and talent display. The curtain was drawn with vote of thanks by Pou Lanjik Kamei. The well synchronized and well organized programme drew wide applause from the assembly. The day was dedicated to youths.