Tangkhul youngsters reminded about forefathers’ valour
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL: Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) vice president V Peimi released the official calendar of the World War II Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps Association (WW-I TNLCA) in connection with its upcoming centennial celebration of the Labour Corps to be held on April 18-19 in 2018, during a function held at its Viewland office on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion, Peimi expressed that it is only befitting on the part of WW-I TNLCA to hold a centennial observance to commemorate the supreme sacrifices made by Tangkhul grandfathers as Labour Corps members back in the 1918-18.
In an apparent challenge to the contemporary society, Peimi emphasised on what the grandparents could have experienced during the war time as Labour Corps members destined to French and other countries and added that their contributions during the tumultuous times of the World War II should inspire the present generation of the Tangkhul community to lead a noteworthy existence before the whole world today.
“We have a great responsibility to acknowledge the supreme sacrifice made by our grandfathers during the first World War, and should never undermine their contributions under any circumstances, even in our present day context,” Peimi added.
At the same time, he noted with regret the recent observance of the Tangkhul labour corps football centenary celebration in the district, stating that failure to understand the historical background of the Labour Corps by all concerned has been catastrophic.
Referring to the observance of a particular division of the Labour Corps during the recent football centenary, he said that commemorating only the 66 Labour Corps for the football centenary was unfortunate and added: “Had we all bothered to get into the details of the history of the Labour Corps, we could have averted the controversy that plagued the recent football centenary organised by TNLCFC.”
Peimi then appealed to all concerned not to give such chaos and misunderstanding a second chance and repeat the same mistakes again in future.
In his address, WWITNLCA chairman Victor W Kaping said that the objective of association is to document the supreme sacrifice and contributions of the Labour Corps members from the district in a written account so as to acknowledge their footprints for the upcoming generations to learn about it.
Victor Kaping also conveyed that the association is continuing verification process of the historical information.
He further urged both the public and descendants of the labour members to come forward and submit their grandparents’ names for inclusion of the name of their grandparents who served as labours during the war time and also to clear any doubts from the WWITNLCA office.
“Our motto is ‘Dignity & Labour’ which is in keeping with our acknowledgement for the contributions our grandparents made during the war time,” Kaping said, while adding that the association is soon setting up a heritage memorial complex for the Labour Corps members at Hatha village in honour of the Labour Corps members.
In his welcome address, WWITNLCA general secretary Zanyo Varam acknowledged the support and cooperation of the public in the functioning of the association and further urged the public members of the community to continue with the same support for realising the objective of the association towards organising the upcoming Labour Corps centenary in April next, apart from its endeavours to accomplish a complete documentation of the Labour Corps history of the district.
It may be mentioned that out of the 2000 Labour Corps members recruited from across the then state of Manipur during the World War II, Tangkhul men from Ukhrul district accounted for a whooping number of 1200. The labours were said to be engaged for providing logistic assistance during the war time in France and other countries.
Representatives from Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long, Tangkhul Shanao Long, Tangkhul Film Association, church elders and other social leaders attended the function among others.