UKHRUL, 9 MARCH: Former Member of National Commission for Women (NCW) Soso Shaiza said that Tangkhul women have a long history of acting as peace-maker or mediator in conflict situations, stating that their sacrificial role as ‘Pukreila’ has a prominent place in the history of the Tangkhul society.
“In the olden days, intervention was sought from among the women folk in conflict situations, mostly because of their role of mediator known as ‘Pukreila’. This was a title given to any woman who initiated to mediate conflicts between warring villages,” Shaiza stated while speaking as chief guest of the International Women’s Day celebration held at DRDA hall in Ukhrul town on Monday.
The application of Pukreila’s role gained a new dimension with the onslaught of armed military operations and subsequent human rights violations, violence and gunfights that ensued in the district.
“In such situations, Tangkhul women often had to go out and mediate without any weapons for the protection of their men folk. And in the process, they got assaulted and threatened physically and mentally,” she related, adding that this was how the women continued to live up to the role of Pukreila.
She said that women have continued to shoulder the role of peace maker and held peaceful protests towards restoring peace in the face of conflicts involving armed military forces.
Shaiza then acknowledged the supreme sacrifice of Lt. Rose of Kumram village and Lt. Luingamla of Ngaingu village, women who laid down their precious lives for the cause of peace in the then militarized situations.
On the occasion, Shaiza also showed her respect and honour to all mothers and women leaders of Manipur and Tangkhul women in particular. “My respect to all women who have devoted their valuable time, energy and resources and even sacrificed their lives for the rights and dignity of womanhood,” she added.
In the 21st century, women are placed in a position of advantage. “But the situation could still be very different for many of the school drop-out girls and women. They are the ones who are found working in the unorganised sector and were the most affected group during the protracted lockdown over Covid-19 pandemic last year,” she pointed out.
According to Shaiza, women need good education, self confidence and financial independence to assert their position in the society.
“Women must encourage one another and speak out against discrimination, and all forms of crime against them.
Women have remained silent for too long, it’s time to speak out, and not to be subdued by the same old tradition of inequality and suppression,” she continued.
“Now, it’s time for women to look forward and move on without looking for perfect models as there are not much for them,” she urged women folks and called for more women leadership in the society.
In his keynote address, Ukhrul DC Kamson exhorted women to play proactive roles in different areas of the society and even in the field of politics.
In his speech, FXB Ukhrul’s programme officer Aso Shangh stressed on the need for starting works from the grassroots level to spur the movement for women empowerment.
“It’s sad but true that despite their contributions in the society, women continued to be the victimised, abused, exploited ceaselessly in most households. This is our reality today and this needs to be changed,” he said.
In a show of gratitude, Chonchuirinmayo Luithui, centre administrator, OSC Ukhrul handed over keepsakes to Shaiza, and DC Kamson and a certificate of appreciation to a young female author Yuimi Vashum. A victim of sexual abuse herself as a child, Yuimi Vashum has written a book titled “Love, Lust and Loyalty”, a collection of poems, that talks about the pain and trauma of sexual abuse and rape victims.
The participants also raised their hands to show their support and solidarity to the call for gender equality and also to the commitment to ‘choose to challenge’ – the theme for this year’s edition of the IWD.
Meanwhile, as part of the celebration, a silent prayer was observed for Kyel Sin, a teenage girl who was shot dead by Myanmar security forces while protesting on the streets of the city Mandalay and the detained National League for Democracy (NLD)’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and also for peace to return in the military junta- torn neighbouring country.
The celebration that saw attendance of representatives from different spectrum of the society, was organised by the district administration.