To live as an exile, and be back home

via The Morung Express, by Vibi Yhokha, Kohima, 12 December 2014

“I still don’t know how to express the feeling of coming home. I feel like my old self again,”

says Luingam Luithui, sharing on living as an exile and coming back to his ancestral land. Luingam, who is currently in Ukhrul on a tourist visa issued as a result of legal proceedings in the High Court of Delhi, is home after almost 20 years in exile. On November 29, the day he arrived in Ukhrul, around 3000 people gathered at Tangkhul Naga Long Ground to welcome him.

In 1995, the human rights activist’s passport was impounded by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Since then, Luingam and his wife Peingam, have been living in exile in Canada. In 2003, he was allowed to visit his ailing mother for a short period on a special temporary passport issued by the Government of India. The Government of India had accused Luingam of assisting the NSCN (IM). “They know what I do, and what I do cannot be classified as any criminal offence. They are unable to convince each other,” asserts Luingam.

The first human rights violation case that Luingam Luithui clearly remembers was in the 1960s. As a young teenager, he recalls his elder brother leaving for Jessami village as part of a fact finding team to record atrocities committed by the Indian army in the village. He also remembers how his father never expected his older son to ever come home alive. His brother did return but later died in the 1990s due to complications after being tortured by the armed forces.

After completing his Bachelor’s in Economics from St. Anthony’s Shillong, Luingam came home determined to become a farmer. He went to the extent of digging 2000 pits to plant apple trees in his village. At the same time he worked part time as a teacher in Model High School in Ukhrul for almost a year. In the meantime he also served as the President of the Tangkhul Students Union, setting the foundation for him to become a human rights activist. He was locked up in jail four or five times for protesting against the atrocities meted out under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Fearing for his life, Luingam’s mother soon sent him to Delhi. Luingam belonged to the first batch of the School for International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Naga students were ‘very united’ then, he recalls. It was a historic time when strong social movements like Naxalism, and Jayaprakash Narayan’s call for ‘revolution,’ were emerging in India. Many young people his age had died, which he says helped him to think beyond his studies.

Lui, as he is fondly called, was the first person from the North East to become a council member of JNU Students Union (JNUSU) where he served for two terms. He was also a part of Student Federation of India (SFI), involved in providing medical treatment to construction workers who lived under inhuman living conditions in Delhi. He is also one of the founding members of the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), one of the first few movements in India to challenge the Constitution of India. It focused on violations of human rights, peace and cooperation through enforcement of constitutional rights.

By 1978, NPMHR members started working from morning till night, typing affidavits and documenting human rights violations of the Nagas. In December 1978, the group travelled to Nagaland to seek advice from Naga elders. On December 15, a gathering was held in Kohima despite the imposition of 144 CrPC. Elders from villages close by walked all the way to Kohima to support the movement. It was also the first time since the 1951 Plebiscite that Nagas came together and where victims of AFSPA shared their stories. Soon his room in JNU was raided and his documents taken away.

When the Emergency was declared in India, Lui was arrested at dawn and charged as a Naga national worker. A close associate of Sitaram Yechury of the CPI (M), back in JNU, they would stage protests, write slogans and put up posters at night to defend the rights of the citizens of India.

One of the most satisfying victories for Lui was the imposition of rule nisi (When admitting a writ petition for being heard, a court orders rule nisi which means that the respondents are asked to show cause why the petition should not be allowed, i.e. why the rule issued may not be made absolute) by the Supreme Court of India. In 1982, NPMHR filed a letter petition before the Supreme Court against atrocities under AFSPA, which made the Court to direct the Indian armed forces not to use any religious or educational institutions in their operations. This allowed Nagas to truly celebrate Christmas after a very long time. That year, when he went home for Christmas, he remembered his mother telling him, “Your father would have been so proud of you.”

Luingam is one of the founders of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), one of the leading organizations for indigenous peoples in Asia. He is also a founding member of International Alliance of the Indigenous and Tribal People of the Tropical Forests.

If there is one thing he regrets as an activist, it is anger. “I wished we had been less angry and dealt issues in a more dignified manner,” he reflects.

“You could be burned out and be broken, and people couldn’t understand,” says Luingam, as he recalls the first few years living in exile in Canada where he and his wife survived through his wife’s job as a salesperson. His sister Chon Chon and her husband sent money every alternate month, and his brother was forced to sell their ancestral land. It was only in 2011 that he found the courage to start working again. He joined a catering company where he works 12 hours, cleaning more than 38 rooms per day.

All said and done it will be okay, says an optimistic Luingam, whose contribution to the Nagas and to indigenous groups in India cannot be overlooked. And a nation that strips the identity of its own citizen for defending the rights of the rest needs to question itself.

***

Chai Kadai is thrilled to welcome back Vibi Yhokha and her stories from Nagaland. Please read her article ‘My Nagaland,’ written two years back about multiple incomplete stories of a nation(s), and the ownership of homelands. That article comes with an extensive amount of reading material on Nagalim. Here are a few more articles and books available online-

+ Memoirs of a Student Leader by Dr. P.S. Lorin, Principal, from Degree of Thought, a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express.

+ Forbidden Land: The Quest for Nagalim by Frans Welman – the story of three attempts by Frans Welman and his companions to enter Nagaland, the land of more than forty Naga tribes. Although all three efforts ended in failure, the attempts demonstrate how India and the lesser-known Burma, now known as Myanmar, have been succcessful in keeping foreigners out. Neither country wants outsiders to observe the raging war that started shortly after independence from colonial Britain. The Naga’s, who time and time again have made it known to both former colonizer Britain and newly emerging India that they wanted to be left alone, were invaded by India in 1954. Now 50 years later, the war is still on, although for the second time in its history peace talks are taking place. This war, forgotten by the international community, was the challenge for Welman and his companions. Their goal was to check on the rare yet compelling accounts of the land and people that told of beauty and democracy among the Nagas and their tenacity to not give in to a powerful alien master.

+ The Right to Self-Determination and Development of Indigenous Peoples, AIPP – The world is becoming crowded, and there is a scramble for resources in the name of “sustainable development”. Pressure is being put upon indigenous peoples and on their land and resources that they have inherited from their ancestors and are obliged to pass it on to the next generation for their collective survival. This comic provides a simplified overview of the problems faced by indigenous peoples, their rights and their contributions to sustainable development based on their distinct lifestyles and values.

The Big Lie: The Secret Chernobyl Documents

from Dianuke.org (click to read full article)

English: House of a village near Pripyat, Ukra...

House of a village near Pripyat, Ukraine – abandoned after Chernobyl accident.

In the night of 25-26 April 1986, there was a catastrophic explosion in the fourth unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. In 1990, Ukranian journalist Alla Yaroshinskaya came across secret documents about the Chernobyl catastrophe that revealed a massive cover-up operation and a calculated policy of disinformation. She writes (in 2006),

“It is well known that after the Chernobyl accident, the Soviet government immediately did everything possible to conceal the fact of the accident and its consequences for the population and the environment: it issued “top secret” instructions to classify all data on the accident, especially as regards the health of the affected population.
Then came instructions from the ministry of health and the ministry of defence to classify the radiation doses received by the general population, the “liquidators” (scientists and others involved in firefighting and containment work at the stricken power-station and in clean-up operations of the contaminated area immediately after the event) and military personnel. These regulations demanded that medical staff must not enter a diagnosis of “acute radiation syndrome” in the files of liquidators from the armed forces but must substitute some other term. 
These classified documents were not accessible for many years. Only in 1991, when the Soviet Union was collapsing, was I able to get hold of secret protocols and other documents of the operative group of the Politburo. These minutes revealed the numbers of persons irradiated and hospitalized during the first days after the accident.” 

The state and party leadership had knowingly played down the extent of the contamination and offered a sanitized version to the outside world. In 1990, five years after the accident, a series of laws were adopted to ‘protect’ the victims of radiation; now, scientists have begun to find serious flaws in these too. As recent studies show, the human and environmental damage shows no signs of abating. Yaroshinskaya closes her report with this quote,

“Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory,” said UN secretary general Kofi Annan… “But,” he added, “more than 7 million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened.” The exact number of Chernobyl victims may never be known, he said, but 3 million children require treatment and “many will die prematurely”.

Also read:

From the Archives (2006)- Chernobyl, not Peristroika, Caused Soviet Union Collapse: Mikhail Gorbachev

Fukushima is not Chernobyl? Think Again! (11 March 2013) – Sarah D. Phillips

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Reviews, Interviews and Porn

Savita

Discreet and conspicuous as they are, we had our doubts about getting in touch with the Savita Bhabhi team. Probably, it is just about throwing the right questions on to their side, and in a week Deshmukh (pseudonym) was back with answers.

Where are they from? Some say, California and the other say New Zealand. Though, we don’t probe all the much, I was wondering, with Pornography being illegal in India, where are they? Obviously, they are clever, because he says, “Faraway! Not from New Zealand or from India. My company is registered in the EU and our servers are in US. So the question of legality never arose, since porn (or adult entertainment, as the more politically correct term goes) is legal in both these places.”

If faraway, then why will they narrow down on a hot Indian porn star comic?

“But, I am a second generation Indian who has a good grasp of Indian popular culture, and hence the choice of an Indian market and character. It’s quite natural,” he adds.

Clever, witty and passionate are all combined aspects of these characters. They chose the most popular porn fetish in India ‘hot bhabhis’ (sister-in-laws), and the most famous medium of print entertainment, ‘the comic book’. They combined it and are rising in success, that they need more servers to cope up with the overload of visits!

Whatever their successes, their ride is a hard and rickety one. Law suits, Government offences, cultural disputes, one could keep listing… But, can we add lucky to their badge? “Actually, apart from a few press articles rumoring that the Govt. of India was going to ban SB, we haven’t faced any opposition at all. If anything, I have been pleased with the way the mainstream media has embraced SB and seen it for what it truly is,” they’ve done it.

Cultures are myriads, especially, the one with so many prejudices and confused traditions, that of India. Is that why Savita Bhabhi wears her Mangal Sutra even during sexual-escapades? It has a perfect reason, he adds.

“The mangalsutra is a defining symbol for a married Indian woman. It’s left on to amplify the ‘Indianess’ of SB.”

“But, we have read articles holding us solely responsible for corrupting the moral fibre of modern India. Quite a tall order, I should say,” he talks on how India handles its culture. “This is the main problem with our culture today. We need to blame other. You do not need a SB or a porn film to corrupt minds. These protectors of morality are the same people who will leer even at a fully dressed woman shopping at a grocery store. SB was launched only a year ago whereas internet porn is ten years old! And, Indian rowdies and their eve teasing take a longer history to their credit. Do they still have to blame us for moral degradation.”

He asks, “Why do we need to close our minds and denounce anything that makes us think as evil? We need to do the opposite!”

They take their responsibilities serious too. If denying moral degradation on one side, they also put some sense into people’s heads. Instead of a warning page, they have a trustworthy Parental Block Site available to block the site for their children. “We felt we’d rather do something concrete about it.” And once in a while, SB Says (printable poster) is released to use SB’s popularity to spread good social awareness. Hopefully, they have something about condoms up soon!

Has the way Indian society(ies) conceive sex changed? “Till a few years back, sex was completely taboo. But now with the internet, bollywood and interaction of world cultures, I hope we can one day get to a stage where India is sexually liberated and we realize that sex is not something bad, but only natural.”

But the way the stories go in SB, do you think it will reitirate those men who think of women as sexual products? “Quite the contrary! What we are trying to show via SB is that sex isn’t only something a man wants from a woman. It’s a two way street – woman need pleasure as much as men. If we can get this through to at least 50% of our viewers, I swear you will see a whole lot more of happy women in India. 😉

With that dream tossed at women, Deshmukh signs off answering a typical question with a typical answers. Will her husband find out? What are the further plans? Movies or novels? And he types, “That only time can tell.”

Enjoy!!

An interview by Samyuktha PC

Savita Bhabhi Strikes Again

by Samyuktha PC

sbhabhi

This is not an age of revolutions, but dullness, we hear. However, innovation might have not completely died. Some anonymous characters have made the sexy bhabhi image sell all around the world, with one website, and beautifully illustrated comics. www.savitabhabhi.com

While most of the media is busy type-casting terrorism, Savita Bhabhi turns all of it into a voyeur’s treat with her new adventure. Yes, she is in her dream frolicking around Kashmir with terrorists, undercover policemen, and all men. A typically undercover look at pornography and sexcapades, currently facing CyberMedia News’ petition to block the site and follow it with a CBI inquiry to bring the owners of the Canada website to book, the site is still going strong. Strong in visuals, views, and colour! However, stronger than ever, Savita Bhabhi claims to “Save the World one Dick at Time,” in the newest issue. Pornography is down-right illegal in this country, and even talking about sex is not acceptable in many cases. But, under-cover or not, this team sensationalizes sex with India’s first porn star, not being a person, but a perfectly voluptuous comic book character.

It is not really unacceptable for a man to get horny or think about sex. This is taken to be natural in any Indian community. But, with “Indian culture” pushed down women’s throats, even her fantasies are subjected to the Censorship board. “Think what you want within your four walls, but if you speak of it you’re a heretic, a witch, or a bitch.”

Do you find this sick? Women get raped, people sever each others’ heads, children get abused, families kill each other within four walls, and all this stays within those walls, because it is immoral to talk about this and spoil one’s status in society. These voyeurs of perversion can carry on under-cover and we’ll shut about them. But, one innocent site that just draws sex we have our problems with. Who isn’t a voyeur? Savita Bhabhi at least has the element of style!

It is fine to be a voyeur of violence nowadays, when we watch Mumbai attacks sensationalized on TV increasing the TRP ratings. It is perfectly fine, to watch those TV Channels announce “We will be back after a short commercial break,” just after they announced casualities of hundreds with a presentable smile on their face. All this is fine, but being naturally primitive and excited by sex, is against the law, culture, and “God”. Phew! This world, and not Savita Bhabhi, has to be shoved down a huge drain. Those who read newspapers, watch television, stare at the breasts of a woman in the bus, photograph calamities, are all voyeurs. But, we cringe to accept any form of reality.

In this deepest intolerance of life, pornography, especially comic books, are the last evils of society. One is not raising their hand to defend snuff, child pornography, mms scandals, and forced pornography or prostitution. At the same time, one is not raising their hands in support of glorifying violence, gaping at a fashion mishap as a model’s top falls off, linking people in scandals that invade privacy, type-casting and stereotyping people with specific identities. With all kinds of men and women writing these “scandulous” incest stories all over the internet, probably India could ban internet itself. But, no what happens to the IT industry? One can just imagine the terrorised looks on the administrators’ faces. With no women, men or children gettin hurt or forced, with just art, Savita Bhabhi is probably the most decent form of pornography one has ever come across.

Enough people are out there writing about this website and its successes, but this is a statement to the society. This is a statement to societies who conveniently label their opponent as a voyeur and destroyer of “culture”. In this world of many stereotypes, connecting religion and violence, gender and position, caste and voice, this stereotype is flimsy. One doesn’t essentially need only Savita Bhabhi to corrupt any mind. We have men dragging women out of pubs with their hair. Glorifying violence corrupts people for sure, but not sex. Sex and porn is not new to this culture, otherwise the Kamasutra would not have been written, and the Temple of Love, Khajuraho would not have been built.

Sex is the most primitive instinct, and all Savita Bhabhi does is to add the excited human touch to it. But, does one think ‘saving one dick at a time’ is a little too far? Actually, it is a laugh at the rest of the media. The media with their desperate additions of zig and excitement, watches as Savita Bhabhi strikes again to show the country how to excite people, if that’s what one really wants to do.