Inspired: Personal Reflections on a Journey to Mizoram
(Note: Please log on to http://www.chinlandguardian.net/index.php/opinions/179 for previous sections to this story. The author wishes to apologize for the long pause in continuing this article)
I’ve always wanted to go back to India, especially to Mizoram right from my first days in Canada. The opportunity suddenly came to me when in late February the Chin Forum asked me whether I would be interested in facilitating training on the Chinland Constitution in Aizawl.
It took me some time to decide on the offer. I never had any prior experience of facilitating even a workshop, much less a month-long training-for-trainers program. Worse still, Burmese was to be a medium of communication, a language I hadn’t spoken in years and one that I was never good at. But I decided to take up the challenge, partly because it was going to take place in Mizoram and partly for the sheer challenge of it.
In spite of our busy schedule, it felt like time had flown by so quickly. I enjoyed interacting and talking with friends and compatriots, and was most impressed by their dedication to their work, that is to the Chin cause. I was endlessly amazed at how they try to keep up hopes in the face of the most difficult and daunting challenges. What I saw in them, their sacrifice and dedication, made me self-aware of how little I could contribute to the cause. But sadly, it is we who have the least to contribute that tend to see the worst in them.
Back in my student years in Canada, I used to spend many sleepless nights doing translation, writing and editing statements and reports, the only way I know how to contribute something to the movement. My academic performance had to suffer as a result. Those who are closest to me would often tell me to get my priorities straight. But I was often too eager and couldn’t simply resist the temptation. Being able to do something for the cause gave me a sense of satisfaction and worth.
But none of that comes even close to the sacrifices other compatriots have made. They have set aside or completely thrown away all their personal ambitions and prospect for better livelihood all for the cause. Their courage of conviction and sense of responsibility are truly inspiring. Many of us have chosen to go to Western countries in pursuit of our personal development and better livelihood. But they have chosen a difficult path, a future of uncertainty and sacrifice. And the Chin movement continues on because they stay true to their conviction.
Being in Aizawl was one of those rare opportunities to reflect on many things. It gave me a new outlook on the Chin political struggle and those leading it on the ground. I gained a new sense of respect for those in the frontline of our struggle. One of my closest friends for whom I have the deepest respect once confided in me: “I don’t know why I still remain in this struggle? I look at myself and I know that am not the most qualified person to be in this movement. Then I look at my family and question myself why I have chosen this movement over taking responsibility for my family.”
I wondered for a moment if he was saying this out of despair and frustration, until I figured that what he really meant to tell me was that they needed our support. They need our support because they are not doing this for themselves or for their family welfare…..the least we could do is to support them in whatever way we can.
———————————–To be continued—————–
By Salai Za Uk Ling