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Muivah’s homecoming, a dream
Correspondent SOMDAL (UKHRUL), MAY 21 (NPN):
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Published on 21 May. 2010 11:32 PM IST
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For the folks in Somdal village, the wait for NSCN (IM) ‘ato kilonser’ Th. Muivah is still on. But when is he coming? This question is writ large on the face of anxious villagers.
His homecoming after 44 years, is hanging on a thread of uncertainty, is a much talked-about story in his birthplace, Somdal, in Ukhrul. Muivah was last seen in 1973 during the dedication of the new church building.
The visit of the Naga rebel leader to his native village did not take place as scheduled on May 5. However, people still linger with hope to see him step onto the soil of his birthplace again. “He keeps assuring us that he is coming. So we are still keeping our hope alive to meet him,” said the village council secretary, Raripam.
In the village, the mood swings between hope and despair. On Friday morning, the reception hall at the football field remains in tatters and some men were busy erecting a new welcome gate, while the womenfolk were seen hurrying to the fields.
“We will redo our preparations. But when is he exactly coming, that we cannot tell,” he added.
Lakangla, an 88-year-old lady, had seen to Muivah’s needs with her own hands during his last stay. She cannot wait to see him again. “My husband took turn to keep vigil for him. He had waited for years to meet him but now he is gone. Will I go away too before meeting him?” asked the old lady, amid sobs and hiccups.
His last visit to the village happened during the peak of Naga movement, but Somdal folks poignantly remember those days. “He went to the newly constructed church one evening, and knelt down to say a prayer. That was one last moment I remember,” said Kaphungla, who nursed him and his cadres.
For security reasons, it is said, he escaped to the jungle few days before the inauguration of the new church building, which was held from March 8-11 in 1973. Then, Muivah took shelter in a small wooden cottage situated by the edge of the jungle. His host, the 84-year-old M. Yarei, said, “One evening, he came knocking on my door after a long track from Theiva village. His clothes were ragged and dirty. He looked tired but greeted me with a smile.”
His childhood friend, the 72-year-old R.S Rathing, fondly remembers how he met him wrapped in a soiled bedspread. “The stoutly-built man used a worn-out bedsheet as lungi and was barefooted,” he recalled.
Rathing was so elated to learn few Chinese from him. “I learnt the Chinese word lacheo for chilies,” he added. The 1973’s visit to his native village was the first after his return from China.

 
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