Kamalanagar, August 22, 2016: The Chakma Mahila Samiti (CMS), an association of the Chakma women in Mizoram which was registered on 22/08/1991 celebrated the completion of its 25 years. The Samiti was formed in 1981 on the occasion of 1st Kathin Chibar Dhan celebration at Kamalanagar for the welfare of Chakma woman of Mizoram and to protect their rights and privileges.
Dgb. Mallika Chakma a retired teacher and founder President of the Samiti graced the occasion as its Chief Guest. Earlier in the morning she unveiled the Silver Jubilee memorial stone and hoisted the flag of the association. There was devotion service at Mohamuni Buddha Vihar followed by distribution of eatables to the patients in the Hospital.
When asked what has held the women behind in respect of education, employment, etc. despite availability of equal opportunities presently she said, “In our times it was being told girls are not for schooling and despite that my father wanted me to go to school for which I could complete matriculation and subsequently, served my community as a teacher. There is no denying that boys are still preferred to girls when it comes to giving education. Parents don’t feel secure to let the girl child go anywhere as they do with the boys which sometime deprives the girls from getting education. Education for a girl child is more important than that of the boys given it is she who look after the whole family including the education of the children’.
While replying to a query on the introduction of Chakma Traditional Dress in schools under CADC on Fridays she expressed concern if this would go to promote communal feeling; expressed concerns for the small girls if they would be able to handle the dress properly and whether this would put pressure upon the poor to afford for three school dresses at a time?
In her message to CMS she urged them to work towards spreading the fragrance of the Naksha flower which represents the Samiti.
Dg. Nirupam Chakma, former Minister speaking on the occasion made a point that Chakma woman have never been behind in the history of the Chakmas and recalled the reign of Rani Kalindi of the Chakma Kingdom. “She did not just rule, she resisted the British. Rarely do we see woman ruler in any community and Chakmas should feel proud that we had one. I am hopeful that a day will come when we will get a lady CEM in CADC”. “The Mahila Samiti can send a congratulatory letter to the only two women medalists of Rio Olympic from India for whom India saved its grace.’
Dg. Kali Kumar Tongchangya, CEM, CADC and Guest of honour of the programme reiterated the views of Dg. N.P. Chakma that Chakma women are not behind. “CADC have seen women MDCs in late Dgb. Aroti Chakma, Dgb. Snehadini Chakma, Dgb. Belpudi Chakma, Dgb. Snehamaya Chakma and Dgb. Niharmala Chakma. We have made provision for reservation of seat for women in village councils to provide representation of women.”
“The Mahila Samiti can work with the Social Welfare Department, CADC in the execution of many schemes under ICDS. They can come up with proposal to organize awareness campaign with Social welfare Department on health, cleanliness, education, etc.”.
Dg. Jyotir Moy Chakma, President, CYCA while sharing his experience stated that the Chakma society is a patriarchal male dominated society and instances of domestic violence are very common. “Experiences suggest that marriage between under aged boys and girls is to blamed for most of the cases of domestic violence and family crisis. The eligible age for marriage in the customary law need to be reviewed”. He also proposed for reservation of seat for woman in MDC election and for jobs in CADC for real empowerment of the woman.
Rasik Mohan Chakma speaking on the occasion said, “I have come across instances of girls working to school their brothers at the behest of their parents. It is a fact that boys are preferred to girls for schooling when it comes to choosing between the two by the parents. An effective measure to address this issue would be to introduce financial incentive for educating a girl child which can be adopted by CADC authority.”
“We are the second largest population in Mizoram. CMS can demand for a member in the Mizoram Woman Commission. Woman Commission are bestowed with power of quasi-judicial.”
“Despite living in poor condition our sisters have managed to excel in different fields. The Mahila Samiti can prepare a list of Chakma women achievers and arrange to felicitate them. It is our women who have preserved our identity by having maintained to wear their traditional attire and ornaments”.