Vaccination – A student’s viewpoint

Editor,

Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper, I would like to share my point of view as a student on the vaccination drives that are taking place across the country. I am a student of St. Edmund’s Higher Secondary School, studying in the Class XII, Science Stream. I have closely followed the letters to the editor section ever since the pandemic began and I have noticed that most contributors are adults who share their thoughts and opinions. So, I, a student, would also like to share my thoughts, especially at this time when the pandemic is still running parallel to the vaccinations being done.

I am 17 years of age and not yet eligible to take the vaccine. However, that does not stop me from having my opinions and thoughts voiced out through these columns. Although I have not been vaccinated, I have followed our journey through the pandemic, its spread, the subsequent scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to know a little about the vaccine and to have a limited understanding of it, at least from my point of view. Is it safe to take it?

Many people are hesitant to get vaccinated while many others have received the vaccination. We are not supposed to shame or stigmatize in any way those who are hesitant, opposed to or unsure whether or not to be vaccinated, we are not supposed to shame or stigmatize them in any way. Some may be afraid while others may not buy the fact that a vaccine has been developed in just a year. Perhaps, they do not trust the data; perhaps, they are suspicious; that is human nature. All we can do is encourage them, show them what is right. We cannot force anyone; coercion is not the way. It will come to no good.

I have seen people airing their opinions on different social media platforms. I have seen some say, “It’s my body, it’s my choice.” While we live with the fact that we cannot really force anyone, I pray that all will turn out fine in the end. Those among us who are educated know that taking the vaccine is the only way to be safe. We have prayed for solutions and this vaccine is the answer. The rest of the world is limping back to normalcy, after all their citizens got vaccinated. This is a lesson to be learnt. We have to be responsible citizens. We the people are responsible for the well-being and development of the state. If we want that for our state, we have to start taking the right steps.

I would like to conclude my letter by saying that constant reminders are needed in order to lower uncontrollable rise in active cases and unfortunate deaths and the SOPs are to be made aware to one and all. Children and teenagers of my age have not been vaccinated yet, so wearing masks and sanitizing diligently will still be needed. We are in this together so it is our responsibility to take care of each other. It is time to be our brothers’ keepers.

Yours etc.,

Emily Grazel Jyrwa

Via email

Setting the record straight!

Editor,

This is with reference to the letter dated July 13, 2021 by Xavier Mao, NEHU. At the start of the letter, Mao appeared to have questioned the mention of ‘world-wide’ acknowledgment of the Anglo-Kuki War in my write-up which was meant to highlight the cause and concern of the indigenous tribes in Manipur. Since the question of ‘worldwide’ could differ from one perspective to another, it will be a waste of one’s energy and time to get engaged in a debate over it, however tempting and alluring it might appear. However, his real intention surfaced in the latter part of his letter, i.e to discredit the Kukis of their historic struggles against the mighty British.

It must be mentioned that Manipur has a history of communal clashes wherein more than thousand Kukis were massacred allegedly by the NSCN (IM) in the 90s. The incident had left a lasting impact on the relationship of the Kukis and Nagas of Manipur. Mao could thus be forgiven for harbouring enmity towards the Kukis and their history. But citing the reaction of the Manipur Nagas to discredit the historic Anglo-Kuki war 1917-1919 is akin to believing Israel does not exist as a country based on the statement of a hardcore Islamic radical.

That Kukis have fought the British at the helm of their glory has been a fact many wish to sweep under the carpet. The British did their best to underplay the great uprising by adopting a strategy to hide one of their most humiliating encounters. The Kukis, who followed oral tradition of maintaining records and histories would fall victim to suppression of their history if not for the records found in a few books like Colonel W L Shakespear’s ‘History of the Assam Rifles’. While the efforts to divide the Kukis and rule continue to be used against them, their historic struggle against the British in defense of their ancestral land and freedom have their evidence even in the British Museum. The British Museum currently displays “Thingkho-Malcha” which is a customary oath then performed by the Kuki Chiefs when declaring war against the invading British in 1917.

Mr. Mao, being an academician in the Department of Philosophy in NEHU as per the details he provided, if he is interested in finding the real facts of Anglo-Kuki war 1917-1919 should read the book, “The Anglo-Kuki War, 1917–1919: A Frontier Uprising Against Imperialism During the First World War” published by Routledge . However, if his intention is to dishonour the history of the Kukis, he is better advised not to resort to cheap and incorrect narratives which could affect his credibility, if there exists one.

Yours etc.,

T S Haokip

Freelance Writer,

Mumbai

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