Iramwui hero: our village is a hero - By Chingrimi A.Shimray

The efforts of the inhabitants of Marou - a small village of 80 families in Ukhrul District, Manipur

Sakharan - an inherent obligatory sense of duty (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Iramwui Hero - our village is a hero

Iramwui Hero (our village is a hero) is a documentation of the people of Marou engaged in their daily activity. With a note shared through the lens of an insider - Sultan A. Shimray on the concept of gratitude and admiration. Sultan shares his idea of his hero. With houses of just 80 families (approx), locals from bigger villages have often used the term ‘leishinaya’ which means ‘cute’ to describe the strength of the population. The size of the village is often reminded over and over again in conversations. This shapes the attitude of the people inhabiting the space towards their own collective selves. So how do they see themselves? 

Meet Sultan-the Storyteller (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Ava Sultan’s name was given to him by one of his uncles. At the time, his uncle was one of the few to get an early education who had come across the word ‘Sultan’ in one of the textbooks. He adds that the same uncle named one of his cousins as Risingson.

Mareoram (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Ava Sultan shares, “Mareoram means land of luscious fruits untouched by animals or insects. The name was later changed to Marou.”

Humble Beginnings (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

This house was built by Apvo (Grandfather) Satalung and is 40 years old today. Some still say that the house, though small, used to be the hub for group gatherings.

Zingham Khamahai (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Zingham Khamahai means basking in the sun. Unlike the colder parts of Ukhrul District, Marou is pleasantly warm.

Sakharan - an inherent obligatory sense of duty (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Women are seen at the community work for the New Pastor Quarter, a collective contribution in the form of manual labour as members of the church. Rocks found in the village premises are broken into smaller stones, and would later be used in the construction of the new house.

Iramwui Pangthem- Our Village’s Handskills (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Handmade does not get enough attention and appreciation in the community. This is probably because it is part of the everyday curriculum to make things for one’s own consumption. Here, they set up the decor for a village wedding.

Iram hi mi machungthuda (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

"Because our village doesn’t have many people” is an oft-repeated and comparative statement acknowledging the strength of the village. Though numerically small, the members of the village have always involved themselves in community work.

Roof for the wedding (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Cousins are seen painting the roof of a house that was built in a month. The completion of the house was the result of collective efforts by the relatives of the family.

Passion (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

A woman holding passion fruit in one hand and a hammer in the other.

Pressing pause to their routine of attending the farm, all men and women actively participate, post-lunch, at the new construction site.

Inside the Household (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

A mother carries her child as she continues to do the house chores. Do we really see our heroes?

Sultan’s Hero - Hoping (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

Iwui theikakhui athi shurda, varivara la kathei chila aa papamya ,chiena aja mishan khare kakhanganinghi iramli matik la

As far I know, he is a God-fearing man, who would think becoming the first citizen would be possible from Marou. 

Hopingson A. Shimray is presently the Tangkhul Naga Long President 2020.

Sultan’s Hero - Ashang (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

"He has a promising future." Wungnaoshang A. Shimray, former president of Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (a student body of the Tangkhul community).

Sultan’s Gratitude - Ramlung (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

I atam akhali shiman kapai thada shiman thui hai sadei, Ramlung hi na ili mathalak eina khangmathotmi

"I was once lost, but Ramlung saved me. He passed away in 1996. Here lie the graves of him and his wife Anna. I will be forever thankful to him till the end", Sultan adds.

Ava Sultan on Admiration (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

“Admiration and respect come to those who humble themselves. For me, I find myself content knowing God has saved me", Sultan says.

Welcome to New Beginnings (2020) by Chingrimi A.Shimray#COVIDHeroes

A man is seen carrying a board that reads "Welcome to New Beginning" to the village gate entrance in the middle of the night. 

Here is to hoping we continue to see our real-life heroes..

Credits: Story

Artist: Chingrimi A. Shimray

Chingrimi belongs to the Tangkhul Naga Tribe in Manipur, India. Her body of work is an archive of her process as a creative and as an individual. Beginner in the field, she enjoys the freedom that comes with image-making. Photography as a medium allows her to explore and tell stories that have never been told. Currently, she is based as a researcher in Ukhrul, India. 2020 has found her questioning and reconnecting to her indigenous roots. Safe to say, in that journey, she has met heroes that make up #My2020Hero.

Project location: Marou Village, Ukhrul

#my2020hero is an initiative by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation (CPB) to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of real-life heroes by sharing their stories.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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