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Jitendra Kumar Barthakur

HB +J; 491-p; 20.5x14x3 cm3; 500 gm; 2010


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THANGZAKHAI is a familiar proper name amidst a tribe-group that lives along the border between India and Myanmar, and the linguists call them “Kuki.”  These gentle and caring people make great soldiers. Thangzakhai or Khai belonged to the Simte Tribe of Manipur in India. His grandfather was a sergeant of the Lushai Guards, who, alongside a Gorkha company, killed all in a platoon of the Japanese in WWII, and survived - with another Gorkha. Khai loved Pari – the daughter of a sergeant of the Second Battalion of the Assam Regiment that army had disbanded. Khai and Pari lived in the interior hills of Manipur at two days distance from the nearest motor road. They were students. A beautiful student named Lily conspired, and got them rusticated from the school. Thereafter, they were the victims of the circumstances. Khai joined insurgency; proved an ace shooter, and a great pathfinder. He allegedly burnt down a Police Station to ashes, fled and joined the Naga insurgents, became an ambusher that killed two scores of Indian soldiers, and looted government money. He had a great escapade and eventually landed up in a jail in Kohima in India. He escaped. Government pursued him. Pari was waiting for him incognito in a small village all this while. Khai reached her. Government reached Khai. ..

Author, Jitendra Kumar Barthakur of the Indian Frontier Administrative Service that carries the legacy of the Indian Political Service, served Manipur Government from 1964 to 1969. The “legacy” made these officers mix with military and the people at the same time. They always had time and reason to hang out in the interior and measure the problems that the people faced. In the novel THANGZAKHAI, the author effortlessly describes the land and the people, and weaves an imaginary story about insurgency - when there was no insurgency in the Manipur Valley, Assam and other parts of the North East India.

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