Saturday, October 10, 2009

On a Representative from Manipur at the UN's Commission of the Status of Women: Ahenleima is going to make a presentation on elimination of discrimination on the girl child

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The English has an unusual cadence to it. I don't recognize the place names mentioned in the article. Kangla, Manipur. I go to Google maps. Aha, the story is out of India, but the extreme eastern portion, on the other side of Bangladesh, close to the Myanmar border. -gw

"Along with academic education, the education to help one become successful, spiritual or moral education should also be imparted. Our present leadership is a failure, in my opinion, due to absence of spiritual education. I think if the young students take out time to inculcate spiritual education along with the academic education, we will have a more focused generation of youths.”

These are words coming from Koijam Ahenleima. She is studying in class XI at Herbert School, Changangei. Ahenleima is going to represent Manipur at the 51st session of the CSW – Commission on Status of Women at the United Nations which will be held from February 26th to March 9th. Among other things, Ahenleima is going to make a presentation on elimination of discrimination on the girl child with special reference to Manipur.

“The Baha’i International Community through the national spiritual assembly of the Baha’i faith recommended my name to represent the adolescent of India at UN. Luckily for me, I was selected,” said the soft-spoken Ahenleima.

When many of her counterparts are enjoying the best part of their teenager days, Ahenleima takes spiritual classes for children every Sunday for one to two hours. She has been taking these classes since she was in class eight! She said, “I take spiritual classes for students between 5 to 12 years. These children are collectively termed as Baha’i children. I had taken classes of 34 Baha’i children and at present there are 12 students under me. These classes are community-based.”

It is hard to believe when a sixteen years old girl talks about spiritualism instead of clothes, movies, music, and guys. What made her so strongly inclined to an ism at such a tender age which many fail to understand even at ripe age? She said that her parents’ belief in the Baha’i faith attuned her towards spiritualism along with her regular studies from a very young age.

Reflecting on the recent cases of crime against children in the state, Ahenleima said, “There is no saying that what happened to other children will not happen to me. Manipur has become very unsafe for us.” On being asked if criminal activities would reduced if the people are given spiritual education, she said that even if a person is given in-depth spiritual education if that education is not applied crime will not come down.

Lamenting the absence of facilities for children in Manipur, Ahenleima said, “To my knowledge, at present, there is nothing for children in Manipur – whether books, comics, or movies.” She said that the people, especially the grown ups seem to have forgotten that there are children too in this society.

Her hobbies include reading and singing. Apart from the Baha’i faith books, she reads Charles Dickens’ short stories and other novels. “But I enjoy spending time with children the most,” said Ahenleima. Speaking about her aim, she said she wants to excel in the field of homeopathy.

Born on 27th February 1991 to Dr Koijam Tomba and Koijam Sanatombi, Ahenleima is the second child among five siblings. Though she takes spiritual classes and talk about youth power, Ahenleima revealed a side that is hardly known. She said, “As a child I used to be very naughty. My friends comprised my younger brother’s friends since we grew up together. I grew up climbing trees and catching dragon-flies running among the tall grasses which adults used to stay away from fear of snakes.”

What can the youths and the adolescents do to change the society? “Lots, but nothing can be done overnight,” said Ahenleima. She said that the children as well as adolescents can work on preparing a good foundation so that “when we reach an age where we can have access to power, we will have the ability to remember their mistakes and not to repeat them. We should strive to become role models for the next generation and not a subject of ridicule.”

She said that if children can imbibe the best of academic and spiritual education, they can surprise the elders by giving meaningful suggestions in decision making. Ahenleima emphatically observed, “Youths’ energy is very powerful. We can start by giving an impact from now on to enable a better society.”

Posted via web from Baha'i Views

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