Tilting the human perception on the positive during times of great hardship is a tremendous feat any human can embark on. Even the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”.
The human example of such resilience and determination is a dime a dozen in modern society, but 28-year-old Thingujam Ajakykumar, who is presently living at Moirang Konjengbam Leikai Relief Camp, along with his wife and kid, has shown that creativity and craftsmanship shine the brightest during darkest of times.
Since staying at the relief camp, Ajaykumar has been making various handicraft products especially miniature replicas of famous landmarks of Manipur; Ajaykumar always had a knack for making crafts work and what used to be a part-time hobby has now blossomed into a separate career option for the young family man.
With the help of his wife, Ajaykumar has made around 10 miniature houses along with other pottery and handicraft items at the relief camp. He is now making a miniature replica of the Moirang INA Museum and hopes to showcase all his craft products at a local fair which will be organised very soon by the relief camp volunteers.
Ajaykumar originally hails from the Churachandpur Molnom area and has been staying at the Moirang Konjengbam Leikai relief camp since May 4, 2023, along with six members of his family.
Speaking to this Imphal Free Press reporter, Ajaykumar said he was a daily wage earner and worked as a labourer in local construction sites.
“Making such handicraft products has always been a hobby of mine. The volunteers at the relief camp exhorted me to make some products for a local fair which they were going to organise for the inmates at the relief camps,” he said.
He stated that he wanted to make as many handicraft products as he could so that people could enjoy the diverse range of his products.
Originally the fair was scheduled to start on November 6 but it has been postponed; that has only increased my work period and I will make more in the meantime, he added.
He highlighted that he personally bought all the materials needed for his craft and stated that the budget for the material did not cost much.
He pointed out that his wife and other inmates from the relief shared hands in making the products and maintained that patience was the key in such time-consuming labour.
“It would mean the world to me if the public appreciated my products but there is lingering apprehension about the visitor turn-up because of the ongoing unrest,” he said.
Commenting on the long-drawn crisis, Ajaykumar expressed discontentment over authorities’ disregard to resolve the conflict and appealed to the authorities concerned to cease the unrest.
“We have stayed at the relief camp for more than six months and every day we long to return to our home at Churachandpur. We want authorities to sort out the residential crisis of the relief camp inmates and end the crisis which has plagued the state for too long,” he said.
Altogether over 100 inmates are currently residing at Moirang Konjengbam Leikai Relief Camp majority of whom are from Churachandpur.