A Story of Kuki Diaspora in Britain

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  • Topic: Manipur, Chosen people, Judaism
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A Brief History of Kuki Diaspora Group in Britain

Canon Dr David T Haokip* (July 2011)

Abstract:

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul had written epistles to the early churches. Likewise, I am writing this letter to the Kuki community, in particular concerning those settled in different geographical regions of the World. The diverse experiences of hardship caused by wars, famine, and related problems for centuries have caused the Jewish people to wander in exile (disperse/scatter) from their homeland. As a matter of fact, the term “Jewish Diaspora" refers specifically to the scattered Jewish community (the chosen people of God). But the word “Diaspora” is now in the 21st century used in general, i.e. in all cases of “People settled outside from their homelands” because of seeking adventure for a better life, education, work, or forced by compulsion to leave, etc. Diaspora is “People on the Move” is now a term used to refer to such people. In this article I would like to highlight the gradual dispersal of people belonging to the Kuki ethnic group globally over time in where our forefathers literally neither tread nor envisioned. This dispersal and migration of our community from our original homeland could now indeed be termed as “Kuki Diaspora community”. Reflecting upon this fact, I am of the notion of subscribing to the philosophy that “God has a purpose and plan” in this particular voluntary or involuntary dispersal of individuals or groups of our people.

Diaspora group in London:

London is the capital city of UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). According to some historical account, the city is 2000 years old, but the history of the city begins effectively with the Romans. The city of British Empire “the empire on which the sun never sets” was also the capital of the World. To the present-day, the mega city is known as the global financial centre as well as “World politics” hub. The current government statistical report shows that there are over 7.5 millions Londoners, and has 33 districts. We are living in London borough of Newham, which is within Newham district. In total, this particular district comprises around about 40% Blacks and other minorities, including us. On one hand, this 40% can be designated as Diaspora group. As the British Empire was large and received world-wide recognition, it presumably attracted people from various cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds-White, Black, South Asian, East Asian, etc. As I am from Myanmar, I actively participate in Myanmar community activities. It is believed that there are above 20,000 Myanmar migrants in the UK. Within the city of London, besides Kuki Worship Service, there are similar fellowships such as Myanmar Christian Fellowship, Karen Christian Fellowship, Kachin Christian Fellowship, Mizo Christian Fellowship, Zomi Christian Fellowship etc. In addition, there are some community groups- say, for instance, the ‘Burmese Community UK” of which I am one of the pioneers in its formation in 1998. Till date, I am the Patron and founding member. Other existing groups include Britain Burma Society, Shan, Karen, Kachin, and Chin Community. Apart from these, there are five Myanmar Buddhist Monasteries in London alone.

I arrived Britain in 1997 I have made an effort to look out for our people, i.e. the Kuki ethnic people and have organised several informal gathering and feasts in my capacity. In the month of April 1998, Pu Paojakhup & Pi Neikim Telien, who are one of the earliest Kuki settlers in London and were assigned the role of Haosa {London eimite (our people) Kuki Chieftain} in a ceremony accompanied by dedication and prayer. Eventually, this effectively forged the actual development of Kuki Community in United Kingdom.

Pi Neikim & Pu Paojakhup: A brief sketch:

Pi Neikim was born at Saikul in Manipur. She is the daughter of Pu Longkhobel (and Pi Thongkhochin) Karong (Kilong). Pu Longkhobel first published a book “Thadou Kuki...
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