It’s a space so quiet that only the fires in the evening crackle as the blue light of the dust mingles with a slight wet evening . The school wakes me up from the slumber, and makes me tackle the repressed children of the paite a tribe of the southern town of Manipur lamka .The official religion of this tribe is Protestant ethic.
In Churachandpur the most interesting thing is that Manipur is a state of India being landlocked from three sides is actually a place where you can only fly in which makes this land very disconnected from mainstream India. This makes it remote and south- East Asian in flavour. The children are brown and oriental looking. They are quiet but they observe very intently. The work is a lot to do with their inner world. it’s a interaction with the inner world through the arts which makes things dynamic despite a long drawn primitive notions of god which appear more, like a grand – father who suddenly decides whether they need to live, die or be punished.
The world of the children live in this constant fear of hell often resort later on to militant violence, drugs, alcohol , suicide , thus bringing all their fear of going to hell right into their life’s as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The work therefore is a work of creating a pathway from death, punishment, ghosts into a world of inner safety. The warrior was a metaphor for courage and the inner child was a symbol of innocence and ok-ness (sense of I am OK). Taking from Eric Berne’s transactional analysis, it’s time to say that all of us are born ok. So the inner child is ok and all the little children don’t be scared because you can put yourself in a ok space, a safe space. Bring affirmation and strokes on to yourself that would remove your sense of not being ok for a tiny bit.
The work shop with artistic processes was simply that, a simple understanding of the self. The child ego the figure of spontaneity, and playfulness being caged in the space of utter obedience or else.
The edge is therefore created by the norms of a place that pushes people in many double binds , the bind of state perched on the edge of a vast nation that is so diverse having an incredible diversity and many kingdoms within it . The other bind is belonging to a tribe with a religion that speaks more of fear and control than of love which is the essence of Christianity and the Sermon on the Mount.
The arts attempts to create pathways into this inner world bringing a journey a movement into the self. Then it’s through this self we can understand the other. The spaces of inner war and outer war are all mirrors of each other. The children who fear death, hell, and damnation and depict suicides are saying something loud through their silence.
The teachers who have gone through ethnic clashes who struggle with social stigma, and the community dictating terms to them, live with deep fear. It’s understood that a human being is both fragile and resilient and this is understood that when we stand on that edge we can expand, shrink or simply fall of off. The artist worker simply engages with the edges, and also his/her own edge.
She/he works with creative processes to engage, to care , to walk the emotional pathway so that the edge can be a space of transformation and not a space of transmission . So the journey gets set through exercises like ghost and warrior’s, inner child, and safe spaces .The journey from the transmission of pain to the transformation of pain. From the processes of pain to a possibility. The possibility of being happy and to be in-charge. The work from the edges of all sorts is to take charge to be willing, and wilful, and finally to become useful.