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  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

U Wer





Gertrude says: "U Wer" is remembered by many for his strength, often measured by his ability to carry weighted and bulky materials on his back. He was the person who singlehandedly carved out these 10 feet long stones from a "mawsiang" (boulder), transported them to the village and made "mawthnah’' or foundation stones out of them for a friend's house. One of my informants recall him generously uprooting an entire tree from the forest ground for her when she mentioned to him that she needed wood. Another elderly informant said that he once held a barge in place with his hands and stopped it from leaving the shores of Tharia when a friend of his who wanted to board the vessel had not reached the river. What people recall most fondly are however the series of jibes "U Wer" casted on authority figures. He was once meddled by a few Border Security Force personnel for carrying a traditional hunting gun. Instead of surrendering, the man readily pointed the gun at them and laughed hysterically that they got deeply uncomfortable and decided to leave him be. Another occasion in which he presented his recalcitrant and mischievous self was when he was caught killing fishes in the "Nur Bah" (now commonly known as Wah Rew) with his beloved gun. The person who reported him was the Manager of the Komorrah Limestone Mining Company Limited, which has its factory downstream. Again, the BSF staff came to the scene only to be given the argument by "U Wer" that it was in fact the Manager who taught him, an ignorant and illiterate man, how to kill fish in that brutal manner. He elaborated on how it was Company people who had taught the locals to use dynamite and blow up the river mass-killing fish. "U Wer" was ultimately not punished but people told me that the Manager got fired immediately. True or not, these stories live in the messy universe of collective memory. And there I hope they stay.


There are many stories that we hear of, of individuals possessing talent and skill. 💪💪 "U Wer" was a man of great strength and the stones in the pictures are testament to that. Khublei Shibun @gertrudelamare for this! 😄🙏
📷 Photo credit: @gertrudelamare
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