TODAY -

International Day of Indigenous people
PREPAK hails efforts to preserve identity

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 08, 2013: The proscribed PREPAK has greeted all the indigenous people of the world threatened by colonial rules and malicious administrative policies on the occasion of the International Day of World's Indigenous People (August 9). Many groups of indigenous people have been either wiped out completely or gobbled up by larger communities while many others are on the verge of extinction.

At present, around 37 crore people belonging to 5000 different indigenous groups of people and spread over 70 countries have been struggling hard to preserve their identities.

It is heartening to note that people across the world have been supporting efforts to preserve identity and cultural heritage of these indigenous communities who now constitute just five per cent of the world population.

A statement issued by the outfit's publicity and propaganda assistant secretary Leibakngakpa Luwang stated that the International Day of World's Indigenous People has been observed on August 9 every year since the first conference of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Population was held from August 9-13, 1982 in Geneva.

The outfit also acknowledged the contribution of the indigenous peoples towards promotion of their respective traditions, languages, scripts etc.

It is crucial for all countries to implement the UN Declaration on the Right of the Indigenous People 2007 so that indigenous communities can live and grow at par with other communities.

Like other people, all indigenous peoples are entitled to the right to self determination which means they have the right to decide their political, cultural and economic status.

Even as the UN has declared 46 Articles for protection of indigenous people, many countries including India have not been implementing these Articles.

Apart from denying several rights to the indigenous peoples of Kangleipak, the Government of India has been allegedly scheming to obliterate and dilute the identity of indigenous people with the ultimate objective of assimilating them into larger Indian communities.

People of Kangleipak have been slowly and steadily losing their well-known traits of integrity, patriotism, sense of sacrifice, discipline, national pride etc.

Such degeneration in the national character is a direct fall out of the cultural and religious interference by larger communities either through coercively or forcibly.

In the process of proselytization of Meiteis, the indigenous religious practices were banned and the indigenous script was abandoned forcibly with a sinister design to abolish the identity of Meiteis completely.

In addition, Meiteis were made intoxicated with imported festivals which subsequently diminished their work culture.

Starting from proselytization of Meiteis in the 18th and 19th centuries, Meiteis were finally brought under the political control of India in 1949.Thus the process of obliterating the identity of Meiteis and their assimilation into India communities began to gather steam.

As declared by the UN, all indigenous communities need to struggle for their rights and by exercising these rights, they need to work with a clear vision in order to protect their identity, culture and traditions.

For the threatened communities like Meiteis, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a ray of hope.

People of Kangleipak need to understand the degenerated situation of their culture, social practices, economy, traditions and political status for collective re-construction of these lost or vanishing values, the outfit asserted.


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