National Seminar on singularity of India begins
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 28 2013: A two-day national seminar on Singularity of India: Integration, Homogenisation and Racism was inaugurated at Classic Hotel today.

The seminar is being jointly organised by United NGO's Mission Manipur (UNM-M), Conflict and Human Rights Studies Network, Manipur and North East Dialogue Forum.

The inaugural function of the seminar was graced by Prof Vanlalnghak, Director, IGNTU-RCM; U Nobokishor, Secretary United NGOs Mission-Manipur and Satyajit Usham, editor of Hueiyen Lanpao (Eng) as the chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

Giving the keynote address, Dr Thangjam Homen said the aim of the seminar is to explicate on the racist tendency of the Indian State, which has informed its policy formulations and executions, in defence, development and others besides attempting to create a platform to further reach out to the international community and Govt of India for positive interventions to end the practice of racism in India.

Addressing the gatherings, Prof Vanlalhngak questioned whether India has been successful in building a nation.

Pointing out that geographical integration is easier to achieve than emotional integration, he remarked that there is an element of imposition in the process of integration which ultimately leads to racism.

Prof Vanlalhngak observed that building India as a Nation on the basis of singularity will not be possible.

He concluded by stating that building India as a nation can be achieved only on the basis of cultural pluralism by recognising the ethnic diversities existing in the country.

Satyajit Usham, Editor, The Hueiyen Lanpao (English), Imphal expressed that India is a land of contradiction.

Even a professor from a university from mainland India does not have a clear cartographic knowledge about the North Eastern states.

He also pointed out that there is misrepresentation of the events taking place in the North East in the national media.

U Nobokishor, Secretary United NGOs Mission-Manipur, expressed that some of the states in the NE have already sold out forests to private companies which will have serious impacts on the livelihood of the people.

People need to be made aware of what racism is and how it operates or how it is practised so that a meaningful fight can be offered against racism and racial discrimination prevalent in India.

He remarked that Racism does not come in term of attitude alone but also in terms of policy and legislation while stating that AFSPA is a racially discriminatory legislation.

Quoting UN deliberation on racism, he stated that heavy deployment of the military and proliferation of armed groups in the North East are close to genocide of the people, which needs serious intervention.

Resource persons of the first day of the seminar included Dr G Aloysius, Visiting Faculty, English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad; Dr A Bimol Akoijam, Associate Professor, Centre for Study of Social System, JNU, New Delhi and Prof K Rajendra Singh, Dept of Sociology, Nagaland University.

It was chaired by Prof Vanlalnghak, while Rupachandra Yumnam, Correspondent of the Guwahati based daily the Seven Sisters Post was the Discussant.

G Aloysius said that India is a racist state.

Nationalism in India was an anti-people project as it was constructed by the Brahmin class for promoting and protecting their caste interest via-a-vis the British colonial rule.

Fighting the British was a mere pretext to gain control over the people by the Brahmin high caste.

The Brahmanical hegemony is deeply embedded in the Indian constitution and bureaucracy.

He pointed out that racism and casteism are the two major elements of Indian nationalism while underscoring the fact that caste is the real internal face of Indian nationalism.

There is a great Indian tradition of transforming the people into caste which will one day render all to be untouchable.

Dr A Bimol Akoijam argued that AFSPA is a paradigm of the government to create a "state of exception" in the region to govern those who could not be incorporated in the Indian nation but who comes within the purview of the Indian state, which is nothing but the re-enacting of the Nuremberg Law.

By virtue of this India is a racist state.

AFSPA has been captured in a limited space within the Human Rights discourse.

Undue focus on the legal aspect of AFSPA while ignoring the deeper political implications underlying it, the fight against AFSPA has not been able to engage the Indian state effectively.

Prof Ksh Rajendra Singh made an attempt to understand the conflict in Manipur from a civilizational dimension.

He observed that conflict in Manipur is a clash of civilizationbetween the indic civilization and the mongoloid civilizationthough not in a strict Huntingtonian sense.

He pointed out that the process of sanskritisation initiated in Manipur in the 18th century was the root cause of the indoManipur conflict.

Racism was practised in Manipur by India for the first time when Nehru imposed Hindi as the official language of the state.

Deployment of military following the forced merger of Manipur with India are another instances of the practise of racism.

Rupachandra Yumnam stated that the feeling of us and them is deeply engrained in the mind of those who govern the country.

He stated that the interest of the Indian state to govern the North East solely lies in promoting its national security.

The basic issue is that the media needs to play a stronger role in depicting the realities and events taking place in the region.

As a conclusion to the session Prof Vanlalnghak observed that there is a need to clearly define the term Mongoloid Civilization.

Session II of the seminar was Chaired by Prof K Rajendra Singh, Nagaland University.

Dr RK Ranjan, Director, College Development Council, Manipur University was the Discussant.

Resource persons of the session included Dr Dhanabir Laishram, Social Activist, Moirangthem Madhuchandra, Spokesperson, Northeast Helpline & Support Centre and Rev (Dr) PBM Basaiawmoit, Vice President, National Council of Churches in India, Advisor, NEDF and renowned Uranium Activist from Meghalaya.

Dr Dhanabir Laishram said Right wing Hindu fundamentalist outfits have systematically pursued racially discriminatory policy against the minority groups.

The rising spade of killing, raping and physical assault against the people of the Northeast in different Indian states is a clear indication of racism being practised in India.

National Liberation Movement in Manipur emerged as a response to racially discriminatory treatment meted out to Manipur at the time of integration, he said.

M Modhuchandra said that the Hindutva forces want to redefine the idea of India with the new concept of India which is highly Brahmanical in nature.

Pointing out that 50% of the cases of sexual harassment perpetrated in Delhi are against the NE women, he remarked that the root cause of racial discrimination is the racial profiling of the people of the NE .

Rev Dr PBM Basaiawmoit expressed that the North East region is treated as a dumping ground for the surplus population of the mainland Indians.

Dr TK Ranjan remarked that racism is a global issue which needs global intervention.

Prof K Rajendra Singh concluded the session by remarking that racism has been practised in India since the pre-independence era in one form or the other.

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