Common future of Manipur - a view from tribal languages perspective
- Part 2 -

Ragongning Gangmei *

Manipur State Education Budget is not only an anti-tribal documents but is a document of anti-common future of Manipur. The future of tribal people are threatened in Manipur as far non-allocation of fund for tribal languages in the State's Budget of Education is concerned. Deeply rooted state apathy of tribal languages and linguistic racism in Manipur is largely seen in many ways and they are largely exhibited in the State's Budgets of Education Department, BOSEM, COHSEM, SCERT and educational institutions.

As of now, no future is foreseen for indigenous tribal languages and they are being eliminated from the Common FutUre of Manipur. Therefore, the state apathy of tribal languages is ruining the future of the tribal people in Manipur.

Manipur State Integrity and divine healing touch

Manipur is making effort to uphold 'state integrity' without a thought for common future of the people. In reality, state integrity without a 'common future' is not possible, and common future without the indigenous linguistic communities of Manipur is unthinkable. Therefore, the people and their languages should be given a proper place in the making of Manipur's today and tomorrow to make Manipur's 'state integrity' strong and firm.

Concerning 'communal harmony', Manipur is suffering from chronic multi-organs failure since decades back. Voices and slogans alone cannot heal the state from its chronic ailments. The state needs a divine healing touch. "To heal the state's ailments, language touch shall be one of the most effective tools. When languages are touched, every community is touched. When every community is touched, the whole people of Manipur are being touched." Because, Manipur is a unity of diversity with multi-ethno and multilingual communities. Therefore, to achieve a 'common future' and thereby 'state integrity' the state government should adopt a language policy with a holistic view of touching each and every language of indigenous people of Manipur and putting them to the next sloth of the State Language Manipuri (Meiteilon).

Destabilized Social Order in Manipur

In Manipur bundhs, blockades, rallies, dharnas, agitations are the everyday's social orders since decades ago and till today. In Manipur civil society organisations are mushrooming. Agitations outnumbered the days. No single day is passed off without rallies, dharnas, killings, arrests. Manipur state is divided among the tens of insurgent groups who are spearheading demands for homeland, independence, self-determination, integration to other states, etc. Usually, such elements are the outcomes of people's frustrations of the state's administration.

In Manipur many aspirations of the people or communities cannot see the light of the day due to the indifferent attitude of the successive ruling state giovernments that hardly attended to the wills and aspirations, pulses and feelings of the communities of the state. The successive state governments cannot see the whole communities of Manipur. Therefore, as of now, Manipur has become a land of people's frustrations for many, particularly, the tribal language communities because of state apathy and linguistic racism. The tribal linguistic communities feel that they are always sidelined, neglected and alienated. They are not given state patronage for promotion of their languages. They feel they don't have a place of dignity, pride and honour (phidaa) in the state they lived in. This is a negative impact created in the minds of tribal linguistic communities. These are the doings of the state administration.

All the facts and circumstances stated above are some of the reasons that used to destabilize the traditional cordial relationship of the hills and the valley. In fact, there is no enmity between the hills people and the valley people in the state. The seeming 'hills-valley divide' is the outcome of the inefficient state administration only. This is also an unwanted social order in Manipur since decades ago and till today.

The need of a New Social Oreder in Manipur

CTLLSM dreams of a new social order, to usher in Manipur. By new social order we mean -
(i) a society free from bundhs, blockades, rallies, dharnas and agitations;
(ii) a society of peaceful co-existence with love, dignity, understanding, confidence, respect and concern for each other;
(iii) a society of common belongingness to the state with a common future for all; and
(iv) a government that is efficient, competent, free from corruptions and that works on good system of administration
(v) all communities friendly government that sees all communties of the state, has equal concern for all of them and committed to work for them.

To usher in a new social order in Manipur, we need a unity of the indigenous linguistic communities of the state. To achieve a unity of indigenous linguistic communities of Manipur, we need to provide each and every linguistic community an equal place of dignity, pride and honour (maannaba phidaa in the state) especially in the matter of their languages (mother tongues) because language is the future of a community.

And they should be made to feel the common belongingness to the State. We believe that unity of the indigenous linguistic communities of the state would strengthen the bond of unity and mutual understanding of the people, intercommunities cordial relationship and peaceful co-existence of all in Manipur; and this will again usher in 'a new social order' in the state - that may be a Little Heaven on earth for all of us, that is our cherished hope. That is the beauty of the unity of all linguistic communities and the foundation for the 'Common Future' we dreamt of.

Now is the time to work out our common future :

Now is the time to work out a common future for all communities living in Manipur. The presence of each and every community in the state should be made felt. Each and every community should have a place of dignity, pride and honour (phidaa) in the state. Thereby, common belongingness to the state should be made felt to all communities of the state.

With a view to achieving a common future of all communities of Manipur, the state government should take up the followings, as special arrangement, on priority basis.

(i) A holistic Language Promotion Programme for each and every linguistic community should be taken up. Each and every linguistic community should have a place of dignity, pride and honour. Rules or procedures for language approval should be made easy, restriction on population should be stopped. Fund should be properly allocated for each and every linguistic community for promotion of their language. Each and every linguistic community should be given opportunity for learning their mother tongue in the schools and colleges. Language-wise fund allocation should be done for development and production of educational textbooks. Fund for language development, trainings, seminars, workshops and administrative grants should be given to the literature societies of the linguistic communities.

(ii) A holistic Culture Promotion Programme for each and every indigenous community should be taken up by community-wise allocation of fund in the state budget. Fund should be allocated for every community for culture house, annual main cultural festival, documentation of cultural traditions, production of traditional costumes, training of traditional performing arts, etc. Equal opportunity should be given to each and every community for promotion of their customary practices - culture and languages.

(iii) State government should have a sincere commitment to enforce Reservation Policy for the weaker sections of people for recruitments of job and promotion, admission and any sort of selections. No advanced people should have jealousy of it.

(iv) Festivals:

(a) Sangai Festival :

State Festivals like Sangai Festival should be observed for 12 days. the first 2 days shall be celebrated as cultural festival of all communities at every district headquarters. Then the main functional shall be held at Imphal for 10 days as usual accommodating cultural programme of all communities of Manipur.

(b) Indigenous Communities Festival of Manipur:

We appreciate the League of Fourth World People of Kangleipak (LFWPK) for organising Indigenous Brothers Meet every year since 2000 A.D.The State government should organise a state level festival of indigenous communities of Manipur in the model of the LFWPK's 'Indigenous Brothers Meet'. The festival may be called 'Indigenous Communities Festival of Manipur' and all communities of Manipur shall participoate with their tradtional custom and culture at the festival.

(iv) Re-organisation and functionalization of Departments: To implement the points raised above, the state government should reorganise the following traditional departments to grow and transform into modern institutions with a view to accommodating the visions, aims and objectives of the Common Future of Manipur.
(a) Education Department and its related institutions - SCERT, COHSEM, BOSEM, schools, colleges, universities, etc.;
(b) Art & Culture Department and its related institutions - MSKA, JNDA, MDDC, MFDC, etc.
(c) Department of Tribal Affairs and its related institutions like TRI, MTDC, etc.
(d) Department of Sports and Youth Affiars and its institutions;
(e) Department of Information and Public Relations;
(f) Media Houses - both print and electronic. (v) We need change of Outlooks:

To achieve a Common Future of the people and to promote it in the state at the times to come, we need certain changes in the outlooks of the people and the state government as suggested herebelow:
(a) to change from the authoritarian/ruling government's outlook to that of all-communties' friendly Government;
(b) to change from the outlook of government seeing administration to that of all-communitiees seeing administration; and
(c) to change from self-centred outlook of the people to that of common-belongingness to the State.
The best campaign for state integrity, unity and peaceful co-existance of the people in the state is to work for a common future of Manipur.

When a common future for all communities in the state is assured, who else shall be demanding for a separate homeland or separate administrative unit or independence or soveriegnty or alternative arrangement?
When there is a common future for all communities in the state, there shall be no hills-valley divide.
When there is a common future for all communities in the state, Manipur shall be one of the most peaceful states in the north-east India.
This write-up, in the best interest of the whole Manipur, is a humble submission of the CTLLSM to the people and the State Government of Manipur for taking a good decision taking into consideration all the points raised above for building our future - a better and well knitted common future of Manipur covering all the people and all the linguistic communities in the State. The CTLLSM wants every community lives with dignity, pride and honour in the state of Manipur.

Discover the joy of sowing the seed of unity of indigenous linguistic communities of Manipur and experience the miracle of reaping the harvest of Common Future of the state through the unity of indigenous linguistic communities of Manipur. The forthcoming Elections to the 11th Manipur State Assembly, 2017 is a good time for everyone of us to take a decision for electing good leaders having commitment to build a common future for all language communities in Manipur.


* Ragongning Gangmei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is the chairman of Council of Tribal Languages and Literature Societies, Manipur
This article was reposted on February 09, 2017.

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