GRAFTS but not greeds will help MU academic atmosphere

D Letkhojam Haokip *

Manipur University (MU) at Canchipur
Manipur University (MU) at Canchipur :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Manipur University is established in the year 1980. Prior to this it was a study Centre of Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. After it was converted into a State University it had meted out many challenges. Limitations of academic departments or disciplines to train students of the region to equip with the changing scenario of Higher Education due to financial constraint perhaps constituted one important challenge.

Secondly, shortage of teaching Faculty, and non- teaching staffs, limitation of of the existing departments and slow payment of compensation to the land owners, whose paddy field are taken over by the state Government or University authority to built up one of the best University campus at least in the entire Northeastern states were equally important challenges it meted till was converted into a Central University by an Act of Parliament in 2005. Every body's guess, centre around financial constraint. Yes, it was to a great extent. After its conversion as a central University huge structure, like guest house, academic buildings for all disciplines, a good number of hostels probably to avail hostel facilities to all the PG students came up and even common men would surely felt the developments taking place within a short span of time.

Now considering Manipur University as a stage or dais, it witnesses many actors and actresses- new and old. Both actor and actresses constitutes the University authority, Deans of different Faculties, Manipur University Students Union, Manipur University Teachers' Association, Manipur University Tribal Students' Union, Academic Council and so on and so forth. Normally actors and actress of a movies or drama always acted according to the direction given by the Director, which is always under a given theme but acting differently to accomplish the objectives set by the producer or director.

Now in the case of Manipur University, who is the director of the movie or drama? Normally VC is there but when he is unable to acts as director of a Movie, it becomes drama without director. Certainly it is difficult to find out. Probably it now become a central university and actors and actress needs to act according the rules and regulations from time to time by the Central Government. Nobody ever watch a drama where the actors and actresses destroyed the dais once for all. For the actors and actresses have to left the dais, keep alive the themes and the skilled of acting on the stage to the younger generations. For outsiders and laymen who does not know the ground reality will be always at surprise whenever Manipur University came up in the news, reporting dismantling and or vandalizing of University offices, class rooms etc.

Violence in the form of dismantling property(s) took place throughout the length and bread of Manipur due to XYZ protests. It is no more a surprise but on the transitional stages to be a part of People's Culture. Killing, assaulting, kidnapping and what not had took place in the past decades. So, considering Manipur University as a stage, actor and actresses ought competition with others to qualify for bigger and larger stages with more audiences. Sadly, the plain and the Hill tribal competition with greediness over land, property, political rights, identity and higher education of course for learners casually affected the functioning of Manipur University.

Now coming to the current situation of Manipur University one will surely felt sorry for it. One and all should come forward to bring amicable solution to the present crisis that developed in the Manipur University. Before the present crisis Manipur University Campus also witnesses a general strike launched by the Manipur University Teachers' Association probably due to shortage of Faculty members and probably other issues. After negotiation with the University Authority headed by the Vice- Chancellor, HNK Sharma, it again resumes academic exercises. All of a sudden hue and cried slogan against Central Reservation Policy amended way back in 2012 in connection with Reservation Policy in the Tribal areas including Manipur.

Now mass exodus from University hostels, delay in entrance examination would surely affected academic atmosphere. It reminds me of my college and University days in Manipur. Three Year degree Course took about four and half a year and Two years postgraduate i.e M A already took three years. I felt the pain of those days. This kind of situation becomes a very important factor for sending students outside Manipur. When my HSLC batch of 1990 came back with Master degree I really felt pain for people who could not afford for higher education outside Manipur. Let me blame myself here first. I was a student but it was due to the highhandedness of Students Union in Manipur partly for postponement of university examinations. Now if entrance test and every academic exercise are failed till now, who will be the loser? The victims will be definitely Students community of Manipur. It is certainly the students of Manipur. Therefore, it's time to awake and shone all forms of agitations and hesitations that stood against learners' career.

The conversion of it into a central University changes the reservation policy in the state which is 31 %, for Scheduled Tribe, 2% for Scheduled caste, and so on and so forth. On its conversion to a central University Sea bed changes took places. The University had followed Central Educational Institution Reservation, which is only 7.5% for ST and 35% for Scheduled Caste. The declaration of its conversion to a Central University was no more good news for ST, who enjoyed 31% under State University. The Tribal Students spear headed by the ATSUM, (All Tribal Students Union) and MUTSU (Manipur University Tribal Students' Union) launched series of agitations, in the form of sit in protest, hunger strike and also general strikes in the Campus and outside University Campus. The immediate outcome was opening of the Indira Gandhi Tribal University Amarkantak Campus at Chingmeirong Imphal in 2009.

The Tribal Students has to fight with for they are convince that even the Manipur State Reservation Policy, do not meet the challenges they face and were still lagging behind. It must be noted that ATSUM conducted a preliminary surveyed in various department of the state and condemned Manipur Government for not following reservation policy in many of the departments. The fear psychosis developed by that time resulted to the opening up of a study centre IGNTU -Manipur Campus which is still at its initial stages. Now, one can see who reaps the sweat of those tribal students who were lathe charge, arrested and locked up in the police custody across the Imphal districts.

Now the implementation of the Central Educational Institution (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 from the current academic session has to roll back and the SC and OBC have stood against it. Why should we blame to the University authority that is here to implements the order of the higher authority? MU has to abide the amended reservation Policy in the tribal belts in India including Manipur, and rollback the earlier Central Institutional Reservation Policies in admission. This affected the community or category that enjoyed higher percentage since the conversion of the Premier State University, particularly Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Classes of Manipur.

One has to think twice before organizing demonstration or agitation. Reservations are done on the basis of Population ratio. If the Tribal of Manipur enjoyed only 7.5% after a decade or few decades the gap between Hill and valley will be unbridgeable. As of now the amendment is only for admission of the students in various courses. An opinion expresses by some tribal students pointed to a grimmer situation if amended reservation policy includes appointments. The tribal students File PIL at the state Apex Court Imphal and Double Bench has already directed the Varsity to act according to the Amended Central Reservation Policy. Opportunities, facilities and infrastructure become a sharp tool to widen the Socio-Cultural relations of the Valley and Hill. GREEDS or greediness that tsunami in the form of XYZ category is a problem where several communities lived.

The whole idea is that a state like Manipur will always face challenges to meet the demand of different communities or categories. One alternative is to set up more University- like upgrading of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Campus to a full-fledged Central University and the process to upgrade the Premier Government College, particularly D.M College as a State University be expedite to meet the new challenges posed by the ever changing and expanding human greed in the state like Manipur. The greediness for higher learning which is the only means in an industrially backward state like Manipur should not be undermined. It is a dream of many likeminded people to have more University in the State and to set into motion a fair competition to bring Quality Education amongst Universities which will ensure a skilled to rock Global Academia.

The kind of hatred that developed in Manipur across different categories and communities can be tapped in an inverter and converted to meet the ever expanding challenges in various fields. Needs no mention here but many are aware that tapping of human intellects and creativity is done mostly in institutions and is utilized in bringing changes for better posterity. Instead of giving room for vested interests and hatred one and all should come forward and start thinking welfare for all communities. Manipur had already leads other parts of India in sports and in forming numbers of arms organization.

So what will be the harm if we Give Rooms and Avenues For Tapping and Transaction of Students Skills (GRAFTS) in the Manipur University, the highest Institutions of the state to develop potentialities of the student communities by improving all sorts of mechanism to increase numbers of Higher learning with Quality to allow the next generations' to rock International academia and reputed Institutions across the Globe?

If we are able to maintain and run Quality Education in our locality accession to it will be cheap and production will always have market across the globe. Middle classes and top ranking fellows can send their wards outside; the general public has to think and acts for the poor family who has to entirely dependent for all academic pursuits in the state. Having said all these does not mean that Manipur University does not maintain quality education. It has so far shaped and moulded the careers of thousands and the production of it is scattering across countries. Students must keep themselves away from the protest mindset and maintain positive and critical thinking to so as to meet ever increasing challenges.

* D Letkhojam Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of History, Guwahati University
This article was posted on September 11, 2014.

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