TODAY -

Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur ?

Oinam Premchand Singh *



THE DOMINO effect of the #MeToo campaign has very recently in many ways empowered a sheer number of women across the world to step out openly,and share their so far unvoiced woeful stories on social medias’ platforms – Facebook and Twitter –pertaining to sexual harassments, and/or abuses inflicted personally to them in academia, religious institutions, workplaces in particular, and inpast everyday life in general.

In India too, apart from being merely a trending social media campaign, it has increasingly been garnering overwhelming supports and social awareness; it is perhaps, most likely afterward the recent spotlighted story of Akbar – then Minister of the Government of India – on series of serious of sexual harassments charge which eventually culminated to his final resignation from his office.

What is more significant as is that he is not being charged only with sexual harassments, but also of rape by a woman during her earlier carrier when she was an employee working together with Akbar. Akbar’s stories of sexual harassments and rapes represents an apt instance of the many affluent influential Indians’assailants that came to the light, who if not, would continue to hold so prestigious social positions and considerable power at their hand in the society.

Though this hashtag campaign is criticized of being misused by very few, an acknowledgeable outcome without entailing any benefit of doubt is that of its larger constructive implications in respect to spreading social awareness which far outweigh fairly to any of the advancing criticisms’ arguments.

In Manipur, it is quite surprising that not even a single story of this trending #MeToo has been surfaced, posted, and/or shared on social media as of now and so the campaign has unable todraw any attention of the public!

This has invited a set of provoking questions: Why are Manipuri women having no or trivial interest in this noble social campaign? Were and/or are there no abusive crimes or harassments in their life? Are crimes against women either in forms, comparatively and feebly less in the State? Are women still not disclosingmany stories of sexual assaults, harassments, and rapes?

This could, on the other hand, lead one to assume that the state is quite a safe place for women, where the actual case scenario is contrary given the increasing cases of the sexual harassments and rapes which are televised timely or often found on the newspapers’ front page.

Gone are the days when only adults or family’s head has had a mobile phone; apparently at present many adolescences and youths in the State are increasingly using mobiles, thereby, gaining accesses to the data internet becomes very easy, thanks to Reliance Jio. It is of no doubt that people in the state are heading towards a more connected life. Social media pages and internet Blogs are flooding on the websites, so are the active number of online people on Facebook and Twitter.

But for myriad reasons, people in the State are very poor at acknowledging the increasing role of the social media as a powerful tool for solving and engineering some of the unresolved persisting social crime against the women in everyday today life which in many aspects would far exceed the ‘Utopians’ derivatives of a ‘just society’, from the texts based knowledge.

Well, in this respects, social media represents a common platform for the people, where people without any sense of belongingness to the above or below are united on stage with the rights of being expressiveness with own thoughts and emotions. Sadly, the internet is being used more chiefly of a fun to play with; an amusing thing at leisure time by a large number of people in the State. No harm on it, however, the point is one could also be equally awareful of its larger scope in shaping the society.

Why this no hashtag story in the state so far might be because of the fact that there is a widely perceived notion of being a thing just for the youths only. Also, old age group or middle age women in the State are less in number on social media, (though it has been fast increasing). Moreover, the older generations of the women in the State are quite not used to this recent technological gadgets and more specifically to the social media. To them, it is just an alien thing.

In lieu of the younger generations’ women in the State in achieving a more differing outlook on social media platforms at this juncture, theyotherwise have taken no initiative that can partially be called to be of related to this hashtag campaign. It is high time that womenin the state come out of the fear of the sharing their woeful stories of harassments, violence, or even of rape, to not only to condone the misdeeds of the assailants, but also to acknowledge to many others like-minded assailants who are constantlyon prey or hoping for advantage to women.

This would create a wider social awareness in Manipur thereby would result in a cordial atmosphere for women in academia, religious institution, workplace, so on and so forth. They must come out the fear of the socially fabricated age-old established norms and conservatism, which inhibits their ownvery act of self-empowerment. If their stories are not disclosed then they should bear in their heart and mind that they are in some way or the other are morally accountable for the same crime to befall on other women in the future.

If Manipuri women are quite sensitive to this trending social media campaign then it is of no doubt that they would surely be able to name many of the affluent and influential people in the state who are behaving almost like a person who never killed a mosquito in their lifetime.

To recapitulate the points, it is doubtful that social media education which is so far been overlooked by many and yet not subscribed in the standard school texts could become an utmost necessity to be a part of the school syllabus in the state.


* Oinam Premchand Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University
This article was posted 09 November, 2018 .


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