TODAY -

August and patriotism

By Seram Neken *



Patriotism has a different meaning to the Manipuris. Love of motherland means love of co-existence. It cannot be defined without a sense of love, integrity and co-existence among the various sections of people residing in the hills and valley of the state.

Manipuri patriotism should not be sensed as patriotism of Meiteis, Nagas or Kukis as Manipur can never be described with only one community. It is truly a composite society. A leader's amount of patriotism can be gauged with its sincerity to uphold the integrated and harmonious existence of the different sections of people.

August every year has a hectic schedule. Last year at the dawn of August, the infamous Tehelka exposition in the form of 'Murder in plain sight' erupted people's uprising against the alleged extra-judicial indulgence of the security personnel. This year, economic blockade raised its ugly head at the very first day of August with the United Naga Council announcing resumption of ANSAM's temporarily suspended 68-day highway blockade.

Although it is always said that highway blockade is a crime, those who resort to the crime are not punished at all. It is surprising those perpetrators whose names are in the WANTED list and who have been on the chase by the police are now extended warm invitations only to negotiate and appease. The natural logic must be appeasement first and punishment later.

Frequent economic blockade on the lifeline highways for one or the other matter is an open violation of human rights of the affected people. It obstructs inflow of essential commodities including life-saving drugs thereby threatening the very existence of millions of human beings inhibiting both the hills and the valley of Manipur.

Such habits of agitators will undermine the rationality of their demands, even if it is in public interest for a particular group or so. Blockade affects the general public more than it affects the government machineries. Then, who is the target of the agitators - government or the public ? It is time for the agitating groups to explore some other means so that undue harassment is not meted out to innocent human beings. Let us make this August a month of unity, integrity, patriotism and co-existence.

August seems synonymous with people's movements around the globe. A host of world nations gained independence from foreign occupancy in the month of August in different years. Ecuador became a free country on 10th August 1822 and Uruguay gained independence from Brazil on 25th August 1825. After years of struggle, Bolivia became a republic on 6th August 1825. Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia celebrate their independence days in the month of August.

Hawaii became the 50th state of United States on 21st August 1959. Veitnam's revolution succeeded on 19th August 1945. Gandhiji's Quit India movement materialized on 9th August 1942. India gained Independence on 15th August 1947 with the formation of Pakistan as a Muslim state. Manipur, as a nation celebrate its independence day on 14th August every year.

August also experienced greatest tragedies. The memory of August 6 and August 9 bombings on Hirosima and Nagasaki, 1945 still lingers in the minds of peace loving people of the globe. After these greatest crimes against humanity, Japan declared unconditional surrender on August 15.

13th August is a red letter day for all Manipuris. It is on this day that two gallant sons of Manipur, Jubraj Takendrajit Bir Singh and Thangal General made the supreme sacrifices of their lives for the love of their beloved country 'Manipur'. In the evening of 13th August 1891, the British hanged them in public at Imphal Polo ground. In the state's recent history, the apex body of students All Manipur Students Union was born on 28th August 1965, the very next day of the infamous Hunger Marchers Day.

On this day many students laid down their lives in police firing while protesting against non-availability of rice due to artificial famine in the state. The Day is still remembered with observances marking the defeat of ruthless anti-people attitude of the then rulers.

August 4 every year is observed as Manipur Integrity Day by the All Manipur United Clubs` Organisation (AMUCO) by paying tributes to the martyrs of infamous June 18 uprising who laid down their lives for the territorial integrity and unity of Manipur. August will ever haunt the minds of people around the globe particularly Manipuris here to redefine patriotism and their craze for love of humanity.

Patriotism means love of motherland which may be demonstrated in the form of unity, love and co-existence among the various brethren. Love of a country means caring for its people. That love is reflected in ensuring security of life and not in bringing in material progress and temporal developments only.

Right from remembering Quit India slogans to celebrating countries independence, from paying homage to state's martyrs to observing Hunger Marchers' day - August is a hectic time for leaders of various categories to express love for the motherland and its people. Leaders will deliver beautiful speeches with their charming oration all over the state during this month's observances.

Is it really from the heart or just a display of oratory excellence that these leaders will shout during observances, we need to observe carefully.




* Seram Neken wrote this article for The Sangai Express.
This article was webcasted on August 12 2010.


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