E-Pao! Politics / Governance Opinion - Melange

Comments by Somchandra Nahakpam
Independence - what more can it offer?

By: Somchandra Nahakpam *

This is a comment on Mr. Chandam's essay, "Independence-what more can it offer?" My intention here is not to get into the debate of whether an Independent Manipur or not.

To begin with you have said that people of Manipur are enjoying their right to life under the Indian Constitution, fine.

What about Sanamacha?
What about the victims of the Malom massacre, the RIMS massacre...... (Never ending tales)?
Didn't they have the right to life?

And talking about justice how many victims have got justice from the atrocities done by the security personnels.
Did Manorama got justice??

It will be interesting to know that an enquiry commission was set up by GOI to look into AFSPA, Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee. Ironically,the committee came up with the suggestion that AFSPA should be repealed but the GOI didn't think it appropriate.

Why? God knows or may be First-class citizen treatment!

You must have heard about Irom Sharmila. A lady on fast for more than 6 years to protest against AFSPA and some or rather many people saying she has been instigated by the 'terrorists'. Now you tell me how long will you remain empty stomach if somebody tells you or force you to do so. May be One day, two days…..!

When insurgents violates human rights the State is there to look into it (people also did raised voice many times), but when the State itself is violating human rights who will look into it, of course people will come out on streets. There is a difference between State and non-State actors.

Think over this. It would also be wrong to come into some certain conclusion by just observing the voter turn-outs in the Assembly elections because there can be various other factors.

Whose country is it? I think everybody knows it, the country is for 'mayaangs' (the mainlanders). There is no place for World boxing champion Mary Kom on the National media (even if it did, may be just on small column of a newspaper) because they all are busy after Sania's skirt or Dhoni's hair style. Has Rathore has got a new rifle for shooting!

Another interesting aspect, how do u prove yourself to be an Indian? Physically you look different so you are taken as a foreigner. This is not uncommon in tourist places where they charge more entry fee for the foreigners. Some people might say it is only their ignorance.

In that matter almost all the mainlanders are ignorant (even educated people too). More than 50 years of independence and your countrymen doesn't know that people like you and me exist in some part of the country. And some people are celebrating multiculturalism. I don't know on what basis.

By looking at the voter turn outs in a particular election you cannot jump to any conclusion, which will be an illusion. There can be various other factors as well. And regarding the feature of a Nation.

India is not single entity but a configuration of nations or a multinational country. To elaborate further T.K.Oommen says that "the consequence of regarding India as a Nation is that it creates hierarchical socio-political milieu in which the dominant community hijacks the agenda of the 'nation', supresses the cultural/linguistics aspirations of the rest of the society and treats them 'parochial' and 'anti-national'.

Oommen further says that there are people who recognize the existence of 'little nations' or 'sub nations', but under the umbrella of the great Indian nation. It is an ambiguous position.

While it accepts the reality of distinctive cultural collectivities, it does not deny the centrality of the Indian nation because it fears that if these little nationalities are recognized as nations they would clamor for their sovereign states.

India cannot give us cultural identity; it can only give us citizenship. Citizenship and nationality should not be equated. We are destined to live as distinct nationalities in order to preserve pluralism." It must be clear from the above points what actually a Nation is.

And there is also a least possibility that a country's language, people, religion, name be changed easily. When you are putting question like whether independent Manipur will be able to survive, it will be interesting to know that many people were apprehensive including many Indians, whether independent India will be able to survive or not.

Their apprehension lies in the fact that the British introduce all the modern institutions in India and they brought the whole country under one administration (a huge task for the colonizers). The British left and today India, as you said is an emerging force or a powerful country.

With regard to external aggression, I think there is any hardly any possibility; you can see Bhutan, Laos and many more small countries. And in today's contemporary world no country would like to do the mistake of invading another country because it can lead to World war III or most probably the last World war.

Now, is independent India free of all social problems-poverty, corruption, nepotism, communal hatred, untouchability and of course the infamous bride burning (till now which we haven't followed)-after independence. You can't presume everything in advance.

Is it a characteristic of multiculturalism that everyday we hear communal riots from every part of the country? Minority communities are being attacked and abused. Indian democracy is proud to have people like Narendra Modi and groups like RSS and the Government is helpless. May be freedom of ....! (Under the Indian Constitution).

Mr. Chandam has rightly pointed out pointed out some dilemma with regard to Manipuri society. We have a lot of things to do and we need to open our eyes and start working. For instance we should concentrate on building good relations among different communities and there should not be hegemony of any sort by any group.

The majority community needs to be very cautious and appreciative of all other communities. Assimilation should not be the principle because it will create serious implications.

Lastly, Mr.Chandam concludes by saying that he will accept people's verdict in case the majority decides to opt out of India or whatever. It's a pure individualistic idea or rather a selfish idea. But nobody should accuse him of being a 'traitor' or a 'reactionary'; because we need this kind of debate in order to clarify the ideas of all those people who are confused and puzzled. They need enlightenment.

Read Original Essay Part I | Part II

Read Comments by Somchandra Nahakpam

Somchandra Nahakpam contributes to for the first time . The writer can be contacted at somnahakpam (at) . This article was webcasted on March 09th, 2007.

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