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E-Pao! Essay - How to solve Manipur's problems?

How to solve Manipur's problems?
- It's basic greivances to Economic Progress -

By: Xuraaze *



1. the time is coming for a revolution in Manipur

..a major revolution to end all oppression....to end all self-righteous parties....to give the power back to the people.........to usher in a new Manipur

2. Introduction: looking for sources of inspiration.

I have been pondering and my mind is afresh with thoughts of a situation that would bring change for good in this place....freshly having completed graduation, that too in history with a side basic subject of Pol Science leaves me very inspired with the Japanese subject..studying the brief history of industrialization and modernization of any country...I find that in the majority of the cases, outside help was sought and it stays the major initial pathway...for the rest of the cases, examples are few...if we take for example England's industrialization, it grew mostly due to its overseas colonial markets...but if we are to take modernization in the sense of spiritual and political progress and not merely economical..then we can take the example of France where the French Revolution ended Feudalism and ushered in a new era.....and ushered in ideas like liberty,equality etc. which is recognised today as a basic right everywhere......

But Manipur being a place inhabited by mongoloid people has other examples with whom they can relate more other than either England or France..i.e. of Japan.........as I mentioned above that most modernization came with outside support, Japan also took assistance. If you have studied their history, you will know that Japan initially followed a policy of seclusion from the outside world.....but later they realized that it needs to be changed in the interest of progress.....Manipur too cant develop all by itself..it needs help......to see all this in perspective,lets delve a bit into Japans history.............

3. Japan: A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION

....Japan: The foreigners started respecting Japan when it progressed and industrialised itself in late 19th century when it had the power to defeat countries like China and Russia in wars..both of which are some of the largest nations of the world...this led to a parity and recognition of their equality with the western powers by the alliance in 1902 with the British govt, which was the most powerful country at that point of time.

.........thus it is a far cry from the Japan of the early 19th century when it was just an isolated stagnant economy, but with rigorous planning and programs in the next 50 years, it was well on the way to becoming a nation held at par with the west and in some spheres more advanced than them too.......WHAT BROUGHT THIS CHANGE......THAT ALSO IN THE MINIMUM TIME....

Any revolution needs the support of the masses...it may be led by a single person, a group of persons, or an organization of the masses....but in all scenarios, the masses are the driving force....here, the masses have to understand how to get inspiration from the example of Japan...so we shall try to draw some parallel between Japan and Manipur...and I don't have to try hard because there is much similarity....

Japan with small agricultural lands, prone to earthquakes, small population and with inadequate resources doesn't seem likely to be a developed nation. But the fact remains that it is one. Japan in the beginning of the 19th century i.e.1800 to 1850, was a stagnant non-moving society.........the section of society holding authority sought to freeze the society and let it decay. The Tokugawa shogunate kept a strict control over communication and freedom of the officials and landed sections i.e.the Daimyos...they were burdened with economic pressures.....The hierarchy was like as follows:

1. Imperial house and court nobility (the Kuge)
2. The Daimyos (fief lords:ones who collected tax, landed rich section)
3. The Samurais (warrior class, having bureaucratic duty in peace times)
4. Peasantry
5. The chonins(merchant and trader class)

..all of them were in a state of impoverishment. These are the internal contradictions within the society of Japan then with some powerful parties securing power and keeping it in their folds by adopting domestic policies of censorship, communication bans, non-industrialisation, freedom restrictions and military force. The external policies or foreign policies adopted to consolidate power were to seclude Japan from the rest of the world. It tried like China to close its doors to foreign trade (China couldn't develop as easily and fast as Japan because its govt itself built a clear cut ideology of aggressive modernization, which the Chinese govt. didn't.. and also china was a large country and there was no uniform progress and quite difficult to deliver all round development..

Japan, on the other hand, small and less populated was easier to maneuver....Thus we see that being a small country and having less resources and population doesn't necessarily is a disadvantage) Limited trade was allowed at the port of Nagasaki with the dutch traders...This policy of seclusion known as Policy of Sakoku was justified on grounds of saving Japan from imperialism, but it also cut off Japan from the developments of the outside world and mainly the scientific revolution...thus economic progress got hampered.

How many differences do we find between the Japan of that time and the Manipur of today. Both have less population, less resources and land. Both exist on a non-progressive social structure which is controlled and influenced by few groups who terrorise and exploit power. We can try to read the above paragraphs by putting the Manipur word in place of all the places where I have written Japan.

To complete the Japanese story,there were of course many resistances to these hardships of the Japanese society but it couldn't succeed on account of
1.lack of ideology
2.political dynamism

And the anti-Bakufu movement came which swept away the old shogunate and sought to replace it with more able authority. The leaders role was taken up by the class of Ronins. They were the most radical and responsive to shogunate policies. They were basically masterless samurais. Due to economic crisis of the daimyos, they had to release some of the lower samurais serving them and these same became the ronin class who were a rootless, floating section of the society. They realized that Nagasaki was a window to the world and they learnt western knowledge, military and industrial technology there.

In 1853, Japan was compelled by USA to open its doors and various treaties on unequal terms were signed in favour of USA. This Open Door Policy totally exploited Japan. western learning no longer became taboo and became acceptable.and soon the Ronins financed by the merchants class, the chonins and assisted by kuge overthrew the shogunate...Thus with the Meiji restoration of 1868, Japan adopted a new constitution and modelled itself on western lines.....

The most important point is that they adopted the positive and truly progressive features of the West....adopting the western ideas doesn't mean we are subjugated or under them because the west too takes ideas from the east...because what is truth will remain the truth no matter its origin, west or east.....and we can see the result today..Japan is second to none in various fields...even with the Nagasaki atomic bombings, it hasn't lost its supremacy in many industrial fields and still continue to be one of the most industrialised nation.

The Development Model it adopted will be mentioned as I talk of Manipur to make it brief...
For those to lazy to read it all...here is the summary of sorts:
Japan: 1800-1850: an underdeveloped place similar to the conditions of Manipur today
Japan: 1850-1900: a revolutionised nation on the path of development and soon to receive parity with the west.
Japan: 1900-1950: the only Asian nation to be an imperialist power(having military and economic might to conquer other nations).... ...thus above China, Korea, India etc.

4. How to solve manipurs problem: the basic grievances and its basic solution

..Before I start, let me clarify that this blog is regarding my opinions and I am entitled to mistakes if I make any and I do not have any direct responsibility.....It stems from my growing up environment and my convictions and academic level...Hence if I tend to leave any major issue out of the discussion or undermine or overemphasise on any topic, I can always try to improve on it..So I'd welcome any constructive criticism but not ones based on blind faiths or personal convictions. Thank you.

I'd like to start off with the problems that the present manipur faces. Since I am concerned with the people level I will try to see all problems from the common man's perspective and not political or other unofficial authority's eyes. There are other problems like the state border problem with neighbouring states and racial kinds of problems which I have ignored as I am concerned with only those problems which hamper progress.

The grievances basically in all cases is of
(a)a condition of political unstability
(b)fear of official and unofficial violence
(c)unstable and insecure platform for business development and education
(d)illiteracy and ignorance
(e)drugs and diseases problem
(f)flow of finance to unprofitable hands both within and outside the state
(g)lack of enough infrastructure(communication,transport etc.)
(h)corruption

for ease we will broadly group it into two sections:
1.Youths(students non-students)
2.Adults(earning or unemployed adults)

1. YOUTHS (STUDENTS and non-students)
from birth to class 12th, from 12th to completion of further studies(graduation,post graduation,training,even those pursuing no further studies)

Why are more and more parents preferring to educate their children and relatives outside the state when we have a state board and state university both with potential to produce competitive youths?...Yes, it happens in all other states too and countries if we say that people want to pursue better education even if it is outside the state or country but in Manipur's case, this is merely simplifying the issue. There is another major reason for it i.e. unstable environment.

Every parent fears for their children.. who knows the innocent ones would go out never to return...anything can happen here!...This is such a huge reason blocking the path to education. Thus those who have the resources send their young ones to 1. a place with better educational facilities and infrastructure and 2. a "safer" place. Those who don't have the resources look at all means to follow suit but if they can't, they settle for a home education under strict guidance and scrutiny.

There is one more important reason to be added to these two reasons for sending the wards outside 3. Drugs and Diseases problem.

Can you tell me what kinds of leisure facilities and personality development activities do we have here?.. Sure there is lots of them if we carefully look but we are not the ones who should be looking but the youths.....Most of the youths turn to Drugs, Music and Sex as the main recreational activities. All the parents are terrified of this..and this leads to a moral degeneration of the base of tomorrows society.

I can elaborate a lot more but it suffices to say that all the youths are aspiring to a rock n roll lifestyle...The youths aren't entirely to blame..We should look at the root to this problem which is lack of enough awareness, enough guidance, lack of healthy recreational opportunities...There is nothing wrong with wanting to have fun while they are young but it should be healthy and not degenerative and decaying.

Thus this three reasons moves families to send off their kids. But merely packing off students isnt the solution. As there is no guarantee that studying in a better educational place will give results, sure they might be safer but the question of their kids staying off drugs, sex and diseases is still present.

Ask me whats the problem if this is the condition. You can say that it happens everywhere and that families all over the world sends off kids. So whats the big deal?

Well, look at the outflow of resources....and the corresponding returns...Imagine if people start sending off their kids just for the safety reason, how many returns qualified and how many gets employment opportunities in Manipur......the ones who come back, if they are lucky and have connections and resources get absorbed in employment...while others becomes a part of the burgeoning unemployed. The rest who dont return and finds employment abroad do little to send resource returns to their home state.

Hence outflow > inflow (and also the loss of respect in Indian peoples eyes.. A lot of students gets asked all the times if their state don't have a decent enough university or schools.and u can guess what their replies must be)

Sometimes I start to think that the Indian government is interested in keeping all this current conditions the same way it is..as this reason and others combined ensures a good flow of finances back to the centre. But lets not waste time on speculation. Instead lets focus on facts.

2.Adults(earning or unemployed adults)

I will admit I fall below the required knowledge to fully describe this part, so I will try to give the viewpoints of youths regarding the problems of the adults. From the preceded paragraph it is clear that parents are constantly worried for their children's safety and well being in a state rife with violence. This can at times hamper their professional performance and output.

Business matters are very conservative in Manipur as there is less infrastructure and a lack of safe and peaceful environment. There is little opportunities for investments. As such there is few big industries in Manipur and also lack of private investments from outside due to loss of finances to the demands of "naharols" or the self-acclaimed fighters of Manipurs freedom.

This has caught Manipur in a dilemma as to what constitutes real progress...is it freedom from the Indian mainland which means becoming a separate country or does progress equals freedom from the Naharols which can mean private investments and a sure end of the dreaded armed forces special powers act?.....But one day or the other we have to make a stand.Realizing this,lets look at the two scenarios in front of manipur to progress....

Lets work our way to the assumption that progress means separation from the mainland.....An own motherland would be awesome to say the least but how many thinks that this is going to happen anytime soon or ever at all?..........Does anyone imagine Manipur beating India just like that? Sure Japan beat Russia and China in the earlier centuries but that was after they first strengthened themselves...so if we have to beat India why not first strenghthen ourselves too....economic development is a must....

Yes it does mean that inside and outside capital investments for big industries should be encouraged....and also that the demands for money from them must be stopped or lessened.....but it wont mean that naharols will be fundless and resourceless...they can invest in the industries themselves....for example in the current scene they can invest in the only better faring industry i.e. the Manipuri film industry...this way they can have their desired censorship of cultural issues also. So the brief analysis can be concluded by saying that if we believe in pursuing our own motherland...lets build ourselves first.

In the second scenario, the path to progress is sought by elimination of all unofficial groups. This too is not a scene very likely to happen soon. Elimination is just an easy way of saying it. So lets focus on what is practical and what is not. I believe the naharols are not the only obstacles to growth...However they do constitute a big reason in keeping it from developing.

Just eliminating them also wont bring about progress...they are a part of the system and we have to change the whole system....What is practical however is to reach an agreement with them for they will surely be reasonable....an agreement not to interfere in their work but for them to contribute in any way they can to both moral progress (which they are doing) and also to economic progress. They should be encouraged to invest into industries as the Daimyos and the Samurais of Japan did their motherland.

Thus, practically analysing, we can see that......separation from motherland or elimination of naharols isn't an immediate or practical solution. Neither naharols nor state and central forces are doing much....We may not be able to do much about the centre but we can encourage our naharol brethren to play a big part in making Manipur strong economically and morally......................

In the same way that the Japanese did with their ambition of building up their economy so that it could become equal or more with its western counterparts.

This move will automatically lead to a better understanding of each others grievances in society and water down to bring improvements in other problems too. For example, infrastructure can develop if business develops...leading to employment opportunities...and then betterment of educational facilities to decreased outflow of students and income and brain drain.

Japan too sent its students outside for various technical and other specialization but the students returned to work for their country...therein lies the difference.....thus we have to ensure the huge population of Manipuri students outside can consider returning to their homeland by providing good employment opportunities...............The other problems of corruption....drugs...AIDS.....etc.has to be dealt separately and a separate effective and aggressive department for each must be established.The issue of obstacles in economic progress is yet incomplete.....i will further keep publishing my opinion on various matters in following blogs.

So the above was a brief opinion on the path to realizing a new Manipur. a revolution in its far reaching effects......and a dawn of new strong fearless Manipur.

Crossposted at http://manipur-revolution.blogspot.com/


* Xuraaze, a blogger for manipur-revolution.blogspot.com , contributes for the first time to e-pao.net . The writer can be contacted at bloodsugardiramagik(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on June 1st, 2007


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