E-Pao! Essay - Independence - what more can it offer

Independence - what more can it offer?
- Part II -

By: Geetchandra Chandam *

Part 2 of the Theoritical, Practicability and Methodical Considerations


Pragmatism and Idealism: In an ideal world, Manipur should be an independent prosperous country, with real peace without any ethnic conflicts. However, we are not living in an ideal world. Today’s world is really cruel, competitive and countries only look for their own interest. So, it will be really helpful for us to realize this and try to be pragmatic in our approach. India is and will remain a major global economic and military power whether you like it or not. It will be a real difficult task, if not impossible, to fight this might of India. So, are we prepared for that? If so, has the roadmap been shared with the people?

The present ills of Manipur are usually credited to the Indian ‘occupation’. There are a few basic questions to be addressed here.
Foreign policy: Can an independent Manipur have an ‘independent’ foreign policy? This has to be considered carefully taking into account the real scenario in today’s geo-political scenario. You can look at Bhutan, Nepal, and Maldives as examples or that of Manipur just before merger.
Defense: Can Manipuris defend themselves; say in the case of an aggression by a superior power? Can we avoid interference from any other power?
Economy: What is the roadmap to develop Manipur’s economy? Let’s face it, Manipur is not like Hong Kong or Singapore where foreign investment will drive the economic growth. We should stop dreaming about other countries bailing us out of our economic crisis. Manipur lack major natural resources and it cannot be said to occupy global strategic importance. So who should care whether we are starving or not? I am not saying its people are not capable but we have to be realistic. I feel we need to be economically independent before the political independence.
Basic infrastructure: healthcare, power, connectivity, human resources etc. Just a simple example, do we have the resource required to run one RIMS?
Will corruption ceases after independence?
What about other social ills of our society?
Will it be able to maintain peace and provide security to its citizens?


Unity: One thing which the public fails to understand is the inability of the said groups to unite. It seems there is little effort to co-ordinate their activity. So the question arises about their seriousness and sincerity towards achieving the goal. Its time they show it by their actions, not by rhetoric only.
Internal management, accountability etc.: How democratic are these parties? So far, I have not heard of any internal election to elect their leaders; only heard of leaders trying to silence dissidents or dissidents forming another party. There is also the issue of lack of accountability for their actions.
Coercion to collect ‘donation’: I am not clear whether the people are paying donation/taxes or being forced to pay. When a supporter to a cause contributes willingly, that’s called donation. If someone is forced to pay under a threat, that’s clearly extortion. Taxes can be collected by a government from its citizen but if it is ‘taxes’, then how many governments we have to pay taxes to? What about accountability of such huge amount collected from the public? We may feel that extortion from ‘corrupted’ government officials/businessman is justified. But this explanation defies logic since looting from a thief still makes you a looter.
Is violence the only way? If it is so, then there should be a strategy to defeat the more powerful Indian army. If it is just to get international attention then there are other methods. We don’t need to search further, look at Sharmila. Her protest has generated more international attention than most groups ‘fighting Indian army and liberating a part of Manipur’.
Damage to the economy: Are naharols responsible for the present state of economy? Are the ‘demanded’ money from businessman responsible for increasing the price of essential commodity indirectly. Is the prevailing law and order problem responsible for allowing any developmental works?
Fighting social ills: I must confess that UGs have succeeded to a significant extent in reducing some of the social ills affecting our society. For example, cases of rapes are no longer heard, drug abuse have decreased. However, I’d vehemently object the methods used to achieve these results. No civilized society in the world would reward an alleged ‘rapist’ with death without proper trial or punish a drug addict by shooting in the thighs. It may be instant justice but it is a stone-age justice. Another important grievance of the public is their inability to punish higher ups - the big fishes, rather the allegation of nexus with them whether in corruption or state politics.
Eliminating and punishing “traitors” and dissidents: They can keep on denying it but it is a common knowledge. Individual freedom of expression and right to protest still remains an illusion in our society.

There are also many disadvantages of remaining as a part of India. There is a real threat of cultural domination and homogenization of our society. We need to resist the ideology of India as a homogenous nation propagated by Hindu chauvinist groups like RSS. There is also a chance of our genuine voice being not heard because of our minority status. However, there are so many other reasons to be a part of India. India remains a multicultural nation and as long as it remains so, India can still exist as a nation. Whatever the shortcomings, India continue to practice democracy and it is a great achievement considering the situation in our neighborhood and other third world countries. It has the ability to provide political stability and maintain peace in the region. It is likely to be a major global economic and military power by the turn of the decade. So, there is immense potential for Manipuris to exploit such situations. That’s why I am going to vote for India in case of a plebiscite. I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of me, my family and for the future generation of Manipuris. I would be happy also if the majority decides to opt out of India and will gladly accept the verdict.

P.S.: Please don’t accuse me as a ‘traitor’ or an ‘Indian agent’ for my views. These are my personal beliefs and you may argue with the views I have. I would gladly accept changes if my views are proven wrong.

Read Part I | Part II

Read Comments by Somchandra Nahakpam

* Geetachandra Chandam, a professional working in a private company in Delhi contributes for the first time to with this 2 part articulation of what he feels about Manipur as a nation state vis-a-vis as part of multi ethnic nation called India . The writer can be reached at geetchandra_chandam AT yahoo DOT co DOT in.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

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