A symptomatic crisis within Meetei society
- Part 2 -

Maibam Doren *

ILP : Cycle Rally at Indo Burma Road on 14 August 2015
ILP : Cycle Rally at Indo Burma Road on 14 August 2015 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

3. Revive grassroots customary institutions

A Nation grows up, stands on, made advancements by the quality of its Values and Traditional Institutions.

One biggest weakness the present Meetei Society is suffering from is absence of active participation of male elders in the society. If the old practice of AHAL-YATHANG issue by Village Customary Authority (or Traditional Institution) at the Leikai and/or Village level, can be revived many positive development will be emerged in the Meetei Society.

In case this authority or Institution are revived, empowered and become functional then Meetei Society, as a result will become more organized, articulated, disciplined and many other opportunities will emerge such as –

(i) Local elders (AHAL) particularly male elders will find a fundamental traditional platform from where they will be made conscious of their responsibility, induce them to play an active role in the decision making process at the local / village level, utilizing their wisdom, wider and deeper experiences,

(ii) It will enable or facilitate to effectively restore THAKSI-KHASI in the Meetei society which is a Core Culture and backbone of the Meetei National Character which is declining rapidly,

(iii) An enter-Village -communication- network can be established among the villages and Localities through these Institutions very effectively in a traditional way that will enable Meetei society to communicate, co-ordinate, organize, moblise and act even without or in the absence of electronic and print media effectively within short time through pyramid system,

(iv) It will enable to prevent distortions/ degenerations of Meetei Values/ traditions / customs / ethos / characters etc

(v) The CSOs at the state or district level can easily and effectively communicate, organize mass movement, agitations or protest or any form of activities with the help of these institutions,

(vi) Meetei Community can also established many dedicated strong social defence groups under the command of the Thoubei, in our own way (like- Lallup), systematically organized / mobilized and trained to act in any emergency situations face by the Meetei Community in any eventuality,

(vii) This will automatically solve many future embarrassments or inabilities faced by many CSOs / NGOs / event organizer’s failures to mobilize / organize enough participants /supporters for many important public meetings, convention, seminars, debates, symposium, different programmes, etc. in the future, (viii) Further, it is a common knowledge that all or most of the present CSOs are suffering from lack of peoples’ true and proper mandate.

With the active emergence of the THOUBEI, any state level Civil Society Organisation (CSO) may obtain peoples’ mandate, through the THOUBEIs, a pre-requisite for their sanctity, endorsement and participations.

All this can be easily initiated and implemented as part of the present mass movement, let initiated by the local elders, Local Clubs and Meira Paibis and youth leaders. The structure, nomenclature and functional norms of these Authorities / Institutions must be strictly on the basis of Tradition which can be easily obtained from traditional scholars.

To suggest some hints --- It is called THOUBEI, head is called Khullakpa or Hanjaba, and other posts are similar / differ from village to village, the Head must be a senior-most person by virtue of age (or by virtue of NAIOI means inheritance), impartial, educationally enlightened, mentally and physically fit, morally clean and acceptable to all (or majority).

To infuse some democratic values to the Thoubei, Khullakpa or Hanjaba and his next 2 deputies can be elected initially by a Panel of Local Elites latter by the Thoubei and its subsidiaries together and other posts can be nominated by the head and his deputies.

Under the Thoubei there are several subsidiary Institution like Pakhang-phal, Leisa-phal, Mou-phal, Singlup, keirup, etc. which can be revived latter according to choice and convenience. These Institutions should be supported, empowered and followed by all at all cost till they become inseparable part and parcel of Meetei socio-cultural life and activities.

4. Produce world class politician: Change political culture

In Manipur, Meeteis are the looser in all fronts. Why? Because Meeteis are accustomed to and carry on a corrupt political culture that induces them to elect Politicians who can facilitate corruption, nepotism, hedonism while participating electoral politics.

Majority of the Meeteis failed to consider their National Interest as most important or to elect good visionary politicians who are capable of leading them to a brighter national political future. That is why Meetei use to produce only opportunist, scandalous, immoral, partisan, educated illiterates, short sighted persons as our Political Representatives.

Further, worsening the situation -- now we see only tainted contractors and gangsters as our political candidates. Meetei as a nation or leading community can no longer survive under / with such politicians but vanished within a few decades. In fact, the present condition is the result of our past political mistakes of electing wrong persons as our political leaders.

So, the present ILPS agitation may further facilitate and initiate a movement that will transform and purify Meetei political culture from the grass-root level to avoid --- future struggle / agitations for survival like ILPS demand, enter-community collisions and threat to territorial integrity of Manipur.

Leaders at different strata may immediately start, initiate, propagate to the masses to find and nurture only those persons – morally clean, well educated, intellectually accountable, incorruptible, brave and person of high integrity as our true POLITICAL LEADERS irrespective of their financial conditions.

In doing so no one should expect anything from him except – policies, programmes and activities for Meetei survival, prosperous Manipuri National future, integration of native communities to a common platform, creating national assets and common good; further leading Meetei and his brethren to the International social, economic, political, diplomatic platforms.

Meetei do not take politics seriously as a means to further build, expand, empower and attain a higher national objective. Meetei can join International politics, taking India as a spring board. Worse side is Meetei simply merged, surrendered and forgot 2000 year’s Nation building Process that Meetei endeavored.

Of course we will face many challenges in India. But if you think of playing International politics, India’s political arena is not so big. See, Meetei’s role in sports and performing arts – we could win, why cannot we win in business and politics too? What Meetei Lack is a world class, clean and patriotic political culture and Leaders.

5. Meetei is a tribe - Accept This

Why ILP issue? Because we need to survive. Then why should we not search and find other means also. ILP alone could not save us. We need different means. One promising and best option is inclusion in the schedule Tribe list of Indian constitution and gets constitutional and legal protections.

If you are a Meetei -You said before the tribal communities -- we are blood brethren. Are you a hypocrite? No. You are saying the truth.

Then why, while your brothers are tribal you said you are not tribal? Because you are confused. Don’t confuse yourself or other. Choose to say — they are (Anal, Tangkhul, Mao, Maram, Maring, Kabui, etc.) not our blood brethrens or say –Yes, they are our blood brethrens.

Whether you like it or not Meeteis are historically, ethnically, culturally, linguistically, geo-politically intertwined each other with these tribes, more or less similar in every aspect of life and society. Only barrier that divide us is/are their affiliation shifted to recently formed umbrella nomenclature, based on a concocted history, play the politics of hatred against the Meeteis that created an anti-Meetei psychology or mindset by different ways of propaganda ant tactics.

That was also caused due to Hindu Meetei’s failure to embrace them in the Manipuri Nation building process. Now, let us correct our past mistakes before it is too late, while the chance is still with us. Let us join our brethrens, practically connect, intermingle with them -- that is our future. There are plenty of facts, much are already said or published by many eminent scholars in these fields.

Now is the time to say Meetei is a tribe, rather proudly say – I am a Meetei, I am a tribal. That way Meetei could be saved from the emerging demographic, ethno-geo-political, economic and terror onslaughts and progressively join the race of development in and beyond India.


* Maibam Doren wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on August 18, 2015.

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