'Apocalypto' through 'mobatorship'

Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh *

ILP : Churachandpur Town protest against the introduction and passing of three Bills related to ILP :: September 1 2015.
ILP : Churachandpur Town protest against the introduction and passing of three Bills related to ILP on Sep 1 2015 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within", Will Durant.

'Chaphu Kairaga Kwakna Harao-ee' (Pot broken, Crow Happy), a Meitei Proverb.

Somebody, somewhere must be really having his hearty, last non-indigenous laugh seeing Churachandpur burning, an 'Apocalypto' in the making here in Manipur (For beginners, please watch the movie 'Apocalypto' of Mel Gibson (2006), depicting the inter-tribal fighting and fall of Maya Civilization in Central America). He must be thanking our indigenous people for fighting on his behalf and achieving exactly what he wants (Mr. Papu Yadav, please do not shed your political tears, Biharis are safe here. The violence is just internal).

The matches are very plain, Indigenous Vs Indigenous, Indigenous prospective martyrs Vs Indigenous Police, Non-indigenous fire Vs Indigenous MLA bungalows, government offices, Indigenous Voice shouting up from the plains Vs Indigenous Voice shouting down from the Hills. Yes, these indigenous people are really genius in such in-fighting. It is, I suppose, in their genes which is why they are called indigenous (my way of defining the term, who cares!).

And in 'Apocalypto', Spanish conquistadores (soldiers) were waiting for the opportune time when the drama was about to finish. When all the characters had lost their characteristics and what remained were just their violent history and their empty landscape, only then the work of Spanish was just like cake-walking. Mayas were good at prognosis/prophecy. They predicted of Doomsday in their calendar. But the interesting part is that they actually executed the Doomsday for themselves. Their 'courage', 'sacrifice', 'patriotism', 'belief' are as laudable as their doomsday itself. The story is strikingly similar with what is happening here in Manipur today.

Mobocracy, Mobocrazy or Mobatorship

Mobocracy? Let's not be too harsh on that great man called Abraham Lincoln by associating his ideas with this one. His creaky bones must be cursing us for this (what it could do except cursing, when even we living people are helpless but to curse!). Mobocrazy? Yes, that is pretty close. Mobatorship? You got it. The unfolding drama is sheer mobatorship. That chap called Hitler must be smiling wickedly and congratulating Dear Manipur for immortalizing him.

The mob acts as its own director, actor, scriptwriter, choreographer, music composer (kang kang kang), sound engineer, art director, make-up artiste, you name it and we have it all here. Even one man becomes mob and the proverbial one man army, dictating others to follow his fingers and cheitup (club) (we might use the term 'mobate' instead of dictate, sociologically). Fire is very dear here (they actually rhyme … fire, dear and here!). Burn them down (Assembly Hall, Libraries, MLA houses, Government offices). Fire is mob's genie which follows any of its diktats and is truly happy to turn anything on its way into ashes.

They don't need no records, they don't need no written history, they don't need no education, they don't need no thought control but only 'improvised mobology'. History, education etc. only numb their intelligence. Only memory and oral tradition are sufficient for their survival. So, burn them all.

Most of all, mob 'mobates' the police to remain as silent spectators while unleashing its bounden duties. If at all, police must fire rubber bullets not live bullets (someone wrote in a placard 'Rubber bullet for Valley, Live bullet for Hills'. The fact is that all the communities have their own history of facing live bullets - June 18, Mao Gate incident, Ukhrul incident and CCpur incident in the recent past). Live bullets are mob right violation, especially when the fire shows its professionalism, they might say. What could police do but to take the garb of mob and indulge in their own modus-operandi? Mobatorship Vs Mobatorship. Let them play out their parts and blame none, winner takes all and loser should give way to recuperate for future assault.

The question of 'Who is governing whom?' is pretty confusing here. Everything is hotchpotch. Who is state, who is non-state, who is CSO, who is underground, who is over-ground? One pice costing question but One Crore Rupees award winning answer. Everybody seems to be boss in this melee. Is it not good for the greatest boss, if any, to show 'Who is the real BOSS?', though with complete statesmanship, unless we are ready for an 'Apocalypto'?

Dominant Community

Who is dominant community in Manipur? Chingmis (Hills people) would say that it is, hands down, the Meiteis. (When I teach my daughter that she should use the politically correct term Chingmi, my wife interrupts that it is no longer politically correct. Many will be offended by the term since they were born and brought up in the valley. So should we just say tribal, since this term is the flavour of the day as the Meiteis are also prospective tribals). Meiteis would ask how and say it is Nagas and Kukis/Zomis. Then I would say that each community here is dominant community. It depends on certain ground realities and criteria of being dominant – land and population dynamics.

What is Manipur? (Very naïve question!) It is not just Valley (just 10% of the total land) but also hills (remaining 90%, my mathematics is still good). Who are in the valley? Meiteis, Pangals, Mayangs, Chingmis (turned Tammis with their own villages and colonies) etc. It is free for all. Tribals can buy land from a non-tribal person in the valley but cannot sell it to non-tribal person without a lengthy process involving the Deputy Commissioner (Section 158 of MLRLR Act, 1960).

And, Meiteis sell to 'tribals' who can pay more. Here greediness not community consciousness rules their conscience. But they cannot buy it back when they become richer. What an irony and injustice, in the name of justice! Most of the Thoubal District is in Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, reserved for Scheduled Tribe, yet these areas are Meitei and Pangal settlements. But none in these areas are protesting. Democracy arm twisted, you can vote but cannot contest in the election (Dr. Nara is the victim).

Wow, see the generosity of the people settled in these areas (not even one Hills person comments on this, since this serves their interest). No protest, no bandh, no blockade for decades. Despite all this, I would agree that the Meiteis are dominant community in the valley. But only and only in the valley (remember, 10% of the total land).

Who are in the hills (again remember 90% of the total land). Just Kukis (if I am not wrong they want to be called Zomis) and Nagas and some tit bit of migrant Meitei, Nepali, Mayang, Burmese etc. These migrant settlers are there just for their livelihood. Are Meiteis dominant here? Everybody, including me, doubts. When the hills sneeze what can Meiteis do but to see and wait? What Meiteis could do when the National Highways were/are blocked for months? Nothing, but to say that they are self-sufficient and self-sustainable. They will stand in a long queue (2-3 kms long) in the Sun just to get 4-5 litres of petrol or still ride/drive their vehicles with petrol of Rs. 200/litre, but will not/are not able to protest. Then still the hills population is called subjugated and minority and the Meiteis are called dominant. What a cruel Joke!

The fact of the matter is that Meiteis are dominant in the valley and Nagas and Kukis are in their own Hills. All are winners here with their own mobatorship. Chingmis turned Tammis in the valley cannot oppose Meiteis for fear of their lives and they are integral to valley's existence. The same yard stick exists in the hills too. Is/was there any Meitei in the Hills opposing Naga integration or Alternative Arrangement or Kukiland demand or Kuki statehood? If he/she opposes, then his/her obituary is ready in both valley and hills.

So what we are actually witnessing here is I, me, myself or 'selfolitics'. They are masters in their own dens. Meiteis shout in the valley and tribals shout in the hills. This phenomenon may be explained by different 'isms' like Chauvinism, Communalism, Sectarianism, Racism, Ethnocentrism but I prefer to call it 'pigeon syndrome' (Khununa mathongda pongba – pigeon boasting around its nest).

Meiteis are too confident that they are sufficient to draft a bill without consulting tribals, Nagas are indifferent whether Meiteis and Kukis are deathly against disintegration of Manipur, Kukis are ready to establish an exclusive Kukiland, no matter what Meiteis or Nagas think about it. Days are not far when there will be demand for Nepaliland in Manipur.

The interesting part of the story is that both Nagas and Kukis will form an unholy alliance whenever Meiteis demand something, stating that the latter are anti-tribal, whether that is rational or not, but because it is engineered by Meiteis (demands for ST status for Meiteis and Manipur as Hill state are waiting in the queue). We can/will witness a different picture when the Naga Peace Accord comes alive, when Kukis may form that unholy alliance with Meiteis. And Nagas may come with Meiteis in case of Kukiland. Very fragile ad-hoc marriage of convenience driven by 'selfolitics'.

When this pigeon syndrome bursts and all the angers in each community are poured out beyond their comfort zone through adventurism or misadventurism, the script for another 'Apocalypto' will be ready for execution. And history books will list out historical people as Maya, Meitei, Kuki, Naga… and mention in the footnote, 'once there was a land called Manipur where, very 'courageous' people lived and died for themselves and their souls went up leaving the land to the benevolent new settlers.'

There will be documentaries on these historical people showing wretched men scavenging on the posh streets of Imphal, Churachandpur and Ukhrul with commentaries, 'he is the son of (L) Singh, (L) Gangte and (L) Shimrei respectively.' Who knows Mel Gibson might take interest in this script and come up with 'Apocalypto – II', with dialogues in broken archaic languages and English subtitles to give authenticity and Nepali actors as Meiteis, Kukis and Nagas.

* Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh wrote this article for Huieyen Lanpao
This article was posted on September 12, 2015.

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