TODAY -

Can Manipur Be Saved From Extinction ?

Jila S Waikhom M.D. *

Map of Manipur
Map of Manipur :: Pix - TSE



The recent signing of the peace agreement between NSCN(IM) and government of India which was done in relative secrecy and haste is now old news. Although, the contents of the agreement is yet to be made public, there is no doubt that it will affect the integrity and wellbeing of the neighboring states specially Manipur in particular for the worse or the better. The title of my article may sound sensational; but it is not unthinkable for Manipur, as we know it to vanish or disappear from the face of the earth.

“.Darwin’s theory of evolution” where the fittest survive and the rest perish may apply here.Throughout history,groups of people completely disappeared or absorbed into another society.The Aztecs of central America had a large empire and culture when the Spaniards arrived. Here in the North American Continent the native Americans lost everything life and property to the European settlers;they are now in secluded areas called Indian Reservations.

In Australia,the native Australians so called Aborigines are scattered in jungles in pathetic conditions.Nearer home we know very well the fate of the Cachharies of Surma Valley and Tripuries of the state of Tripura. It is not very far fetched to imagine that Manipur and the Meiteis will face the same fate as the other indigenous people of the world as I cited, if the present situation in Manipur continues unchanged.

Even though the Meiteis are most talented and hard working people and it has a rich culture and long glorious history, in present day India the size of the area they occupy and demography are not in it”s favor. The Meiteis numbering 7 lacs are confined in a small 600 square miles. In other words the Meiteis are like a drop of water in the sea of Indians.Even if we try our best it will be quite difficult to compete with the rest of India. We need to demand the government of India special laws to protect the rights of the indigenous minority people.

To this end we need an united effort of all the people.We may stop blaming each other particularly our political leaders and ministers.They are part and parcel of the society.It does not project a good image of ourselvelves to call names or blame our leaders.

Right now there are widespread movement demanding the re-introduction of ILP in Manipur. The movement is mainly localized to the valley area..Probably,the influx of the outsiders does not affect hill areas because they are protected under the scheduled tribes law. I am in no way minimizing the sacrifices and efforts of our citizens. The young people specially the students are taking the lead.

At present the ILP is in force in the states of Nagaland, Arunachal and Mizoram. All of them happen to be sensitive border areas settled by different people who are in the category of Scheduled tribe. The state of Meghalay does not have ILP but its people are demanding it at the moment. Under the Indian constitution, every citizen has the right of movement freely and carry on one’s business without restriction in any part of India.

The present ILP is a special law created by the government of India for certain areas of the country. It specially keeps tract of the people coming and going to the area. ILP does not prohibit non-locals to buy land and run business. It does not protect the interest of the people completely. In order to protect the interest of local indigenous people prohibiting to buy land special clauses are to be inserted in the present ILP system; that needs to be approved by the Indian parliament and the president. It appears that the present situation for the demand for ILP with special protection clause is facing a hurdle in Manipur.

A much more effective means of protecting the interests of the local indigenous minority people under the Indian constitution is the inclusion of the group under the category of scheduled tribes. It is like a vaccination to protect from a deadly disease like small pox. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar who was U.S.A. educated and belonged to one of the so called backward caste of India , a staunch supporter of the rights of the indigenous people was the chief architect of the Indian Constitution under which Article 342 gives special rights and privileges to the Scheduled Tribes..

The purpose of Article 342 is to support and protect the economically,socially backward indigenous minority people of India and protect from exploitation by the dominant majority..In particular,it prohibits to aquire real estate belonging to a Scheduled tribe by a non-tribal.

At the initial creation of the law hundreds of various groups of people of different parts of India were included in the list of the scheduled tribes. Every group of people residing in the north eastern frontier were included or added on later on.In Manipur, all the tribes were included except the Meiteis. The Meiteis fullfils all the criteria of including in this classification.

At the time of creation of this law they numbered a few hundred thousand people living in a very primitive inaccessible remote part of the country.They have been called one of the tribes in the Eastern Frontier of India by the British and other people of India. When I went first to other parts for college my class mates called me “Janglee”{meaning people of the forest} At that time I was quite mad and was ready to fight.

Now I realise that there was nothing wrong calling me people of the forest which is a correct description. There is complete agreement among all the people that the different groups of indegenous people residing in Manipur including the Meiteis have a commom origin and same DNA. The Meiteis have their own distinctive culture . They have their own arts and crafts. they have a primitive way of life . They lived in thatched wood or bamboo huts with primitive bare furniture and amenities...There main occupation was subsistence farming ,making handloom cloths fishery etc. The Meitei society did not have any big land owner or wealthy person. They had a low level of education and no economic development.

Certain section of the Meiteis may erroneously think that to be called one of the Scheduled tribes is derogatory and a demotion. This cannot be any farther from the truth. Scheduled tribe is not a derogatory name. It is not the creation of a Hindu caste of untouchables. It is just an administrative term given to certain groups of people who fulfills the criteria to protect them economically and socially and protect them from exploitation by the dominant majority.

It is quite evident that the provision of Scheduled tribe in the Indian Constitution does include all the protection we are demanding in ILPsystem and much more benefits in the form Affirmative Action.We do not need to create another law. The very law is in the Indian Constitution created for the very purpose of protection of indigenous disadvantaged people like the Meiteis. The Meiteis were initially missed not included in the list.

There are many groups of people who were not in the initial list but added later on at the request of the involved parties. We have to bring up this issue to the Manipur Legislative Assembly, chief minister and to the Governor for approval and then to the Government of India for the final approval. With all the solid documentation it will not be very difficult to include the Meiteis in the list of the Scheduled Tribes to which the Meiteis rightfully belong..

To me it will be the best way to save Manipur .It will bring an era of unity of the different groups of people and uniformity of the law unlike the present where everything is artificially devided into Tribals and Non-tribals. It will restore the loving and cordial relations of the past among the groups of people residing in this beloved MANIPUR.

LONG LIVE MANIPUR


* Jila S Waikhom, M.D., wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a reident of Ohio, U.S.A. and can be contacted at jwaikhom(at)woh(doT)rr(doT)com
This article was posted on September 19, 2015.


* 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 e-pao.net. 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.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS