TODAY -

Dual delusions: Hill-Valley dichotomy

Jinine Lai *



The current air in Manipur breaths like tensed and toxic after its Legislative Assembly passed the three bills considered to be safeguard for indigenous peoples on 31 August this year. In this light, a couple of delusions come in my mind; "delusion of grandeur" from the valley and "persecutory delusion" from the hills.

Perhaps it is rather of the delusions because the both stakeholders are not able to see real things with them, and both ignore easily their immediate common destabilizer, the governments, and more importantly their ultimate challenge which coming along with mammoth force of globalization.

First, the continuous kinship-narrative from the valley towards the hills fails to upload the positive attitude. The superior complex of the Meeteis makes themselves hardly know what they mean in the mind when they are articulating in the lips. Always they feel and make themselves more Manipur(is)than the hills.

It is very doubtful that the valley has acknowledged socio-cultural humiliation done by them upon the hills, except a kind of a blanket excuse of "such are the part of every history happen everywhere in the world, and we all were the victims had received the discriminatory treatment of the kings of those days".

Sustained superiority in the valley is reflected routinely. The abundant attempts are made to display the harmonious coexistence through various media. So the Meeteis make movies and plays; girls from the hills are married to the valley-boys, not the valley-girls to the hill-boys. If the boy happens to be from the hills, it is interesting melodrama, the father of the boy comes out to be a Meetei.

The U-Morok, the big chilly, Meeteis' favorite which cultivated by hills communities; Meeteis consume it and hills produce it. Yet former feels, the chilly belongs to them.

In the valley, the village population is still undergoing discriminatory attitude of "Lawai Macha" (derogatory address to the villagers) from the Imphal/urban population. Those putting up in the rented houses of various areas of Imphal undergo this humiliation. The bitter experience is of the people from the hills. Usually Hindu-Mayang tenants enjoy good attitude from the house owners and elderly locals vis-a-vis tenants from the hills.

Second, unfounded propagandaare being floated by the hills that enforced upon themselves to be believed.

In fact, the valley is supposed to receive arguments on the socio-cultural discrimination from the hills. Even it will be good device to juxtapose and justify hills' demands to get separated themselves. Interestingly the later have reserved and ignored this side of advocacy. Why?

Recently NSCN-IM and its frontal groups have stopped such advocacy against the Meeteis. Maybe because they think the argument of the socio-cultural humiliation by the valley upon them is mere a complex pattern wherein they are inferior to the valley's delusive superiority. Such things may appear embarrassing for themin the eyes of the other. Thus they have endeavored to discover new arguments, something of the economic, political against the Meeteis. So is doing Churachandpur now.

Protest against the three bills in Churachandpur is blowing out the same gusting smokes of free float arguments that some Nagas have been doing. Their delusion is the Meeteis are blamed for almost everything they suffer. For instance, for economic and other welfare shortcomings; but the fact is the longest chief minister of Manipur was Rishang Keishing, a Naga and besides there have been plenty of Members of Legislative Assembly with key incumbency and bureaucrats who deal the tribal affairs.

The tribal welfare administration, its financial execution is done themselves not by the Meeteis no question about it. No doubt the roads, schools, health centers, water and power supplies and public distribution systems are of the worse in the valley though they are a bit different from the hills'.

Anti-valley groups sometimes lose confidence and confused themselves to use the term Manipur Government or Meetei Government though they prefer the later. Some Nagas already began to use the former though they use both interchangeably.

Third, if we can look at the well-being, progress and security of all aspects under the both governments of the state and center, what we are undergoing is a prolong absence of governance and rule of law. General population both in the hills an valley are reeling under the same intensity and amount of smelly system. Only handful of social smugglers and political prostitutes are profiting out of the situation. How many of us both in hills and valley are free from panoply of problems ranging from conflict to corruption, human rights violation to HIV/AIDS, ignored economy to unproductive education?

More dangerously the so called globalization is engulfing us all with the cruel hands of bankers and corporates. New slavery system of development paradigm is hypnotizing us all and makeus paralyzed readily. The state government and New Delhi remain incapable and compromised in the process. All our resources, lands which we are fighting for, all our cultureand identity which we romanticize will be perished so easily under such giant stump of globalization and privatization.


* Jinine Lai wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Assistant Professor, International Education Dept, University of Suwon.
This article was posted on October 22 2015.


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