TODAY -

Musing to remove 'communal discord' in Manipur

Thoudam Imomacha Singh *



Mother Nature had scripted the primogeniture role of the Meeteis among various communities inhabiting hills and the plains of Manipur. Geographically, Manipur comprises 91% of high-lands and only 9% of plains.

Both the hills and the plains are complementary to each other in terms of food products, forest products and other minerals over and above the supplementary virtues of well being of the entire populace of the state of Manipur. There can be no discordant note among all the ethnic groups and tribes.

We cannot discard our homogeneity in thought and deeds for the development of the Manipur polity. Manipur is said to be an ancient kingdom originating from 33 AD. The land had courageous kings and magnanimous tribal chieftains, who had, in fact, taken identical responsibilities in safeguarding the territorial integrity and communal solidarity among all the ethnic groups of the population.

The communal oneness is to be preserved and centralized. After the Anglo-Manipuri battle of Khongjom, the sun of Manipur's freedom had set, due to the British subjugation.

However when India became free in 1947 Manipur had also regained her sovereign status and again lost the same due to the minatory “Merger agreement” forcibly concluded by the Union Government of India in 1949. However, it would be sufficiently correct to remember the big brotherly attitude of the Meeteis meted out to every sections of people in both the hills and the plains.

Political leaders and social activists belonging to all the sections of people in the state had launched a political revolution against the Government at the centre demanding to uplift the political status of Manipur as a part and parcel of the Indian Union. As an outcome of this Manipur had become a Union Territory in 1951 and a full-fledged state in 1972.

Mohammad Alimuddin a Muslim leader had become the first Chief Minister of the state of Manipur. After him Manipur had a number of Chief Ministers from both the hills and the plains had served the people of Manipur turn by turn. During their time Manipur remained peaceful and united despite hiccups that occurred from time to time.

In the political history of the Northeast AZ Phizo of the Naga National Council (NNC) was the harbinger of Naga independence movement which began in the early 1950s. But now, the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) of Isak-Muivah became one of the most prominent outfits in the region.

Even a framework Naga Peace Agreement was signed on 3rd August 2015 between the said outfit and the Government of India (GoI). The contents of the agreement are still kept secretive. Other non-Naga ethnic groups in the entire Northeast till now remain puzzled about this episode of a peace agreement.

Whether there is any devil in the framework of the said Naga Peace Agreement is uncertain. Who knows, whether it is a curtain-raiser of a show-down. By the time of the signing of a framework agreement between GoI and NSCN (IM) Manipur has already been in a turmoil due to the passing of three ILP Bills in the Manipur Legislative Assembly on 31st August 2015.

The same evening of that day flare-ups have spread in some parts of some hill districts especially in Churachandpur and Moreh.

There is restlessness among the highlanders who even went to the extent of arson and killing. At first they express their resentment stating the reason of anti-tribal feature in the bills already passed. Later on, even at the state government level, clarifications were made that no anti-tribal elements were incorporated in all those 3 bills.

Thus, the anti-bill uprising in some of the hill districts has been turned into a demand of a separate administrative set-up for the hills alone. It is, indeed, enigmatic as well as laughable.

Very surprisingly, even among the Meeteis there came out some protagonists of tribalism. Their idea is to baptize the whole Meetei community into a scheduled tribe group so that they may be entitled to all concessions, exemptions and what not. An objection to this cannot be raised as their entitled to express their views in a democracy like India.

Among the Manipuris the Meeteis had been taking a pioneering role among all the ethnic groups of people in the state in terms of education and learning, art and culture, games and sports and in organising social festivities. Besides this, today we have another figurative sports woman like Mary Kom who is another feather on the cap of Manipuri sports. This is another dynamic instance of the quality of Manipuri pluralism. Let us discard our tendency of parochial outlook and eulogize our pluralism.


* Thoudam Imomacha Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is a former broadcaster in AIR Imphal and can be contacted at imomachasingh(aT)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on October 21 2015.


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