TODAY -

Open letter to ANSAM, ATSUM, KSO and KIM through the media

01 Septemeber 2015



Open letter to ANSAM, ATSUM, KSO and KIM through the media

To
ANSAM, ATSUM, KSO and KIM

Dear Students/Friends,

When I heard your voice on the ILPS issue from the media, I felt a terrible pain in my heart, not because it may affect the prospect of the ILPS related bills but because I could feel the vicious atmosphere of distrusts and animosity prevailing in our native society, especially among the Kuki, Naga and Meitei communities.

The fact of the ILPS issue is, the Meiteis have felt threatened for the reasons ---
(i) Meiteis are not protected unlike the other native communities including you, by the Indian constitution vis-ŕ-vis the challenges posed by the 1.2 billion mainland Indians in matter of service and jobs either by the Govt. of Manipur or by the Govt. of India;

(ii) Meiteis are not protected in any manner by the Indian Constitution for the survival of their very identity in the face of the unchecked influx of migrants both from mainland India and illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal;

(iii) Meiteis cannot live and settle in their own state of Manipur, except in the valley area which constitutes less than 9% of the total area of Manipur, as per the Constitution of India.

The background of this bizarre and prejudicial provision of the Indian Constitution is that, during the British Rule in Manipur from 1891 to 1947, the hill areas of Manipur were reserved by the British rulers for the tribal community, only to protect them from exploitation by the advanced Indians taking into consideration the life of the communities in those days who solely depended on the forest areas for their livelihood. To the British the Meiteis were another tribal community and rightly so, who had even treated them (the British) as unholy. Indeed the Meiteis were too proud to be neo-hindus that they would treat any non-hindus as unholy.

It was not that the British had prohibited the Meiteis to settle on the hills, but it was that the Meiteis did not want to settle on the hills and this is true even for the contemporary Meiteis. And on top of it there was enough land in the valley.

Now, it is history and we do not and cannot live in history, however glorious our past was. And when the Indian constitution attempts to protect the tribals from being exploited by the advanced communities, the Indian Constitution reserves certain areas of land for the tribal communities who are recognized by the constitution as scheduled tribe in all the states where there are sizeable scheduled tribe populations such as Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, etc. And for the Northeast states the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland which were carved out of Assam have been reserved for the scheduled tribes, because all the natives are enlisted in the schedule list.

For Manipur too, all the areas, except the valley which constitute less than 9% of the total area is reserved for you. And the valley area is home to all of us – scheduled tribes, non-scheduled Meitei tribe, Pangal and almost all the major communities that are found in India.

When you call the Meitei “dominant community”, you have mistaken the past for the present. Today, the Meiteis are not even rightful citizens in Manipur, leave aside of being a dominant community, as you all know very well.

Indeed the one-time proud Meitei hindus have to pay dearly for being identified themselves as caste-hindu after Manipur became a part of India; for that only the Meitei leadership have to blame themselves. But do you really believe that the Meitei community do not deserve to be rightful citizens like you do just because they are not included in the schedule list of the Indian constitution?
v Unfortunately today, when the vast world is reduced into a global village, Manipur remains to be a vast island of hills and valley and each community building walls around themselves. This is just pathetic. Would you --- students and youths of both hills and valley --- not rise above such ethnic walls, if you want to join the global race?

Therefore in future, I would request you to come forward for meaningful dialogues and discussions whenever any such situation arises so that together we could create a win-win situation for all of us, and none to lose.

With regards,

Yours faithfully,
Heikrujam Nabashyam
Ex-Vice President,
Manipur Peoples Party


* This Press Relese was sent to e-pao.net by Heikrujam Nabashyam who can be contacted at nheikrujua(aT)gmail(doT)com
This Press Release was posted on Septemeber 2 2015

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