TODAY -

The LLTT influence and Manipur Problems!

Raj Singh *



There are about 50 armed rebel groups in Manipur each demanding something - similar or different. Again, there are another 50 CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) representing the various ethnic groups. All of these organizations try to voice their demands to the government of India some constitutional, others not; some congruent with that of fellow organizations, others not; some harmonious, others conflicting; some clear, others with a hidden agenda. Add to it those demands from sporadic and temporary JACs (Joint Action Committees) who pop up every now and then to intervene the law enforcement in the state. Listening to all these demands can drive you nuts!

Vigorous internal dynamics are reportedly involved amongst these countless organizations behind each demand that surfaces before the public. Obviously, the public cannot fully trust such a demand as they often suspect hidden agenda of some organization beyond reach. They cannot put it to a real discourse to understand especially when it is churned out of the thoughts of some radical, behind the scene groups. The public support such a demand only when they are coerced to do it. Therefore, many demands cannot grow into a popular public demand to involve the think tanks.

Problem solving for any government in a situation when the public have to face the parochial demands and counter-demands manufactured in such a polluted environment may be very difficult as few ideas can be sanguine. The helpless public are mostly withdrawn and they just leave a problem to solve by itself. There are epidemic loss of self-esteem and the insidious growth of cynicism among the citizenry concomitant with the general public dejection.

This time, the tactically unified hill tribes of Manipur have revolted against the dominance of the majority Meiteis. The immediate ground is recent passing of the three bills by Manipur Assembly allegedly harmful to the hill tribes. The tribes are also upset because they were not adequately consulted about the bills.

To a problem solver, a solution is clearly visible just revisit the bills by a consultative committee representing all the ethnic groups and submit it to the Assembly to debate and pass again. There is no room for unfairness to any party in this solution. There is no Catch 22.

But, this does not seem possible because the tribes' demand lodged with Delhi is not rectification of the bills but creation of separate administration for the tribal areas of Manipur. And, the majority Meiteis are not in the mood to listen to the idea that tribes should have been adequately consulted and they keep pushing the governor for his assent to the bills. Both go tangential.

Separate administration for each ethnic group is untenable and unachievable. On the other hand, pushing the bills through as it is will leave an indelible scar in the minds of the minority tribes who already feel insecure to live with Meitei chauvinism. Hence, the directions both parties are headed keep the vista of territorial and emotional integrity of Manipur sidelined.

Both the Meiteis and the tribes have their genuine concerns, fears and ambitions. But, both do not seem interested in sitting together and discuss those and find solutions together. Rather, both prefer to keep these to themselves or submit these to Delhi for redressal. The Meitei and the tribes are not even at loggerheads as they have not met and discussed the issue across the table yet. There should not be any problem for the ethnic groups to openly discuss any legitimate concern if they do not have hidden agenda. Lack of candour due to hidden agenda or mistrust makes us look like suffering from the LLTT (Looking London Talking Tokyo) syndrome, not the clinical crossed eye, but the habit of talking different than meaning.

Delhi rules Manipur and it is quite understandable that the central government has all the information about who wants what. If 100 different organizations in Manipur remain divergent on issues and continue lobbying Delhi for advancing their baffling ethno-centric sectarian demands, what they will get will not be empathy but pity about their LLTT. We will look a population of whining agitators without thinkers.

Like a frustrated father does (to buy time for his adult engagements) to silence his dozen children making a cacophony of childish demands, Delhi will silence the nagging LLTT-influenced demand groups from the state with some false promises just to buy time for their attention to so many beautiful things coming up in other peaceful regions of the country. Living on false promises renders every one of us helpless pawns to be played by others. We need to restrain ourselves from competing each other in lobbying Delhi and learn living by ourselves.

We can find a solution of the present problem if Meitei and the hill tribes open mindedly go for review of the bills by forming a larger multi-ethnic consultative committee. For transparency, the review sessions can be audio-visually recorded. Meitei will address all the fears and apprehensions of the tribes and at the same time the tribes will consider the genuine problems of the Meitei. The Consultative Committee can go beyond the controversial bills and recommend many other measures for perpetual cultural harmony and equal progress in the state. We can make Manipur a great place to live!

Let's have faith in ourselves and talk homilies of our potentials not desolation. Let's have enough sanity and sincerity to solve our problems by ourselves. Meitei and tribes have a common past and a common future! Disunity can only delay our progress that we deserve so much!


* Raj Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Toronto, Canada and can be contacted at rajkuss(aT)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on September 29, 2015.


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