Bandhs and blockades of Manipur

Usham Somarendro Singh *

Around 300 trucks leave Jiri for Imphal ::  January 16 2017
Around 300 trucks leave Jiri for Imphal on January 16 2017 :: Pix - TSE

One of the main reasons why Manipur is lagging behind in developmental score is undoubtedly blockades. Well, we consumed a lot of days in bandhs and blockades. We have different ethnic composition having different interests; some of the interest is as different as North Pole and South Pole. It just doesn't have any meeting point. All of its different views and interests are reflected in the form of bandhs and blockades. Sure, we can have different opinion and Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression.

But the questions we can ask ourselves are

"Are we doing anything good to ourselves by indulging in bandhs and blockades?"

"Is there any alternative way to protest other than bandhs and blockades and make the Govt. hear our views or anguish?'

"Are we being a little bit intolerant by engaging in this form of protest?"

"Do we really take into account the trauma faced by those people who are trapped in bandhs and blockades?'

By saying this I am not undermining the legitimacy of expressing our protest. It can be for a very right reason, good and authentic cause. I just like to express about the loss that incurred to us by bandhs and blockades and if its number and frequency can be reduced to a level where its impact is minimal.

Well, it is also a fact that we have too many JACs (Joint Action Committee) and too many leaders. It is not wrong to form JACs and to have leaders for a genuine cause and reasons. Leaders always hijack our mind. They can shape public opinion. We just give them the power to do so. But yes, let there be good leaders who hijack our mind for the good cause in a good way

Also, slightly touching into the current issue of blockade and counter-blockade, of the trust deficit and so on, time and again we have been hearing in public forum that the people of hills and valley are brothers. Do we really try to understand it and take it seriously is a debatable matter because if we have taken it seriously enough, our 'trust deficit' should have been vanished or atleast reduced to a tolerable limit.

We have been giving numerous historical examples that reflect that people in hills and valley are infact brothers. Keeping aside the historical perspective and interpretation of many historical events, I would like to put a logical view.

'The closest relative of any human is his/her brothers and sisters and parents and nobody can deny it. They are blood related and live as a family. Next to family, are the sagei/ clan. Father, uncles, grandfathers and grandfather's brothers live as neighbours in a close living space which we sometimes called as leikai. These 'family and leikai' are like social institution and society evolves this way over time.

This seems to be the law of nature, 'The more closely related you are, the closer your living space will be'. Taking this point further, if we look into the relation between Meiteis and Tangkhuls who happen to live in close proximity, they ought to be closely related otherwise they would be living far apart. Their spacial distribution would be far if they are unrelated.

So, the relation between Meiteis and Tangkhuls who live as neighbours have to be closer than the relation between Tangkhul and Angami of Nagaland or Nocte of Arunachal Pradesh who live (100-200) miles away. Because the place where you live in and your relation are closely linked. The closer your living space is, the more closely you are related.

Space influences relation between groups. It is not limited to Meiteis andTangkhul only, it can be relation between Meiteis and Kabuis or any other tribes. We have thousands of years of history behind us to support this. However, having said this, if Tangkhul or any other tribes want to put themselves under the nomenclature of Naga, it is absolutely their choice and no one can interfere it.

Religion or caste is absolutely an individual's choice. Whilst caste and religion remain our individual choice, at the same time, we should not forget the historical relation that bind us together also. If you look from any angle, it does not merit any logical explanation that Tangkhul are supposed to be closer to Nocte of Arunachal than the Meiteis. That is why we have Tangkhul nurabi in Meitei Laiharaoba.

Well coming back to the topic on the loss incurred due to blocakade, let me come to the first point "Are we doing anything good to ourselves by indulging in bandhs and blockades? In economic terms, 'Absolutely not'. Because it is probably one of the factors among many factors for making our state Manipur backward. Out of 365 days, places like Bangalore utillises atleast 300 days minus 48 Sundays optimally.

We hardly use 100 days optimally. Because when you start doing a job and break suddenly in between due to bandhs and blockades, it surely breaks the rythm or so called momentum. When you start again, you have to start from the beginning. So, Manipur now is where Bangalore was at 2000, just because we have lost nearly 10 years in bandhs and blocades.

We have good human resources but we are crawling like snail because of frequent interruption in our activity. That is why Manipuris living outside are more productive, progressive and earn more as compared to Manipuris back home because they have full year available but we have hardly 6 months available in a year.

So, if we are going to indulge in bandhs and blockades, I think we should stop complaining that Manipur is lagging behind, Manipur doesn't have this infrastructure or that infrastructure, Manipur's water supply or electricity is pathetic, roads are miserable, because we haven't done enough, or given enough space to allow ourselves and others, and Govt and private sectors to progress.

So, in doing bandhs and blockades, we are not only protesting to get our demands, we are also indulging in activities that hamper our own progress and growth. It's time we find some other alternative form of protest and replace bandhs and blocakades. Dharna is appealing, rally is still ok, meeting the concerned administrative officers of the concerned department or if required concerned Ministers sounds good. Because, by doing so, we can get what we want without disturbing our normal activities or activities of others.

The other question is what is the Govt. doing? Don't they require to give some 'practical solutions'? It's been happening for so long that Govt. Should formulate some strategies to counter it. Recently a survey gave the loss per day during bandhs and blocakades which run in terms of crores. Economic Blockades lead to 'Economic Erosion' and further to 'Society Erosion'. Since bandhs and blocakades have 'meltdown effect' on economy, some strategies need to be put in place. It impacts the health sector, there has been news of scanty supply of oxygen in hospital during blockade. It means it somehow violates rights of many patients. It's a crime and a crime is a punishable offence.

There can be some 'Rapid Response Team' that comprise of experts on various fields, like Social Scientists, Lawyers, in addition to police force that can attend in emergency situation. Presence of Social scientists and Lawyers can make sure that while police perform their duties, human rights and value are preserved and not violated.

Another question is 'can there be some Highway Protection Force that can make sure the free flow of economic items during economic blockades? If some extra fund is diverted in maintaining such force, their presence can enhance economic growth to much extent by ensuring free flow of economic items. Well, whatever I have expressed above are just my views and I am sure that there can be many experts in various fields who can give many more ways to counter it.

Having said these, I presume that bandhs and blockades will be there. But in those circumstances, we should bear this in our mind that we minimise the impact as less as possible, because it is also our duty to minimise the economic disparity between our state and some of the potentially growing states.

* Usham Somarendro Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on January 18, 2017.

* 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 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.

  • Arambai show #2:: Gallery
  • Curtain Raiser of 'Oorja' :: Gallery
  • New Facebook page (Link) for e-pao
  • Are We Protecting Younger Generation?
  • Unconditional :: Poem
  • Koirengei: From airfield to a historical site
  • Aizawl FC: Winner I-League Football 2017
  • Director General Assam Rifles Visits
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Defeating the spirit of 2003 legislation
  • Shakuhachi meets Pena, Manipur & Japan
  • Rally against Phaknung rape :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • MIMS (MU) - ManFete #2 :: Gallery
  • Shirui Festival: Where is it heading
  • 2nd Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar
  • Partnership between science & spirituality
  • Earning our rights and privileges
  • If press is presstitute then how about them
  • CATA Cine Award :: Gallery
  • Ngaineikim, Lamgoulen, Dilimpou :: eMing
  • Tributes paid on Khongjom Day #2:: Gallery
  • Laishram Birendrakumar recieve Padmashri
  • Position of Women in India
  • A forced load on little angels
  • Involvement of Asian Development Bank
  • Politics of power
  • Modi walking on elusive Naga peace: Book
  • 433 recruits from NE join Delhi Police
  • Kei Onba Kom Gi Eshing :: Funga Wari
  • Sculpture at Ukhrul :: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Delhi United :: Gallery
  • Folk star Mangka goes global with Cla
  • Exploring pet grooming as career
  • The Shattered Visage :: Poem
  • LTC & travellling settlement
  • Workshop: Sustainable Skill Development
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Create two separate states out of Manipur
  • Northeast set to boost India's global IT
  • A word of caution for the BJP led Govt
  • For a better society, education is a must
  • April 14 : Another chapter of shame
  • 'Nura Pakhang'(Video) @Portugal:: Gallery
  • DIO inaugurated @Kangpokpi :: Gallery
  • 8th MU Annual Sports Meet #2 :: Gallery
  • The Real Purenba :: Folk Tales
  • Is cleanliness drive another publicity stunt
  • Time zone & daylight saving time for NE
  • Khongjom War observed at Delhi
  • A matter need to be pondered
  • Rongmei tribe recognition..withdraws
  • Seniors ask GoI to move peace process
  • People's Day likely from next month
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Mr India 2017- Ksh Bhaktakumar :: Gallery
  • MIMS (MU) - ManFete #1 :: Gallery
  • nuja (Nuja) :: Seireng
  • Paper trail of fake encounters in Manipur
  • Food & beverage of Zeliangrong #3
  • Let us switch on the living mode
  • Saying no to non-local appointment
  • Let adopted child knows the truth
  • Purul, Senapati :: 360 View Panorama
  • Play: 'It's a Myth' :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #3:: Gallery
  • Relevance of ecotourism in the real world
  • World Malaria Day: End Malaria for good
  • The Bath :: Poem
  • Peeking through the FA pact
  • Leaking of the secret deal, another trick?
  • Tributes paid on Khongjom Day #1:: Gallery
  • Arm-Wrestling Championship :: Gallery
  • Curses come home to roost
  • Childhood hearing loss/deafness
  • Does India trade deficit with China matter
  • Silent protest against minors gang rape
  • B'pur citizens launch forum for development
  • Yes sir, yes sir syndrome
  • Cheiraoba Thabal @Singjamei:: Gallery
  • TBSFA Veteran Football :: Gallery
  • Saga of Herbert School Hostel
  • Disable for the disable person
  • Manipur : Charting the way forward
  • Uneasy Coexistence :: Poem
  • Assam Rifles Ex-Servicemen Rally
  • Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied
  • Public Relations(PR) Day celebrations
  • Forest authority denies killing tiger
  • Education Minister needs to check
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Ethoi Oinam #1 (Actress) :: eRang
  • Angkor Wat , Cambodia #5 :: Gallery
  • Read all about Khongjom Day : History
  • Where Do Manipuris Come From ?
  • WW2 Bridge remain unnoticed by govt
  • I m not born to fulfill parent's dreams
  • 2nd Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar
  • Filmmaker urged to make socially relevant
  • Bat for more people to people contact
  • Changing trend of journalism
  • Nura Pakhang : Music video
  • Cultural program @Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • puNsi (Punsi) :: Seireng
  • Faith, forgiveness & future
  • Rise of new hopes with BJP in Manipur
  • What is your keyword ?
  • Thanksgiving Function: NE people in Delhi
  • Condemns rape of two school children
  • Govt decision to make hindi compulsory
  • Expectations from the BJP led Govt
  • 6th Kangleipak Kang Trophy #2:: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #2:: Gallery
  • Victor Thoudam's It's A Myth :: Synopsis
  • The end of history & Manipur!
  • From Imphal with love
  • License to kill in Manipur
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Central Working Committee of TSA
  • Lajong NE Diaries cross 1 Million Views
  • Nagas in Cambodia
  • Addressing VIP culture : No to beacon lights
  • SC judgment to extra-judicial killings
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba @Pune :: Gallery
  • 8th MU Annual Sports Meet #1 :: Gallery
  • Career options after 10 + 2
  • Computerization of land records in Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba organized at Pune
  • Sattriya Dance: Assam's classical dance
  • Phynyx in Classic Nostalgia at Imphal
  • Beginning of the end of Cong ?
  • Please be serious on road accident
  • Thabal Chongba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • CM N Biren visit to Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • National Mathematics Day :: Gallery
  • What Ails India's North East? :: Review
  • Commercialization of transgender event
  • Urges Manipur Govt to desist Mapithel dam
  • Mathematics Day at Oriental College
  • Ministers inspect Chandranadi Riverbanks
  • DG IIMC & ADG IIS visit Manipur
  • Manipur duo net London goal
  • Battle of Khongjom : 2 dates for 1 battle
  • Action appreciative, fishy in replacement
  • Governor Trophy Junior Tennis #2 :: Gallery
  • 7th UGC ROP must be Empowering ...
  • Imphal Talkies in my town
  • A new perspective of urban planning
  • The morning dew :: Poem
  • Assam Rifles Ex-servicemen Rally
  • Challenges of heading a coalition Govt
  • Cheirao-chingkaba :: Gallery
  • Tangkhul Dance @Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • 1st People's Day @Jiri :: Gallery
  • Some Canadian Ideas For School Education
  • Manipuri is a classical language
  • NEROCA FC :: Group Photo
  • Dont make it another Publicity stunt
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa -Apr 14 :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #1:: Gallery
  • CM Reception @Khwairamband :: Gallery
  • Wanted: Manipur River Protection Force
  • BSNL broadband condition in Tamenglong
  • April Showers - Sketches :: Poem
  • Websites launches on Digital Manipur
  • MHRD-University Ranking: Status of MU
  • Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Assam met CM
  • Against notice served to Dr. Kamei @JNIMS
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #4 : Ooba
  • 'Manipur Govinda' (Play) #2 :: Gallery
  • Superstition, oath & ordeal of Koren
  • CM N Biren visit to Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • Shumang Leela Day :: Gallery
  • Yaikhomba Mutum selected at Cambridge
  • Earthern Pottery- Thongjao #1 :: Gallery
  • Trip to Kamjong district :: Gallery
  • Hanubi & Hanuba : Downloadable Folktale
  • Career planning after Class X #2
  • CCMT: MTech Admission at NIT Manipur
  • Thousands welcomed CM in Ukhrul
  • Thoubal Keithel #2 :: Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [Mar 29] #3 :: Gallery
  • Thabal Chongba @Mysore :: Gallery
  • Nungshiba Khongel @Sylhet :: Gallery
  • Dance movement Takao Kawaguchi's way
  • The man who bridges Manipuri Meiteis...
  • Convention & Nungshiba Khongel at Sylhet
  • Shuri Kaso Phanat (Garlic Fest) :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports #6 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Landslide @Sirarakhong, Ukhrul:: Gallery
  • Meitei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Arambai Exhibition Show #1:: Gallery
  • Nongmai Kainou Chingsomba #2:: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [Mar 29] #2:: Gallery
  • Last rites of Sunder Gopal :: Gallery
  • Manipur raiding Burma (1600 - 1850)
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [Mar 29] #2 :: Gallery
  • Trip to Tamu, Myanmar #1: Gallery
  • Hangmila Shaiza: First Woman MLA
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper