TODAY -

More than half a century of Statehood : From 1972 to 2023
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: January 23, 2023 -



Merged with India in 1949. Became a Part C State and remained that way for over two decades only to attain the status of a full fledged State on January 21, 1972.

From 1972 to 2023 and how has Manipur moved in over half a century, that is in 51 years ?

A child born back in 1972 would now have entered the middle age stage, having his or her own family, raising children and would generally have come to grips with what life has to offer.

Manipur, like the rest of the world was in the grip of the Covid pandemic in 2022 and this should hence explain why the significance of 50 years of being in the Union did not register in the consciousness of majority of the people and why no one deemed it proper to look back at the past 50 years and do some sort of a 'looking back' exercise.

Being 51 means having just added another year and should not make much of a difference but what are the perceptible changes that may be acknowledged with a hint of pride and joy ?

Tough to answer, but Manipur has certainly moved from 1972 to 2023, like the rest of the world.

It is perhaps best left to individual perception to say whether the 'move' comes anywhere near the understanding of progress or whether the 'move' has been compelled by the passage of time.

Things have improved, no doubt, but where is Manipur in the consciousness of the people of India is a question that is still relevant today.

And this question holds true, not only for Manipur but for the whole North Eastern region.

Remember the 'corona' tag that was given to the people of North East people when the pandemic hit the country in the first wave.

How about the history text books prescribed for school children?

Are terms such as, 'momo' 'ching-chong Chinaman' 'chinky' 'Bahadur' still in vogue to condescendingly refer to the people of North East in any city of India ?

To get an answer that is anywhere near to the reality, ask the students from Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and even Assam in any of the well known educational destinations of the young students and their parents such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai etc.

These are all questions which one should raise now even as Manipur notes the completion of 51 years of being a full fledged State of the great Union of India.

It was with a reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi deemed it fit to instruct his Council of Ministers to visit the North Eastern States on a regular basis and it is true that this instruction has been followed religiously.

Something different from the days when any visit to the North East region was treated like going on a foreign sojourn.

As noted earlier, Manipur has certainly moved on from 1972 to 2023 and a look anytime at the roads of Imphal will testify this. Rickshaw which was once the primary mode of transportation in Imphal is today no longer so.

Imphal or Manipur has certainly moved from the days when only one or two families owned a four wheeler in a locality or a leikai, receiving or making a telephone call no longer means going to the neighbour's house to make or receive a call, and pucca houses dot all the leikais and leiraks today.

A sure sign that buying power of the people has increased.

The hurricane lamp (lantern) and palang are today no longer in use, at least in Imphal, but has the power supply scenario improved to meet the changing demands of the day ?

Today power is no longer just about illuminating one's house, but almost everything has come to depend on electricity, from the rice cooker in the kitchen to operating one's desk top computer to charging one's mobile handset.

People in Imphal today no longer rely that much on the community pond or the pond that every family used to have at their homestead, but this does not mean that people get adequate water supply ?

Many have to rely on the private water tankers.

In the last 51 years, how much has the education scenario improved?

A look at the number of students pursuing their higher studies outside Manipur should tell its own story.

Manipur has miles to go to make the addition of one more year of Statehood any more meaningful.



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