TODAY -

Breaking Down Bit By Bit: My homeland Manipur

Seine Yumnam *

landscape of Manipur taken by Bullu Raj :: 2011
landscape of Manipur taken by Bullu Raj :: 2011



A lot of people say that Manipur has huge potential for attracting tourist - it's the kind of place where people wishes to live forever.

But, are we really ready for such fantasized story to make it happen? We are definitely not. We don't want tourist to get kidnapped, mugged, or forced to join the insurgents.

That would be the most bizarre story I would ever hear in the news. This is the reason why it is important that we set up an environment that will help us exploit our resources for progressive reasons.

While we have the logistics advantage, we are poor in providing security, even to ourselves. Before we think of a paradigm shift, we need to know if we have the complete bundle of resources for it.

Let's assume that we hire the best person in the world for Economic Development. The first thing he is going to search for is unexploited resources. Then he will write down a plan on how we can appeal to the universe using such resources that are prevalent only in Manipur and cannot be found anywhere in the world. He will clearly put down all the processes and possible target destinations for such resources.

Are we now ready for a change? No, not yet. Just a plan is not enough.

We need someone to make that plan to work out. Simply putting it, we need an entrepreneur who can operate such a large scale business profitably. Without such a person, a plan is just another hope. This demands for better education and training. This is the point in which the Colleges and Universities should jump in.

However, in reality, we are facing a delay or ignorance from such entities. Most people believe that Manipur will be better off only through the process of self-determination; however, the issue is, are we really ready to be independent when we have every part of our system broken and wounded?

We are not at all ready to repair it by ourselves. Why not we embrace the new opportunities we have or would have under the new central government? I am confident that we will be able to start connecting with the South-East Asian countries sooner than later. It is only through such global exposure that we can strengthen ourselves by utilizing the resources we already possess.

But pragmatically speaking, we can never do this on a larger scale without the support from the Central Government, and it is the duty of our State leaders to appeal for such actionable ideas, not for profitable contracts. There is never a silver bullet for a system as wounded as ours, and change can only happen in margin.

When these wounds are fixed slowly in the next 5 or 10 or 100 years, then only we can think of self-determination. It's time we stop hoping and start acting on practical ideas.

A large population of Manipur, especially the younger section, is influenced by South-East Asian culture. And even larger population think that our own values and cultures are dissipating. This is wrong. I am not trying to undermine our values and cultures. I absolutely respect whatever original we have.

But we also need to be a little more open minded. Is there anything wrong in trying to be like what the rich and developed countries are? Perhaps, if we develop the same kind of mentality that the people in developed countries like South Korea and China have, we could also see a similar result in our own system.

As mentioned before, exposure and adaptation to the global environment is a prerequisite for progress. We cannot be stagnant in mind-set and expect a progressive system to come along. Manipur is not only for Meities, Manipur is for everyone who resides in it.

The first step for any kind of Economic Development is individual property rights. However, the tribals, which comprise of more than 30% of the total population in Manipur do not have individual property rights yet. Heaven is not going to pour down golden coins when the basic necessity for progress is not in place.

Without access to credits, there can't be new activities. The significance of credits for undertaking new economic activities and innovation cannot be undermined. We absolutely need to know this. Looking at all the things we are missing for progress to happen, all I can say is 'be patient'.

We are not going to be on the top of the world in the next two decades or so. But at the same time, we need to be optimistic on what can happen in the next two decades.


* Seine Yumnam wrote this article for e-pao.net
This article was posted on November 06 , 2014.


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