TODAY -

Greater Manipur

Naosekpam Ajit Singh *



I have a dream — A dream of a Greater Manipur. A Manipur greater not in physical territorial terms but characterized by greater understanding among its people.

A state having a large territory is not a guarantee to peace and development. Let us have a look at Madhya Pradesh, it is the largest state in the Indian Union and in terms of development it is lagging behind most of the Indian states, on the other hand Goa which is the smallest Indian state area wise is one of the most developed states in India.

When we look at the international level- Japan is a very small nation in terms of its area- but in terms of its economic might and technological advancement very few countries can match it. What makes a nation or a state mighty and great is not the area over which it spreads but by the combined will power of its inhabitants- the strength to do something great- something greater than yesterday!

If you read Japanese history there were very strong and opposing clans ruling different parts of Japan. There were frequent wars in between these different clans for dominance. Later on when Japan opened up to the world, its rulers and people slowly realized that they cannot go on fighting with each other, they have to be united if they have to face the world and be strong.

With this firm resolve they became united under a strong and sincere leadership. During the course of their growth the Japanese people have developed a great will and a great work culture – they believe in hard work rather than in rhetoric. They strongly believe in the saying "Speak less and work more".

They are known for their honesty and sincerity. Now Japan is a great nation- only because of the hardworking nature and unity of its citizens. So that's why I stated at the beginning that in order to build up a greater Manipur we don't need to strive for territorial expansion but to strive towards greater sincerity ,understanding and unity.

Today the people of Manipur is undergoing great hardships- everyone in the plains or in the hill districts are struggling for survival. Essential commodities are rare and hunger is rampant, communal hatred is on the rise and brothers are at arms. This present crisis is a boon in disguise, we should ponder and think what brought about this state of affairs, what is the cause of all this violence and mayhem?

Once we find the cause it can be uprooted with ease. We cannot expect others to understand us if we don't understand ourselves first. We cannot always blame the centre for mismanagement or generating misunderstanding. The centre has its own problems of managing a mammoth country infested by Maoist and unfortunate accidents.

We have to manage ourselves and understand ourselves. Only then we can be strong. This situation needs to be diffused urgently. Inter-communal and interfaith meetings needs to be held with the firm background that all communities and religious groups need to be united so that we can become strong and resilient ("United we rise and divided we fall").

Every community however strong and powerful can never be completely self sufficient, that is why human society is based on the principle of interdependence. One should never forget that we live in an era where national boundaries are becoming vague and international co-operation is at its peak.

The European Union is a fine example of international co-operation and amity. A composite society bound by deep and abiding respect to each and every community is the need of the hour. Every religion has got its distinct charm and inner beauty. I had the good fortune to visit many famous Churches, Mosques, Temples, Buddhist monastries and the Golden temple of the Sikhs.

An inner peace always descends upon you whenever you enter these places of worship when you enter with a conviction that all religions lead to the same God. Every religion may be different in its outer form but the underlying principles are always the same.

I want to narrate a personal experience with an American Christian missionary who came to spread Christianity in Imphal.

He talked at length about the Greatness of Christ and the Bible, I agreed with him wholeheartedly- I said
"Yes Lord Jesus Christ is a Great prophet-
He taught Love and mercy when people were merciless and without love-
and for teaching mercy and Love to people without mercy and Love –
He was crucified and even then He prayed-
Oh Lord forgive them for they know not what they do-
that is the sign of a great prophet-
instant forgiveness of the ones that are killing you- crucifying you-
and praying for them.
Lord Buddha was a great prophet who dwelt upon the rational aspect of the Ultimate reality and attained Nirvana.
Every religion has its own great prophets."

And then the Christian missionary carried on, he said
"Christianity is the only true religion –
it is the only way to God,
Every other religions are false and are doomed".

I requested him not to say like this, every religion leads to God, religious intolerance is at the roots of this world's misery.

Religion is a very powerful tool- you use it properly and it will lead you to heaven-to God but when you abuse it will lead to hell- to Satan. It is like fire, it can cook food if you use it with diligence and it can burn your house if you are not careful.

There was a glass of water on the table I pointed at the glass and said
"That glass on the table can be approached from many directions-
by the left hand and also by your right hand-
can you say that this glass can only be approached by your right hand and only from directly above-
you can't say because you know there are many ways of reaching that glass.
This is an example of a concrete thing-
a physical thing, but when you are thinking about approaching God-
about an esoteric and abstract reality-
there ought to be limitless ways to reach the limitless God.
And so there are many religions preaching the same limitless God just as different people are wearing different apparels according to their needs, climatic conditions and personal preferences. Different religions cater to different temperaments and personalities".

I requested him to please study other religions before branding them false and doomed. America is today facing economic and social crisis because of religious intolerance. In order to bring peace and development we need to develop religious and communal tolerance. So I firmly believe that the foundations of a Greater Manipur should rest on a secular and tolerant edifice.

Corruption is one of social malady that is a great challenge to unity and progress. It needs to be uprooted if society has to be peaceful. Corruption is the greatest violence- it is the mother of all violence, it breeds hatred and anger. I will cite another example to drive my point home.

Once I was standing near the SS hotel at alugali –Imphal, an autorickshaw carrying an ailing patient from the hills and his family was stopped by the Manipur police personnel posted there. They were trying to squeeze some money on flimsy grounds just because they are not acquainted to the valley and in that process they were delaying him from reaching RIMS hospital. What will the ailing person think- He will think, "These plain people are very demonic and inhuman".

Once he reaches home he will narrate the incident and this perception of the plain people will grow in the fertile hilly soil by leaps and bounds. Once it has been planted it is very difficult to uproot mental perceptions. All this have happened only because the corrupt police personnel cannot control his greed for ten rupees.

Cases like this happen daily in Manipur- if we want peace corruption has to be stopped. Many people are raising a hue and cry and proclaiming in loudspeakers that all the ministers of the Manipur cabinet are corrupt.

But the question remains "Who made them corrupt??" When elections are round the corner, everybody will sell their ballot at a price maybe –Rs 500 or Rs 1000 and a few pegs of country liquor. When you want a job you can shell out rupees 10 lakhs by selling or pawning your assets. When we people have become so corrupt we don't have any right to expect our leaders to be incorruptible because corrupt people deserve corrupt leaders.

Corruption is a vicious circle it grows exponentially and spreads like wild fire. Many young people have tried to fight corruption but later on over the years they have became so entrapped by power and corruption that they forgot what they stood for. Every individual needs to be vigilant against corruption; it is the real cause of the degradation that our society is facing. Anti corruption drive has to start from the individual level if we want our society to prosper and regain peace.

I have a dream of a Greater Manipur- Greater in Peace- Greater in Understanding- Greater in religious and communal tolerance, where its people possess greater sincerity, greater faith in themselves and work day and night tirelessly toward realizing that dream- that goal of greatness.




* Naosekpam Ajit Singh contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer can be contacted at ajsin18mar(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on June 07, 2010.


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