TODAY -

Indigent Commonsense: Major Fatal Sickness of Manipur

* Lc. Jinine



There has been a structural violence in Manipur marked by the controversial merger, subsequent downgrading of the princely State and the imposition of anti peoples' legislations. This violence has emerged out of the creation of social and political structures that deprives the rights of (indigenous) peoples of Manipur in terms of safety, respect, participation, economy, identity and culture. It is considered to be the fundamental root cause for the existing Political Conflict and its byproduct Human Rights Violations.

Although the structural violence has not been the immediate cause, it has acted as secondary factor of the Inter Ethnic Enmity, Unbridled Corruption, Undergrowth Economic, Gloomy Unemployment, Impotent Education and Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS. These are the existing predicaments and chronic effect rattling along a cycle of violence in Manipur. This is more than fifty percent fact although not hundred percent proved.

In attempting either to minimize or to cure these problems, generally agreed point is that there are challenges to be encountered.

Decades ago some justice oriented people's leader initiated liberation/self determination movement, that of a political struggle which is universally legitimate according to the principle standard and legal codifications of the United Nations . Since around late 60s until early 80s majority of the public, generally common people in the valley sympathized and supported the cause and so do the activities of movement with armed propaganda. However, gradually starting from about 90s up till date there have shown up ever mounting challenges and impediments especially of the internal type involve its own people.

The crippling force inside Manipur which crumbling the Manipuri society is the most basic reality challenge. Earlier the bigger responsibility and bitter blame might have been directed towards Government of India and their political agents in Manipur. Such not is the sole case this time around. Here I would like to quote a saying in reverse, 'As are the subjects, so is the king' not 'As the king, so the subjects'.

There has been ever mounting state terrorism triggered by a good few personnel of the Manipur security forces (other than by the mainland military forces). There have been more cadres and officers among the armed opposition parties who are corrupt, criminal and reactionary. Also there have been majority of the peoples who judging the movement/parties not in favor of. These are the son of the soil, the breed of the Manipuri society. The case is not of the degree of the negligible amount, the fact is of the majority.

My understanding is that the challenges and forces faced by the majority of the people of Manipur are composite, namely

  • primary - peoples' participation
  • secondary - Indian State's response and
  • tertiary - international intervention
Previously Government of India has held bigger responsibility for generating problem in Manipur in fact. However, the heavier challenge is the "lack of the adequate response" from the own people of Manipur. I attribute this irresponsibility to a social behavior characterized by the "indigent commonsense" which I would like to synonymise here with the "lack of justice and issue consciousness" among the people of Manipur.

My emphasis on the commonsense issue I imply people's behavior noticed by the either injustice act or non ethical response towards universal ethical rules, other social fellows, and surrounding environment. In fact the case is not exceptional to Manipur; the talking point is the excessive degree in Manipur.

There are a few good visible indicators of social behavior; (one time) "crowd gathering outside the examination rooms", "socially accepted corruption", "barbaric traffic habit" and "offensive garbage disposition". One interesting fact other Indians also agree is that main land India is very much home of such indecent and clumsy practices. More interestingly majority of Manipuris are practicing the same here.

The surprising fact is that we do not see such negative social illness in some North Eastern Parts of India where indigenous tribes settle including neighboring Mizoram. I heard the voices from some quarters that either to remain uncheck the social illness or rather be cooperative to proliferate the behavior for justifying the real intention of Indian colonial governance. However over years it has been evident mere a suicidal experiment to Manipuri society.

According to my observation, people from all walks of life suffer from the "indigent commonsense"; from dandy doctors to raunchy workshop boys (garage mechanics), from wealthy contractors to grouchy rickshaw drivers, from bossy bureaucrats to typical villagers, from powerful ministers to talkative activists and from lazy teachers to idle office goers. (I keep pile of cases and evidences of these, next time I may go into the details of them.)

At one level we are acutely conscious about our private home compound cleanliness particularly among the Imphal/town dwellers however we never mind to throw out garbage, dead pests to public shared river and roads. We are hyper sensitive to defend our private property say, plot of land; we all are maniacs to scuffle for an inch of land we own.

But we do not persevere enough with real issues of the social injustice and killing and torture of own brother or son in a continuous human rights violations. The "scanty justice and issue consciousness" exists so actively on the soil. No doubt, Manipur has sustained people's protest and movement far better than other NE Parts. But it is not up to the adequate demand in terms of perseverance, hard work and organized unity which possessed by the Japanese and Jews in Israel. People of Manipur never have undergone challenges ever bigger than or equal to of the Japanese and the Jews. These both peoples have won so many battles in terms defeating formidable challenges.

As long as we allow ourselves suffering from such social carcinoma, the chances of rescue from such socio-political sinking Titanic is extremely narrow. The atmosphere is the freezing night of demonic globalization, the rescuer from international and UN concerns are thousands miles away, close by is the only demonic jaws of colonial power.

Definitely some so called people representatives or (social) contractors/smugglers and some professionals who successfully looted public properties get into the lifeboats.




* Lc. Jinine (Jinine Laishramcha) contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer is a human rights defender; MA Human Rights, IIHR, New Delhi; Certificate Course in Conflict Analysis, USIP, Washington DC and International Humanitarian Law Training, ICRC, Geneva and can be reached at lcjinine(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on April 23, 2011.


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