Open Letter To Mr. R.K. Meghen & Other Revolutionaries In Manipur
- Part 2 -

Dr. Robbinson Moirangcha *

Respected Mr. R. K. Meghen & Others,

This is in continuation of the dialogue initiated from our end, by the grassroots people of Manipur. This piece deals with your most recent rhetoric: call for plebiscite. We would like to highlight certain facts that might have skipped your knowledge since you are far away and adrift from the reality: pain and sufferings of the common people.

People in Manipur have for long been in this atmosphere of mortal fear where they are afraid of taking even a deep breath lest the sound of breath should trigger AK 56's fire be it from the militants or from the security forces. There are too many dangerous and kill-happy dictators in our society. From their apparent laid back attitude, it is as if people have become accustomed to this life of living at the edge.

But then, look deeper, and you will come to learn that the laid back attitude is nothing but a petrified surrender: the best way to be alive in the situation. Quite an Evolution at work, here. You end up being the game bird of militants or the security forces at regular intervals, though. Over the decades we have been seeing the continuous retrogression and wilful destruction of the state in terms of education, infrastructure, economics, social mores, administration, law and order and what not.

All we people have done is watch passively whatever is happening in front of our eyes. Is it because we do not consider the state or its people ours? Or because we have become so numb that we have stopped feeling the pain?

We are now in a modern civilization where freedom is our birth right. We are entitled to our rights to freedom of speech, debate, discussion and action. No one has a right to deny us our due rights. We should not get accustomed to this asphyxiating environment where the gun touting anti-social elements or the high-handed security personnel give a damn about our rights.

Because that means for us to cease living our lives with purpose, meaning and dignity. Do you see any meaning in a life lived in perpetual fear with all our fundamental rights snatched at gun point by the dacoits? The people need to gather up their courage to stand up for their due rights. They need to be let free to express their opinions, share them with each other, participate in debates and discussions, with no fear for their lives or their loved ones' or for a dozen demand letters that will deprive them of their hard earned money.

They themselves need to take all decisions related to them through democratic means after open and free discussions and debates. These decisions can no longer be left to the gun wielding elements with little light of prudent education or dictated by other state or non-state machineries that we do not recognize.

No one has a right to silence people by force and then claim to be speak for them. This is fundamentally wrong. People know that Indian Govt does not prevent people from speaking their minds, sharing their ideas or debates even if they are anti-national. The militants, however, have been using their brute force to silence people against voicing any opinions unfavorable to their interests.

On the other hand, they use the lure of money, the same brute force and other remunerations in kind to make certain people to espouse their "ideology" and portray them as representative of the common people. The point is : when people are not even allowed to have their opinions, how are they going to give a verdict? Here, I'm expressing my views through the shield of anonymity offered by the internet. But, how many have access to internet? And, how safe is this anonymity offered by internet?

Moreover, the militants need to prove that they have any respect for and would respect people's verdict. When they have no respect for people's rights and aspirations now, how can we assure ourselves that they will respect people's verdict? There is a lot of substance in the claims that the militants and their beneficiaries want to synthesize public opinions so that the common people/state can be made the chicken in the python's cage. The python can do whatever it wants to: the fate of the helpless chicken is upto the python's whims and fancy, and in the other claim all the militants are interested is money and power.

Hence, the first step to Manipur's Resurgence is to restore the common people's rights to freedom of speech, opinions, debates and discussions, and self-decision making. This can come only if the militants across the state guarantee the people their due rights and give a commitment to stop all sorts of intimidation, extortion, harassment and killings and help the people in the state's reconstruction. The Meira Paibi Associations, Student Organizations and Clubs can take the lead in this direction.

Once the people are guaranteed their right to freedom of speech, opinion, debates and discussions with no fear for retribution from any quarters whatsoever, people can deliberate on all issues and finally come to the crucial question of what course of action we should take from now onwards so the state and people can catch up with the rest of the world in the pace of civilization. Hence, the talk about Plebiscite is very immature and very self-serving for the militants. It rather looks like a plain farce.

The "revolutionaries" and their sympathizers should understand some plain things about Human Rights. If you have scant respect for the rights of other people to talk, you don't have any rights to talk. Since you have distorted and self-serving interpretations of the concepts of civilization and human rights, you are easily called your bluff when you claim to have any faith or respect in the opinions of the common people.

Prior to the Plebiscite, we need to make a comprehensive effort to gauge the opinion of the common people, for which the questionnaire would have to be something of the following nature.

1. Do you think the militants are genuine in the ideology behind their propaganda?

2. Do you think the militants are simply exploiting people's ethnocentric vulnerability to sustain their lucrative extortion business?

3. Which one is a more dangerous terror? Militants or AFSPA/Security Forces?

4. Do you think the militants are not violating any human rights when they do the following?

--Extorting money from ordinary people who do not believe in their propaganda and who believe in making their livelihood through their honest sweat and toil?

--Subjecting people to multiple levels of taxation by extorting money from the whole-sale sale dealers of consumer goods, their transporters and retailers all of whom recover the "tax" from the common people who have to bear all the accumulated tax?

--Siding with their cadres or sympathizers in what-so-ever personal dealings (rape by their cadres/ property disputes/ hot exchanges over ordinary matters/ any adverse comments by a common man who has options different from theirs/etc) they involve themselves with the common people?

--Not allowing any voice against them in public or in any regional newspapers while forcing the newspaper editors to write favorably about them?

5. Do you think the militants are not encouraging corruption and nepotism by asking for their share of seats in any job recruitment, and school, college, university admissions (in which cases they offer these seats to people who are either their sympathizers or who are ready to "donate" to their organization in return), and their share of "cut" in all PWD sponsored work, or by siding with candidates and extorting huge amounts of money from their opponents in Elections or forcing their opponents to stand down?

6. With the extreme state of poverty and unemployment and unemployability that the militants have over the years so systematically managed to drag the Manipuris into, do you think that Militants are also secondarily responsible for the new phenomenon of security personnel in the garb of militants committing robbery, or of committing undue and uncalled-for killings of civilians for money/ decoration?

7. Do you feel that militants are not perennially holding the common people to ransom?

8. Do you want to correct your "perceived historical wrongs" by committing yourself to become the chickens in the cage of the pythons of these militants?

9. Do you think Indian Govt is restricting your personal freedom and rights as much as the militants are doing? Or, are the militants as democratic as the Indian Govt?

10. Who is responsible for the present state of affairs (poverty, unemployment, unemplyability, lawlessness, violent crimes, etc.) in Manipur?
a) Indian Govt?
b) Manipuri politicians, militants and vested interest together?

11) Do you think we would be better off without the militants?

In a civilized world, we should understand that there should be a conducive environment for people to have their own say without any fear for their lives or their near and dear ones or for any demand letters thereafter. Let the people enjoy their due rights first. Then, we can have a Plebiscite.

Honorable Mr. Meghen, it's high time we came to the negotiating table, stopped our rhetoric, stopped being self-centred and started thinking in the larger interests of the community and coming generations, lest they should perish into oblivion. We need to live our lives with meaning. We do not want to live in mortal fear anymore.

We want a normal society where there is a rule of law, respect for human rights, punishment for law breakers and unbriddled opportunities for every individual for peace, sunshine, growth, development, dignified living, love and happiness.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Robbinson Moirangcha

Read Part 1 of this article here


* Dr. Robbinson Moirangcha contributes to regularly . The writer can be contacted at dr_robbinsonmoirangcha(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was webcasted on March 03 2011.

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