TODAY -

E-Pao! Essays - Where Shall We Go This Summer?

WHERE SHALL WE GO THIS SUMMER?

By: Hopson Sapam *



Is there any son who could bear his mother stripped in front of the general public for a protest. This is disgusting and insane. Isn't it beyond insult, beyond limit, beyond imagination and above all beyond humiliation. This is exactly what every son of Manipur experienced on July 15, 2004 protest by ladies in front of Assam Rifles Gate at Kangla over the killing of Thangjam Manorama (32) which Indian Army termed as "encounter" killing. A very unjust and unfair act. Assam Rifles claims Manorama was an active cadre of Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA), a banned insurgent group, and was shot dead when she tried to escape. While protestors are convinced that she was raped and killed by Assam Rifles personnel. Whatever the case might be, its a real drama and a real shock to all the Manipuri people.

Tales of the strength and courage of Manipuri women date backs since time immemorial. The 1939 'Nupilan' (Women revolt) against the tyrannic policies of the then Maharaja and his British political agent will ever be in the pages of Manipuri history. Numerous books and records have been there for women protest against forced labour and the increase in water tax by the British political agent making him compelled to stop their used of force labour in 1904. Every now and then 'Miera Paibis' (torch bearing women) and the Nupi Marup (Women's Association) take the centre stage and lead from the front. Their concerns mainly centre on two issues' : humans rights violation by the armed forces and the increasing use of drugs and narcotics.

There was a very interesting and heartfelt article by Kapana Sharma for 'The Hindu' titled 'Dramatic protest' which is really mind blowing. Her discussion about the Manipuri women's courage is not flattered at all while praising. It is very much true that the general media largely ignores the north eastern part of India. Whatever happened in Kashmir, no matter how big or small the issue is, makes the headlines of established national daily. On the other hand, stories of Manipur and its sisters of northeast occupies a small space on the 8th page or many a times deleted. Godhra incidents, Gujarat riot, Bhuj earthquake, Kashmir killings are all lucky to made front page stories for all the leading newspapers in this country. But what happened to our Naga Kuki riot years back?

Where are the stories of hundreds killed, thousands made homeless? How did the country's media reacted when the whole state of Manipur roared against the NSCN (IM) talks with the union government on that particular June 18 protest. All the stories of a step motherly treatment by the mainland to the north east India are never needed to remind all over again here. This is infact one important reason why the people of north east India rebel and repel against the whole country. Nevertheless Manipur with all its strength and guts always acted as a first of fury against anything which they felt uncomfortable. And this is a matter of pride and very worthy to admire and be praised.

Thanks to my friend Mr. Arambam Noni who gave me a pamphlet booklet compiled and published by Manipuri Students' Association Delhi (MSAD) which includes the hatred of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) 1958 and a report on Human rights violations in Manipur. Going through the pages one can be easily moved to tears realising once again how our Manipur has been a troubled torn state for years.

From the very day we arrived on the planet and blinking steps into the sun there is more to see than can ever be seen, more to find than can ever be found. Are we here only to be born, grow, decay and finally die. Nah! It is not like that. Life has got many different plans. We all are here to give something, to share what we have and give to others what they don't Everyone of us is expected to leave the mark of their presence. So what a pessimist might call or term it as footsteps on sand. We all know that some of us fall by the wayside while some of us soar to the sky. Some of us sail through our troubles and some have to live with the scars. This is life and this is to be accepted no matter how hard the truth is to know.

Each and every Manipuri is a 'Meitei Nongsa' according to myths and legends. All the courage, determination, enthusiasm lies unparallel with none in the history of mankind. We are unique, we fight for what we had wanted and we made it. But its very unfortunate to think that we all seem to forget the importance of being alone sometimes. All of us need time to be alone, to think, to dream and to wonder and this is the need of the present hour. It really hurts to find that everyone of us including myself have forgotten the importance of staying alone these days.

'Ema Manipur' has experienced lately countless bandhs, curfews, tear gases, Dharnas over the killing of Th. Manorama and demand for the removal of Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958. Now let us discuss and give a thought that isn't it time for the other party (Union Govt.) to give time and space to think. Isn't it time for them to realise how much we hate this 'bullshit' Armed Forces Special Power Act. Isn't it time for us to change the tactics of our struggle.

Isn't it time for us to stay calm for a while and take a deep breath.

Thanks to the thirty two (32) organisation of my state who fight tooth and nail with despair and resentment over the killing of Th. Manorama, A heartfelt salute is made here particularly to All Manipur Union of Club Organisation (AMUCO), United Committee Manipur (UCM), the 'Meira Paibis' for inspiring the whole Manipur to go on protest. You guys must be very well aware that, all are agreed as we joined the stampede that it is a leap of fate, its the band of hope to find our place on the path unwinding. This is not the first time we are fighting for the removal of this particular AFSP Act 1958.

Many a times have been there that voices in the state have gone to deaf ears. But let us also not forget here to think that why this particular harsh or draconian Act is being imposed in our state and not in places like Delhi or Mumbai. Not a single ray of hope is found today even after the protest made by the whole state. Whatever is takes, we are still fighting atleast and this is what matters most at present. Other states may think and say that we bet but just look at the story going on, we are still together and still going strong. However we should always keep in mind that we need calm and peace also, particularly for restless warriors like us to win this battle.

If heaven favours peace and tranquility in our state over the recent unrest developments, we should change gear and ready ourselves for yet another big fight again. This time what? This time for anything, for the betterment of Manipur, for our identity, for putting Manipur on the map so that everyone knows where is it and what is it like. Like what?? Like anything... for instance fighting for the new IIM to be located in Manipur. The Central Government's decision to set up an IIM in the north-eastern region is welcome by the people of this region. Many people particularly some Assamese have written in various national daily about their belief that an IIM will act as a catalyst for socio-economic development which is indeed very much true.

I would like to make a personal plead to all the flamboyant students' organisations and more precisely to Manipur University Students' Union (MUSU) and more particularly to ever green All Manipur Student's Union (AMSU) to fight for this new IIM with all valid reasons the students in Manipur are facing due to lack of infrastructure and proper mentoring.

Since the institutions is still in planning stage, the location has not yet been finalised. Security and accessibility might come in the way but we should look at the development an IIM would bring to our Manipur. This proposal may sound very childish to many people but we all know all great journeys start with a single step. let us alteast try and give our best shot. No step will be lost, every moment will be a gain, every effort for the struggle can be counted as merit.

Like the two leading IIM's - Ahmedabad and Kolkata - starting out with a collaboration with Harvard Business School and Alfred P Sloan School of Management (MIT) respectively, if we have the new IIM we should also pursue for proper guidance and mentoring else it would be difficult for the institute to come up to speed. Just imagine having an IIM in Manipur like IIM Kolkata and IIM Ahmedabad. Just imagine ... another day in paradise.

All hands on board for the new IIM. An earnest appeal to the brilliant students' Union to use their effective class boycotts, strikes, bandhs, blockades, 'Charahenba', Dharna and everything to bring IIM in Manipur. Lets make strategies for this new battle. Lets find new methods of warfare to tackle oppositions from neighbouring states like Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland who are big contenders for this new IIM. Lets learn something from the protest presently made by 'Emas and Aboks'.

Friends, countrymen, and Manipuris, let us make our future. Life is all about making our wishes come true. No matter how hard we need to try. Even ladies of Manipur can stand nude for a bitter protest why cann't we, particularly students, find atleast another method to gain attention for our demand. Students' life is all about learning the good side of life.

I humbly disagree with the general idea of interwining politics and studies. And my dear!!! This no politics please ... Now, close your eyes and give me your hand, do you fell my heartbeating. Can you understand. What it wanna say. Try atleast ...

If there is anyone still adamant, get lost and better be prepared for tears in heaven.




Hopson Sapam writes regularly to e-pao.net.
He can be contacted at [email protected]

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