United We Ban, Divided We Rise

Sample a few front-page news items that were published in the last couple of days in some leading local dailies of Manipur.

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Against the Govt’s move to approach Delhi: CCpur JAC calls total shutdown
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 10 2016: In protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the Manipur Government and its alleged brash and contemptuous conduct towards the tribal people, the JAC against Anti-Tribal Bills has called a 48-hr total shutdown in all tribal territories of the State starting from midnight of May 16 till midnight of May 18. The JAC, in its joint meeting with various tribal apex bodies/tribe councils today at KKL Complex, Lamka deliberated on the above resolution taken at the all political parties meeting held yesterday, and condemned the decision as well as all the political parties involved for their insensitive attitude towards the plight of the indigenous tribal inhabitants of the place.

Disunity exposed by Delhi trip on ILPS
Source: The Imphal Free Press

Imphal, May 11 2016: Coming out strongly against the allegedly ‘biased’ and ‘one sided decision’ of O Ibobi-led Congress government to approach the Central government on ILPs issue, the United Naga Council (UNC) has decided to endorse the 48-hours total shutdown in tribal territories starting from May 16 midnight. Similarly, ATSUM has also condemned the resolution to send a political party team to New Delhi to lobby for the three bills describing it as ‘senseless’. The National People’s Party has maintained that without unanimity between the hills and valley people on the issue, the trip will be fruitless.

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We are not sure where we are heading to, but we are certain that we are hitting the rock bottom of psychological abuse on ethnic lines. If we go by the current trends some of us have already started digging further into the strata of complete nothingness.

The above two news items clearly show the gist of our pathetic tale, which in other parts of the world, it would have occurred, if at all, a long five hundred years ago or so. But we have a 2,000-year old civilisation, unique histories and what not; so, we do not mind showing off our ancient instincts and antics. We are as well proud to declare that we derive our inspiration solely from the indiscreet animal world.

In these trying times I cannot afford to be objective. Outsiders have been swarming the region and some of us are worried that we might meet the same fate as that of the Tripuri natives, who have become a minority in their own land. And the Inner Line Permit System, it is a mechanism to check the unregulated inflow of these agents of demographic disaster.

Forget about the ILP. Why is it so hard for us to understand each other?

When such things like the threatening issues of ethnic annihilation are clearly lying in front of us, do we even need to refer to the demographic census and statistical reports?

Yet things are entirely different of what we want and we get to see. In the news on the Sangai Express, it is mentioned: ‘To the tribals, the three “anti-tribal” bills are very much political in nature; the politics of identity, the politics of land and the politics of survival for the tribal people of Manipur, said the JAC in a statement.’

Our varying and some sometimes overlapping assertion for equality and autonomy are going to have a huge impact on our future and it is not on favourable lines for anybody. Add to this layer, for instance the case of religion, which is more than a personal choice but a marker of identity and sense of belonging. However, far from being an aid for social cohesion, our faiths are further driving a wedge. One of the main characteristics of ethnicity lies in the articulation of minority groups and self-protection; but again, instead of unity we are merely witnessing a growing gap between the ‘peoples’.

Elsewhere in other parts of the world, people have learnt that everyone has an innate ability to grow and that underdevelopment is just a case of missed opportunities but which can be regained. In our case, it is drastically different. We are underdeveloped because, out of the several reasons and despite our abundant resources to develop economically, we are more interested in parochial politics that serves narrow interests if at all. The ongoing crisis also clearly depicts our wicked and mean mentality on both sides of the fence. In this nightmare of stupidity, it will take nothing less than a miracle to find a durable solution.

Those who are supposed to lead from the front are lost in their own world and once in a while they are waken up involuntarily by non-living but clamorous street light poles during crises. In this abyss of darkness we have lost all sense of right and wrong. All we care about is a source of non-existing light now and then, while for most of the time, we are obsessed with a means to realise our self-serving ends at any cost and see nothing beyond our nose.

SOS • • • – – – • • • Reconciliation!

PS: A meeting was held in Churachandpur earlier today (Friday the 13th, May 016) under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Manipur and United Naga Council and attended by several representatives of ‘tribal’ civil society organisations. As expected, like they had stated earlier, they have taken a resolution to do anything to fight the Meitei hegemonic power. The details of the gathering are awaited.



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