An Open Letter to the Concerned Leaders
People’s consultation meet resolves
Source: The Sangai Express 22 June 2016, Imphal: Concerned leaders of different communities adopted 20 different resolutions, which they call [the] Imphal Peace Declaration, to restore peace and understanding in the State at a people’s consultation held at Hotel Imphal today.
Dear Concerned Leaders,
At the outset, I’d like to appreciate you for your intervention into the crisis Manipur has been going through; and it is even more remarkable that your gathering was not a typical ‘All-Manipur’ convention that would include only the Meiteis.
Nobody has ever admitted that the people have a problem but thanks to your creative and intellectual involvement, it is now commendable that you have, in your own words, ‘recognised’ it. For such a definitive consultation programme, as gratitude, I’d suggest you should meet next time at the original Classic Hotel, which is essentially more posh than the Hotel Imphal by Classic or whatever the latter’s name is.
Let me also join you kindly in resolving that ‘misunderstanding and miscommunication occurred as a result of the current situation’. Previously we used to coexist with fraternal bonds, based on our eternal spirit of ‘chingmee-tamee’, yet the current situation has resulted in grave confusion amongst us. As your follower I’d also like to share a secret: when you talk about the ‘“engineered conflict” by vested elements for political gains’ I cannot help myself but curse because it is so true and shows the innocence of the masses in Manipur. How I wish the problems vanish as soon as you make another acknowledgement or resolution!
All of us have a shared history and a shared destiny but how do we, as a Meitei I beg, make the Meitei, Naga and Kuki leaders—particularly those who were not present in the gathering and those who are not your old colleagues who go everywhere along with you with ‘shared’ olive branches—understand this fact about the holy relationships that all of us share? And if we solve this problem, how are the civil society organisations and NGOs going to survive? But I believe these matters would not be a problem as long as you are guiding us.
On a totally different level, as you resolved ‘to refrain from disturbing the education of children for any demands’, the next two days have been a 48-hour general strike against the legal discrimination of a leader but it affects everybody and not only the students, so it’s tolerable.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the formation of the new women-centric group. The Women Solidarity Forum for Peaceful Co-existence, what an ideal name! Please accept my sincere compliments. It is a cliché still unity is strength. From my scant knowledge of organisational behaviour it would be great if someone from any of the existing CSOs and NGOs with a working experience of 350–500 years could lead the organisation.
Some people say that Manipuri leaders, or who aspire to be leaders, tend to be incestuous and have genetic defects that hinder them from getting trust from the people. They say this is evident in ‘mainstream’ leaders, who would even sell their spouses and children to amass wealth from everywhere they can.
How can people say anything they want? For that matter, you are not after wealth but occupied with your passion to live for a cause and that has been our inspiration. And how can they speak about your past and incestuous families when your impeccable leadership qualities are a legacy of a civilisation that dates back to two millennia?
Ignore them but these same people do believe that indigenous people should discuss things like human beings just like you have accepted and acknowledged and resolved and agreed and declared and endorsed. As of now we are behaving only like a troop of monkeys at the Sajenthong right out of the Mahabali grove and existentially torn apart between the decision to hop towards Konung Mamang or Keishampat.
Never mind now, for we have leaders, all sorts of your kind of leaders to show us the way and sometimes the number is overwhelming. Take politics, we have 60 elected leaders including a chief minister who is still going strong in his third term. Only stupid people say we have no leader.
Take the civil society. In each locality we have two leaders by default: the Meira Paibi and leikai-club general secretaries. Besides, we have frontal organisations, student organisations, ethnic organisations, community organisations, women organisations, political organisations, human rights organisations, schoolchildren’s parents’ organisations, dehumanised people’s organisations, 500,000 joint action committees and another 300,000 joint committees without ‘action’—all of them with a competent leader at the helm of affairs.
We have also well-established civil society organisations though ironically that are the least civil, with each organisation representing a specific community but nevertheless administered by capable leaders, who are as kind, empathic and concerned as you are.
In 2005, the United Committee Manipur had published a survey on the ‘Influx of Migrants in Manipur’; albeit it is encouraging that you also endorse ‘proper survey and fact finding’; after all even the 2011 Census is now a half decade old. While rectifying the grand historical and policy errors, I also request the newsperson/s who report/s your story or your PR writer to rectify the style of writing a person’s name. I have never heard of, for instance, Ema Ramani but I do have of Ema Thokchom Ramani from the Nupi Samaj or the All Manipur Reformation Development Samaj.
Lastly, I have just one little ‘mortal’ problem with you. I consider the Manipur Gorkha community as Manipuri as anybody in the state but they are not a citizen of Manipur. I must also add that they cannot be a citizen of a state but of India, the country; you like it or not. Please do share some concern for the senior advocates and professors from Manipur University who were present in your gathering. The State might poke fingers at their back for being politically dumb.
To conclude, I believe, with your naïve political correctness, the governments of Manipur and India will listen to your clarion call. As the Bible says, obedience is better than sacrifice. May the force be with you!