Revolution Point Zero
Nowadays, amongst the Manipuri public, just the nationalist-minded people* support the armed movement struggling for the right to self-determination.
[* By nationalists, we are referring to those in Manipur and they are totally different those Modi- and Bharat-worshipping fanatics and liberals in mainland India. For that matter, we have nothing to do with the latter in this context today.]
Nonetheless the movement has been going on from the last five to six decades albeit a likely resolution is still infinitely beyond the horizon.
Others from the public are fed up of the armed organisations, which are digging their own graves, through their lack of vision and goals. However, if truth be told, this lack of confidence owes to the relentless activities of the insurgents that go against the interest of the people whom they are claiming to fight for.
To take an example, the loss of confidence is most apparent from the formation of the Village Defence Force, popularly known as the VDF. It originated in Heirok over the villagers’ demand for self-protection against the high-handedness of the insurgents as well as the government’s plan to combat insurgency.
Soon, in a matter of few months, circa 2009, and very innocently, the Heirok villagers started complaining that there was no fall in the number of insurgent-related issues—as if the former DGP Yumnam Joykumar and the state home department cared about containing the issues by establishing the VDF. But that’s another story altogether.
From the Wrong Side of the Law
So, what are these armed groups, on the wrong side of the law, on the other side of the people’s interest, up to these days?
Press releases are one of the propaganda materials that these groups have as a medium to communicate with the hoi polloi yet these are also not spare from loathing. Remember the crises over the publication and rejection of PRs while newspaper editors have to face the brunt for no logic whatsoever.
If you cannot recall, worry not. There would soon be another incident. It has become a favourite game of the team of Manipuri society and insurgency in the last couple of decades or so.
People are unsure and apprehensive but they cannot ignore the fact that the gunmen—known as revolutionaries or militants according to which side of the fence you are sitting on—are becoming a nuisance. It is no more the sons of the soil fighting for the land and no more do they enjoy the unconditionally moral support they used to one time from the masses, and the reasons are not hard to find.
Those who are honest, ideologically grounded, intellectually motivated in the armed organisations, particularly in the three or four main armed groups, must be anxious about this trend. We do consider that there must be committed and sincere rebels else the movement would have died a long time ago.
However, what is more worrying for us is our ceaseless confrontation with foundation-less groups, plain mercenaries, state-sponsored ruffians and other such groups and individuals, existing in the name of insurgency, but who are motivated solely by unabashed self-interest and the government chicanery.
One of the first casualties in this brouhaha is the principles of an armed movement. Self-styled rebels fucking around with contractors and ministers have become an eyesore in this regard. Sometimes it is hard to believe that the armed groups must have rules or beliefs that guide their political or military campaigns.
If there is any rule or belief, it seems to be the mandatory connection with career politicians, who are mostly contractors and sometimes who are also involved in keeping up the great ideals of a talking shop called the Indian democracy.
If we take a few advanced steps and see, we can observe that most of these groups are led by socialist world views with traces of Marxist and extreme Leftist thoughts. To take a reference, socialism has failed terribly in the neighbouring Burma but before we move ahead with this kind of another deliberation, the groups ought to provide a space for discussion, which currently in these days of kangaroo courts, seems not to be the case.
For the sake of argument, the groups have a predicament. If they are to, suppose, win the war, they have two authorities to overcome with: those of the provincial and the Union. They cannot even hit at the provincial authority or the Manipur government if they care to, leave alone the Union.
This government matters because it is the local representative of the Union. In their rhetoric, all the locals are our ‘own’ people who are the not the real enemy. However, such logic is as lame as the protest of surrendered militants to get their ‘promised’, but unmet demands. Also again, ironically, this government survives solely on central grants and funds. Obviously, it is as helpless as a housefly drowning in a glass of water and the armed groups know it though the response is pathetic to say the least.
The best the armed organisations have been doing is to play a cat-and-mouse game with the Indian military establishment, which the Union can ever afford to make it stronger, more firm than the previous day. It does not care how civilians would suffer from this heavy militarisation, just like the local mercenaries aka insurgents have nothing to do with the state of affairs as long as they are getting the contracts and the cash.
The Last Word
We, the hoi polloi, are very naïve but we can see how the one-time rebels have been seduced by the Constitution of India. See how they are now fighting for regulations like the Inner Line Permit System. Significantly this kind of approach is not even realpolitik, as some people would believe it to be so, but a manifestation of a servile mindset.
To summarise, revolution is not a dinner party but in its name, many people are organising orgies and spreading debauchery from their ‘courtyards’ of power. It’s a shame. If the people fighting for a larger entity like a free nation cannot see this farce, the public can look forward to a brighter future of hell.