The National Blues

On this Black Day of Manipur, the 15th of October, have we forgotten that it is mandatory to take a political stand to rise above the nothingness of a land that we belong to?

Observed Black Day, boycott Congress Party: Maoist

Imphal, 14 Oct 2016: The Maoist Communist Party Manipur...appeal to the people of Manipur to observe October 15 as [the] Black Day in protest against Indian Expansionism, said a statement of the outfit.

It said the direct colonial and semi-feudal system of the British colonialist was replaced by the Indian colonialism...under the control and exploitation in the name of democracy and Congress is one of the chief instruments for the colonial exploitation and control over Manipur. On this Black Day, [the] Maoist Communist Party Manipur would like to appeal the people of Manipur to boycott [the] Congress [p]arty in Manipur, it said.
Source: The Imphal Free Press

On this day in 1949, the 15th of October, Manipur was hurled into a pit of tragedy in its modern history when it was forcibly merged to the Union of India. What remains today are the rituals of sponsoring general strikes by insurgent organisations and the delight of laid-back people for getting an ‘unofficially’ official holiday.

Now the natives are also sharply divided into two groups: those who want to retain the status quo and those who believe the amendments of blunders in the years and decades gone by can bring a positive change. On hindsight, such a statement of taking a political stand might appear sensational but it’s not what it looks like.

We can start with the latest propaganda by the Maoist Communist Party Manipur that declares ‘October 15 as [the] Black Day in protest against Indian Expansionism’. The story began in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, the position is still amazing but we need not go far to see the bigger picture. In the same press release, the MCP appeals that ‘the people of Manipur [should] boycott the [Indian National] Congress [P]arty in Manipur’.

Regardless of the best of reasons why a single party has been singled out, this kind of myopia is more dangerous than the onslaught of neo-colonialism. Alternatively, it seems the MCP would support the more extreme Indian political party, the BJP, intentionally or not.

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
Franz Kafka

We cannot help but ask if the BJP has the power to make a successful revolution, because in the 2012 Assembly Election too, an umbrella organisation of the militants—called the Coordination Committee (CorCom), which comprises six groups: the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), the Progressive faction of PREPAK (PREPAK-Pro), the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and the United National Liberation Front (UNLF)—had boycotted this party, though it won by a majority and presently it is the incumbent government.

In other words, if the ruling party in the state corresponds to that of the Union, then does it imply more contract works? Or is it altogether different and the groups of militants who run a parallel government have a conflict of interest with the legal government? We have also seen the present chief minister had contributed crores of rupees for ‘revolution’.

First of all, if an organisation like the Maoist Communist Party Manipur is trying to make intervention into the present political milieu by either accepting or refusing, then it is no different from the political parties existing in the system. Such an action also implies that it accepts the legitimacy of the government that it is supposedly fighting against. Acceptance means acceptance, period.

No wonder, we will protest against the AFSPA but we join the police service in droves; and not even a single soul would endorse murder and corruption though these issues have become our collective motif; and the list goes on.

In this regard, it is pertinent to note that the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is imposed in Kashmir but the resistance groups in this land do not give a hoot about a law imposed by its antagonist, read India. All they care for is freedom though the mainland jingoism would reduce it to a pro-Pakistani stand.

Again, besides the unintentional acceptance, another glaring result of this incoherency is the political dumbness of the natives in Manipur. We will give a thousand reasons why we would take part in elections and an equal number of reasons when we vilify India, mostly on the issues of racial discrimination that we face in the mainland and the indifference of the Indian authority.

But we never understand the significance of taking a position. There is nothing to be proud of, when we are told that we belong neither here nor there—and unfortunately that’s where we are. In fact the kind of deliberation in this write-up can be equated to building castles in the air as it has nothing to do with the ground realities, which allegedly dictate the realpolitik, but in any case it tells a lot about us as a people.

When those in the frontline of resistance starts accepting the existing authority, by banning a certain political party or by jumping into the bandwagon of supporters of ILP and ST issues, there is nothing left of the over-glorified ‘yawol-eehou’. As popular sentiments go, it has become just another source of livelihood and a sort of trade and business for the revolutionary contractors and businesspeople.

It is no wonder then that snobbish university professors would declare in front of the whole world about their friendship with the army personnel; leave alone speak about the military base inside a university campus, in a land where there has been a process of Indian heavy militarisation. Why, because we are a frontier and we are simply so essential to be the face of geopolitics in the region. We are a fancy geostrategic land; and we are not humans. At least, that’s how the six-odd decades of being in a nation has shown us year in and year out.

As long as we are a society, our destiny depends on us. No Modi or Gandhi would ever come to cure our collective sickness. For the sake of preaching, taking an informed stand will solve half of the problems, whether we are okay to retain the existing political establishment or we need a fresh foundation; but it is extremely crucial that we do take a stand.

Otherwise, we are on our own; and as we can see, even those individuals and groups who are fighting on our behalf have lost their ways and started banning political parties. It’s time to re-read our collective narratives that unfolded in the late 1940s; and the sooner we do, the better it will be for all of us.



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