CM’s plea to Centre
Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi has rightly conveyed what most of the people of the state have been feeling for a long time to the Government of India recently. During the 55th meeting of the National Development Council held in Delhi on July 24, Chief Minister Ibobi urged the Prime Minister, who is also the Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Dr Manmohan Singh to seriously consider allowing Manipur to import food grains and fuels from Myanmar. This is the need that the people of the state have been strongly feeling for years together. But the need has become even greater of late since the longest ever economic blockade so far called by ANSAM, UNC, NSF and other frontal organisations of NSCN-IM till a month ago. There’s no doubt at all that the transporters, owners and drivers of trucks and tankers of Manipur do not want to use the National Highway 39 through Nagaland any more because of too many problems and dangers they face there. Even now there’s no change in the stand of the Transporters’ and Drivers’ Council (TDC) of Manipur not to ply the NH 39. The TDC had made its grievances and demands known to all concerned, viz, the Government of India, the Government of Nagaland, the NSCN-IM, the Naga Students’ Federation, etc, through mail or media, but none of the concerned has given any response so far. The Union Home Ministry or some interest groups may make forcible arrangements to make the trucks and tankers ply the NH 39 despite the decision of the TDC and calls of various sections of the people to the goods trucks and tankers not to ply NH 39, but it may be believed that none would willingly and happily ply the highway, which is synonymous with hell-way. On the other hand, the condition of the NH 53 remains really bad, and normal transportation of goods on this highway looks as distant as till the winter. Even then, flow of the goods can’t quite be normal as the Imphal-Jiribam section of the NH 53 is narrower than NH 39 and also most of the bridges are worn out and dilapidated.
Meanwhile, importing rice, onion, garlic, canned fish, dry fish, some items of fruits, vegetables, etc among many house-hold items from Myanmar through the border trade at Moreh is a daily business transaction. The Namphalong international market in the India-Myanmar border near Moreh town is increasingly developing, and is a very important trade centre where business transaction of as much as Rs 20 to 30 crore is done daily. All the buyers of the assorted commodities made in China, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, etc from the Namphalong international market or Tamu market in Myanmar, are from Manipur, India. Of Course, traders from Myanmar also do huge business transaction with the Indian traders. The number of items that both countries have agreed to include in the border trade is 41. Yet, taking into consideration the Look East Policy of the Government of India and with the plans of the Trans Asian Highway afoot, preparations on part of India to make Moreh town really attractive and the border trade truly beneficial to the traders and local businessmen are pretty slow. However, it is learnt that the Government of Manipur has various plans to develop Moreh town into a beautiful tourist friendly trade centre. With all these plans, and not forgetting the plan of Jiribam-Tupul railway line reaching Imphal and extending upto Moreh, the border town has potentials to become a very important tourist and trade centre. But for the present, it’s important that the Centre allows Manipur to import food grains and petroleum products from Myanmar as Chief Minister Ibobi had urged the Prime Minister a few days back. No doubt, Myanmarese traders can easily supply these goods to Manipur. During the recent and past blockades, people of Manipur, particularly of the valley districts used to purchase essential commodities and petrol imported from Myanmar. This is a very feasible and affordable practice which is better in many ways than that of Imphal-Dimapur or Imphal- Jiribam road. However, the Centre is unlikely to agree to our Chief Minister’s proposal easily since it involves a number of issues, most importantly huge business losses that many sectors in India, such as IOC, other oil companies, FCI, farmers, traders and so on would incur. Moreover, the Centre wouldn’t like Manipur to be very free to turn to South Asian countries for its survival or build up trade and commerce link on its own. Leaving aside such deeper political interest, for the people of Manipur, it’s a question of present day needs for survival. Shri Ibobi shouldn’t hesitate to pursue the matter relentlessly.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Sincere NGOs get little crumbs
The Non Government Organisation (NGO) is a nice idea created by altruists who sincerely wished to do something
for the welfare of the humankind. It is a tool which people with altruistic vision can use to uplift the conditions of human beings in such fields as health, environment, economy, human rights, etc. The role of the NGOs in the human world needs not be defined elaborately here, suffice it to say that the NGOs are inseparable parts of the established human society today. There are plenty of areas in a state that its government cannot directly reach. It’s where the NGOs, which are not under the direct control of the government, come in. There are kinds of NGOs which work in the international arena and there are other kinds which work in small local areas in specified fields. Some large and international NGOs are highly praiseworthy with their long and chequered services to the minkind, and some small NGOs whose operations are limited to small areas do not have much for the people to pour encomiums on. Such NGOs of the latter kind are found in abundance in Manipur. In fact, what with more than 800 registered NGOs in a state of around 2.4 million population, it’s rather too much. And a majority of these NGOs do not even have their own operational base, nothing to say of an office. Such type of NGOs do exist only on paper and in the registration book in the office of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies. These NGOs come out of their hibernation only when they feel the smell of funds about to be pumped in to the state by the international funding agencies through the central government or by the centre itself. This is not to underestimate the highly commendable contributions made by some particular NGOs. But generally, there are too many other NGOs to which the welfare of the society is secondary, what is important to them is the money. That’s how and why a battalion of NGOs had already cropped up on the scene, and still many more are in the making. What they have done and want to do is altogether a different question.
It’s not only those unemployed but educated persons who, by chance or by choice, have set up their own NGOs but also surprisingly even some of the ministers or MLAs, who at present are in the ruling parties or had been in the government in the past have made millions and millions of rupees already. These politicians are far-sighted and ever insatiably hungry for money. They are far-sighted in the sense that since they know they could be out of power and position one day, it must be ensured that they have various means of constant source of income in future. And setting up of NGOs either in the name of somebody else or his own is one such. While one is in power, it is easy for him to get funds in terms of crores of rupees from the central authorities or foreign contributors in the name of an NGO working towards the development of this backward state. The usual trick a politician plays around here is that he would set up an NGO in the name of some social workers, who would in fact be his trusted side-kicks. Then he would pull all the bureaucratic strings in the state secretariat and go to Delhi where he would beg and bribe some able officials out there to make it sure that his NGO gets the funds. Thus a lion’s share of the funds would be shared by the NGOs with their political bosses in the shadow while the true grassroot worker NGOs will have to remain satisfied with the little crumbs. It would also be pertinent for the central authorities to check up the bonafide intentions of the NGOs before granting them the funds.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Weaning the youths from state of unrest
It’s almost ear-shattering to hear political leaders, rulers and officials talking about the potentiality of tourism in Manipur
at every available opportunity. It’s all the more annoying especially when ministers or officials or whoever from the Centre talk about Manipur’s tourism potentials praising the natural beauty of Manipur. One very important reason why the state remains economically so backward and so under-developed is the absence of tourism as an industry in Manipur. It’s an accepted fact that tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In India, tourism is said to be the third largest export industry, while gem and jewellery and ready-made garments being the first and the second respectively. From tourism alone, India earns more than one hundred billion rupees almost every year. During the past few years, India has recorded in average over a million foreign tourists arrival in the country annually. And over one hundred million domestic tourists visit different parts of the country every year. But unfortunately not a single tourist –both foreign and domestic –arrives in Manipur. Because they are not allowed to enter the state freely without the legal tangles such as Protected or Restricted Area Permit. Who’d like to experience the tedious, irritating and time-consuming bureaucratic hassles and official red-tapism just for a visit to some god-forsaken place? No wonder, the state doesn’t get a single rupee’s share out of the hundred billion rupees India earns from tourism. Since the tourists–foreign or domestic– are not allowed to enter Manipur freely as they wish, there is no question of the state earning a single hundred rupees from tourism. And the Government of India expects the people of Manipur to learn to be contented with what least they have, while the other states of the country–whether in the south, north, west or middle including once a cauldron of violence–Punjab and presently the hot spot of mass movement –Jammu and Kashmir are opened to the foreign and domestic tourists, a few states in the North East are always closed to them.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Manipur, though small and mostly hilly, is such a lovely place on earth. Surrounded by verdant mountains, the Manipur valley presents a truly captivating feast for the eyes of all visitors to the state. Among the abundant endowments, nature has gifted Manipur, the brow-antlered deer- Sangai, the Siroy Lily and the Dzuko Lily are sui generis–which are not available anywhere else in the world. Besides, each part of the plural society of Manipur has its own unique cultural heritage. Apart from the wonderfully enjoyable festivals of varying kinds, there are a number of places in the state where tourists would certainly find enchanting. All these are only waiting for the tourists to come and be seen. The potentiality of tourism that could be developed as the most profitable industry in the state is higher than that of any other normal industry. This has been acknowledged by the Union Ministers, national political leaders, military officers and bureaucrats. What then is the central government waiting for ? It’s not really necessary to remind the centre that hospitality and tolerance make essential fabrics of the Manipuri Society. It’s not the nature of the Manipuri people to ill-treat our guests and make them victims of circumstances the like of which we had seen in Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Manipur want the Protected Areas Permit completely removed from Manipur and the foreign tourists allowed to enter Manipur. Such step will go a long way in improving the economic condition of the state and also in solving the unemployment problem to a large extent thus weaning away the youths from the prevailing state of unrest.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
The town needs a strategy for the management of conflict
The Moreh trade point in Indo-Burma border area receives media attraction once the town witness recurrent disturbances. If the underdevelopment of the Moreh, which is around 110 km away from the state capital Imphal and the lack of civic facilities to traders and the local habitants make regular news, the sudden deterioration of law and order situation crates headlines in regional and also national and international media. India and Burma signed an agreement on border trade in 1994, which has been in operation since April 12, 1995. The trading activities had been done under the laws and regulations of both the countries, where provisions been made for the buyers (of both India and Burma) to take delivery of the marketed goods in freely convertible currencies. India’s exports to Burma include primarily the finished products (machinery and instruments) with drugs, pharmaceuticals and agriculture based various products. On the other hand, Burma exports wood products, pulses, fruits, nuts and spices. The average annual volume of trade through Moreh is estimated at Rs. 250 million leaving aside the unofficial or illegal trade volume between the two countries which is around Rs 15 billion.
Normal border trade activities were disturbed for the third day today ever since tension rose up in the border town Moreh following an alleged attempt to abduct leaders of the Meitei Council Moreh (MCM), a civil body based in the town, on July 13 night. The MCM imposed a lightening bandh on next in protest against armed militants suspected to belong from Kuki National Army (KNA) who attempted to abduct functionaries of the council and also failure on the part of security forces and police not taking up action against the militants even though MCM lodged complaint against militants moving freely with arms in the town. Further, indefinite blockade on Indo-Myanmar section of the NH-39 had been imposed by MCM from yesterday as no positive response was received from outfit regarding the incident and also failure on the part of security personnel to take up necessary steps. The raising tension had greatly affected the international trade activities as shops and other businessmen establishments remained closed for two days consecutively. This is not the first case that has been disturbing normal life in the town which directly hit cross border trade. There were many instances in the pass, one of the major in was that occurred in the third week July in 2006 that prolonged disturbance was witnessed in the town when a Junior Commissioned Officer belong to 24 Assam Rifles (AR), assigned for counter insurgency operation in the state in the broad day light was killed on July 13 reportedly by cadres of an underground group.
The North Eastern Region of India lags in development far behind the national average. The availability of basic minimum services is very poor. The continuing gaps in infrastructural sectors have resulted in industrial backwardness of the Region. Recognising this, position, the Prime Minister announced on 27 October, 1996 “New initiatives for the North Eastern Region” along with a Rs. 6100 crores special economic package including Rs. 703 crores for Manipur. The state, though located in a far flung north-eastern corner of the country and largely hilly terrain in its landscape, it has got many areas of strength and opportunities that justifies investment in the State. The existing Indo-Myanmar Border Trade currently underway in the border towns of Moreh & Tamu has already paved the way for a full scale trade between India and Myanmar which would further extend to other adjacent countries, like Thailand, Laos, South West China along the old Burma road and the proposed Trans-Asia Highway and railway. In this context, Manipur is the gate way to the International trade route connecting between Indian sub-continent including Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Keeping in mind the important of border town as well as knowing there is place for development in the region where there is no peace, it has been a must for the governance to take up a long term policy to maintain a peaceful environment. A strategy for the management of conflict in town should be found out to provide direction in the development of a specific set of guidelines or tools that may be used by managers to resolve or diffuse situations where conflict negatively affected organizational performance.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Why not we start campaign for resource mobilization
Plague with outnumber unsolved issues ahead of the state it seems that people are forget productivity improvement and resource mobilization are the only option for bringing self sufficiency. For many people in Manipur, self sufficient living seems like the impossible dream. They would love to live more simply, work in their own garden, make the things they need for day to day living, and see their lives more in harmony with nature. Yet they feel trapped in a fast paced lifestyle and burdened under the pressures of paying the bills to sustain a way of life they aren’t really that excited about. What is why people are crying when the normal flow of goods from outside the state disturbed. Is there a way to break free? Is it really possible to get back to basics and enjoy the good life? It is not the final solution to attain self sufficient when the national highways, the main routes that pumps in all the essential commodities into the state. People seem to forget that the increasing dependent on the imported items is not the means to march the state forwards in the race of development. Instead of crying for not hardships face when normal flow of goods from outside the state is disturbed. Why should be run from post to pillar when goods not reach. Why we should plead for ensuring undisturbed flows of essential commodities. Instead, now time has come to realize how much we are dependent to other more and more and think of what can we do freed ourselves for dependency. If there is the will, there is the way. Let us find the way for a long lasting solution before things are gone out of hand.
Manipur is a treasure house of bio resources, and along with the rest of the North-East, a distinct division of the Indo-Burma Hotspot which ranks 6th amongst the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world. In the absence of industrial development, Manipuris depend hugely on these bio-resources for their livelihood. These invaluable resources can be used more effectively to promote the local economy. Medicinal plants, orchids, wood-based industries, non wood forest produce, horticultural, aquatic and microbial bio-resources and eco-tourism offer ample scope for commercial development. In Manipur, agriculture contributes a major share to the State Domestic Product and provides employment to about 57.38 percent of the total population. The State has a vast area of forest covering as much as 17.418 sq kms, which forms about 78 percent of the total geographical area of the State. Why should we plan for enhancing our productivity for self-sustenance by applying latest technology know-how?
The economic development of Manipur, along with other north eastern states, is crucial to meet the Indian Government’s ambitions for the future. The economic liberalisation since the 1990′s has shown foreign direct investment in Manipur and the rest of the North Eastern States make inroads in urban development, infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture and water resource management. The Manipur Sericulture project sponsored by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation at a cost of Rs. 490.59 crore started in 1997 is still in operation and has generated employment in the state. Not as remote anymore from the throbbing economic centres in the country, Manipur received a boost with a slew of measures touching key areas of development. Why not we try to take full opportunities and advantage which if we could not extract it properly our treasures will be enriched. Learning to live in a more sustainable way is a process that takes time. Let us start from today. We can move forward keeping in mind that the secret of success is to take things one step at a time. Every pursuit of life involves the same basic ingredients – planning and persistence. There’s no other way to achieve your goals, and that goes for self sufficient living as well. So, let hunt where you can find the best way to attain sustainable living. Let’s not forget that tolerance the hallmark of a civilized society, the state could not progress unless we respected the differences in views, ideologies and culture and explore out own resources and work with dignity for self-reliance.
Learning to appreciate local goods
Amongst the things that identify Manipur as a distinct place to the world undoubtedly include its rare species of wild life, plants, birds, salubrious climate, scenic beauty, etc. Besides, there are the unique culture and traditions which have been cherished for more than two millennia, intricate martial arts, inimitable dexterity and perseverance in the field of games and sports, polo, dances, handloom and handicraft products and so on. Moreover, the natural beauty of this land and its people’s warmth and generosity have all allured people from the outside world. As such Manipur has been a much envied place– a sort of el dorado to the people of other parts of the country and the world. Preachers, businessmen, foreigners and those who want to capture and conquer this place (as in the past and the contemporary history) have always been eying Manipur not only with envy but also with a strong sense of avarice. All these have influenced Manipuri society on many fronts so strongly that the state is slowly losing much of its indigenous products. One of them is the overflowing import of products made in the industrially advanced states and countries.
Everybody wants better looking and better quality goods. All these paraphenalia and electronic gadgets such as radio, cassette player, DVD, TV, computer, mobile phone hand-sets, refrigerator, washing machine, electric oven, gas stoves, motor-cars, all other consumer goods, clothes, shoes, pens, pencils, gas lighters, even nail-cutters, children’s toys and dolls, etc being popularly used in the state are all imported from outside. For every item necessary in one’s life in the modern times, the people of the state have no alternative but to depend on other states and foreign countries. For certain things which cannot be produced in Manipur, the people are compelled to rely on the imported ones. But still the people of the state seem to be so obsessed with the imported goods that even for a small thing they do not fancy the idea of using local made products. This attitude needs to be changed. There are plenty of good quality bamboo and can products available in the state. Yet few people like to use such local products. On the other hand, since the raw materials are not abundantly available because a majority of them is exported to Assam, the bamboo and cane products are sold at high prices. Thus, these products remain as luxury to many. The state government also seems to be least bothered as regards making policies and implementing them to develop these products. All these factors make the idea of using bamboo and cane sound like outdated and unpopular. Then local dolls and toys for children made of scraps of cloths or terracotta which used to be immensely popular till the eighties seem to have become undesirable objects now. Instead, toys made in China imported through Namphalong in Myanmar and Moreh town in Manipur are more popular among the children now-a-days. All such electronic toys imported into the state from the South Asian countries are sold like hot cakes at the local markets. It’s those people, who earlier used to earn their livelihood by making such products, who are affected the most. Then there’s the possibility of losing the skills for good. It’s here that the government must step in so that the art and skill of making these products is not only saved but also is developed in conformity with the modern times.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Spread the good work
For the first time in the history of Manipur Police Department, the present incumbent of Director General of Police, Shri Yumnam Joykumar, IPS has been receiving plenty of accolades from a number of local youth clubs of the valley areas of late. In fact, it is quite rare for a section of the people or the local youth clubs of Manipur to openly thank the Manipur Police Department or its Chief for some good things that the police or the Chief had done. Somehow, Manipur Police or any particular police officer rarely receives a word or two of praise from individual citizens or a group of people. It would seem that police personnel can’t be thanked howsoever good work they do, and that they are meant only to be criticized. It’s absolutely true that the newspapers based in Imphal or elsewhere in the state, irrespective of vernacular including the different tribal dialects or English dailies, are wont to criticize the Manipur Police, especially the Commandos, and project them in a bad light. Editorial comments that appreciate certain good achievements of the Police, which have undoubtedly caused relief to the general people and peaceful order in the society, hardly appear on the editorial pages, and are few, if any. But compare with the editorials which castigate the state police as a “bad, cruel and corrupt institution”, the number would be just countless. There are many people who feel that it’s as if the editors find it shameful to write editorial comments that appreciate certain good things done by the police or praise the police commandos for successful operation in hunting down certain brutal murderers/criminals who had committed heinous crimes that had shocked the people and caused mass condemnations, etc. But then opinions differ. This somewhat peculiar media inclinations had been given birth to probably by the not-so-glittering image of the Manipur Police, CDOs or otherwise, with all that killings, including fake encounters, brutality toward the insurgents, suspected insurgents, etc. and some or many of the police personnel’s greed for money and so on. Then there’s yet another feeling no one dares disclose that if the editorial comments sound like too supportive of police or security forces, the ever observant insurgent organizations might think that the particular editor has become too pally with “their enemy.”
For this columnist, there’s nothing like being supportive or offensive stand for or against any one. When we see things done good with the result good to at least some sections of the people, whether it’s done by the police/security forces or the undergrounds, we’d say it’s good. And if something bad and unwanted is done, we’d say it’s bad. Meanwhile, a number of local youth clubs of different places in the valley districts have been issuing statements to the press pouring encomiums on the Manipur Police, particularly DGP Shri Y Joykumar for generously giving gifts of colour television sets along with DTH to the clubs. As it is, the FIFA World Cup is going on, and many people – young and old alike want to watch the football matches without interruptions. Club building is the right place for the football enthusiasts and sports persons to watch such a great world event and share the thrills and excitement together. In such a time, the Manipur Police, under the instruction of DGP Joykumar, a large number of colour TV sets along with DTH had been distributed to many youth clubs. This generous gesture of the police has brought joy to the hearts of many youths, local football players and people. What’s more, this gesture has brought about a sea change in the outlook of the people of the local areas concerned toward the police, and has helped wash away the earlier prejudices the people had earlier. This would go a long way in building good relationship between the police and the people. This act of generosity of the police should be taken up in the form of civic action programmes in a large scale all over the state including the hill districts. The government should be able to allocate separate but adequate funds for the same annually. The Police Department should seriously look at this new programme which has the potentials of becoming hugely popular and to restore people’s faith and cooperation, which are the hallmarks of an efficient and successful police institution.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Does Centre want the solution to spring from within Manipur?
No doubt Manipur is the only state facing the most serious problems in the entire North Eastern region of India, and the problems are multifarious. Each one of the problems can by itself put Manipur on boil for weeks or months together making everything stand still, and one would think that there’s no other greater problem people could ever face than that. Then emerges yet another problem causing too much trouble and violence making living itself a hell. Thus from one problem to another, then to yet another, it goes on and on in Manipur, in what one may call the vicious circle. There’s never an end to the problems. For instance, take insurgency, what the armed underground insurgents call “revolution,” or “national liberation movement” or “struggle for freedom,” etc., and the acts of violence that come along with them–killing, shooting, assassination, ambush, bomb blast, bomb threat, “demand letters,” extortion, abduction and so on. Then the counter insurgency operations by the Manipur Police Commandos, the Assam Rifles, the Army and other Central Para Military Forces, and acts of torture, harassments, beatings, disappearance after arrest, endless killings in encounters and fake encounters, etc. Any of these acts would usually be followed by mass protest agitations that may go on for weeks or months. Then there is the question of ethnic strife that threatens to rear its ugly head in Manipur society now and then. There are also myriad armed militant groups of various tribes whose propagandized objectives are to create separate homelands within the present territory of Manipur. Their activities including extortion and other violent acts are still a matter of serious concern for the people and the government of Manipur. Over and above all these, another huge problem, what one may describe as the mother of all problems is the NSCN-IM or Muivah factor. In fact, the problems created by this Naga rebel outfit and its various frontal organizations taking different names for the people of Manipur are the biggest and most serious ones.
What the NSCN-IM and its frontal organizations exactly want needs not be repeated here as everyone in Manipur already knows it full well. This is a perpetual problem, and will remain so until it’s solved once and for all. Though this problem used to crop up from time to time whenever the NSCN-IM leaders infused some words of encouragement or instigation into the mind of the handpicked leaders of the Naga frontal organizations to launch campaigns against the people and the government of Manipur in the form of indefinite blockade or any such other, it used to cool down after some time and return to normalcy. But this time, the problem that arose from the failed attempt of Th Muivah to enter Manipur has lingered, and still remains alive. Even now, we can’t say that Muivah would not make another attempt to enter Manipur. If he ever decides to make another attempt to visit places in Manipur again, this time his excuse would not be solely to visit his ancestral village, Somdal but clearly to reinforce his campaign for integration of Naga inhabited areas, just as he is doing in Nagaland at present. His presence itself near the border of Manipur keeps the collateral problems in Manipur alive. Among them is the question whether the truckers, tankers and all kinds of vehicles including the passenger buses and taxis of Manipur should ply along NH 39 through Nagaland or not. A lot of discussions are taking place in Imphal these days where people of different walks of life do not have any hesitation in expressing their preference of NH 53 to NH 39. We need not comment further in this regard. Those whose hearts burned because this column, like so many others, had advocated the idea of taking to NH 53 had better kept listening to so many people of diverse professions voicing their views on why NH 39 should be forsaken at least for some time. Let the discussions continue. Meanwhile, the mother of all these collateral problems such as the economic blockade, the stand against the Autonomous District Councils, the wanted tag on the presidents of UNC and ANSAM, etc, the issues of NSCN-IM need to be solved once and for all. The solution must come from the Centre, and wouldn’t spring from amidst the people of Manipur as the Centre seems to hope and be waiting for. It must say what is possible and practicable and what is not, and must not keep Muivah and his party hoping for a miracle to occur. The Nagas and the Meeteis and other communities of Manipur have no problem with each other. Nobody wants any problem with the other as well. It’s only the NSCN-IM and its frontal organizations formed by a handful to people who are doing all they can to make it look like as though it is a problem between the Nagas and the Meeteis.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Violence begets violence, peace begets peace
The present day human civilisation was built on the grave yards of millions of human beings. Wars of different
magnitudes had been fought amongst the human-beings throughout the ages. Millions and millions of humans had been slaughtered. Not a single square mile of land of human habitation on the vast surface of earth had been left untouched, unaffected by violence or war of different kinds between men and men – all in the course of history of mankind and making of the civilisation as we see today. Thus human society, right from the period of evolution, has been built upon violence as its foundation. Human beings have always been violent, belligerant and blood-thirsty, nothing less than the carnivorous wild predators. The only difference is that the wild predators eat flesh of herbivorous animals but men do not eat flesh of men. Yet men are more cruel and ferocious than the wild predators. When men demonstrate how cruel and ferocious they can be, thousands or millions of lives can be felled at one stroke. Thus, violence has always been an inseparable part of human character. Manipuri society is not the exception. Violence is very much a part of the Manipuri society. Looking at the past and the present, all historical events of the land have been and are filled with violence, and there is no gainsaying the belief that the future will be different.
Now, if the question “who commits violent acts” is put before all concerned who have the power, by way of the weapons they wield or the uniform they wear or the authority they exercise, to call the shots, it’s doubtful we’ll get a true answer. Of course, one will surely put the blame on the other, each claiming “we are peace-loving lot and what we are doing is to maintain the ultimate peace and tranquillity.” Saying is one thing and doing is quite another. Here we may recall the political leadership of the state shouting hoarse for the umpteenth time that the government keeps its doors open for the outlawed armed groups to come in and talk peace, there is no room for violence in democracy and so on. It’s true, violence and democracy are two opposing acts and principles. But in reality, violence thrives equally in democracy as it thrives in other forms of governance. Dictatorial rulers or military rulers are not any worse than the democratic rulers when it comes to using brute force to quell a mass movement which demands a colossal change in the functioning or policy of the respective democratic governments. Examples are not few, but numerous. Let’s take the Great June Uprising of 2001 and the movement against the Armed Forces (Special Powers)Act, 1958 after the brutal rape and murder of Miss Thangjam Manorama in 2004. The way not only the state forces but also the huge central forces used excessive force mercilessly on the unarmed protesters clearly showed who used violent means to put down mass movements. Incidents like that abound in the history of Manipur.
The endless killings of youths–suspected UGs, real UGs or plain innocent youths, in the name of counter insurgency operations being carried out by the state forces and the central forces are all irrefutable acts of violence. Take for example the anti Maphou Dam protest last month. The way the state police had tried to disperse the anti- Maphou Dam protesters– mostly women by firing tear gas shells directly on the protesters and baton-charged them did not show the slightest sign of peace-loving act. Then again on the next day, hardly 20 hours after, the police again used force to disperse a crowd of protesting women on the NH 39 at Lilong area. These are just a few examples of how much violent means the government forces use to tackle agitationists, despite the claims made by the rulers that violence has no room in a democratic setup. Therefore scepticism must naturally emerge from different sections of the society on the political rulers’ sermons of peace while, in fact, the protectors of laws resort to brutal violence on unarmed civilian protesters. Therefore, the leadership first need to show the people that any and all differences of opinions and grievances can be settled through peaceful negotiations instead of resorting to violent force to subdue the people’s dissenting voices forcibly. Violence by the anti-government forces also stand condemned as always.
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Little paradise destroyed
Truly, Manipur is a wonderful piece of land on earth.Endowed with naturally beautiful landscapes, captivating flora and fauna, among which are included various plants and flowers, and animals of the rarest kinds and species, not available anywhere else in the world, images of all of which are reflected on the largest fresh water lake in the entire South East Asia–Loktak lake, Manipur should indeed be a place of envy for many peoples outside. Remember Siroy lily, Dzuko lily, rare orchids, Sangai, the brow-antlered deer, etc. They all belong to Manipur, and are not available anywhere else. Apart from those naturally heart-stealing entities, we have another equally breathtaking mosaic of cultures belonging to different communities and tribes moulded into one society and one culture of Manipur. Remember how famous the art and culture of Manipur, which include Manipuri dance, other tribal dances, etc are all over the world, not just in India. Then there’s the unmissable part of sports in which Manipur’s place on the world’s map is remarkably huge and unique. All these make such a small state called Manipur truly a wonderful place on earth.
But this status of wonder is being grossly destroyed by the people–ourselves–living in this state. While Manipur’s reputation in the field of art and culture and sports remains unquestionably illustrious, on the other hand, just the mention of Manipur’s name evokes horrifying scenes in the mind’s eyes of the whole world. Images of too much social and political trouble, long period of agitations, violence, killings, abductions, human rights violations, corruption, insurgency, militancy, HIV/AIDS and what not appear before the eyes of the people of the world. And now added to the list is “fake encounters,” and the state government’s unmistakable role in applying all possible means to cover up the excesses of the security forces. The fact is that what people from outside the state are seeing is just a little, and just the tip of the ills plaguing the Manipuri society. There are more than meet the eyes. In fact, the trouble in Manipuri society is too deep, multiple and endless. No one in particular is responsible, but all sections of the people are the creators of the prevailing situation. We all contribute, though varied in degree, to the situation that we find ourselves in today. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that what the mythologies call “Hell” must surely be a better place than Manipur to live in. There is no wonder then that many people, who can afford, had purchased houses in rather peaceful metropolitan cities in India so that when there’s turmoil in Manipur, they can go and stay there to enjoy peace and development of the big cities.
It’s not just insurgency, militancy, counter-insurgency, violence, killings, extortion, loot, abduction, etc that make Manipur a wonderful Hell, but also the typical attitude of cunningness, meanness, avarice, with large dose of cruelty and of course, obsession with playing leader while not possessing the slightest quality of leadership, etc. make Manipuri society stand on hell as its foundation. There are jokes and anecdotes of other people of other countries frequently told among students and lovers of jokes, that sarcastically refer to the parsimonious and cunning mindset of the people concerned. We won’t be surprised if people of other parts of the country and the world are making jokes out of the typical habits and mindset of the people of Manipur. It must be quite hilarious or grotesque, according to the kind of joke they make. Among so many habits of ours, which are inherent, a few notable ones are that most of us always tend to ignore and underestimate others’ achievements/success, and refuse to laud the achievers. Instead, we always try to make undue and uncalled for criticism just to satisfy our own mean ego. Another attitude is that we are always so obstinate that we refuse to listen to others. We never pause to see if there is some truth in others’ point of views. We only stick to our own guns believing that what we are thinking and doing is the ultimate right/truth and that there’s no other right/truth than that. Then yet another mentality is that “I know better than him/her.” There are too many people in our society who may so rightly be called, what our forefathers used to describe, “the half-filled pitchers that make too much noise,” as in contrast to “the trees that grow fruits bow down.” Such attitudes, and more not described here, make the Manipuri society what it is today– a boiling cauldron of evils. Yet, let optimism be not lost that voices of goodness are still heard, though small, from certain corners.
Source: By Hueiyen News Service