No land and quota of hill tribes will be grabbed by Meetei ST

Indigenous or indigenous people, according to a common definition, are those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later become dominant through occupation, settlement or other. The term ‘indigenous’ has prevailed as a generic term for many years. In many countries, the term is synonymously used as tribes, first peoples/nations, aboriginals, ethnic groups, Adivasis, Janajati, etc. However, UN system has not adopted, so far, an official definition of ‘indigenous’, instead it has developed a modern understanding of the term based on the following.
a) Self identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member.
b) Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies.
c) Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources.
d) Distinct social, economic or political systems.
e) Form non-dominant groups of society.
f) Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities.
Meetei is one of the Principal indigenous tribes of Manipur and of NE India when Meetei community returns to its original fold/tribal status by enlisting in the scheduled tribe list of the country, the land and reservation quota of the present scheduled tribes of the state will not be affected at all. Many people, including the well known leaders of prominent civil societies/organisations as well as individuals, both in the valley and hill districts of the state, who do not know much about ‘scheduled tribe’ and ‘Human migration theory’ are circulating malicious rumours to the simple and innocent people, particularly of the Hill District, that the land and reservation quota of hill tribes (scheduled tribes) will be grabbed once Meetei community is included in the scheduled tribe list under Article 342(1) of the Indian Constitution. It is unfortunate that some organisations based in valley and hills are instigating people to counter this popular demand of the Meetei community. Many people, both in the valley and hill districts of the state believe in this canard being spread by pseudo scholars, pseudo leaders, or hypocrites. In reality, the rumours are unfounded and are engineered by some who have vested interests, and some who want to throw the seeds of mistrust, distrust, disunity and disharmony among the consanguineous ethnic communities, who have been living in love, understanding and harmony since time immemorial.
The very theory that the land and reservation quota of our brethren in the highlands will be grabbed by Meeteis is out of the question.
After inclusion of Meetei tribe in the ST list of the country, the state will have two separate reservation quotas under two different names/nomenclatures. Meetei ST will be known as Plain ST, New ST, Backward ST, Advanced ST or any other name; whereas, the present STs as Hill ST, Old ST, Backward ST, Advanced ST or any other name suitable to make distinction between the two STs. The existence of reservation quotas within quota in a state or UT is empowered by the constitution of India under Article 16(4). In a new and pragmatic approach to quotas within quota of ST in the state, bigger STs like Tangkhul, Rongmei, Mao, Paite, Hmars ,etc. may have separate quota and the smaller STs like Koireng, Kom, Monsang, Chothe, etc. in another quota, in the way Nagaland State is doing, for uniform growth and development of the indigenous communities in the state. Under the same Article, in Assam state, Scheduled Tribes are categorised as Plain Tribes and Hill Tribes with corresponding reservation quota of 10% and 5%. Similarly, in Meghalaya state, different ethnic tribes have separate quota based on their population.
Thus, Khasi and Jayantia, 40%; Garo, 40%; and others, 5%. In Nagaland state, there are three different categories of Scheduled Tribes (i.e quotas within quota). Chang, Khiamungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam and Yimchunger with 25%; Chakeshang, Pochury, Zeliang and Sumis of the Tuensang, Mon, Longleng and Kiphire districts as backward tribes with 12% reservation quota. The remaining ST quota goes to the remaining tribes under unreserved quota in the name of Advanced Tribes (Ao, Angami, Lotha, Sema). Thus, when indigenous Meetei community is enlisted in the scheduled tribe list, and consequently when Manipur becomes a tribal Hill State, there will be no question of grabbing the existing ST quota of the state by the Meetei community in any manner.
Therefore, there should be unnecessary apprehension about this reality guaranteed by Indian constitution by our brethren in the hills rather they should welcome this paradigm shift, to take place in respect of Meetei, in the light of a prosperous and peaceful Manipur in near future.
Regarding the fear of losing lands of our brethren in the hills in the hands of Meetei, when the latter is included in the ST list of the country, people should not believe in such rumour as it is unfounded, malicious and misleading without any iota of truth. Simply it is a fuss about nothing. When settlement in villages in the hills are under strict control and management of vigilant village chiefs in Kuki areas, and village authorities in Naga areas. Then, why there should be unnecessary apprehension in the minds of our brethren in the highlands of their lands being encroached upon or grabbed by Meetei STs?
Again, Meeteis will not turn their face towards hills, except foothills and low hills for settlement, as there is scarcity of water as compared to that of valley districts, where water is plenty and almost perennial.
In reality, Meetei community having been embraced Hinduism during the reign of King Pamheiba (1709-1748), about three hundred years ago, have the practice of taking bath on daily basis and therefore, would prefer to settle in valley areas where water is abound. Therefore, settlement of Meetei in the hill areas of the state in colonies, leikais, or villages, is far from possibility.
It may be noted that Meetei, do not settle even in the hills located in Imphal valley except the foot hills and low hills, let alone settlement in remote hill districts of the state.
This may be because of the fact that Meetei worships mountains as abodes of sylvan gods and goddesses. The proof is that Koubru, Thangjing, Marjing, Wangbren, etc. are all located in mountatains/hills of the state and people have their veneration to these deities. Meetei, the important indigenous tribe of the state, who was nestling in the hills in the early times, do not feel to return to its old habitat but to old fold/tribal status to be with other indigenous and related 36 or more tribes in the state and live in the fertile plain areas of the valley districts mingling with other communities, in future too.
According to the ‘theory of human migration’, movement of people from one place to another takes place on the basis of availability of better facilities for education, health care, livelihood, job, secured life, weather and climate, transport, communica- tion, etc, among others.
In the context of Manipur, Imphal is the hub of all activities and all walks of life, and as a result people from different districts inside the state as well as outside the state settle in large numbers in colonies and villages by different communities in different parts of the valley district. Therefore, Meetei, when included in ST list and becomes a recognised tribe of the Govt of India, hardly will go to the hills for settlement against the theory of human migration but to other places where better facilities are available than Imphal. People should not have the misconception of grabbing lands of highlanders in the hills by Meeties living in the valley.
The demand for ST tag by Meetei community of the state is fundamentally banked on the following hard realities.
Firstly, to save the Meetei, one of the important and dominant indigenous people of the state, which is showing signs of its gradual degeneration in the last few centuries and rapid downfall in the last few decades in population, land, culture, language, economy, social status, etc. in its natural habitat under Article 342(1) of the Constitution of India?
Secondly, to save the fertile lands and wetlands in the valley which are producing maximum food grains, vegetables, fishes, etc. for the people, both in the valley and hills, from being owned by more skilled, hardworking, advanced and united non-indigenous people i.e. to save the indigenous people in their habitat.
Thirdly, to foster a harmonious, peaceful, united and progressive Manipuri society based on ethnic equality (as ST) among the indigenous communities of consanguineous relation which have been living together since time immemorial.
Fourthly, to enable Meetei community, like other indigenous people in the state, to compete confidently well with other communities of India having similar social status (i.e. scheduled tribe) in the field of education, service sectors of Central Govt., etc, to earn more laurels, medals, positions, awards, privileges, etc. for better economic, social, educational, cultural and political status of Meetei in particular and Manipur in general, by discarding and discontinuing decades long practice of competing with highly advanced, educated, and organised communities in general category/OBC of other states in the country.
In fine, the demand for restoration of ST status is to save Meetei from being degeneration in its own habitat and to bring harmony, progress and peace among the indigenous people in the state, and hence, the indigenous people in the state should see this great historic event of Meetei’s returning to its original/tribal fold to be in equal footing with other ethnic tribes as home coming of proverbial prodigal’s son and should extend hearty welcome by all.
We all need to remember the adages, “blood is thicker than water” and “birds of the same feathers flock together”, in the context of Manipur.

26 Responses to "No land and quota of hill tribes will be grabbed by Meetei ST"

  1. Dr Somorjit Ningombam   June 20, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Good research and write up.Congrats.

  2. Anonymous   June 20, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I appreciate your article, however looking at the present scenario like the 3 bills-which state that “…Manipur is a small hill state…”, the idea which you put forward that the recognition of Meitei ST as a plain ST the other as hill ST totally failed.(to mentioned that you even contradicted yourself: “After inclusion of Meetei tribe in the ST list of the country, the state will have two separate reservation quotas under two different names/nomenclatures. Meetei ST will be known as Plain ST… whereas, the present STs as Hill ST…”,
    “…Thus, when indigenous Meetei community is enlisted in the scheduled tribe list, and consequently when Manipur becomes a tribal Hill State…”)

    I would like to point out to that, settlement of the Meitei isn’t far from possibility in the present context- there are countable numbers of Leikai in Churachandpur itself already.

    It makes me wonder that, Meitei are included under the OBC, the SC, doesnot the OBC, SC have protection as a minority class? Why ST?(apart from the language protection of the Meitei under 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India).

    • rameshwar   June 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      If anonymous is well acquitted your Constitution I hope you will not asked why ST. Article 19 guaranteed ST people only for Constitutional protection not SC,OBC. In case of Meiteis they fulfilled the criteria or traits of Scheduled Tribes and it is their legitimate right to enlist as ST as per your Constitution. Meiteis never objected any community of Manipur to enlist as ST since 1951. If any community who already scheduled as ST don’t want to place Meiteis as ST and feel that their rights will be compromised it is open to them to demand to exclude their community from ST list as Article 342 (2) has provision to exclude any ST and place to general category.

      • Anonymous   June 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

        #Rameshwar, i believe your forget to look Article 15(5) of the constitution, here i quote… “…(5) Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes…”
        The Meitei have been the Status of OBC and SC for quite sometimes, i believe everyone is well aquaint with this provision, Under Article 340 of the Indian Constitution, it is obligatory for the government to promote the welfare of the Other Backward Classes (OBC). Article 340(1) states, ” The president may by order appoint a commission, consisting of such persons as he thinks, fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the union or any state to remove such difficulties and as to improve ‘their condition and as to the grants that should be made, and the order appointing such commission shall define the procedure to be followed by the commission.”

        When the Meitei are already enlisted in the SC, OBC, why ST now? I still donot understand why? Will the Meitei who are in the SC, OBC leave being an SC, OBC and then join the ST? Or will they take all reservation such as in the SC, OBC, ST? When the Meitei Constitute more than 50% of the State population, demanding all reservation in the SC, OBC, ST, …. i still do not understand why ST, after being under SC, OBC?!!

        • tomba   June 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm

          @anonymous,are the meiteis demanding ST from you?? What are the criteria under which u are included in ST?? And if you know the reasons,those also hold true for the meiteis as well…If there is irrational fear,pliz put forth,hope I can allay ur worries. And if you are uncomfortable that poor meiteis will come up to ur level,then the problem lies within you…don’t worry much,you are not going to spend a single paisa for the meiteis…n I believe in non-interference in the affairs of a community by other community…if so it s out of sheer jealousy..n jealousy breeds anger.

          • Anonymous   June 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm

            #Tomba, Jealousy??!! that is not even the fact in issue in regard to the article. If you can’t give a rational argument please refrain from giving a comment, oh! you might say it your freedom and right

            Your jumping to conclusion with your own opinion. If jealousy is to be the term we should be using, the Meitei are in a better position of being Jealous of the Tribal to demand ST status. Let us be rational before throwing tantrum against other.

          • tomba   June 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm

            @anonymous, I don’t quite get you or for any sane rational thinking person will never get what u r trying to state,what can be inferred is that you are having sleepless night since meiteis started demanding their due rights…trust almighty everything will b alright,meiteis never opposed when u guys were included in scheduled list n also we don’t object your desire to become general category…poking ur nose in other’s issue is indeed an act of satanic force with malicious intent disguising as a true believer in trinity of holy ghost,the father n the son..treachery is what u r preaching.. May god forgive your sins.

          • Anonymous   June 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

            #Tomba, the Meitei are indeed included in the Scheduled list such as the SC. None oppose that. The Meitei are included under the OBC. None oppose that.
            There are many legislation in Manipur which state about ST(present). Like the 19 MLAs seat reservation for ST, 1 MP(Outer) reserved for the ST, the District Council for the ST. So, Meitei by becoming ST will usurped all that?? Aren’t you a bit greedy in your approach Tomba? You quite often talk about your right. Okay!! Don’t you know that Right comes with Duty/Duties. Isn’t your Duty not to infringed upon other Right? oh! You thought only Meitei have right?
            It is your Right to Demand not your due right, in the same manner it is your Right to Demand for the moon too. Stop being a hypocrite about religion.

          • tomba   June 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm

            @anonymous,who told you meitei will usurp the outer seats…??is that all you have for your anti-meitei rhetoric?? Stop talking nonsense,that thought never crossed in my wildest dream.n also dont try to misinform the readers or misguide your folks,the door is wide open to sort out your fears or any doubts…So the meiteis are going to be included in the Scheduled list of tribes of India without infringing upon the rights of other communities…,n the same is expected from your side you have any issue??

          • Anonymous   June 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm

            Who told you Meitei won’t usurp such seat of ST if Meitei become ST? Isn’t that common sense to you if Meitei become ST? Please stop negating that you are the only person who is capable to think and that you are correct always(perhaps maybe in your own perspective).
            Just as I pointed out in my first comment, the idea of Plain ST and Hill ST failed, please don’t tell me that you don’t read that.
            All your comment can be summarized as Looking London Talking Tokyo. Thats the only issue i had, and don’t understand you for taking such audacious feedback.

        • tomba   June 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm

          @anonymous,you sud have attended one of the various meetings or public conferences held by the STDCM,your concern has been deliberated many times n not only that various issues have been dealt at lenght…status quo will be maintained this has been highlighted many a times…it s not you or your folks to decide the fate of the meiteis…see if you want your folks in valley and your rich families to be in the general category,we are not going to oppose…if you don’t want the idea of plain /valley ST,fine,that’s ur problem…But one question,n I expect an honest reply,Is there any good reason to interfere in other’s affairs when the demand for due rights of the meiteis has nothing to do with you ?? Or are u suffering from delusion of persecution?? Or are you carrying out the orders from Hebron ?? N why don’t you oppose the inclusion of other communities in ST from assam or other states? Why don’t you oppose the meena community when they were granted ST? Meiteis satisfy more no.of criteria than the meenas or ahoms or bhutias…inspite of the numerous instances and facts…it can be fairly concluded that the only reason you oppose is the irrational fear or sheer jealousy…it s like ISIS misguiding the Muslim youths for hatred of America…may the good lord show you the light in your dark world.

          • Anonymous   June 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm

            “Status Quo” ?? will be maintained between the Meitei SC, the Meitei OBC and the Meitei ST. I assume that is it. Or perhaps between the Rich/High Class Meitei and the lower section of the Meitei.
            How do you expect a status a “Status Quo” with the tribal(present) when a State Commission for ST has not be created in Manipur though we have been a Manipur ST for long…?

            I hate to keep on saying be realistic… Meena?? Ahoms?? Bhutia?? Are the meena, ahoms, bhutia part and partial of Manipur people? Do they have their the right to vote in Manipur?- cuts the craps! Its a NO.

            A Honest Answer- It is not good to interfere in other’s affairs, but when that affairs is about to infringe upon my right, as a concern citizen it is upon my liberty and right to show my concern.
            All your other questions are irrelevant, I do not answer to that as it is just from your wild mind.

            Just like the AMSU pointed out, Meiteis had more than 4000 hand written books before they were converted to Hinduism.

            If you are going to answer me again, please answer me this:

            Lets leave out the mens rea of the demand.

            1. What exactly is the Meitei trying to preserve by attaining ST status when they play a monopoly role in the Assembly which is able to legislate law under the State List such as to preserve the Meitei land and resources.
            2. Is it language? The language of Meitei are protected under 8 schedule of the Constitution, while the other tribals are not?
            3. Is it about Jobs? The Meitei are included under the SC and OBC, which have higher reservation quota than the ST.
            4. Is it for Monopoly upon other tribe?

          • tomba   June 23, 2016 at 9:04 pm

            @anonymous,answers to ur qstns.
            1) your land,ur culture,ur homestead are protected n it s the reason for you not supporting ILP issue,so when u guys buy vast lands,paddy fields of poor meiteis n those homeless people are also not allowed to settle in hills just on a piece of land,do you think the system is fair? Do you believe in the saying live and let live? Presently you are professing the idea,”you live n meiteis die”. If you don’t subscribe to the notion of sharing n living,fine but pliz stop snatching the land n resources of other communities.
            2) when you start giving new names to ur settlement in the valley,do you expect us to remain as a dumb mute spectator? Aren’t you playing with the sentiments of other community?
            3) if you say our language is protected,just feel proud as a manipuri,coz it s meant not only for the meiteis,it s the lingua franca here..n there are various criteria for a language to be included in scheduled list. Why don’t you put forth ur demand for inclusion in scheduled language of ur mother tongue? Why don’t you consult your scholars ? We will support you with all out hearts.
            3) if you say about jobs,meitei enjoy higher share…then just demand,no just express,you want some of ur folks to be in SC and some in OBC,deal done,fair enough?? We all support you ur forefathers said ur folks were treated as untouchables,you sud rightly stay in backward caste group along with the dalits.
            4)if it were for the monopoly of the meiteis,our benevolent king wud have never given ur share in the assembly nor your folks wud have been sud pay ur gratitude to those meitei kings who allowed missionaries to enter Manipur n gave you the knowledge n made you what u r today.
            Bottom line— peaceful coexistence n non interference in each others affairs.
            Live n let live,share,give and take…not take only…khudafis…

  3. Alis   June 20, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    If the Kukis who came to manipur only in 1860s are considered as indigenous people, the Meities are no doubt the indigenous people to their land like Tamil, Malayalam, Telegu as they live in Kangliepak sicne B.C but they do not have the unfortuante situation like the tribals in Manipur.

    The idea of dividing tribals of Manipur, that could be possbile when Meities first divide among themselves into Meeties, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Meitie pagal, Meities oinam.

  4. tomba   June 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    All of us sud support for those who want to become general by discarding ST certificate…or want exclusion from scheduled list…if the communal not listening,then we sud resort to extreme measures to make this happen.

  5. sikula sikul   June 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    In-depth study and highlighting suggestion for the misconception peoples. It is the right time to hit while it is very hot. I thank a lot for your view like Old ST, New ST, Backward ST, Advanced ST and Plain ST. It is enough.

  6. Dr Somorjit Ningombam   June 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Good research and write up.

  7. Frank   June 22, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Meitei community is an advanced community. Your argument to save the Meitei community doesn’t form any basis to the criteria of becoming an ST. The essential characteristics of the ST are primitive in traits, geographical isolation, distinct culture, shy of contact with community at large and economically backwardness. When Imphal the land of the Meitei produces one of the finest sport persons and intellectual be in term of engineers, doctors for the nation, when Imphal the land of the Meitei has one the best infrastructure, be the stadiums, the roads, the hotels,the majestic assembly house and high court, the connectivity of through airlines and now with rail road. Meitei are also one the richest, cultural through its vaishnava dharma. So making Meitei as ST is below dignity of the Meitei.

    • tomba   June 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      @frank,so let s make all rich STs and those staying in imphal valley in general category and all the nagas since they have a unique history n is superior community.clean ur stable first kid.

    • Somo   February 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

      how many meiteis are below the poverty line in manipur.

  8. rameshwar   June 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Protection of indigenous people is the world trend after the United Nations Organisations endorsed the United Nations Declaration on rights of the indegenous people in 2007. In case of India the ST are the indegenous people. For job reservation Article 15 covered ST, SC and OBC. For cultural and identity as well as land protection only Article 19 guaranteed to STs listed under Article 342.Meiteis are indigenous people having traits of tribe. It appears @anonymous @frank comments under the influence of bitter pin of most backward tribe but not disclosed who keep them most backward.

    • Anonymous   June 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      #Rameshwar, truly said… i’m commenting from the most Backward Tribe. To me from the Backward Tribe, i think you are quite advance and dont need a backward tag like the ST.
      I’m looking forward that the backward tag which you and your people share like SC tag and OBC tag be done away too. 🙂

      • rameshwar   June 24, 2016 at 12:04 am

        Have not and have people will find everywhere. All are their play. Constitution of India is a part of them. Whether Meiteis are eligible for ST can be decided as per their ethnographic report as well as other social criteria. But I never seen such reports from 1951 to till date. Will Ibobi make a report of it is a big question. My answer is when Meiteis awake Ibobi will speak. I am nobody here.

  9. sikula sikul   August 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    O.k., then, let us have people’s vote for every leikai/lane. That will definitely show how far and how many people intend to convert ST. In modern politics, the voting process is very important. Instead of blaming each other, let us have written vote for each leikai. That will be the quickest and simple method which we can not solve. The voting should be conducted by the local clubs using the electoral roll of 2016. Then, inner line permits and others can be solved automatically.

    • Somo   February 21, 2017 at 8:53 am

      good idea

  10. S S Sharma   July 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I think it is not fair to fight between the brothers for amount of shares which are to be granted from the parents. Let the parents decide what is good, what is bad for their children. Every children should respect their parent’s decision. Moreover, every children have the right to ask for everything from their parents. It is the right and correct parampara of the humankind in this universe.


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