Dr Robert Shimray
We live in a world of multifaceted word, the so-called ‘Politics’. This very projected word carries to imply fairly a set of specific meanings that are descriptive and non-judgemental- pointing it to the art or science of government and political principles, but it can and often does carry a negative meaning closely related to these which can be and is often translated to political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices within the modern rat-race society.
Denizens! No one can deny the fact that we live in the world of politics. This could be either directly or indirectly that we – in our day to day life comes into contact with. Whether you like it or not, some way or the other we all are bound under politics. As aforesaid, it could turn out to be either for the better or for worst. But according to David Manoukian, “The purpose of politics is to enable the members of a society to collectively achieve important human goals they cannot otherwise achieve individually. Through negotiation, debate, legislation and other political structures, politics procures safety, order and general welfare within a state.”
Given the meaning and purpose succintly of the word ‘Politics’, it’s upto you and me, either to move forward or slack behind, for we all are unanimously in the same shoe. As related to each other, we cannot deny the fact that we are to hold on to eachother’s rope in order to translate it for the best of our survival. For which, in contemplation of how and where we stand today as camaraderies, we shall look into- The Three Perspectives, in the Context of Present Manipur Situation. Mind you! Political aspects are expected to be solved or answered through political platform. But as of today’s talk we would like to contemplate on the subject matter reminiscently in general.
1. Varsity crisis
When the so-called ‘Highest Seat of Learning’ is in its great turmoil, and that the functioning of the Varsity is being interrupted intermittently, one is for sure to foresee as to what awaits the prescious young minds. It’s all about having wasted prescious moments, in the building up of the intellectuals as supposed to be the pillars of the furture. It is also all about constraining and polluting, especially the minds of the youngsters in the wrong direction through such present political scenario.
What has caused the agitation climaxing to such uncanny situation? If the student body along with some of the faculties have retaliated to the undesirable presence of the temporarily ousted VC of Manipur University, is it reasonable that such occurance be prolonged without amicable solution? What‘s grieviously wrong with the temporily removed VC? What is the government doing to it? Don’t expect me to answer it.
What about the September 20 Midnight cry? It sounds fishy. For as a coin has its two sides, having burnt out the oil, we find the meeting place of the two construes. As claimed, VC Yugindro and the registrar were confined and forced to sign a paper, for which, when sued, the government police had to intervene using force to some extent. If what is claimed is to be true then the University Community is in the question. What does this speak? On the other hand, it has disrupted the peaceful environment of the Manipur University Campus, the only highest learning centre of the state. It has brought chaos, perplexing the students’ minds, and that, during exam!
What destiny awaits the young minds is but anxieties, hatred, illusion, distrust etc. Young people, especially the students are used as pinatas within the arena of vested interest, depriving their rights to education in building up the nation to a greater height. It’s high time that the government servants and the public in general perceive proper understanding in order to do away with any untoward happening- the loss of the future generation!
2. Indo-Naga issue
Down the history, one can easily recall to say, either as experienced by some few still existing elders or being bequeathed to the now generation, of the past history, that the British had considered the South Asian people as bauble, through which they had in their hands the policy of divide and rule. Here comes a proposition, and that is, in order to divide there has to be a sum. Of their scheme, in order to grasp as many lands, it was their intention to divide the minds. To fulfill their goal, foremostly but ironically, they clubbed together the lands in an isomorphic manner. Hence, the fact is that we are now all in the pandora box.
What would befall on the Nagas with regard to prevailing issue, that only time shall speak. But going down the history, we would like to reminisce the remark given by Mahatma Gandhi when met by Naga delegates led by A.Z. Phizo at Bhangi Colony in Delhi in July 1947. Thus the statement of the Father of Nation reads, “Nobody will force you to join Union of India, so if you want Independence why do you have to wait for 15th August?” With such consent of good understanding, the Naga people came back home and hoisted their own flag on 14th August 1947. But three to four years later when Naga delegates met Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 12th March 1951 at Guwahati, the dreams and aspiration of the Naga people began shattering down. Undiplomatically Nehru dealt the guest this way, “Whether heaven fall or India goes into pieces and blood run red in the country, whether I am here or anyone else, Nagas will not be allowed to be independent.”
The then leaders foresaw the eminence of the frontier. Wherefore, concealing the truth, India was not willing to part away with it at the thought of the to be an omen. The prophecy, “Whether… blood run red in the country…” was partially fulfilled during 50s to late 80s in which many of the Jawans on both sides were sacrificed. Sensing of the impact, the ever first cease fire, according to the chronology of cease fire between NSCN-IM and Union Government, came into force in July 25, 1997. In today’s context, there is much unrest, especially in Manipur. Complete fulfillment of the prophecy is being awaited.
Much has been said and done, and gone are the days in which, fortuitously, 18 souls on 18th of June 2001, laid down their lives in retaliation against Cease Fire Extention. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that those were mostly students, incited politically and were used as shills, but later translated as martyrs. Further, the implementation of the Article 371A- is but at present a sensational topic. Forget about everything, but one thing, we, the society should be aware of is that, the younsgters, especially the students are targetted as baits. Degradation of priciples and morality of such generation is bound to have their future prosperity impounded.
3. Kuki-Naga clash
Having gone through with many of the articles presented from different angles, one can clearly say that the debate will never end until the pandora box is opened. But even before that, we would like to enumerate the progressive debate again.
The conflict of the 1990s, as coined by Kuki brethren, is termed as genocide or ethnic cleansing. Leave aside as to which side you are on, but on humanitarian ground it’s a heart rendering lines going through it. Of the same, the Naga brethren reported from their stand-point of view.
I too, as an individual, would like to recall of what has been handed down orally by my own father saying, “Sokhulet, the then an outstanding one among the Kuki brethren, right after the WWII was over, came around every Tangkhul village demanding to hand back those Rifles left by soldiers. In fear of such audacious looking man, without any hesitation, the villagers returned it all, for which the government must have paid him handsome amount.” Another laconic saying, especially to fuddy-duddy children, “Shh.. Khongjais are coming.”
Earlier, hardship faced by Kuki brethren at the hands of the Nagas were seldom heard. In fact, the other way round, the latter faced a great deal. In the words of BC Allan, Naga Hill and Manipur, “…by 1845 the British administration in Manipur faced problems when the Kukis began to come in great numbers and started to drive away many of the older inhabitant.” The mentioning of such as this occured during the 19th century. Mind you! Sir James Johnstone branded the Kukis as “ceaseless trouble to the Nagas”. Further, the book of BC. Chakravorti mentioned of how the Kabui Nagas and the Tangkhul Nagas suffered during the early part of the 20th century. In contrary, the terms Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, as coined, took place only at the closing part of the 20th century.
If so, when does this blame game end? The Kukis started much earlier. Later, the Nagas took their turn, and that was when the former retaliated against the demand for tax payment. So far so good. Neither sides gained, but bore the brunt of it all the same. Brethren, let’s awaken! Some have really learnt the trait of the so-called divide and rule. Weren’t you used as baits? Try reminiscing of the years 1992-1993 in which you were sponsored to neutralise the Nagas. How effective has it been? It has only added to a higher degree of hatred.
How long has it been? How long will it be? Who is to suffer the most? It’s the future generation, especially the youngsters/ students, robbing off their promising future at the expense of political gain. As members of the state Manipur, where do we stand today? Others have gone much ahead. And here we are in the middle of nowhere. In all the three spheres mentioned domains, we find the same repeated blunder, and that is, apprenticing the young minds of wrong profession. Please, let alone the youngsters/ student group, or else our future is bleak.
The writer is Principal, Maringmi Memorial School, Phungreitang, Ukhrul District, Manipur.
Dr Robert Shimray