In search of the elusive unity: I-Day celebration of Manipur

Ani punba yadaba (Elusive unity). This has been the bane of Manipur or rather the Meiteis for long and if anything, the celebration of the Manipur Independence Day, separately by two entities on August 14 should underline this point. The open declaration of titular king, Leishemba Sanajaoba that he would stay away from such function in future if such a day cannot be organised under one setting should be seen in the correct perspective. There may be differences, no doubt, but to organise a day as important and as significant as the Manipur Independence Day, one day ahead of the Independence Day of the country on August 15, in two separate functions is a glaring example of the one group just not able to accommodate the viewpoints of others. Nothing can be more juvenile than this. Remember observing a day as important as Manipur Independence Day is something which must have been watched keenly and minutely by all concerned and given the reality that Manipur is facing right now, can one afford to present a divided house in front of the world ? The answer is perhaps best left to the organisers of the two separate functions, but it surely would not have gone down well with the people. The Sangai Express had a tough time trying to give balance to the two different functions, just so that no one feels left out or ignored or given the second preference. And it is not only the Manipur Independence Day celebration that one needs to look at to underline the point that very often the people have failed to strike a united stand in front of all.
The differences have been worked out now, it is obvious. But one may still recall that nearly twenty years back, the June 18 observation was held at two different venues, one at GM Hall and the other at Kekrupat. Another example of two apex civil society organisations of Manipur failing to see eye to eye on such an important date as June 18. Fortunately the differences did not last long and the said day has been observed jointly at Kekrupat all these years. The point however is, the propensity of the people, particularly the Meiteis to go in different ways though the issue may concern the interests of everyone. It is along this line that there are two different camps on the demand that the Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India. While one group stands by the demand that the Meiteis should indeed be included in the ST list, another group says that this is against the identity of the Meiteis. No one knows which side of the coin carries more weight but here is another example of the people failing to come eye to eye on such an important issue. Titular king of Manipur Leishemba Sanajaoba has already made his stand known and let it be clear that no organisation or group should lay monopoly on such an important date as Independence Day of Manipur. Whatever differences there are can always be worked out after thorough discussion, but let the real reason of why such a day is being observed not blow over the head of anyone. It cannot be a game of one upmanship.