50 years of existence as a State
Fifty years hence ?
Fifty years as a full fledged State of the Indian Union and what has been the progress made by Manipur in this half a century ? More importantly what should the State look forward to or work towards to ? Important question no doubt, and this is where vision is needed. Where would one like to see Manipur fifty or even 25 years hence ? Will it be a matter of trundling from one issue to the other or taking things as it comes or should Manipur work itself into a position to be able to decide which way the place and the people should move towards ? Far sightedness. This is what is needed and even as Manipur celebrated her 50th Statehood Day on January 21, thoughts ought to be given on where Manipur would like to be fifty years or even 25 years hence. This is where it becomes important for the people to overhaul their mentality and have the honesty and sincerity to look back, study the past and admit where the people went wrong. The wrongs of history and there are a dime a dozen and the various issues besieging the State today may be said to be a fall out of the folly of the past. A mindset which refused to look beyond the immediate may be said to be primarily responsible for the many ills affecting the place today and as stated earlier here, this is where Manipur needs a leadership with vision, a leader who can look beyond fifty and more years. Would Manipur be in a better position, if at the time of the Merger Agreement it had looked beyond the immediate and placed certain points for the Union of India to consider ? Today the threat to the existence of Manipur as a geo-political entity is very much a reality, and perhaps this is where one may need to stop for a moment and look back to study how things could have been treated differently.
At 50, the time is right to raise certain questions such as why the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, under which the Inner Line Permit System is automatically extended, did not cover Manipur initially. Remember it was only in 2019 that the Inner Line Permit System was extended to Manipur to exempt the State from the Citizenship Amendment Act. Why was this system not in place in Manipur in the first place when numerous States in the North East are under the protective umbrella of this Regulation ? This is a question that needs serious and sincere introspection. Along with raising this poser, it is important for Manipur to look beyond and study where it may find itself fifty years hence, to repeat a point which has already been raised. Fifty years down the line and what would be the status of RIMS or the NIT which was more recently set up ? How about JNIMS ? Will Manipur be in a position to take these institutes of learning along with the demands of the time ? How about DM University and Manipur University. Can Manipur expect students from other States making a beeline for any of the institutes set up here ? If Manipur has such a strong pull factor to draw hordes of non-locals into the State, why can’t schools and colleges set up here attract students from other parts of the North East region ? More importantly, why do so many students of Manipur deem it better to move outside to pursue their higher studies ? Will these questions still stand fifty years hence ?