Noting the points of the Chief Minister The idea of Manipur
Chief Minister N Biren Singh has a solid point. It is the Meeteis/Meiteis which have been standing steadfastly for the idea of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality but it is more than right that certain questions be raised inwardly on why so any fissiparous tendencies have reared their heads. To go anywhere to raising certain sincere questions inwardly the Meetei/Meitei community would do well to move beyond the Ching-Tam Amattani slogan, which seems to have lost its sheen. That different forces have been tearing apart the idea of Manipur is a point which The Sangai Express has been repeatedly stressing in this column and perhaps it is the bounden duty of the Meetei/Meitei community to study the genesis of the fissiparous tendencies that have emerged all over. Time to do away with the pretension that everything is hunky dory between different communities, particularly between the Meeteis/Meiteis and the hill dwellers or the tribals. This divide is perhaps most visible in the composition of different student organisations with different student organisations batting for the community they claim to represent. It is only the Meetei/Meitei student organisations which speak on behalf of the whole of Manipur, but here again it needs to be asked whether their voices are heard and taken note of in the hills or not. It was not so long back that students took a major role in the demand that the Inner Line Permit System be extended to Manipur and even then it was obvious that not all the students saw eye to eye on the protests that were staged with many from the hills alleging that they were forced to participate in the protest outside the classroom. This is about hill students studying in institutions located at Imphal where Meeteis/Meiteis form the majority of all the student organisations. Does any move initiated by student organisations in say Imphal have an impact in the hills ? The answer to this question should tell its own story and perhaps it is from here that questions ought to raised on why the hill people refuse to identify themselves with any organisation that claims to represent the whole of Manipur. The situation is the same outside Manipur.
Delhi is the place which perhaps attract the most number of students from Manipur and this is where it may be asked, why a Poumai or a Tangkhul or a Maram student from Manipur prefer to associate himself/herself with the Naga Students’ Union, Delhi (NSUD) and not Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi (MSAD). It is the same with the Kuki students who prefer to align themselves with the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Delhi and not MSAD. It is the same in other cities, which have a sizeable number of students from Manipur, such as Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Chandigarh etc. And it is against this reality that Manipur continues to be dogged by the ghost of a Greater Lim or Nagalim and Kuki Homeland. This is a question which need some serious, sincere introspection. At the moment there are no easy answers as to why situation has come to such a pass, but it is clear that there is indeed a divide and in the process it is the idea of Manipur as an entity that is being stretched to its limit, with only the Meeteis/Meiteis standing and vouching by this idea. What should also be clear to all is the point that belittling the idea of Manipur cannot be to the advantage of anyone. The reality at the neighbouring States should testify this and one wonders how welcome the non-Meeteis/Meiteis would be in say Nagaland or even Mizoram, as a people.