Identifying a dist with one group ? Kangpokpi declaration
Administrative convenience or linguistic basis. Twist this a little bit and one may well come to the line, administrative convenience or on tribal basis ? Linguistic basis and it was on this line that States were created after the British left India and superimpose this on a State like Manipur with a little twist here and there and herein arises the question of whether it would be wise to understand the creation of districts on the basis of tribe affiliation or administrative convenience. This question may well manifest in different forms and substance and here one is reminded of the recent proclamation of the Sadar Hills Chiefs’ Association, (SAHILCA) that only some hand picked civil society organisations in Kangpokpi district would be allowed to function or given recognition. Not surprisingly a number of Liangmai bodies, including the Liangmai Naga Council (Eastern zone), Eastern Liangmai Chief Chairman Association, and Ahangruak Chief Chairman Association, have come out strongly to oppose the stand of SAHILCA, a decision that was adopted during a meeting of CSOs and student bodies held at Kangpokpi district headquarters some days back. This is where certain questions ought to be raised. Was Kangpokpi district created in the winter of 2016 to give district status to a people belonging to a particular tribal group or was it created for administrative convenience ? This is a question which the policy makers of the State can answer, but it is highly questionable when any CSO or student body go the extra mile to try and identify a particular district on the basis of tribal affiliation. True there may be one or two tribes which may numerically dominate a district, but to identify that district with any particular tribal group would be missing the wood for the trees. This is the point which the Liangmai bodies have pointed out and it would do good for everyone to sit down and take another hard look at the proclamation announced earlier. And when one talks about the stand of SAHILCA, it should be kept in mind that this applies to all bodies or organisations which represent the interest of a particular tribal group or community.
The issue may be seen as Kangpokpi centric but intrinsic in the stand of SAHILCA and the Liangmai bodies is the deep divide that runs between different communities. No magic wand at the moment to address this, but it says something about the people that things like tribal affiliations, community affiliations, the understanding of Us versus Them should continue to define the social relationship between so called different groups of people even as the world is talking about a global village. Take a look at the reality. It would definitely sound ludicrous and idiotic if say a decision is adopted by a student organisation which has a pan India appeal that no other student organisations can or should exist in a place like Delhi, where thousands and thousands of students from Manipur and the North East proceed to Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University or Jamia Milia Islamia for their further studies. Would such a decree be acceptable to say the Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi, Naga Students’ Union, Delhi, Kuki Students’ Organisation, Delhi ? Or say if an Imphal based student body or civil society organisation were to say that no other bodies or organisations except some few chosen ones would be allowed to be set up in Imphal ? Time is to free oneself from the narrow confines of one’s own community or tribal affiliation and this should apply not only to SAHILCA but to the Liangmai bodies as well. Manipur has suffered enough on account of each and every organisation pushing for the interest of the community which they purport to represent.