An open letter to the Govt of Manipur
As to the committee recently constituted by the Government of Manipur to look into the books on history, culture, tradition of Manipur to be published, I come across some write ups in a local daily. On seeing it, I am compelled to ask some such questions for clarification from the Government of Manipur as given below:
1. What power does the committee have to look into the books to be published?
2. Is there any legislation as to the constitution of the said committee ?
3. What about the PhD theses, if they are to be published ?
4. Is it mandatory to request for permission from the committee to present a paper in a seminar or conference and to publish a research paper in a magazine or academic journal ?
5. What is historical research ? How can historical research be made intelligible to thinking people ?
6. What is academic freedom or freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Indian Constitution ? Is the said committee above the Constitution of India ?
7. Is history-writing not an ideological exercise and construct ?
8. What is the meaning of thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis?
9. Is it not ignorance on the part of the Government of Manipur to constitute such a committee or a deliberate threat to the academic world at large ?
Be that as it may, I have an opinion in my mind that it would have been better in the interest of the circle, which I take to be a circle of cultivated and thinking men and women who have no special acquaintance with the Meitei/Meetei history and culture, but are interested in everything that throws light on their own culture, tradition, etc., had the said committee been constituted with reference to the writing of a comprehensive history and culture of Manipur with proper historical methodology.
Prof. (Retd.) Mangsatabam Jitendra Singh