Dialectics of identity and development : A new outlook
Dr Longjam Krishnamangol
Contd from previous issue
And, this will also avoid the clash of civilizations or groups in order to move toward the goal of peaceful co-existence of different communities or social groups and also towards the goal of new international or new global order in various fields of development. Having analysed the various aspects of the concept of "identity" of a person and its relation with religion and culture, civilization or any other group, we may now seek to answer the question.
Whether Meitei/Meetei should be included in the Scheduled Tribe category or "status" under the Indian Constitution. In fact, it is now time to argue against the inclusion of Meitei or Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list under the Constitution of India. Here, our answer or argument shall be very brief to make the point more precise and avoid fresh confusions.
In the first place, the confusion on the nomenclature of Meitei or Meetei needs to be resolved in order to avoid the double saying in the name of the community as Meitei or Meetei. It is observed that the civilization of the community long period of historical development has revealed that the community or is called known as Meitei and not as Meetei. Some local historical (s) have called the community as Meetei due to lack of knowledge either from the records or from the saying of the ancestors or forefathers. The classical literature or the short play also used the name of the community as Meitei. The early Administration Report of Manipur also recognised the community as "Manipur Meitei".
Thus, until the difference in the nomenclature between Meitei is resolved, there will be two classes of the community, which will ultimately lead to clash of civilizations or groups. The clash of interest is also frequently reflected in the media. This is an unhealthy trend in our society. And, as a result, there is also social division due to the differences in the use of language. Thus, it is now high time to resolve or address the differences in the use of the two words (ie between Meitei and Meetei) instead of demanding for claiming tribal identity. And, there should not be human rights violation in the demand made by a particular section of the society or a particular interest group which will be at the cost of the some other groups or some section of the same society. Thus, the claim for tribal identity has to be immediately rejected as the tribal has also achieved yet another socio-economic development. And, it need not be supported or unduly encouraged by any unreasonable political praxis and pressure groups.
In case of failing to do so, there will be social division, conflicts and tension in the society, which will affect socio-economic transformation and development in Manipur.
Next in importance, it can be pointed out that our views against the movement for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list will not proceed in terms of chronological orders as there are different theories and practices in the field of socio-economic development.
And, the argument in favour of claiming for the tribal identity by the Meitei/Meetei is not relevant in the present context as there has been rapid socio-economic changes over the last few decades. Again, the argument that Meitei or Meetei was once a tribal community is not relevant now. How far it is true is questionable and without any foundation. Sometimes, the census data are fraud and subject to correction. The classifications and methodologies were also poor in determining the status of the communities in those days.
The enumerators might also apply wrong judgement and the field workers might fail to understand the characteristic features and history of the Meitei/Meetei population as the non-tribal community (presenting called the general population). And, the census data were not perfect in determining the tribal status of any community. Thus, there need not be vested interest group in the general movement for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list under the Indian Constitution.
Thus, it would not be wrong to say that there is now "fear factor" in the minds of a large section of the Meitei thinking that their identity may be changed without their consent and this would psychologically affect the aged old civilization of the Meitei population. We may now turn to the general psychology of the people of Manipur, particularly the Meitei Population on the inclusion of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list under the Indian Constitution. Here by the term " psychology" we mean the state of mind of the peoples. To avoid the concept of the vagueness of the phrase "state of mind" it can be pointed out that psychology is the thought process of the individual or the person. Indeed, it indicates how the thought processes react and functions.
And, it also reflects the attitude and behaviour of the person. Thus, without going into the various definitions of psychology, which is also not attempted here, it can be pointed out that there is now increasing trend of strong motivation from the side of demand group among towards the large section of the Meitei/Meetei populace to choose for tribal identity. Of course, tribal have rich cultural heritages and there are evidence that most of them have also reached advanced stage of civilization in the present context. And even the President of India is now from the tribal community. And, there is now rising claim that tribal are not the mere beneficiaries, but they are also contributing to or participating in the Nation building development. Indeed, this is a great achievement of the Central and State Government. The time is therefore, ripe for abolition of the concept of tribals in India by a new Parliamentary and State legislation.
The Latin American concept of the tribes or the tribals need not be applied in India now. Instead, the concept of "clans" of the tribes or the tribals as used in the evolution of the human society or civilization (i.e. original concept, "clans" that is available in the socialist literature) need to be used.
(To be contd)