Dialectics of identity and development : A new outlook
Dr Longjam Krishnamangol
Contd from previous issue
As already not, it is now the time to abolish or remove the concept or the term "tribe" (earlier concept) or the tribals (modern concept) with a view to removing class contradictions and bring about total or full social justice. At this stage of analysis, it can be pointed out that only the "economically weaker section" /individuals or economically backward persons of the community (i.e. non-income youths or non income educated youths (i.e. the educated unemployed youths). need to be protected in terms of government benefits of job reservation at the level. And the creamy layer categories or the upper income groups/individuals along with the general mass population need to be provided with all benefits of the overall development process irrespective of caste, creed and other criteria. It is therefore necessary to recast the present job reservation policy of the centre and the states. And along with the job reservation for the educated youths/the educated unemployed youths belonging to the economically and financially weaker sections of the society, it is necessary to frame economic policy for generation of adequate and sustaining employment opportunities for the growing labour force (i.e. particularly for the unemployed persons and those who fail to get income generating economic activities). In the above new model of development, we can think of the same identity of the people of India (i.e. in terms of national identity). In fact, if we think in terms of national identity, there is no question of tribals, non-tribals or any other community. Thus, we have the same identity (i.e. national identity). Again, if we apply the concept of “social identity”, there is no difference between the identity of a person and that of another person. As already noted, this is a concept of "shared identity" or the same identity. However, if we think in terms of " Plural identities " or varied identities of different persons, we have different identities in terms of skills, professions, knowledge, status, classes etc. and they are the different qualities /attributes or characteristic features of the persons. But, in spite of the difference in the identity of the persons, we have the same "identity" known as national identity. Thus, there need not be conflicts in the identity of different persons or different groups in our society or in the country including Manipur.
In what follows, it can be pointed out that the history of Meitei or Meetei is well known and that it needs no repetition here. And, there seems to be different theories of the history of Manipur. But, the generally accepted "theory and practice" (i.e. the historical records and the evidence/experiences available in various authentic sources) is the history of Manipur. And, the scope and freedom of history research need not be underly restricted in order to expand our understanding of the history of Manipur and the reality of the history of the state. In fact, given the history of Manipur, it can be pointed out that "Manipur was a princely State of a different kind" In fact, it was an independent kingdom or an independent country. What is emphasised here is that there was historical evidence, which proved that the tribals were brought into the mainstream in most of the European countries in ancient times (eg. in Rome). And, it is well known that in some advanced countries, there are no tribals now. Thus, the conclusion is obvious that there is no difference between tribals and non-tribals. And, whatever tribal class existed in many advanced nations are now subsumed as the general population or in the citizens of the country without any class differences. And in a princely state (with monarchy in the nation state) or in the erstwhile independence kingdom of Manipur the Meitei whose historical development is well known was never a tribal community. In fact, the historical development of Manipur cannot be twisted by a piece of information available from the earlier census and other sources. Thus, the current "demand" that the Meitei/Meetei be included in the scheduled tribe list under the Indian Constitution has no reality.
To conclude, it would not be a rational decision to demand for inclusion of the Meitei or the Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list under the Indian Constitution. In fact, it is now widely agreed that the new political economy of development or globalisation seeks to bring about changes and transformation in the "old mode of production" in order to promote faster social and economic development in different parts of the world. Again, the system which was dead in one historical context has been replaced by a new system of development. And, it is now commonly agreed that the concept," development" includes all-round or all-embracing aspects of changes and development. And the changes and development cannot be interpreted in terms of primitive society and retrogradation. However, the ideas dead in one historical context may reappear in another context. As Key stated in his general theory : "But soon or late. It is ideas, not vested interest, which are dangerous for good or evil "(p.384). Thus, there is the need for developing new theories and policies for "maximum development" in terms of modern concept of development economics .This requires heavy investment in different sectors of the economy of Manipur in order to move towards the goal of new full employment level for the educated unemployed youths and the growing labour force in the state. In fact, the demand for tribal is not the solution to save Manipur, which is already protected under the Indian constitution and the existing laws of the State.
The writer is the author of several books on Development Economics. He was formerly a teacher of Economics