Needed : Visionary leaders Look 30/40 years hence
A long term vision. Many of the vexatious issues besieging Manipur right now are matters that could have been avoided or averted or may simply not have risen at all if successive Governments down the years had been guided with a vision, the ability to look beyond the next twenty/thirty or even fifty years. The crackdown launched by Imphal on large scale poppy plantations may be seen as a step towards ensuring a safer future for the coming generations and this is a step which may be said to have been dictated by a long term vision. The follies of history and in many ways Manipur may be said to be paying the price for the blunders of the past and this is where extra care needs to be taken now so that the future does not suffer or face uncertainty due to the failure of the present generation to shake off the shackles of the past and fail to look beyond the immediate. This is where Imphal would need to look at the different points put up by different groups with an eye to the next three/four decades. The different challenges that have cropped up to question the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality may be said to be a failure to take everyone along with the idea of a unified Manipur. This is where one may look at the idea of a Greater Lim, floated and championed by the NSCN (IM) under Thuingaleng Muivah and note the fact that this is an idea which had already spread amongst the Naga folks of Manipur long before the ceasefire agreement was inked with New Delhi back in 1997. Long before the truce pact was signed in 1997, the ‘movement’ for a unified ‘Naga homeland’ was already put in motion and this was most visible at its most base form in the fact that no Naga student from Manipur identified himself or herself with any student organisation with a pan Manipur outlook. So it is that no Naga student from Manipur would identify himself or herself with the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi, instead preferring to be with the Naga Students’ Union, Delhi. It is the same in other cities of India where a sizeable number of students from Manipur study. This is also the same story in Manipur with no students from the Naga community identifying themselves with any student group with a pan Manipur outlook. Significant to note that all the Naga centric student organisations are affiliated to the Nagaland based Naga Students’ Federation-a federation. Time to seriously study and introspect why no other community other than the Meiteis identify themselves with the idea of a Manipur.
No doubt, the BJP led Government at Imphal is leaving no stone unturned to reach out to the hills and in the process promote the idea of a Manipur which is home to different communities but this may not be enough and the different civil society organisations too have a crucial role to play. This is where the announcement that DESAM and ANSAM would work together on crucial issues some years back was of such interest to The Sangai Express. This is a good beginning and if there is the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) to give a common voice to the tribal students of Manipur, then one may also look at the coming together of DESAM and ANSAM as a significant step of two student organisations joining hands to give more teeth to issues which are common to the people. This is at the level of students, but given that students have always played a crucial role in issues which are of importance to the people, it is extremely significant. One hopes that it takes off from here and steps are worked out to see whether the United Naga Council (UNC) may also work together with any of the other organisations which have a pan Manipur outlook. These steps are important for the future of the land and the people especially at this point of time when different forces are at work toying with the understanding of Manipur and her people. Time for all to look beyond the immediate and see where they would like Manipur and her people to be 20/30 years hence.