From May 3, 1993 to the present Listen to the voice of sanity

There is something eerie with the date. May 3, 1993 and it was on this date that the Meitei-Pangal clash started and went on till May 5. Fast forward 30 years and May 3, 2023 will now go down as the date which saw the start of the clash between the Meiteis and the Kukis and it is still continuing. Move a little forward from 1993 to June of 1997 and Manipur and the world witnessed the Kuki-Paite clash that killed hundreds, displaced thousands and reduced thousands of homes to cinders. Imphal was then the refuge for many of those displaced in the Kuki-Paite clash. The clash stretched on for over a year and it was only in September 1998 that a peace pact was inked between the two communities and which has lasted till date. In between was perhaps the mother of all ethnic clashes-the Naga-Kuki clash that started in 1992 and stretched on for many more years. The ghost of the Naga-Kuki clash continues to haunt the psyche of everyone in Manipur and talk of any ethnic or communal tension in Manipur and one is immediately reminded of this clash. Now even as the world and Manipur have stepped into the new millennium, mutual suspicion and the assertion of one’s agenda at the cost of the other continue to haunt the understanding of Manipur and perhaps this can best be understood against the backdrop of the Lim and Kuki Homeland demand. Even as situation seems to have slightly improved since May 3, with the Army staging flag march and leikai clubs chipping in and galvanising all to contribute whatever they can to assist those who have been displaced and are currently housed in different camps, Manipur may not be the same now. The impact of the present clash can have an everlasting impact on the understanding of Manipur and this would work to the advantage of all those who have been pulling apart the idea of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality. This fact should not blow over the heads of anyone who swear and solidly stand by the name of Manipur. And letting loose the leikai heroes and tongue wagging leikai heroines to interpret the present stand off as one between the Meiteis and all those who come under the tribal tag is one sure shot way of playing into the hands of all those who have been tearing apart the idea of Manipur. Another is obviously to view the present clash as one between Hindus and Christians. Nothing can be more damaging and self destructive than this.
It is against this madness that some sane voices have emerged which give all a hope in the innate goodness of mankind. Manipur should note with a sense of gratitude that it was the six Naga MLAs who were the first to get off the block and appeal to all to maintain calm and help the Government in restoring peace and normalcy. The appeal from the 6 Naga MLAs, Awangbow Newmai, Khashim Vashum, L Dikho, Ram Muivah, Janghemlung Panmei, K Leishiyo and J Kumo Sha was just what was expected from elected leaders of the people and fittingly this was followed by the special appeal from Lok Sabha MP Dr Lorho S Pfoze. It is this voice of peace and reasoning that all should listen to  and accordingly act. Manipur cannot go on like this and what is desperately needed at this hour is good sense to prevail. No winner in violence, the significance and merit of this line from the Manipur Baptist Convention should not be lost on anyone for the blood that has been shed and the lives lost will not translate into a victory for anyone. There will be no winner here. Let this be clear to everyone. And it should also be clear to everyone that Manipur will not be the same once normalcy, or what one would like to call it, returns and the shame and pain of what has happened since May 3 will continue to haunt the collective psyche of every conscientious natives of this place. The Sangai Express joins in sharing the grief and pain of the bereaved family members.