Tell the story to the outside world Onus on Manipur
Manipur needs to tell its story well. Equally important is to reach out to as many allies or friends as possible. Learn to look beyond Manipur. Reach out. Cultivate the right platform to tell the story, correction the right story, and reach out to as many people as possible. Look beyond Manipur. The ongoing clash is today no longer confined within Manipur. It has gone to the outside world. What is the impression that has been created so far ? More than obvious that those who stand against the idea of Manipur have been able to tell their manufactured story to play the victim card to the hilt. The world, or the Western world, has been told of the destruction of Kuki Churches, while Manipur’s narrative of the places of worship of the Meiteis and the Temples which have been desecrated does not seem to have travelled beyond the boundary of the State. It was after violence erupted and probing questions were raised by The Sangai Express that the Umang Lai Kanba Apunba Lup (UKAL) came out with the list of places of worship of the Meiteis which were desecrated and even spat upon on August 12. The desecrated places of worship of the Meiteis included 393 Meitei Temples, as per the findings of UKAL and this included 44 places of worship dedicated to Umang Lai, underlining nature worship and the close ties that the Meiteis have with Mother Nature, in fact much more than the tribe which has gained a degree of notoriety for mass deforestation to make way for poppy plantations. And to think that the poppy planters call themselves forest dwellers and have gone to town trying to paint the clash as one in which tribals are being victimised and nothing can get more farcical than this. Apart from this, UKAL had also listed 110 places of worship dedicated to Apokpa Laipham, which were razed and this included three at Tengnoupal, 38 at Churachandpur, 23 at Kakching, 9 in Imphal East and 3 in Imphal West. The list enumerated by UKAL came out long after the ethnic clash had erupted on May 3 evening and after the world has been fed with the propaganda that Churches had been vandalised to give a twist to the clash as one along religious divide. It was this card which ‘helped’ them get their manufactured story discussed in the European Parliament and as a side event at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Obviously it was part of the game plan that nothing was said about the places of worship of the Meiteis which have been desecrated.
This is how the story has turned out so far and perhaps this is the right time for all those standing by the idea of Manipur to study whether they have managed to reach out to the right platform and the right stage. Why have the desecrated places of worship of the Meiteis failed to grab the attention of the world and the country ? A fact this is and this is where one would need to look beyond Imphal. Ultimately it makes no sense to keep on telling one’s story to only the people in the valley but to reach out and see how friends and allies can be won over. How to go about it is a question that all should start applying their minds to for what is happening in Manipur has already gone on to feature in the European Parliament as well as a side event at the UNHRC. That this would not cut ice with the Government of India and may even boomerang in the ultimate analysis is a given, but this should not go against the idea of reaching out to the rest of the country and the world. A global village, the world is today and that no efforts have been spared to tell the story that could tear apart Manipur is a reality and the needed steps to neutralise this narrative ought to have been taken up long back. Looking beyond Manipur and looking within is also important at this point of time. Makes absolutely no sense in inconveniencing fellow beings who stand by the idea of Manipur and one need not go into details to understand this point. Good sense coupled with the readiness to understand the viewpoint of fellow beings and come to the understanding that each and everyone is contributing his or her mite to the understanding of Manipur is needed. Imposing one’s stand point is not exactly the way to go about facing the elements who are out to tear apart the existence of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.