Knowing the ground reality Being responsible
Manipur should be very clear on how it goes about dealing with the present crisis. Losing sight of the real nemesis would amount to committing hara-kiri in this age of instant information. Thanks to technology, it is just a matter of a few seconds and a click of the mouse to let the whole world know of what is happening in Imphal and the valley districts and this is where no one can afford to misstep. It should have been more than clear to all that the focus of the whole world is on the clash between the Kukis and the Meiteis and it is extremely important for everyone to come to the point that the type of message that is being rung out, not only to the rest of the country but also to the whole world, will go a long way in influencing the narrative that is spelt out. Time to look beyond Imphal valley. Time for everyone, especially those who are keen to flex their muscles on the roads and streets of Imphal, that the battle is today fought not only on the streets and roads of Imphal and at the foothills but also in how the story of Manipur is told to the outside world. Look beyond the valley and try to understand the narrative that has gone viral with more set to come in. What is the story of Manipur that is being peddled on the social media such as Wikipedia or on Twitter (now X), a medium where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to be very active ? It is through such mediums that social and policy influencers can be reached out and to evoke a positive response from such influencers it is important for Manipur to present credible stories. Protest is indispensable, but it should not come with the baggage of unnecessary destruction and violence. The march by students towards Raj Bhavan on September 28 to present their case fits the bill of how the people can take to the street without sending out the wrong message. A protest march it was, but it did not come with the baggage of violence and confrontation which even prompted the SP of Imphal West Police to personally hand over packaged drinking water to the students as they marched under the blazing Sun on September 28. The message in the protest march was delivered and there was no way it would not have gone unnoticed to the Governor and the powers that be just because it was bereft of untoward incidents. Battle cries and violence need not be a part of any protest march. Highlight the point and it will surely not go missing.
Nearly five months. Over 170 killed with many done to death in cold blood, many others missing, thousands displaced, with no end to the machinations at play to disfigure the understanding of Manipur and this is the time for Manipur to demonstrate that this crisis cannot smear the character of the people. A character which has been honed and polished over 2000 years and this is the ideal time for Manipur to show its real character, a character that says that its values cannot be compromised by a crisis such as the one besetting it presently. This is then the time to show that heads rule over the hearts and this is not the time to give in to sentiments and emotions. The focus of Manipur should be at the foothills. It should be about ensuring the safety and security of the farmers tilling the soil at the foothills. It should not be about creating more trouble at Imphal compelling the deployment of more and more security forces here while leaving the foothills deserted for militants to create havoc. The priority must be clear to all, if one believes in the existence of Manipur. Time also more than ripe for the political leadership at Imphal to show that they mean business. As waking up Delhi will need more than a prod, think out of the box. Capitalise on the positive vibes received from Delhi so far and build on it. For this to happen, the Government and the people would need to walk together and for this to fructify the most important would be to win the trust and confidence of the people. Why has the Government lost the trust of the people ? A point which elected members of the House should deliberate upon.