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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 10 June 2017 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

To each his own

The state is gearing up to observe the Great June Uprising on the18th of June, and the massive turnout at Kekrupat attending the memorial service and paying floral tributes by people from different walks of life from various communities in the preceding years reinforced the fact that the people of Manipur, with its diverse inhabitants and cultural mix, still believes in the spirit of unity, and despite setbacks and disappointments, are ready to go to lengths to preserve and protect its unique identity as portrayed by the variety of cultures, traditions, customs and beliefs. But then again, this intrinsic protective feeling is certainly not something unique to the people of this state.
It is rather a universal phenomena; one that has caused many a great epic battles and induced acts of heroism and sacrifices. The threat to one’s own space and liberty, whether personal or social, has always evoked reactions ranging from the passively defensive to the more aggressive and violent. The spontaneous reaction of the collective society on that eventful day in 2001 which saw the unrestrained outpouring of the frustrations of the Manipuris is no different. It would be prudent for us all to ponder over the issue without preconceived notions or personal feelings, and to try and understand the facts as they are.

The aspirations of the different communities to better their own kinds is understandable, but if and when that aspiration starts to infringe on the right and liberty of another community or the rest of the communities as the case may be, then differences and suspicions are bound to develop amongst the communities. There is also the bigger threat of the political system feeding on the concerns of these different groups to its advantage, and what was at first a credible issue, even if only from the point of view of a particular community without delving further into the legality or the practical aspect and its impact on the entire social setup, such genuine concerns almost always gets tainted with political overtures, making the whole process a farce and drama, played out to the interest of the very few who are orchestrating such social disruptions.
Ultimately, the issue gets sidelined, or more seriously, gets diverted, eventually betraying the hopes and support of the very people who are made to suffer the consequences. The final step- resorting to brute force and irrational violence to subdue and suffocate the rational curiosity and dissenting voice of the society. The only way out of such undesirable situations, and indeed the most effective means of preventing the very fomentation of such divisive ideas is for the people to put a decisive, just and impartial Government which have the political will and the guts to implement even the most unpopular and drastic measures for the good of the society, state or the country- an impossible expectation?        

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Socio-economic conditions leading to the birth of Marxism

By : CL Meitei
Marxism teaches us that any ideas or theory are always the product of some material conditions. Whenever new material conditions come into being, new ideas and theories too are bound to emerge. This same truth applies also to Marxism itself. Thus, in order to understand Marxism better we should try to know the material conditions, i.e. the socioeconomic conditions, within which Marx and Engels first gave birth to Marxism.
Marxism was established over 150 years ago, during the 1840s. It was established first in Europe, which at that time dominated the whole world economically, politically and military. This world domination was such that almost all earlier advanced civilizations like India, China and Persia had been subordinated to it. Marx and Engels were born and lived in some of the most economically advanced parts of Europe while developing the ideas of Marxism. They observed, participated in and were influenced by all the major political events of that time. Thus in order to understand how Marxism was born we will first have to take a look at the Europe of that time and see the principal factors in the socioeconomic situation then.
1) The most important factor was the Industrial Revolution, which lasted approximately from 1760 to1830 and though it was centred in England, influenced the whole world. The Industrial Revolution was named as such because it was during these seventy years that the world first saw an explosive of the world market, which sent England. Along with this was the tremendous expansion of the world market, which sent English manufactured goods to all parts of the world. Though other countries like Frances, Holland and parts of Germany and the USA also set up large factories, this period was heavily dominated by England. Its domination was such that it came to be called the ‘workshop of the world’ which supplied manufactured goods to all countries.
The Industrial Revolution transformed the capitalist class. This class was earlier economically not so strong and was a middle class (it was called the bourgeoisie because bourgeois in French means middle class). But, with the Industrial Revolution, this middle class was transformed into a class of industrial millionaires – the modern industrial bourgeoisie. The untold riches of this new class gave it the strength to more powerfully challenge the feudal classes which were till then still the ruling classes.
Alongside the modern industrial bourgeoisie the Industrial Revolution also gave birth to another class - the modern industrial working class, or proletariat. This class consisting of workers working together in thousands in large factories was also far different from the earlier workers working in small groups in tiny workshops. The modern proletarians nothing else except their labouring power and had a strength and confidence not known to earlier generations of workers and toilers. This strength came from their contact with modern industry their discipline learnt from the factory system and their superior organisation due to their large numbers assembled together in single factories under one roof. Their position within society made them the potentially most revolutionary force in history.
2) The other important factor was that which dominated the political situation in Europe at that time. It was the spate of bourgeois democratic revolutions led by the rising capitalist class of which the most important was the France. It also led to the Napoleonic wars where the armies of the French bourgeoisie conquered almost the whole of Europe and introduced bourgeois reforms abolishing feudalism wherever they went. They thus dealt a deathblow to the kings and old feudal classes. Though the French armies were later defeated the old ruling classes could never recover their old position. The modern bourgeoisie continued its revolutionary wave with numerous other bourgeois revolutions, which resulted in the conclusive defeat of the feudal classes and the victory of capitalism as a world system.
Thus both at the economic and political levels the period of the birth of Marxism was a period of great advances and victories for the capitalist class when it was conclusively establishing its rule in the most advanced and dominant countries of the world.

3) Though this was the period of the greatest advancement of the bourgeoisie, the principal factor that gave birth to Marxism during this period was the rise of working class consciousness and proletarian organisations and movements thus signalling and self-conscious force.
This rise of a class-conscious proletariat first took place in England and France. This was primarily because of the early spread of modern industry in these two countries. The spread of modern industry though it brought great wealth to the bourgeoisie at the same time meant the most inhumane working and living conditions for the working class. Almost three quarter of the workforce was composed of women and children because they provided cheaper and more easily controllable workers for the capitalists. Children from the age of six onwards were forced to work fourteen and sixteen hours in the spinning mills. As the bourgeoisie amassed greater and greater wealth the workers fell into greater and greater misery. While the cloth mill owners multiplied their capital many 16 times over, their weavers’ wages reduced to one eight of what they earlier obtained.
Thus the conditions of the proletariat were such that rebellion was not merely possible but almost compulsory. The first such outbursts were spontaneous, without clear direction. An example was the machine-breaking agitation of 1810-11 in England where groups of weavers would attack the textile mills and smash whatever machinery they could lay their hands on. This was their method of protesting against the modern industry that was destroying their very livelihood. Such protests having no clear direction and being severely repressed, quickly died out.  
What followed was the spread and growth of the labour movement and labour organisations that provided the answer and direction to the fighting proletariat. Earlier unions, which had been restricted to skilled men together in what were then called ‘general trades’ union. As these union in England started growing a movement to start a national level union started building up. This was formed and by 1833-34 reached a membership of 500,000. Along with the unions workers also started organising themselves in cooperatives and mutual benefit societies. In other countries and mutual benefit societies. In other countries where unions were largely banned these were the main forms of organisations of the working class which also grew in numbers and strength.
As the workers organisations started growing the workers in Britain launched the Chartist movement in 1837 demanding electoral rights for workers. This was the first broad, truly mass and politically organised proletarian revolutionary movement. It used the method of mass petitions to Parliament somewhat similar to the signature campaigns sometimes organised today. These petitions gathered upto 5 million signatures. Some of the Chartist demonstrations had 350,000 participants showing the organised strength of the working class. However as the movement grew in strength and militancy it faced severe repression and was suppressed by 1850. During the early 1850s while Engels was staying in Manchester (in England) he was in close contact with revolutionary Chartist leaders as well as its weekly. The Northern Star and was influenced by the Chartist movement.
The growing militancy of the workers movement also often in this period led to the first worker uprisings which were suppressed brutally. Examples of these were the uprisings of the silk-workers of Lyons(France) in 1819 and 1834 and the uprising of the handloom linen-weavers of Silesia in Prussian Germany (today part of Poland) in 1844. The last named struggle had a strong impact throughout Germany as well as on the young Marx.
Thus, by the time of the 1840s, the proletarian 18 movement was growing rapidly in strength and intensity in many industrial countries. However, it was still very weak and in no position to yet pose a threat to either the dominant big bourgeoisie or the old feudal ruling classes. Nevertheless the emergence of the proletariat as an independent class force was an event of world historical significance. The coming into material existence of the proletariat also meant at the same time the birth of the ideas representing this new revolutionary class. Many ideas and theories claiming to represent working class interests thus came into being. Marxism, when it was first formulated in the 1840s was only one among these. However, though many theories had emerged from the same economic conditions, Marxism alone provided the tools to properly understand these conditions and also to change them. Therefore in the years to come it was Marxism alone that would prove to be the true proletarian ideology.           

Old Assembly secretariat to be converted into Museum

Photos of legislators including 1st Speaker T.C. Tiyangkham to be displayed

IT News

Imphal, June 10: Hectic renovation work is underway for conversion of the Old Assembly Secretariat Building to state Assembly Museum.

During an interaction programme with state journalists at State Assembly Secretariat complex, Chingmeirong, Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Yumnam Khemchand said that photos of all legislators including the first Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly T.C. Tiyangkham have been collected for preserving in the museum.

T.C Tiyangkham, a representative from Churachandpur was the first Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly in the year 1948. Then Manipur was an Independent Kingdom until it merged to the Indian Union in 1949.

The Speaker said that the state Legislative Assembly is planning to hold a seminar followed by logo competition for use in the Manipur Legislative Assembly Museum. 

  1. Khemchand further said that Meitei Mayek Script will also be introduced in the assembly session from the next session and all proceedings including the Governor speech will be made available in Meitei Mayek Script in addition to the Bangali script and the English version.

The interaction programme with journalists was organised in connection with the 16th Annual Conference of the North East Region Common Wealth Parliamentary Association which will be held from June 14 to June 18. Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly appealed the journalists of the state to extend support to the annual meet.

In-order to strengthen better relationship between media and the State Legislative Assembly, a media advisory committee will be established, Khemchand said. He further added that the committee will comprise selected journalists from all sections including Manipur Hills Journalists’ Union, Editors’ Guild Manipur and AMWJU.

“After setting up of the Media Advisory Committee, all problems faced by the journalists will be discussed and as suggested by some senior journalists, we are planning to hold seminar for reporters, sub-editors and editors on Parliamentary reporting”, Speaker Y. Khemchand added.

He also added that state assembly will sent selected journalist for Parliamentary reporting at the Parliament house.

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‘Repeated flash floods a gift of deforestation’

IT News

Thoubal,June.10: Indigenous and traditional knowledge of forest management and water harvesting need to be promoted in Manipur to prevent environmental issues like repeated flash floods, drying up of rivers, unseasonal rainfall and receding underground water reserve.  

The statement was made during the one-day seminar on sustainable agro-forestry management by deputy director of Environment and Ecological Wing T Brajakumar who talked at length about fresh environmental challenges confronting the state linking many of them to the gradual disappearance of forest cover.

Deforestation has destroyed the catchment areas of rivers especially in hills. With no forest to retain and absorb water and hinders its flow, fast streams of unimpeded rain water is causing repeated flash floods in Manipur, he said.

Another problem in the hills is the drying up of streams due to which perennial rivers like Nambul, Imphal and Iril have become seasonal rivers, where there is no flow during winter, he stated. Places like Siroi in Ukhrul too which used to have abundant in water is experiencing water scarcity, Brajakumar mentioned emphasizing the need to focus on ways to store water in the hills.  Spring sheds should be set up with due ownership and management by communities especially in hill areas and traditional methods of water management should be promoted, he added. 

Brajakumar mentioned that there had been increased incidents of water shortages in ponds, rivers and  wetlands due to fast receding underground water reserve and suggested that top water harvesting will be a viable solution.   

He expressed his worry that after experiencing heavy rains in April and May, if the state experience more rain in July and August during the height of the agricultural season it will lead to unwanted consequences.

Chief conservator of forest Th Mahendra Pratap stressed on the need to take up forestation exercise by planting trees that generates moisture and incomes for the farmers like Jackfruit, olive, amla, guava etc.

The present challenges to the forest are shifting cultivation, burning of forest land and hunting practices, he said adding that the Indian Forest Act is very weak in imposing punishment to people who are guilty of destroying forests.

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‘Receding agricultural land a curse to food sovereignty’

IT News

Thoubal,June.10: Occupation of once agricultural lands to take up commercial projects like setting up brick fields and offices is one of the major banes in the pursuit of self-sufficient food production and food sovereignty, observed key speakers at the one-day seminar on sustainable agro forestry management held at Manipur Dramatic Union here today.

President of AMUCO Ph Devan said the level of aggression and targeting of agricultural lands by rich people for their personal gains and commercial interest led to conscription of the lands for non-productive and non-agricultural activities. This worsened the food dependency of the state on outsiders.

Longjam Memchoubi, president of Poirei Leimarol said procurement of agricultural lands for running business and forced acquisition have landed the state’s agriculture system in a crisis. She went on urge the public to take a major role in promoting food sovereignty, stating that defense of agricultural land and ensuring agricultural growth will bring peace and prosperity in the state.

Devan described the current situation of gradual acquisition of agricultural land as a ploy by the government of India to ensure that the food dependency on outside remains.

“Earlier, the Centre use to say that Manipur is underdeveloped and poor in terms of resources and blamed the people. Today, Manipur is full of resources and the oil companies are being granted permission by the Indian government to loot and plunder these resources without people’s consultation and consent,” he alleged.

He foresees major losses for the state if the planned drilling of oil in places of Manipur is allowed to go ahead.

“Oil exploration will lead to contamination of our land and also worsen seismic impacts. No one knows who gave permission and on what terms and conditions. It is clear the companies and the Government of India will benefit while the people of Manipur will be at a loss, with contamination of our land, water and forest,” he stated.

The efforts by oil companies to drill oil using the Indian army in Manipur will lead to much resistance from the people of Manipur. The Central government will face a public struggle like that of the June 18, 2001 incident.

President of Irabot Foundation, Rishikesh, spoke on the role of Hijam Irabot in promoting farmers rights and food sovereignty in Manipur.

It is high time we focus on appropriate initiatives to foster food sovereignty in Manipur and end food dependency on others, he added.   

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Arambam Samarendra remembered

(With inputs from NENA)

Imphal, June 10: Tributes were paid to Arambam Samarendra, a playwright and lyricist, on his 17th death anniversary on Saturday.

People from different parts of the state, relatives, dear ones and friends of the noted writer paid floral tributes to him at his life size statue located at the site close to Khurai Salanthong in Imphal where he died.

The Arambam Samarendra Memorial Trust also organised the 17th Arambam Samarendra Martyrdom Anniversary and 12th Arambam Samarendra Memorial Lecture at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compound.

Professor Soyam Lokendrajit, deliver speech on the topic “Peoples’ Resistance Movement against Demographic Invasions in the North –East: The Manipur Experience.

Prof. Soyam elaborated on the present threats to the indiginous people of the state due to the influx of illegal migrants.

Before the lecture programme begins many resource persons at the event spoke on the life and contributions of Arambam Samarendra who also fought for upliftment of women, equality of the  farming community and for unity and integrity of the state.

The United People’s Front (UPF) also observed the death anniversary of Arambam Samarendra at GM Hall, Imphal where it organised a state level patriotic song competition to mark the day. The day was also observed at different places of the state under the aegis of local clubs. 

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12 hour bandh in Thangmeiband

IT News

Imphal, June 10: 12 hours bandh called in Thangmeiband Assembly constituency which began at 6 am today morning demanding resignation of MLA Dingo has partially affected normal life at Thangmeiband area. During the bandh called Vehicular movements from Khuyathong till Chingmeirong has been put to halt and almost all shops and business establishment at the constituency remain closed.

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Ibotombi Memorial Pension

IT News

Thoubal,June.10: Moirangthem Ibotombi Mamorial Trust today distributed Ibotombi Memorial Pension to 900 aged people of Heirok Assembly Constituency. The pension is distributed to aged people every six months.

Former Minister Moirangthem Okendro, who is also the president of the Moirangthem Ibotombi Mamorial Trust while speaking during the pension distribution function said that the pension is being distributed to aged people of Heirok Assembly constituency who are living below poverty line every six months.

The pension scheme is made possible by the contributions from well wishers of the Moirangthem Ibotombi Mamorial Trust, Oken added and said that besides taking up the pension scheme around 200 cancer patients has been provided monetary assistant. The amount distributed for six month as pension is Rs. 1200 for each beneficiaries. 

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GSI team visits Kalikhola

NENA

Imphal, June 10: An expert team from the geological Survey of India (GSI) today visited and inspected Kangpokpi ditrict’s Kalikhola where several homes have been destroyed and many more rendered uninhabitable by a major earth crack.

The GSI team visited the affected village for a spot verification, official sources said.  

The earth crack has already affected a stretch of over 5 Km radius approximately in the village area with the fissure widening every passing hour.

A total of 76 houses of over 400 residents have been affected by the fissure. Most of the victims are now taking shelter at temporary relief camps. But they are facing water and power shortage and other difficulties.

The origin of the earth fissure is below J Songtun village and it slid down towards Kalikhola village developing larger fissure in the area and has expanded to a radius of over 5 km now.

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BJP Kisan Morcha

NENA

Imphal, June 10 : Yumnam Jugeshwor Singh from Manipur has been selected as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kisan Morcha.

Yumnam Jugeshwor is a resident of Upokpi in Bishnupur district. The BJP Kisan Morcha is the farmers wing of the saffron party, the largest political party in India.

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