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Progressive Parliament

The best of intents does nobody any good unless acted upon. The same goes for issues that needs resolved. Protests, demonstrations, marches, rallies and agitations provides a means of raising social and political issues and flaws that needs to be addressed in time. Protests have a remarkable emotional appeal – often morally persuasive and deeply moving. Yet they can also be disappointing, with the immediacy and vitality of the protest often challenged and sometimes marked by the reassertion of existing authority. In an article reflecting on ‘The Alchemy of Protest’, Christian Caryl points out that the power of demonstrations lies in the overtly public nature of the challenge that they pose. On the same breadth, it must be understood that protests are not, and should not be considered the means to obtain or achieve the stated objective or goal. Protests create space for discussions and deliberations on the issues and objections raised by the participants. A more objective view of protests should be one where it is treated as a catalyst for the change and a point of initiation of public dialogues, discussions and negotiations. Perhaps the recent developments in the social spheres of the state bear testimony to the above points. The successful conclusion of the 3-day 1st NorthEast Indigenous Peoples’ Parliament in Manipur with the participation of representatives of various ethnic communities from the North East states augurs well for the numerous indigenous communities in the region and must be regarded as a welcome change from the suffocating one sided declarations and dictations of the communities. The event is a culmination of the protests and agitations being raised by the communities highlighting their grievances and concerns, some of which appears contradictory to one another thus raising the very real danger of starting a communal flare-up which will leave everybody the worse for it. The parliament also provides a timely and vital opportunity for the concerned and proactive groups of individuals and organizations representing the different communities to interact and rest their points and views for discussion and deliberation. In effect, it sets a healthy precedent of openly discussing sensitive social issues and concerns which otherwise could very well snowball into hostilities and unsettling suspicions. The already regressively administered region does not need the extra impediments to progress and development. And while the initiative might not have produced any definite resolution or result, the cordial atmosphere it created amongst the different indigenous communities should be counted as the greatest achievement. The agreement to invite and entertain recommendations on a wide range of issues from representative organizations of every indigenous community in the region in an attempt to draw up amicable resolutions after subsequent sessions also raises the opportunity of these groups to iron out the glitches and sensitive subjects not covered earlier, and hopefully, the resolutions will reflect the collective aspirations and dreams of the region without the threat of the larger communities trampling on the interests and rights of the smaller ones.

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