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Requisites for a fresh start


If there ever is an allegory to describe the present social predicaments in the state, it would have to be the much amusing and entertaining game of Musical Chair where participants have to try and get to the chairs which are fewer in numbers and arranged in the centre of the circling participants as soon as the music stops.  The intensifying trade of accusations between the UNC backed economic blockade supporters and the rest of the people in the state, especially those in the valley have reached such a low that the very issue prompting the restrictions of vehicles along the National Highways have been sidelined, instead picking up on the debate of chronological precedence and sanctimonious claims of the lands the opposing sides are in possession of. The views put forward by the different sides cannot have been more contrasting or illogical, to say the least. While UNC claims that the state government as well as the valley dwelling majority community is hell-bent on destroying the natural habitat of the Nagas and are attempting to wrestle away the land belonging to them, the valley people are countering the accusation and are putting up the argument that those claiming themselves to be Nagas are trying to disintegrate the state on the pretext of protesting against the policies of the state government. 

With various CSOs and individuals from both sides of the divide putting in relentless efforts to bring the present debacle to a logical closure through participative dialogues, debates, discussions and deliberations, slowly yet surely a glimmer of hope is emerging from amongst the chaos. While terms such as ‘ancestral land’, ‘communal government’, ‘oppressive majority’ and ‘shared aspirations’ were much abused and presented out of context for reasons best known to themselves, what is becoming clearer each day is the repercussions of the long-neglected and often botched administrative misadventures being carried out in the state for so long. But to claim that such inefficiencies and inadequacies are affecting a particular community or are being targeted at them would be gross attempts at justifying the resultant moves.
True, those at the outer reaches and far-flung corners of the state occupied predominantly by the tribals are hit the hardest, yet the impact of such self-serving governance on the lives of the common people in the valley irrespective of their communities or groups cannot be discounted. This is the point where every stakeholder needs to shed their preconceived notions of communal rivalries and instead embrace the stark reality staring us in the face and put in earnest efforts to make a fresh start. As long as we cling on to the mindset of the past, we will remain fettered and any step forward towards a better inclusive future of the state will remain a tantalizing illusion. We need to be prepared to give grounds to make new grounds, and nothing can distort or wish away the fact. The greatest obstacle to inclusive growth and building understanding is lack of communication and productive engagement. Once everyone in the state start travelling and discovering places in the remote parts of the state, inhibitions, suspicions and reservations will automatically disappear and the bond of friendship will grow stronger. That is the only way to bridge the psychological divide and reach out to each other.       

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Imphal