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Redefining ‘Manipuri’


In what can only be described as an incidental albeit positive outcome, the recently intensifying social turmoil has brought out various issues and agenda plaguing the state for as long as one would care to remember. While the situation at present has been perceived as precarious and even threatening to the peaceful and continued coexistence of the myriad communities and ethnic groups in the state, the fact remains that such social churnings is required at times to separate fact from fiction- to segregate and isolate genuine concerns that should be resolved for the society to progress as a collective and harmonious unit from those concocted by a few vested interests and projected as genuine and non-negotiable, often utilizing the caste and communal card to stir up misled emotions. Also one can only conjecture on the much touted claim of a ‘unique history’ that has been the pivot of every demand and contention. Is there degrees to uniqueness? Or, has the term been confused with ‘mysterious’ all these while? A confounding contention which fortunately will never arise in the state since our forefathers chronicled the history of the land and its people more than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ in the Puya scripture.

Whatever the past- written or conceived, holding back progress and modernization, not only of oneself but for those in the vicinity lends precious little to pragmatism. In this day and age, would it be possible to shed our modern clothes and shelter and return to our hunting-gathering ways in the wild? Or more important- is anyone amongst us claiming to be the upholder of tradition and customs be really prepared to live out their claim? The only plausible explanation for the present contentions and convoluted issue is that customs, traditions, beliefs or culture is within us. It is our way of thinking and therefore our outlook of life. All these are attributes and tying them down to the land we exist on would very well spell doom in the practical world. If one who regards himself or herself so steeped in tradition that any other way of life is impossible have to be relocated somewhere else, will he or she cease to belong to their community or group? Or will she/he cease to exist because of the relocation? Or stranger still, should he/she demand the place to where he/she is relocated be merged with her/his native place just to make him/her be themselves? And where does such an attitude leave the room for ‘peaceful coexistence’ with the rest of the communities? Is such an outlook even permissible in today’s world? Debate, dialogue, deliberate or differ as much as one like. The integrity of Manipur is sacrosanct for the Manipuris contributing and assimilating their different customs, outlooks, faiths, practices and cultures to create this beautiful kaleidoscope which is the envy of the world. Understanding, accepting and respecting this concept would prove more fruitful for everyone involved rather than to try and play spoilsport.    

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