By: Heigrujam Nabashyam
The past few days and weeks have again thrown up some entertaining shows that have confirmed that Manipur is unique in the understanding of human behaviour, in the sense that what is accepted as decent behaviour in the civilized world may necessarily be not true and vice versa in our society, especially among the 2000 or more years old Meetei community, who are proud of their rich heritage of culture that had ultimately established a university of culture in this Chingleipak.
To make the point clear, let us take two examples, one the conduct of the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly on the closing day of the last Budget Session.
Two, the conduct of All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) and its associates with regard to the demand for inclusion of the Meitei in the list of Scheduled Tribe (ST) of the Indian Constitution.
For quite sometime, I was thinking if I should make some comments on these very entertaining events, wondering why I didn’t find any reactions from any of the media savvy experts of Manipur on these epoch-making episodes.
As regards the first one, I must apologize that I came to know of it three days after the happening as it was not carried by the esteemed local newspapers – I subscribe only two papers and both the papers didn’t carry anything in this regard. In fact, I came to know of it from the net and I was shocked to see the manner in which the Speaker was behaving in the August House. And what is more shocking is the fact that till today none from among the legislators, especially from the opposition did utter any displeasure, leave aside condemnation of the ill behaviour of the Hon’ble Speaker while rebuking an Hon’ble Member for his misconduct, during the session. It was such an unpleasant scene that even in a boxing ring the judge would not have behaved in that manner without risking disqualification from being a judge. Now, what does it suggest? Clear, it is an accepted norm !
As regards the second episode where ATSUM and its associates have expressed through the media against the move led by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) to include the Meitei in the list of ST in the Constitution is not new.
The fact is our Kuki-Chin and Naga brothers are not in their meaningful minds. Their utterances in the last few days and weeks are anything but sensible; though I am confident, they would contest my statement with all their wisdom. But I can say with full responsibility that they are fighting the past, may be knowingly, because that is their only logic.
Anyway, the fact is they do not want to look beyond their immediate self-interests. To justify their nonsensical stand, they say Meitei have exploited them and taken all the benefits of the state. They cited living examples like the concentration of all the government offices and all government establishments including universities, medical and technical institutions, etc. in the valley and the latest addition to the list is the National Sports University.
It is true, the government offices and establishment are located in the valley; may be because of the factor of convenience for transportation etc., or may be because the past leaders of the state including Naga & Kuki-Chins – considered themselves as valley people as they live in the valley; or maybe they thought Ukhrul, Churachandpur, Tamenglong, etc are not ready for such establishments etc. The fact is, they will find anything to accuse the Meiteies for any wrongs. They purposely overlook the fact that the valley is the home of all the communities – Kuki, Meitei, Naga, Pangan etc. But for their convenience they would call it Meitei land, as if they are blind to the reality. Today every districts are multiethnic, except for the hills districts where Meitei and Pangan do not have the right to settle except in one or two pockets.
The point is, they know very well that the Meitei Community are a divided house, some are against, and some are for, the inclusion of Meetei in the ST list. They also know that being a divided house they can play one group against the other. Now, this is what nonsense is very much a sense in this Chingleipak.
And as regards their stated position to oppose the Meitei’s inclusion in the list, there is not much to say because their main arguments are found invalid as they were exposed during the series of debates that I had mentioned earlier.
Sadly their intention is to intimidate the state government and to confuse the centre as well, pretending that they are the victim of Meitei’s exploitation. But the fact is Meitei are not even rightful citizens, they cannot settle in any part of the state except in five districts out of the sixteen districts.
This is nonsense but it is sense in Manipur.