The Inaugural Function of the Three Days International Seminar on MOVEMENTS IN RECENT PAST AND PRESENT NORTHEAST INDIA WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO MANIPUR was held today at the Conference Hall of the Anthropology Department, Manipur University, Canchipur. Dr. RK Nimai Singh, Consultant to the Government of Manipur graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Naorem Nandakumar, News Editor, DDK, Imphal was the Guest of Honour and Prof. E. Bijoykumar Singh, Dean, School of Social Sciences presided the function.
The programme started with the release of the book entitled, “Claims and Refutations: Compilation on the Naga Political Movement” by Aheibam Koireng, Hanjabam Shukhdeba Sharma and Homen Thangjam. Giving the Editor’s note Homen Thangjam stated that the political movement of the Nagas, as different from the popular form of politics informed by electoral democracy, has traversed a long way. Along the way, it has left a trail of innumerable milestones, which are the stuffs of legend and history, and created many a friends as well as foes. Any attempt to understand the historical Naga movement, which has received the largest share of attention in contemporary history of the Northeast region of India, brings us to the necessity of understanding about the identity, aspirations and demands, etc. of this stock of resilient people. At the same time, it is also important to understand the perception of others on the movement. The compilation, he noted, is an attempt towards this end as whether one likes it or not the Naga political movement has somehow affected and continue to affect our life-world in the Northeast in general and Manipur in particular, from the most mundane to the most complex. He added that with this vision the publication was brought out and is a small token of contribution to make the Manipuri society a literate one, an endeavour which we’re indebted to our ancestors. According to him, the book is divided into 10 sections consisting of 50 chapters, which are based on original articles, interviews, pamphlets, memorandums, press releases, joint statements and open letters, etc.
Prof. MC Arun, Director, Centre for Manipur Studies, expressed his happiness in organising the International Seminar which is significantly relevant to Manipur. Movement according to him is a process, a culmination of people’s desire for the betterment. From the anthropological point of view, movements are not uni-linear or even and can change over time. He illustrated his view citing the Naga political movement which was started by some tribal leaders but over a period of time became a mass movement. Further he observed that the Naga movement changed its theme and goals after interacting various agents, factors and even actors in the social and political contexts.
Dr. RK Nimai Singh observed that ethnic relationship is the biggest challenge in Manipur. According to him, external factors have negatively shaped the relationship. Therefore, the most dire need of the hour is bringing out a comprehensive and also a structured movement for all the stakeholders in the state. He stressed the importance of undertaking any movements which can be related to all the brethrens in the state. This vision can shape a Manipur, which have evolved over the years, and one which can be handed over to the future generations,
Prof. E. Bijoykumar Singh, President of the function emphasised the need to have a clear vision and objective of our struggles. All the movements should be complimentary to each other to serve the larger political and economic interest of Manipur. What has happened so far, according to him, is that movements have negated one another, thereby, pulling the state of Manipur in a situation of contradictions. Finally, he stressed the need to fully assess and exploit the resources of Manipur (both material and human) in the context of larger happenings in and around Manipur so that our society can thrive.