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CSOs must rise above media tiffs, cherish differences

by Rinku Khumukcham
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The socio-political fabric of Manipur’s valley districts finds itself at a crossroads. As citizens yearn for stability and peace, a dominant conversation about the formation of a united body has emerged, underlining the collective dream of the populace. Despite the echoing demand for a singular body, or perhaps an amalgamation of organizations that can offer direction, this aspiration remains unrealized.
But is there cause for undue anxiety? Diverse perceptions and viewpoints are the lifeblood of a thriving democracy. We, the people of Manipur, each carry our own stories, beliefs, and reactions shaped by individual experiences. In the backdrop, the haunting cacophony of gunshots and bomb blasts from the past few months reverberates. The wounds are still fresh for many who have lost family, homes, and a sense of safety. While on paper we boast of a democratically elected government, underpinned by a bureaucracy of IAS and IPS officers, the underlying sentiment suggests a profound disconnect. For many, it feels as though the very institutions meant to safeguard us have become powerless.
The turmoil of recent times has birthed several civil society organizations. However, public skepticism arises when their actions contradict their stated objectives. The public’s trepidation regarding the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) serves as a case in point. The disagreement between COCOMI and the newly-formed ‘Youth of Manipur’ highlights the challenges and complexities of navigating shared objectives. The massive turnout at Kwakta and Phougakchao Ikhai, despite the nuanced stands of various groups, accentuates the deeply felt urge of the Meitei community to reclaim their homes and life.
In such turbulent times, it’s paramount to remember that while different organizations have leaders with varied backgrounds and ideologies, their overarching intent aligns: to usher in peace and uphold the sanctity of Manipur. Discrediting one organization over another in the media serves no constructive purpose. Instead of engaging in public disputes, a collective, transparent decision-making process, built on mutual respect and collaboration, will resonate more profoundly with the public.
Differences, rather than being viewed as divisive, should be embraced as opportunities — chances for growth, learning, and collaboration. Recognizing, understanding, and celebrating these distinctions will pave the way for genuine unity. The strength that emerges from such diversity has the potential to overcome even the most daunting challenges. By leveraging this collective power, we can aspire to restore Manipur to its rightful glory. Civil Society Organisations play a pivotal role in this journey, and by respecting our differences, we can ensure a brighter, more harmonious future for all.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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