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Cultural identity: preservation or polarization?

by IT Web Admin
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The relative lull in the volatile political and social atmosphere of the state have brought a sense of restrained optimism to the general public who have, in no small measure, clamped up and bore the inconveniences and disturbances, all for the professed betterment of the people in the state. Yet the series of events, seemingly unconnected as they might be, that unfolded within a span of a few weeks just before the stringent reaction of the state Government have once again brought to the fore the inherent dangers of social activism acquiring shades of violent mayhem and auto-hysterical magnitude. The myriad issues plaguing the state seemed to have drifted off from the real point of contention to something bordering on personal vendetta, with those in the thick of the matter, however reluctant they may actually be, being personally held responsible for their actions, or inactions as the case may be. The ambush on the state security forces by suspected NSCN(IM) cadres on their way back after being deployed at Ukhrul to contain and control an imminent agitation on the order of the state Government, physical assault on non-locals for not producing proper identification documents by local civilians, agitation demanding action against a lady police officer for carrying out her duties of rounding up a few individuals who have assaulted another civilian, damaging of properties and vehicles during general strikes- a few of the instances when mob-mentality gets the better of individual rationality and personal restraint. Freedom of expression, particularly when it pertains to anything resembling constructive criticism, have been curtailed and effectively gagged with intimidation and threats of violence. Intolerance and a deep seated suspicion for everything not of our own has taken a hold of the collective psyche which gives rise to a sense of insecurity and unwarranted alienation on the lines of ethnicity, caste, creed, language and customs. These segregations taint the collective picture of a multi-faceted society further fuelling the need to conserve the dwindling numbers of each group and their traditional values and history. But is it the right approach to conserving one’s own cultural identity and credibility? A culture or tradition can only be preserved when practiced and understood, and for that to happen, publicizing, eliciting interest and popularizing the very traditions, customs and cultures is a must. Adopting an over-protective nature of cultural zealots will lead to self-alienation which will ultimately lead to polarization and neglect. Inculcating an accommodating outlook which teaches, excites and educate others on the history and importance of one’s traditions and customs will create more positive awareness and thereby help to spread the word which eventually will find its place in the annals of written history.

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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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