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Dynamics of ethnocentrism

by IT Web Admin
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The worryingly increasing level of volatility of the social atmosphere especially amongst the different communities in the state came to prominence yet once again when an unfortunate incident threatens to blow out of proportions and tear the fragile social fabric throwing the state into communal conflicts and instability. Manipur, being a multi-ethnic state has its own set of social adjustments that has been functional more or less, but with the increasing degree of intolerance and rigidity leading to further polarization on grounds of religion and ethnicity , this shaky balance is bound to tilt over sooner than later. In recent years, for instance, the dominant ethnic groups have been on the forefront in fighting for political power. This situation has resulted into fighting to control the state or areas of dominance
while the relatively less dominant communities have been playing the card of opportunism. The situation has fomented anger, resentment, lust for revenge, and aggressive competitiveness that has overlooked the common good of the entire state. Frustrations amongst the poor, both in urban and rural areas, have created a growing tendency to use violence as a viable means to correct the situation. When violent reactions emerge, under the influence of ethno-political ideologies, tend to take the form of ethnocentrism, the ideology that animates the competition between ethnic groups. Such undesirable development is however made more acute with the failure or, more precisely, the refusal of the state machinery to analyse and address the root cause of the problem. The most prominent factor which set the potentially dangerous communal tension into motion was the dwindling lack of trust in the executive and judicial system in the state compounded by increasing social intolerance and mutual distrust. The alleged vehicle lifters should
have been handed over to the state security for further formal
procedures and judicial measures. Instead, the locals took the matter into their own hands and played judge and jury, beating the accused to death. The understandably agitated community members of the deceased demanding a probe into the allegations have been ignored prompting them to take up agitations such as blocking of roads, leading to the escalation and the final confrontation between the communities. During the build-up to the confrontation, the state legal and judicial machinery was looking the other way, and it was only when things got out of hand and threatening to engulf the entire state and perhaps beyond, that the state administration and security were jolted into action. This retrospective mindset and manner of running the state machinery is exactly the reason why such social and communal flare-ups are bound to repeat. No amount of reshuffling or reorganizing the power-sharing equation will have any impact on the ground level until the system is tweaked to make the state machinery to embrace responsibilities and discharge their duties in time. And so long as these feelings of distrust, reluctance and reticence about the earnestness of the state government and its administrative functioning remain in the minds of the public, we are in for a long haul of social unrest, emotive outbursts and deadly kangaroo courts.

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