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Intertwined history

by IT Web Admin
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The unprecedented turnout at the ongoing Mass Rally organized by UCM, AMUCO and CCSK with the expressed objective of a united future of Manipur has reiterated the desire of the people in the state to protect its territorial and social integrity in no uncertain terms despite the repeated expressions of the United Naga Council of their belief that Meities and Nagas cannot live together, as also its premeditated desire to bifurcate the society on the lines of ethnicity. The statement is, as conceded by the UNC spokesperson, a reaction to the rigid stance taken by the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) and the United Committee Manipur (UCM) regarding the disturbing developments by various minority ethnic groups demanding their respective “Homelands” or separate regions outside of the ambit of the Manipur Government which, in effect, amounts to the demand for their own separate independent states. The protracted and ambiguous imbroglio over the extension of ceasefire agreement between the NSCN(IM) and the Indian Government inside the territories of Manipur, and the vexing and apparently confused stand of the state Government on the issue should be attributed with bringing the matter to what it has now come to be at present. Without going deeper into the nitty-gritty of the whole unfortunate episode that is threatening to destabilize the fragile social balance in Manipur, it would be rather catastrophic for the state and everybody residing in it if matters are allowed to be blown out of proportion and let our emotions get the better of our rationality. The declaration of the UNC that Nagas were never a part of the history of Manipur would be pushing things a bit too far, for according to the Naga version, Meities are the younger brother of the Tangkhuls who decided to go and settle in the fertile plains of the present Imphal valley. As they set out, they told their elder brother to always set up a big bonfire in the mountains whenever they lighted their own bonfire from the plains. This according to legends was to show others that they were not alone in the valley but that their brethrens from the hills would come to their rescue in case they were attacked by others. Also it is a fact that even as late as the 19th century, the Meetei Kings and Queens used to ascend their thrones wearing Naga shawls and dress. This practice was witnessed even by Sir James Johnstone as mentioned in his book “Manipur and the Naga Hills”. Manipur does not belong to any single race or ethnic group, but is rather a state inhabited by a colorful mix of groups with vastly differing rituals and ways of life, not to mention the multitude of languages and dialects. It should be a common endeavor for everyone in the state to safeguard its territorial integrity, and Nagas are not the only other tribe inhabiting in Manipur. There is as much stake in it for the Pangals, Kukis, Mizos, Kabuis, Marings and every other ethnic groups. The Central and the State Government should not even dream of starting to threaten the integrity of Manipur on the insistence of any group, big or small. The grumbling brains of a few discontented anarchists might find something to ponder over with the track record of the most famous Tangkhul (Proclaimed Nagas) in the state who, during the periods 1980 – 85, 1985-Feb.1988, 1994 – March 1995 and 1995 – Dec. 1998 served as the Chief Minister of Manipur. That is a piece of undeniable and undeletable history of Manipur. Just as threads of different hues lends beauty to a fabric, so must the diverse communities come together to make the state unique and an enviable paradise rather than making it an inhospitable hotbed of contention and conflict.

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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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