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Remembering the great Uprising

The state observed the Great June Uprising and Unity Day, and the massive turnout at Kekrupat attending the memorial service and paying floral tributes by people from different walks of life from various communities reinforced the fact that the people of Manipur, with its diverse inhabitants and cultural mix, still believes in the spirit of unity, and despite setbacks and disappointments, are ready to go to lengths to preserve and protect its unique identity as portrayed by the variety of cultures, traditions, customs and beliefs.
Everybody knows the genesis of the historic uprising. 18 years has been passed and still the concept of Nagalim/Greater Nagaland, Kukiland, Mizoland, Meetei/Meiteiland still is a tool disrespecting the martyrs who had sacrifice their live for Mother Manipur. While the rest of the world is coming to the realization that much more can be achieved with greater ease and efficiency with the integration and cooperation of different countries and their particular expertise and resources especially, but not limited to the fields of science and technology and even security and administration, the situation back home presents a diametrically opposite approach to the future.
While the demand itself is a serious threat to the future of the state as it exists at present in terms of its physical features, a far more treacherous and sinister outcome will be the mutual bitterness and suspicious attitudes of the communities that will eventually develop which will be almost impossible to get rid of. While the grievances and the concerns of the people in these parts of the state against the administration may very well be genuine, there is no denying the fact that the demand for a separate statehood entails a complex and insidious work of a few politically motivated and self-seeking individuals in the garb of righteous leaders and philanthropists. The question everyone in the state, especially those thousands rallying behind the leaders needs to ask, rather ponder over is: will the granting of a separate state be the ultimate solution to all their grievances and woes? Is there any certainty or assurance that there will not be further outcry or agitation for further demarcation or separation by the numerous sub-groups? Has it been established that the elected representatives of the various communities and regions of the state have tried their level best to address these complaints and fell short by way of the state government failing to cooperate or provide the required resources despite their due shares being in the possession of the government? Are the demands for these numerous separate states or administrative units even plausible?
The intrinsic protective feeling is certainly not something unique to the people of this state. It is rather the universal feeling and one that has caused many a great epic battles and induced acts of heroism and sacrifices. The threat to one’s own space and liberty, whether personal or social, has always evoked reactions ranging from the passively defensive to the more aggressive and violent.
The spontaneous reaction of the collective society on that eventful day in 2001 which saw the unrestrained outpouring of the frustrations of the Manipuris is no different. It would be prudent for us all to ponder over the issue without preconceived notions or personal feelings, and to try and understand the facts as they are. The aspirations of the different communities to better their own kinds is understandable, but if and when that aspiration starts to infringe on the right and liberty of another community or the rest of the communities as the case may be, then differences and suspicions are bound to develop amongst the communities.
There is also the bigger threat of the political system feeding on the concerns of these different groups to its advantage, and what was at first a credible issue, even if only from the point of view of a particular community without delving further into the legality or the practical aspect and its impact on the entire social setup, such genuine concerns almost always gets tainted with political overtures, making the whole process a farce and drama, played out to the interest of the very few who are orchestrating such social disruptions. Ultimately, the issue gets sidelined, or more seriously, gets diverted, eventually betraying the hopes and support of the very people who are made to suffer the consequences.
The final step - resorting to brute force and irrational violence to subdue and suffocate the rational curiosity and dissenting voice of the society. The only way out of such undesirable situations, and indeed the most effective means of preventing the very fomentation of such divisive ideas is for the people to put a decisive, just and impartial Government which have the political will and the guts to implement even the most unpopular and drastic measures for the good of the society, state or the country- an impossible expectation?
Lets’ make June 18 observance a meaningful one.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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