While an increasing number of people in the state are beginning to make their opinions heard on the standoff regarding the three Bills passed in the house of the state Assembly last year as a means to protect the interests and resources of the indigenous people of the state, but has been contended as a set of Bills intended to rob the tribal people of their rights and share of resources by the valley people, a group of tribal individuals supporting the economic blockade along the national highways have called for the tribal people to start hoarding essential stocks of foodgrains and other stuffs. The call does not portend well for the future of the state and the social developments in any sense, and should be seen as nothing but a declaration of the intent to wreak havoc on the fragile fabric of the society holding the different communities together. There has to be more than meets the eye for those behind the declaration, as in any conflict situation, the only lasting rationale is for the opposing parties to come together and chalk out their differences and find a way acceptable to both parties, however the solution might be below expectations for both sides. Pilfering, thefts and looting along the national highways- the lifeline for the landlocked Manipur state from the numerous trucks bringing in essential supplies is nothing new, and it would not be an exaggeration to state that quite a substantial number of individual in the garb of one group or the other along these roads have made an easy living out of taking their cut of the cargos through coercion, intimidation and even violence. Lives have been snubbed for not giving in to their plundering activities. One could not help but wonder if such characters would not spawn a generation of worthless plundering thieves living their lame lives off the resources of others- a regression to times we could only refer to as the stone age.
The hoarding call should however be a wake-up call for those living in the valley irrespective of the community, faith or custom to invent, modify, tweak and innovate so that self-reliance becomes a reality. It is also a boon in disguise for the valley dwellers to seek out every opportunity and possibility to make the best of every available resource at their disposal. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.
But before such a situation is allowed to develop and change the social and communal landscape of the state beyond repair, it would be prudent for us to make an earnest attempt to come to an amicable solution for everyone, and for the future, not in terms of the land or other resources, but the children which will one day inherit everything we have today. Would we want them to inherit the hatred, suspicion and the uneasiness amongst the communities some elements have been trying to foment?