By: Marjing Mayanglambam
Is it too soon to see no hope for peace and reconciliation in Manipur? The question of being neutral is out of the topic and no longer seen as a feasible solution for the ongoing crisis, and a sane Manipuri Indian should try their best to see what has been going on and speak up or act to bring about a change that will eventually lead to a better and safer Manipur. It is quite astonishing that there has been no proper talk between the Meitei ethnic people and the other groups. Notifications about accusations and defamations seem to be the only way of communication, and that too through social media. Under these huge clashes going on since the 3rd of May 2023, the common people are fed various propaganda by their respective elected leaders and influential outspoken heads of organisations and associations. Eventually, it becomes an uncontrollable chaotic state due to all the misinformation, misguidance, and misinterpretation, which are all results of misunderstandings between the ethnic groups, and these misfortunate incidents are seemingly incited upon by the state and national puppeteers for their political and economic gains.
Some disturbing behavioural and thought changes that are seen among children, youths, and adults are their hatred for their ‘enemies’, and I saw this through their expressions such as poetry and songs. It did make sense to me when displaced members of villages or towns whose houses were burned down expressed their deep sense of remorse and grudge, which they wouldn’t easily forget or forgive. The description of the traumas of losing a loved one on the ‘battlefield’ or ‘merciless cold-blooded slaughter’ is way beyond comprehensible words. A few lakhs and government job placements are being enforced on grieving families, while some families do not get such treatments. Many lives have been lost in this ‘war’, and the intensity is too strong for such a small land; however, it is not at the ‘popular level’ yet to be recognised or featured by international media and reputed world organisations. Manipur is nothing compared to the rest of the world, and the value of a Manipuri’s life is not worthy of getting enough support. We are caught between the ruffles of religion and a form of anarchism that is way beyond our control. The question of who is right and who is wrong is no longer part of the discussion, and it is all a matter of who started the chaos.
We are all alone, and seeking help from the mainland Indian government is a joke. It is well known that they play with our sentiment of safeguarding our self-identity of being a Meitei or an indigenous settler in Manipur. We are very different in terms of culture and looks as compared to the rest of India, and it is our ill fate to settle in such an important geopolitical region of theirs. Manipur is known for various chaos, uprisings, bandhs, and blockades. The present war, which is ‘supposedly’ between the Meiteis and the Kukis, has led to many drawbacks economically, socially, and politically. However, the narrative of the crisis is only focused on the Meiteis. Why are the rest of the non-Meiteis not taking a strong stance to end this crisis? Is the war meant for a ‘Meitei-centric’ Manipur? Is the war going to give more power to the Meiteis? No, the war is to bring an end to narco-terrorism and illegal immigration. Also, the movement of the Meiteis for Scheduled Tribe recognition is considered a very selfish act by the rest of the Manipuris. But honestly, it is even more selfish to think that the Meiteis getting ST status will make them take control of every land or opportunity.
I am not igniting further hatred among each other by stating some concerns, but if you can see what I am seeing regarding the issues of Manipur, you can at least understand the need to end this war and bring more solutions to make our land more peaceful and prosperous, and devoid of hatred, violence, and poverty. It is a very dangerous time for Manipur, where leaving one’s own house is a high risk, and writing about the current issue is also a major problem if the reader does not agree with me. Dear brethren of Manipur, please unite, leaving aside any political or personal gains, and do whatever you can with your talents and work to bring an end to this turmoil. In the end, what I only hope and pray for is for our Manipur to have a fast recovery from the long war and for the indigenous people to unite and rise against the anti-Manipuri’s wage of war. Our motherland seeks the victorious cries that she deserves.
I am a Meitei Manipuri, and here are my thoughts on the present Manipur
By: Marjing Mayanglambam