Home » Social Choice Challenged and Police Becoming Irrelevant: Manipur Scenario

Social Choice Challenged and Police Becoming Irrelevant: Manipur Scenario

by IT Web Admin
0 comment 6 minutes read
Social Choice Challenged and Police Becoming Irrelevant: Manipur Scenario

By -Amar Yumnam
Imphal, April 29:

Being a Manipuri (a) born, brought-up; (b) got early education till the completion of the Undergraduate Courses at the Imphal College; (c) got exposure outside the State including the Doctoral Degree in Economics from Bombay University; (d) a father with frequent exposure to the places of Hindu worship in India while I was growing up; (e) teaching job experience of about half a century in Manipur itself; (f) international academic exposures, while still working in Manipur, in Europe (Exchange Scholar), America (Senior Fulbright Scholar), East Asia, and South East Asia; (g) soft copies of articles, reports and books from institutions and organisations in my email daily; and (h) continuous connections with scholars and Academicians with similar interests from around the globe, I am now at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (a research institute of the Indian Council of Social Science Research) in Hyderabad as a Visiting Professor after my job-career ended from Manipur University with a short stint as a Vice Chancellor. The beginning of my job-career was an absolutely emotional one with involvement in articulation for starting the First College for the Muslims in Manipur, as one of the first nine Faculty Members and the first one in Economics in 1977. Taking a break from Manipur University, I had the fortune of being one of the initial Faculty Members of the OKD Institute of Social Change and Development in Guwahati in mid-1980s. The turn of the century happens to be the period when I was involved as one of the Experts in an International Team for Road Infrastructure Development in Manipur – this was a wonderful period visiting villages and meeting people in all the interior and border areas of Manipur; it also happened to be the period when I could sharpen my understanding of newly emerging Institutional Economics and Economics of Geography in a contextual way.
I am telling my story of engagements as of being a Manipuri to emphasise SEVEN things – of which two dimensions are traditional and non-controversial while five are very recent and controversial. First, Manipur is not a place where People, Social Norms and Geography are unfamiliar tome. Second, during the last forty years or so, I have been continuously writing commentaries and participating in public discussions on the socio-politico-economic scenario of India, while of course relating mostly with Manipur and the Northeast in particular. These two are matters relating mainly to individual perspectives and approaches to academic analyses with little controversy if any.
In addition to these mainly individual approaches to social issues, the remaining five are more or less social manifestations of collectively shared issues. The first of these four relates to one year old Inter-Ethnic killings; Manipur has never before experienced Inter-Ethnic killings despite diversity in this small territory. This has naturally caused very unprecedented sentiments and intentions at the societal level. The escapist attitude of both the provincial and the federal governments was felt society-wide. This had the expected effect of people being concerned about the qualitative characteristics of the candidate to be elected. The second of the five is something which we have not seen in any of the elections held so far under the Constitution of India. The Elections so far for electing Representatives for either the State Assembly or for electing Representatives to the Lok Sabha have been cases of competition for relative capability of the Candidates to ‘meaningfully’ participate in heavy transactions of cash and materials with the electorate as we have seen them since the 1970s.For the first time and in a very significant way, Manipur experienced what is called a WAVE. This Wave relating to the Inner Parliamentary Constituency was in favour of an Academic joining the Elections. Unlike earlier Elections, the lack of educated candidates was not an issue at all this time. In addition to other considerations, the articulation and engagement of this Academic in the various debates on the ongoing Inter-Ethnic Conflict have been both frequent and robust in articulations in most of the news channels in Delhi. Since the enunciations drew both national and provincial attention, the valley population naturally developed a feeling in favour of him such that, before and without any canvassing, quite large sections of the electorate spontaneously decided in favour of him. This is a very significant phenomenon for the society – the valley society – was re-discovering her innate capability to exercise social choice. It is not a question of supporting a Candidate or otherwise, the value lies in the potential strengthening of the socially shared collective capability in a robust way. The global history of development tells us that a society with a robust social choice capability would always move ahead.
The third of the five reasons is the emergence of a candidate in a very unexpected way with one social cause and without any concern about winning the elections. This candidate, Totonsana, played a wonderful social role in a very positive way. Without any expectation for winning the Elections, he raised many socio-eco-political issues of the Manipur public in his meetings and interactions with the media; these are issues which have not drawn the expected attention of both the Government and the Intellectuals. The fourth of the five reasons is something which was unexpected and cannot be the sign of a healthy society and presence of an effective governance. A fully armed and forceful group emerged which initially gave the image of an organisation to ensure clean Elections, but over time and with the election day getting closer the behavioural manifestations became increasingly ugly. This emergence of groups with capability to commit organised violence showed signals of support from authorities of taking governance decisions. But the most disturbing effect of this has been the emergence of a social atmosphere where the Police as an important agency faced declining social relevance. Can Manipur afford reduced social relevance of the Police? This is a very serious matter in a democracy where prevalence of proper maintenance of law and order is very contextually paramount. The fifth of the five reasons relate to a very non-Manipuri culture. In a society which prides itself of ensuring a unique status of women, we started witnessing public instances of beating women for expressing views.
One may ask me as to how I developed these views despite living far away from Manipur. Well now is the digital time. I would get the information of any new happening relating to the Election in less than fifteen minutes. Further, though usually concerned about Manipur, the very distance from there gave everybody the feeling that he/she could share the personal opinion freely. Thus I got so many feedbacks from every direction and these were more than enough to construct the evolving scenario in Manipur. The seven reasons I have shared here do contain the areas where we should be giving social attention and what should we expect from the Government.

You may also like

Leave a Comment


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


©2023 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Hosted by eManipur!

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.