Home » 5-Day Public Dialogue on “Protection of Indigenous People of Manipur” concludes at MU

5-Day Public Dialogue on “Protection of Indigenous People of Manipur” concludes at MU

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Imphal, July 28: A Five-Day Public Dialogue on “Protection of Indigenous People of Manipur” Organised by National Research Centre (NRC), Manipur in collaboration with the office of the Dean of Students Welfare, Manipur University at its Centenary Hall concluded today.  The concluding session was moderated by RadhabinodKoijam (Ex-CM) with eminent Key Speakers including Prof. W. Nabakumar (Director, Centre for Myanmar Studies);Bosco Rengtakhel Jaiche (Former President, Manipur University Tribal Students’ Union); Dr.ThathangVaiphei (Assistant Professor, Centre for the studies of Exclusion and Exclusive Policy, Manipur University); H. Nabashyam (Social Worker); Dr. Arambam Lokendro; WangkhemchaShyamjai (President, AMWJU); BrojendraNingomba (Editor, ISTV News) and A. Mobi (President Editors’ Guild Manipur).
 According to Radhabinod Koijam, the public dialogue is a very timely intervention at this crucial stage of determining the destiny of Manipur. The swarming in of migrants which poses a threat of demographic imbalance can be categorised into inter-state migration and foreigner migration. In the case of inter-state migration, it is imperative to find ways of regulating and preventing it without violating the Constitution of India. The foreigner’s migration on the other hand needs to be dealt differently. However, migration of both kinds threatens equally to all communities and all sections. The native inhabitants of Manipur can be broadly be categorised into three: Kuki-Chin-Mizo, Meitei, and Naga. Laws to be framed should be after thread-bare and thorough discussion among the indigenous people from all communities and sections. It is important to address the trust deficit by clearing the doubts and insecurities of some of or some sections of the communities as issue is for the future of Manipur and the continuity of its existence as laws to be framed is not for subduing particular community but for ensuring the protection of all the indigenous communities of Manipur. According to Angomcha Araba (Legal Expert), the inhabitants of the land whose ancestry have been residing since time immemorial are globally accepted as indigenous people. In the context of Manipur, the indigenous people themselves will have to take the responsibility of protecting themselves. Elected representatives of the state does not show any sense of patriotism, otherwise, the intensity of the problem caused by migration would have been very less and manageable. Prof. W. Nabakumar expressed that
Indigenous people can either be defined chronologically or relationally. The protection of indigenous people is becoming a very big and broad concept with the declaration of year of indigenous people. It brings into question the models of development and globalisation which had an uprooting and displacement effect to the indigenous people. Development and globalisation leads more often than not leads to displacement and elimination of livelihood options. The effect of cultural homogenisation after the host population that is the indigenous people when being overwhelmed by the migrant population leads to cultural genocide. Protection of indigenous people is now a globally agreed agenda. There is a rethinking in the development model that the ‘top-down’ theory be replaced by ‘bottoms up’ theory. That’s why indigenous knowledge and indigenous people gains increasing importance in in today’s bottoms up model of economic growth. As regards the present impasse with the bill for protection of Manipur people which is intended to address the population invasion caused due to swarming of migrants, Controversy arises over two issues, that is, imposition, and procedural lapses.  The allegation of imposition by the majority Meitei over the other communities is not with the provisions of the bill but with the definition of who are to be called ‘Manipur People’.
Inter-state migration caused by the inflow of skilled, semi-skilled, and an unskilled worker from other states of India needs to be regulated by appropriately amending the labour law. Those migrating from foreign countries, like, the Nepali, Bangaldeshi, and Myanmar nationals need to be addressed differently.It is important that the native people in Manipur come together and address the dispute over the definition of Manipur chronologically by mutually agreeing in consensus as regards the adoption and fixing of ‘base year’ is concerned. Dr.Thathang Vaiphei opined that protection of Indigenous people brings into forefront, the questions of protection from who, and protection from what. Threat to Indigenous people can be external, cultural, and ideological. Threat due to population invasion from porous international border is external. Cultural invasion due to globalisation and the overwhelming of indigenous ways of life by those of migrants is cultural; and the abandoning of indigenous belief system for adopting Christianity and other modern religion is ideological.
External threat should be dealt differently. But for threats which arise out of internal factors needs to be addressed first.  Steps towards addressing the threat by seeking social solutions should start with self-realisation and consensus among the indigenous communities and empowering the indigenous people with skill development so that the services of the migrant workers are not required. Heigrujam Nabashyam expressed his desire for mentioning the respective name of the indigenous community while defining who are to be called ‘Manipur People’.

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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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