Dimapur, Nov.8: Delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of Naga Archives and Research Center (NARC) on Saturday at Toulazouma, Dimapur, historian and political analyst, Dr Lokendra Arambam delivered a fascinating insight into how Manipur provide a critical subtext to the Naga political struggle.
According to Dr Lokendra Arambam, Angami Zapu Phizo, in his urge to secure support for his people’s struggle was learnt to have visited Imphal and met the then Chief Minister Maharaj Kumar Priyobarta of Manipur to discuss the possibility of a common endeavour to fight against the Indian state.
He said the period was one of the most critical periods in Manipur’s modern history and pointed out that the people, after 56 years of British protection and rule was struggling to cope with the end of the devastating World War II and to retrieve the vestiges of ancient legacies of hills and plains unity.
Dr Lokendra Arambam informed that the equilibrium of a polity in Manipur was destroyed through the “forced integration” into India in 1949.He also opined that the “Naga independence struggle” could be hastened from a priori thesis of the Nagas not being Indians.
However for the Meetei, the long period of Indianization was countered by a conscious effort of de-Indianization and the new struggles that emerged after the forcible integration into India in 1949 .
He also informed that the founder of United National Liberation Front, (formed in 1964), late Arambam Somorendra made a trip to Kohima in August 1968 to meet General Kaito and General Mowu Angami.
“It seems General Mowu Angami had left for China, and General Kaito was just recently assassinated, and he returned, a little disappointed,” he said.
However, the post-Shillong Accord scenario of “mutual antagonism amidst the stalwarts of the struggle, and violent repression by the Indian army resulted to intense dislocation and displacements amongst the hill populations of Manipur”, said Dr Lokendra Arambam, He informed that valley community in Manipur rendered “yeomen service” to hide the then stalwarts of the NNC in the suburban households of Imphal, “providing hospitality and infrastructural support” for the Naga cause.
He also named Manipur Naga underground leaders who were “sheltered in the Meitei homes” during critical period.
Dr Lokendra Arambam speaks on ‘Naga struggle’ and Manipur