A peaceful and progressive situation can be achieved in Manipur only when the country becomes independent and freed from any foreign domination- I. Chaoren
Imphal, Feb 24: Proscribed group Revolutionary Peoples’ Front, a rebel group fighting for restoration of the Manipur’s sovereignty is observing its 39th Foundation Day as Independence Demand Day tomorrow.
“A peaceful and progressive situation can be achieved in Manipur only when the country becomes independent and freed from any foreign domination”, Irengbam Chaoren
President, Revolutionary People’s Front said in a message made available to media houses in connection with the Independence Demand Day.
The statement further said that the restive situation prevailing in the society and the shadowy development seen in our land are all results of living under the Indian colonial rule for many decades, and India is notorious for its teeming millions of poor and of course racism.
The President’s statement said, “The present degenerated situation is a consequence of overlooking our own identity at one historical point of time, the tendency to merge with India, its culture and traditions and subsequent surrender of our political and economic rights to the foreign power. Now Manipur has been enveloped with thick multiple layers of the Indian political system and its traditions. As a result we have forgotten our own identity and we are in a dream world of being genuine Indians. Such a way of living and perception of things is one fundamental factor for the downfall of Manipur. We are a people drifting without any direction amidst the political turmoil. To free ourselves from this life of subjugation and servitude, and put Manipur on a new trajectory of freedom and progress, we must overthrow the Indian colonial rule.
“Some people have been blaming the revolutionary movement for the restive situation prevailing in the society and its economic underdevelopment. But this is a misplaced concept. Since the day India forcefully annexed Manipur, New Delhi completely took over all the administrative and political powers and all economic policies were designed to suit their colonial interests. Thus, the political and socio-economic life of the people of Manipur was driven in the direction they chose. The highly degenerated socio-economic and political condition seen today in Manipur is a direct product of the colonial policies of India. The chaotic situation prevailing in contemporary Manipur is an outcome of the colonial policies. There is no room for the revolutionary movement to intervene into this sorry state of affairs nor is there any question of the revolutionary movement posing hurdles to economic development. On the contrary, the revolutionary movement has been taking pivotal roles towards bringing a peaceful and progressive society.
“The understanding that economic development will have adverse impacts on the revolutionary movement is totally wrong. Economic development can never alter the idea of and commitment to the liberation movement. The ongoing revolutionary movement of Manipur would be different from the many revolutionary movements seen in different parts of the world in 1950’s/1960’s. Freedom, Democracy and Development have become the fundamental parameters of defining a Nation in the 21st century where the light of unprecedented development has reached every corner of the planet. In this scenario, the classical concepts of revolution can no longer guide the national liberation movement of Manipur.
“We must have a clear understanding of the kind of peaceful and progressive society we are yearning. Our forefathers and ancestors laid the foundation of Manipuri nation on a solid and firm ground called freedom. To our forefathers, freedom is the soul of a Nation. “A momentary life of freedom is far better than living 100 years under bondage” was a common saying among our forefathers. Our attempts to foreground the 2000 years old history of independence to identify Manipur in the face of any formidable challenge are the basic elements which would form the foundation of future Manipur. Living a life of slavery while we are completely denied our freedom can never be called a peaceful life. There is no meaning to economic development when the political reins of the nation are controlled by foreign power.
“Some people have been working hard to project that the revolutionary movement and the masses are traversing on two separate, unconnected paths. This is one area of serious concern. Their understanding of education and their principles of pushing their sons and daughters into different professions are different from ours. All the educated sons and daughters and all those who have excelled in different disciplines invariably love Manipur. The future generations too will never study or interpret the history of Manipur in wrong light. Even if they cannot take active roles in the revolutionary movement at present, there will come a time when they use their expertise, knowledge, wisdom and physical resources for advancement of the revolutionary movement. Many sons and daughters of the soil who have settled in different parts of the planet will come back when Manipur regains its sovereignty and they will use their knowledge and resources freely for the welfare of our motherland. It is one phenomenon which was witnessed in many countries which had achieved independence from imperial powers.
“Here we would like to ask why the learned and knowledgeable individuals use all their resources only for their personal welfare all these years. Their aloofness from many national issues is one major cause of the communal polarization and turmoil seen today in Manipur. On account of the failure to discharge their national duties in the past, our brothers settled in the hills now harbor a tendency to challenge the integrity of Manipur. As a consequence, there were cases of violent clash among us and some revolutionaries lost their precious lives at the hands of armed groups based in the hills. Retaliation will definitely lead to loss of lives of our brethrens like Tangkhuls, Maos, Anals, Kabuis, Khongjais etc. We are struggling to avoid any such ugly situation and ensure that nothing stands on the way of our unity. We are struggling today because what should have been done in the past to consolidate and promote the integrity of Manipur was not done satisfactorily.
“We firmly believe that there will be no inter-community conflict once the colonial Indian rule is overthrown and we will be able to march together on the path of peaceful co-existence and collective development. A large number of people settled in the hill areas cannot accept Manipur as their motherland and this is one of the many devastating effects of the forced annexation of Manipur by India. Since the annexation, many of our hill people started looking to New Delhi for their future and they began to overlook Manipur. If the hill people can be persuaded to re-locate whatever faith they have in New Delhi to Manipur and once they accept the valley as the centre of their motherland, they will re-direct all their attention to Imphal. People settled in the interior areas of the hill districts have greater interaction with people of neighbouring states. If Imphal, the capital of their motherland is made the centre of their lives, prosperity and future, hill people and valley people will join hands to protect the integrity of Manipur and the fraternal bond we share will be strengthened.
“But the biggest issue at the moment is the question of Manipur’s sovereignty. Manipur was never a part of India and every one of us knows that Manipur was forcibly annexed by India. One fundamental question arises here. Should we let Manipur remain a part of India because India had annexed the country? The answer is very clear. We can never live as subjugated people of a colonized country. For this reason, all of us need to adopt a concrete unambiguous decision on how to win back our sovereignty. Since the day India annexed Manipur, our people are being subjugated under multi-layered military siege and it unmistakably indicates that the question of Manipur’s sovereignty cannot be easily resolved through dialogue with India. That was why we launched an armed revolutionary movement with an unwavering commitment from which we will never retreat.
“Apart from forging unity among all the suppressed peoples of WESEA, all the neighboring countries of India which are hostile to New Delhi would be drawn into the liberation movement. In addition to Pakistan and China which are preparing for full scale wars with India, conflicts between India and other neighboring countries have been escalating. These countries will one day bring imperial India to its knees. Following India’s sly attempts to interfere into the internal affairs of Maldives, Maldives openly declared India as their biggest enemy recently. In the aftermath of the Doklam stand-off with China, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat repeatedly warned the Government of India about the crucial strategic importance of forging politico-military alliance with Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but India will never succeed in forging any reliable alliance with its neighboring countries. That was why India hiked its annual defence budget to US $ 52.5 billion and occupied fifth position in the whole world in terms of the size of military budget. But we will have to fight only a fraction of the Indian military as it will ultimately fragment into multiple divisions.
“Our people are witness to how India has been developing military and logistic infrastructure in Manipur and WESEA as military frontiers so that it can flex its military power vis-à-vis its neighbors. Our strategy would be to draw external forces into the liberation movement or support forces which are hostile to India and convert their strength into ours. This will be the most effective means of regaining sovereignty for the small and militarily weak Manipur. Our people should not be fazed or daunted by the military strength of India or their seemingly crafty political maneuvers. We must never surrender or compromise our rights and national interests. Rather we should concentrate all our efforts and resources towards bringing all external forces inimical to India to our side. This is the foremost national duty entrusted to us by our forefathers. Only by successfully discharging this national duty, Manipur can be once again made an independent, peaceful and progressive country”.
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. He also looks after the website and application of Imphal Times. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.