(Produced here Joint statement of Isak Chisi Swu and Th. Muivah released on April 12, 2001)
This statement is written for the Nagas and the Meiteis that they may once again search their heart to discern their rights to be free. To blame others should not be the only way to justify ourselves; we have got to correct ourselves too if we are to be sure of what we must be. Therefore, to begin with:
When a people doubt the right to self-existence, they commit the genesis of political crime; when a people lose faith in themselves, they commit the greatest crime in life and politics. There is no positiveness in them anymore. Yet they wouldn’t know that they are lost. Such a people live under the delusion that others think the better for them, that others care the best for them. There is no salvation for such people; they are perished in their own account. Here lies the issue of struggle, for a people everywhere deserve the better. Right and wrong must, therefore, be examined to keep our way straightened. We have to walk on said ground. Doubt and fear should never be permitted to haunt our ways. We should never forget that the best for us is also in store, and that is within reach. We are destined to rule ourselves. To realise this vision al illusions need to be shattered, all erroneous thinking needs to be dropped; all untenable status quo must be shaken off the mind of every revolutionary.
It is time to unearth together that the chauvinism of any shade works but alienation of brothers and sisters. It ultimately brings about self-destruction whenever it is left unchecked. It is, therefore, a must for a sensible society to do away with that if it has to prove itself appropriate to the realities around. It is dangerous for any society to harbor such ism. Inordinate assertion irrespective of others’ rights is also a fanaticism, which must therefore be equally in order to be realistic. Prudent approach to issues that needs sensible resolution is the most called-for in time like this.
Our Meitei brother living in the Imphal valley will do well if they calmly redress the mistakes made in their unguarded moments in days gone by and set themselves to be at right – of course, the sooner, the better, because the world does not accept anybody’s whim. The reverses suffered by the Meiteis are pure and simple –as history has revealed – failure of statesmanship. The Nagas are in no way responsible for those unwelcome misfortunes. We will not meddle in their affairs even in the days to come. We shall honor the universally accepted principal basis that the people concerned alone have the right to decide what they should be. Meiteis are at full liberty to determine their fate. Our only concern is that they do not make wrong choice again; that is, to say there should be no repetition of the past like when they allowed both the good and the evil of the world to pass by them unawares. We are brothers and we will be brothers forever. We too can certainly be one but through freedom.
We are outspoken and it is befitting to ask the wise men of Meitei today; Is not your desperate attempt to use the Indian state and its might against the Nagas heading for your own destruction? Is it not suicidal for you? It is prudent to think beyond what you feel. We are sorry; we do not see in it even a shade of farsightedness. It may at best be the blunder that can seal the doom of the Meiteis for the worst. Who is the sole danger to the political survival of the peoples in Manipur? It is India. We can save it from such impending danger? Only the Meiteis and the Nagas. It is the issue that demands the most of the intellectuals who claimed to have realsied that the fate of the people is safe only in the hands of themselves.
The Nagas and the Meiteis like many others came from the east probably, following the same routes without much difference in chronology of time. Until the advent of the British into Burma and learnt from the natives there, we were not called by the name ‘Nagas’. The Meiteis too were not known by their personal nomenclature, until they were settled down in the Imphal valley. Truly, names are in various cases originated accidentally. Much digging into the past however, is still needed to make it clearer. But in spite of the distant past, it is true that the Nagas and the Meiteis are most closely related. It is the assimilation that wrought through the alien influences that we see the point of diversion taking place though it is not yet beyond arrest. When the turn of the world brought the finest opportunity, thank god the Nagas being jealous for what was theirs could unhesitatingly decide on their own – making thereby clearly the differences. This decision taking in a fine morning has no doubt, cost the Nation dearly in terms of blood, tears and sweats. But we have picked up again the glory of the history from the ground where we took our stand. We, are, therefore never the losers in safeguarding who and what we are.
Nagas do not struggle for status anywhere. Theirs is unequivocal in that their politics is unfounded on clear cut basis of their indisputable historical facts. Obviously, they no longer accept anything that has been imposed arbitrarily on tem in the past by the colonial power – old and new. They don’t accept either any claim made on what is theirs. Their task is to undo all distortions made about them and the partitions drawn on their territory against their will. It should be recalled every invasion and that is their history. They have never consented to be a part of any other people or nation. The only decision ever taken is that they would be a free nation as they had been and it would never be changed. Thank god for the gift of this eternal right! Therefore, Nagas do not wish fiends would come between them. Therefore our Meitei brothers are urged to see that their national cause is well founded so that the danger involved in using unruly tribe or group for expediency against the Nagas may be safely abandoned before it is too late. UNLF should understand this before they destroy themselves. The killings you unleashed among the revolutionaries in Manipur is also really a bad politics. It is wise to take initiatives for rectification now.
We hear the freedom bell ringing across the valleys and hills alike but through the blood of the patriots – the proud sons and daughters of the soils. In their unsparing sacrifices we see the greatest of our time; in their bleeding wounds we find the eternal source of inspiration. Unconquerable hearts they carry within, because freedom they knew was too dear to part with, because it is freedom that gives meaning to life. That freedom is ours as long as we hold top it above our lives and our all. All that is ours belongs to us; all that is theirs belongs to them. This is the fairest of all precepts. But do we know that the world belongs to those who are prepared for the worst. Comrades are gone, accomplishing the good fight. It is time for the Nagas and the Meiteis to stand up shoulder to shoulder to the challenges. Why should we fail in our time? And so let us not as when the dawn of the new day shall be. It is we to make it.
Precious years are gone leaving trails of glory and humiliation behind. The better of our time is also spent, never forgiving the follies of yesterdays. But what has been overcome in our time so that we safely claim the future? We cannot get away with it so long as the greatness of a generation lies in saving its today to own the days yet to come. Where is then the sure – promise? Nothing is certain until this generation takes the future into its own hands. The cause is clear; and to be resolute for it is the call of the day. No more to wait for time: why should the sun be allowed to set before the day’s work is done! Arise and come along. Make no delay.