Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 25+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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By - Seram Neken
India is known to be the largest democracy in the globe with a large population spread across different states. The Legislators and Executives at the level of state government do not get to know the real problems, troubles and issues faced by people at the grassroot level in rural areas. Hence, the importance of empowering the local bodies to develop policies, rules and regulations to decentralize power came up, so that reach and access of administration can be widened at the grassroots level.  
The concept of village Panchayat has practically restored the system of Direct Democracy through institutions like the Gram Sabha. In order to regulate the Panchayati Raj system, the Panchayati Raj Act (73rd Amendment) was passed in 1992, and the Act came into existence from April 24th 1993. A 3-tier system with Gram Panchayat functioning at the village level, Panchayat Samiti functioning at Block Level, and Zilla Parishad functioning at District Level was developed accordingly. 
Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated every year on 24th April across the country to commemorate the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India which brought a major change in the Panchayati Raj system. The day recognizes the decentralization of power into the hands of the common men by the State Legislatures. The most noteworthy feature of this nationwide celebration of Panchayati Raj Day is the diversification and handing over of political power to the able hands of the common man. It signifies that every village, district, the block has a central power similar to that of a Chief Minister to administer a local territory. The celebration of the Day started in the year 2010. 
Unfortunately, the elected local representatives along with large numbers of MGNREGS workers in Manipur observe the day as Black Day to protest against the lackadaisical attitude of the state government towards the grievances of the rural populace. It is really a shame to those concerned with the governance at the rural as well as local level. 
There are 161 Gram Panchayats and 60 Zilla Parishad Members in Manipur. The twin objectives of the Panchayati Raj system as envisaged by the Constitution of India are to bring about local economic development and to ensure social justice. So, the importance of Gram Panchayats lies in empowering rural population to participate in rural development programmes for improving their quality of life and providing rural infrastructure and socio-economic growth for the poor people in rural areas. The amount of Honorarium for the Zilla Parishad Members, Pradhans and Ward Members is quite meagre in view of the prevailing market prices and responsibilities of local bodies in dealing with public grievances. Zilla Parishad members, Pradhans and Ward Members are entitled with an amount of  Rs. 9000/-, Rs. 8000/- and Rs. 3000/- per month respectively. Meanwhile, such a meagre amount has not been regularly released by the Government of Manipur. The Honorarium of the elected 60 Zilla Parishad Members, 161 Pradhans and over 1000 Ward Members have been pending for the months from October 2019 to till date. 
Manipur is one of the backward states of North Eastern India having over 4.00 lakhs Job Card Holders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. Most of the remaining work programmes of the financial year 2020-21 have been executed considering that the due liability of the current financial year may be released by the Ministry concerned soon. It is indeed a fact that your good office has released the payment of 2nd instalment of 1st trench of Central Assistance toward wages, material and administrative component for financial year 2020-21 to the state Government of Manipur vide File No. J-14023/01/2020 RE-I (Sl. No.102) dated 09.02.2021 and the payment of the 1st instalment of 2nd trench of Central Assistance Vide File No.J-14023/01/2020 RE-I (Sl.No.119) dated 18.03.2021 respectively. But the Government of Manipur has intentionally failed to release the above said amount of funds to the respective districts till date which has caused inconveniences to the implementing agencies as well as the poor Job Card Holders.
The very act of the Government of Manipur has amounted to weaken the Panchayati Raj system which is against the spirit of Constitution of India. The elected persons of Panchayati Raj Institutions and the large number of Job Card Holders were on Sit-in Protests for two consecutive days i.e 17th and 18th April 2021 demanding release of funds. However, as the Government of Manipur did not give any positive response, the elected persons of PRIs resorted to 48 hours General Strike (Shutdown) in the whole state. Still, the Government of Manipur is yet to give any concrete positive response till date. Therefore, the PRIs have boycotted the National Panchayat Day (24th April 2021) and further course of agitation will follow. The state of Manipur is in turmoil now.
Manipur Government and its responsible Ministries and Departments are remaining adamant towards the demands of large number of elected local bodies and the MGNREGS workers of Manipur. Their very lackadaisical attitude has jeopardised the spirit and objectives of the Constitution of India, and at this juncture, there is no worth in celebrating Panchayati Raj Day in Manipur.
Celebration has turned into Observance: Celebration of Panchayati Raj Day in Manipur on 24th April 2021 is replaced by Observance of Black Day by Panchayati Raj Institutions of the state.
(The writer is Imphal based Senior Columnist & Elected Zilla Parishad Member of Imphal East District)

Saturday, 24 April 2021 18:52

A perspective on Freedom!

By: Heisnam Lakeshwar Singh
Head (Academic & Admin), JCRE Global College, Babupara, Imphal.
Freedom fighters are respected by our society. The stories of freedom fighters we have studied and heard are interesting and inspiring. In every freedom fighter stories the fight or movement was always against the ruler or the suppressor or the government. These stories are interesting and easy to understand because it is easy to identify the villain. In India’s freedom struggle movement, the villain was British, in South Africa’s freedom movement; the villain was the white government.
But today I want to narrate a freedom struggle story which is not easy to understand. It is not easy to understand because understanding the villain in this story is complex. And also I am trying to see it from a different perspective. 
When we see a homeless man in the footpath of some cities, what do we feel? We feel sympathy on him and a desire arise in our heart to help him/her. But how many of us follow our heart? We just pass the road ignoring the truth. 
We see injustice happening around us. We see corrupt police personal, corrupt government employees, corrupt politicians and corrupt public. When we see wrong things doing in front of our eyes, we all want to stand against those, we want to stop those and we want innocent people to get justice. But how many of us do that? We just avoid the troubles and move on. 
Sometime we heard and read in news, in a crowded place a guy/girl was beaten by a gang of goons and hundreds of spectators were watching that helplessly. Recently in Delhi, a guy from Arunachal Pradesh was beaten to death in a crowded place, in front of hundreds of spectators. Nobody came to stop that. A girl was molested in the most crowded area of Guwahati. What happened to those hundreds of innocent spectators, why didn’t they come to stop such crimes? They are also the people who feel good when the villain in a movie is finally defeated by the hero. 
We see in Manipur thousands of youths are not getting proper education because they cannot move outside the state for pursuing their career. We know, if there are good institutions in Manipur these youths will be able to build a better career. But how many of us could establish such institution in our state? 
We know hundreds of families are suffering because of poor healthcare facility. We know good hospitals are needed for providing good healthcare service. But how many of us actually can establish such facility for people?
We know there are many bad politicians. They are only after money and they don’t think of improving the life of people. But how many of us know how to fight and defeat them in politics?
We know unemployment is a big issue in Manipur. Lakhs of youth are jobless. We also want these youths, our relatives and friends to have a good job. But how many of us are really working on solving this issue? 
We are living in an independent country, which gives us fundamental rights, which implies we are free people. But the question is, are we seriously free? When we want to help a homeless man, are we free enough to do what we want to do? When we want to fight against the injustice, are we free to fight? When we see our relatives and dear ones are starving for good education, can we provide that even when we want those things so desperately? Getting freedom and living free life is not easy. But who is suppressing us? Who stops us from doing the things we want to do? 
Freedom comes with courage. The biggest villain in this story is Fear. In order to defeat it we must have courage. When courage forms team with knowledge, wisdom and right intention, a strong freedom fighter arise as hero in this story. Hero always struggle. Struggle comes because of our inability to do the things, which are required to do, to get the freedom. Our freedom is suppressed by fear, lack of awareness & knowledge, lack of innovation and lack of appropriate skill. When we understand our suppressor, we can fight those suppressor and moves towards a free life. Only few people could achieve freedom because they fight those suppressors courageously and smartly. The fighting is not holding guns in hand and shooting other people. It is the hard work we do to achieve the goal by armoring the self with patience and persistence. We know that there are people who live free life. For example, Armstrong Pamei constructed a road which many just dreamt and wanted. He made it possible. Aribam Shyam Sharma made the first Manipuri film, it was just a dream for many at that time, he made it and other people followed him. When I listen the speech of Dr. Shantikumar, world champion in body building, I find he is a freedom fighter too. He didn’t allow his poverty to stop achieving his dream and living the life he wanted to live. There are many such people in our society who are freedom fighter and living a free life (I am not mentioning all). A freedom fighter automatically becomes a leader. Being a freedom fighter is not easy, people admire them and people follow them and that is how they become a leader. 
Living free and getting freedom is different. You may not get freedom, but you have the choice to live a free life. The result is not in our hand, but how do we live is in our hand. Do you want to compromise your free life because of your laziness, fear and feeling of insecurity or do you want to live a free life? The choice is yours.

The Writer can be reached to:[email protected] com

By - Er. PrabhatKishore

Article 370 of Indian Constitution has been revoked by Parliament on 5th August 2019 and Jammu &Kashmir become fully integrated with the country having the benefits of all central laws as well as public welfare schemes. Technically, Jammu &Kashmir and Ladakhcame into existence as Union Territory on 31st October 2019, the birth anniversary of SardarVallabhBhaiPatel, the architect of present unified India, who actually was the choice of first PM. Due to Gandhi’s immoral intervention; he was illegally kept away from country’s leadership, paving the way for Kashmir, China border and various other problems in coming years.
If one goes through the happenings between 1946 to 1950, it is evident that Kashmir problem is nothing, but is a result of lack of vision, determination, decision, courage and involvement of a vested interest of ambitious politicians. Like Hyderabad & Junagarh, Maharaja of Kashmir Hon. Hari Singh has also not signed the instrument of accession uptothe fixed deadline, 15th August 1947. Maharaja has executed a standstill agreement with Pakistan and wanted to have similar link with India also, but Indian leadershad no interest.
Initially Sardar Patel was dealing the affairs tactfully. Jinnah adopted a policy of coercion& force and cut-off supply of food, petrol and other commodities. Military pressure was also applied through border raids. At Patel initiative, Planes were diverted to Delhi-Kashmir routes and communication equipments were installed between Amritsar & Jammu. Patel wrote the Maharaja on 21th Sept. 1947 that “Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan will convey you the gist of our conversation on all matters affecting the interest of Kashmir. I have promised him full support and co-operation.” Patel had virtually instructed Maharaja to appoint Mahajan as his PM.
Patel also send Guru Golwalkar, RSS chief, to Srinagar to brainwash Maharaja regarding futility of independent Kashmir and convey the message that Pakistan will never tolerate your independence and will engineer a revolt. Guruji assured Maharaja that SardarPatel would look after Kashmiri people. After Maharaja expressed his readiness to sign the instrument of accession,Guruji returned back to Delhi on Oct 19 and briefedSardar about the happenings.On 15th October 1947, Kashmir PM has complained to British PM regarding lack of supplies and border raids by Pakistan, but the Britishers had nothing to do.
In the valley, there were opposite views between the two national personalities. Seeing Sheikh Abdullah’s vision &ambitious approach, Patel has negative thinking about him; whereas Nehru has aversion for Maharaja &affinity for Abdullah. Actually, Maharaja has arrested Nehru in June 1946, when he was fighting for Abdullah during “Quit Kashmir” movement. Nehru’s sole aim was to reinstate Abdullah and dethrone Maharaja. Sheikh Abdullah was at loggerheads with Jinnah. He was against going to Pakistan due to his own personal reasons. He had ambition to become Prime Minister of Kashmir, but he was fully aware that Jinnah being the champion of Muslims he has no chance in Pakistan.
In 1947, Government of India got intelligence report that Pakistanis were preparing to enter Kashmir. Nehru pressurized that accession should be with co-operation of Abdullah and a letter was written to Mahajan, Kashmir PM, that as Abdullah is anxious to co-operate in handling with external danger, power should be shared with him without in any way jeopardizing Maharaja Position. As Maharaja Hari Singh has theoretically agreed for accession, there was no need of such hasty step. Before Mahajan received the letter, 5000-armed tribes’ men from Pak entered Kashmir, burnt Mujaffarabad, shot dead Lt. Col. Narayan Singh (in Command of the State forces), captured power house at Mahura and switched off Srinagar’s electricity. Brig. RajinderSingh, Chief of Staff of State, engaged raiders for two days at Uri, but he and his team were allegedly killed.Raiders were near Baramula, just 40 miles from Srinagar.
NWEP CM encouraged tribesmen to enter Kashmir and Pakistan General Akbar Khan openly acknowledged the Pak involvement. Jinnah told Mountbatten that if his conditions satisfied, whole thing would be called off. The British Commander of Gilgit Scout, Major Brown rebelled against Kashmir Government and handed over Gilgit to Pakistan.
On 23rd Oct. 1947 Maharaja wrote Patel that nearly whole military of a particular community has either deserted or refused to co-operate. On October 25, in the meeting of defence committee of Indian cabinet, Patelproposedfor helping Maharaja, but Nehru first reaction was “Maharaja must associate Abdullah with resistance”. On 26th Oct. in crucial meeting at Nehru’s residence, Mahajan as well as Abdullah pleaded the urgent need of Indian soldiers. Patel asked Mahajan to return Kashmir and to convey Maharaja that Indian army was on its way. On the same day Maharaja signed the Instrument of accession in Jammu and requested in writing for military help.
As per Nehru’s pressure, Maharaja agreed to install Abdullah as head of administration along with dejure Premier Mahajan. On 27th October 1947, over a hundred planes and a Sikh battalion were in Srinagar. Patel visited first time in Srinagar on 3rd November, studied the situation and ordered to drive back the enemies.
As per Hari Singh-Abdullah formula, Abdullah has to run valley and leave Jammu to Maharaja. But Abdullah started interfering Jammu. Patel went Srinagar to handle the issue, but Abdullah was rigid to be premier for the whole State. The leaning Nehru wrote to Maharaja “Sheikh should be the PM and should be asked to form the government. Mr. Mahajan can be one of the ministers and formally preside over the cabinet. You could be its constitutional head”.
This letter completely changed the whole scenario at a crucial juncture. Nehru was afraid of Patel that he would not allow Sheikh to do, whatever his ambition was. Viewing Abdullah as the key of Kashmir future, Nehru decided to manage Kashmir himself. To assist him N.G. Ayyangar, a former Dewanof Kashmir was inducted as Minister without portfolio in Indian cabinet. Nehru violated the democratic propriety by intruding into the domain of his own Home Minister Sardar Patel.
A rift between Patel and Nehru has beencreated and series of hot letters were exchanged, in which Patel offered even his resignation, to which Nehru wrote that as PM he must have a certain liberty of direction. On Mountbatten’s persuasion Nehru had agreed to refer the matter to UN and also obtained Gandhi’s reluctant consent. Patel strongly opposed the move, but Kashmir was now Nehru’s baby.Patel wanted whole Kashmir, even if it meant for war. In a private conversation, Patel said “JawaharRoyega”, which became true after 4 years when Abdullah was sacked and arrested on charge of conspiracy.
Indian army found that the only way to completely remove the raiders from Kashmir was to attack their bases and supplies in Pak. India warned that unless Pak denied assistant & base to invaders, she would be compelled to take action. Mountbatten confused Nehru that any such move would undermine his foreign policy and progressive social aspiration. In UNSC, Nehru’s representatives Abdullah and Ayyangar could not put issue strongly and outperformed by Pak’s Zafarullah Khan.
After Ambedkar’s refusal to draft Article 370 for special status to Kashmir, Abdullah approached Nehru; who ultimately directed Ayyangar, also a member of draft committee, to frame it.Onthis issue, not only Patel but Ambedkar and all leaders of constitutional assembly, except Maulana Azad &Ayyangar, were in opposition. They felt that limited application of Central laws to J&K would create lots of problems rather than solution. But the matter being Nehru’s childish insistence, no one interfere.
Dr. Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Hari Singh &lateronSadar-e-Riyasat of the State, recalled “while Pandit Nehru was dealing directly with Jammu & Kashmir, it was Sardar Patel who carried on the correspondence with my father which ultimate led to smooth political transition in J&K”.
Unhappy with Nehru’s handling of Kashmir, particularly the offer of a plebiscite, the reference to the UN, the ceasefire that left one-third part of the State in Pakistani hands, free hand to Sheikhand the removal of the Maharaja,Pateloccasionally dropped remarks on these issues. But henevertried to dismiss the decisions in absence of Nehru, even when he worked as acting PM. He chatted withRajaji in mid-Fifty, “Till Bapu’s death, I used to oppose and fight with him. But now I have given up. In view of Gandhi’s last wish any open criticism would look bad. But he would not remain silent if he found Nehru causing irreparable harm to the country”.Thus, the breakdown of Patel’s tactful action andNehru’s personal recalcitrance for Sheikh’s ambitionentrapped the Kashmir Policy and darkened its future since indefinite period. The Central Government’s initiatives to mainstream Kashmir with Indian Republic will lead a step forward tofulfillthe Patel’s vision of “Sashakt & Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

(Author is a technocrat and academician)

IT News
Imphal, April 23:

President of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) , Govindas Konthoujam today strikes back to the BJP’s propaganda of rejuvenating the hill and plain people by questioning the state government over the tussle being taken place at Mount Koubru.
“During Congress government, no such crisis erupted and both the plain and hill people have no tussle over Mount Koubru, which is a sacred place of Meeteis”, Govindas Konthoujam said while talking at the sideline of the Khongjom Day observance held at Congress Bhavan today.
“Is this what the BJP led government called strengthening of the Hill and Plain people?”. Govindas mocked the present government.
Earlier Govindas led a floral tribute ceremony to the martyrs of the Khongjom War at Congress Bhavan at BT road. Congress leaders including O Ibobi, Gaikhangam, Kh Joykishan, K Meghachandra, K Ranjit , Th. Lokeshwar and other workers and office bearers of the MPCC also joined in paying floral tributes to the martyrs who had laid down their lives fighting the British army for the cause of the freedom of Manipur.
“That was perhaps the last war of Independence for Manipur which was fought at Khongjom between our Martyrs and the British at Khongjom”, Govindas said and added that every year we used to visit at Khongjom to pay respect to the martyrs but this time due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the MPCC organized the observance at the office complex by maintaining COVID protocols.
Govindas also appealed to the youth of the state to respect the spirit of our ancestors who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their land.

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