Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ 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 - Yumlembam Henba Singh

“By common endeavour, we can raise the country to new greatness, while lack of unity will expose us to unexpected calamities…..”
- Sadar Patel’s letter to princely rulers, 1947

Sadar Patel’s earnest call eventually led to a ‘Union of States’ called India. Manipur we see today is incontestably the ultimate corollary of the merger with India in 1949. The once sovereign kingdom has been under the grasp of continued spasm of turmoil and unrest. The merger and henceforth implementation of the larger idea of India might have had generated vacuum
in the eco-political scenario of the state and further to the society as well.
Merger of 1949
It is a well-known fact that the merger of Manipur was marred by both (a) procedural lapses and (b) substantive lapses. Maharaja Bodhachandra had signed the Merger Agreement on 21st September 1949 under duress; to put into force from 15th October 1949. Prior to this, an anti-monarchy movement had compelled the king to give way to an elected legislature. The legislative body as well as the constitution were abolished unceremoniously upon the merger with India.
Amid the opposition, Manipur was not given full statehood, instead made a Part-C state under a ‘Diwan’ appointed by the centre. Later on, it was upgraded to a Union Territory in 1956. Unsatisfied, the secessionist movement gathered momentum to an armed revolution; only then Manipur was given full statehood in 1972 along with Tripura and Meghalaya.
Consequences
Contemporary situations and issues surrounding Manipur may be linked with the merger viz. (a) insurgency and human rights violation, (b) framework agreement with NSCN (IM) and demand for territorial integrity, (c) demand for Inner Line Permit or (d) Schedule Tribe demand by the Meitei. The imposition of an alien constitution and its overarching authority over the state may have generated such unfavourable responses.
The political atmosphere of the state undertook a drastic change under the Constitution of India. The Quasi-federal nature of the Constitution tantamount to over-centralisation by Delhi. Fali S. Nariman in his book “The state of the nation”, 2013 has highlighted the contradiction of Article 1 with the Article 3 of the Constitution. While Article 1 defines “India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states”, Article 3 empowers the Parliament to override the states in the matter of altering state boundaries, naming, merging or splitting states. This is a clear example of encroachment in the federal character of the state.
It is the centre-state relation and the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India (division of powers between the Union and the States) that shapes the political features of Manipur. The political scenario in the state has been such that it replicates the one in the centre. There has been a lack of an offensive political agenda that strikes the heart of the people.
Dominance of the centre can be seen in the complete overhaul of the once self-sufficient kingdom. The very economy of the state has been dictated by the centre leading to over-dependency. The listing of subjects under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and the various government schemes or policies has rendered the state helpless.
The so called Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and the government flagship schemes such as MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awaj Yojana), NHM (National Health Mission), One Nation One Card, Motor Vehicles Act etc. have become more enthusiastic. Numbers of the schemes have its inroad into the subject matter of the state reason being ‘national priorities’. Such process acts as a deterrent to the self-realisation of a small state like Manipur.
Moreover, to capture political power in the states, naming the schemes PM Yojana is a shrewd agenda of the ruling power. The Union Government spending of nearly 12% of its annual budget on CSS; the allocation of funds to schemes and not to the states causes uncertainty in the state finance department. Adding to this the 90:10 funding scheme have made the state
more reliant on centre for its development. Even the Panchayat needs finance from the Union.
Nevertheless the current regime legitimisation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) has made the condition worsened. The Union Government is yet to compensate states Rs 2.35 lakh crore GST shortfall in 2020-21. It weakens the power of the state to collect local taxes and hence enfeebles its revenue generating power. A small state like Manipur with limited resources will
obviously succumb to the injury of revenue loss. Similar systems have been in operation since Manipur was merged to the Union. Complaints of gross negligence by the centre to the state have been falling to deaf ears.
How will a state with no wherewithal to stand guard itself expect to have a strong political set up except to dance to the tunes of the centre?
Unfortunately Manipur has not been able to come out of this “chakkravyu” yet. Questions are being asked whether Manipur has been under a neocolonial captive market of the centre. To answer these questions Manipur need a robust political structure to withstand any pressure.
If not merged
Hypothetically speaking, Manipur have had the capacity to stand for itself. Example of small countries like Nepal and Bhutan with their sovereign power and well-founded foreign relations can be considered. Manipur could have mingled with the South-East Asian countries easily.
There is no denying the fact that the valley of Manipur is fertile enough for agriculture, particularly paddy to thrive. The 2000 years of self-sufficient Manipur before the merger is a clear indication. All we need is a little tweak in the policy according to the given period of time. Over and above Manipur is endowed with mineral resources like chromite and uranium or even oil and
petroleum which can be optimised for state revenue generation.
Modern social issues such as the hill-valley divide and the identity crisis or ethnic polarisation could not have existed altogether. Prior to colonisation, harmony and prosperity existed in the kingdom of Manipur. The influx of nonresidents could have checked easily and peace prevailed among all the communities if an independent political decision was made.
Way forward
Given the backdrop, Manipur needs an agenda which is more on offensive and less on reaction. To break the chain of government-contractor political set up, Manipur needs an assertive inclusive policy supported by the people.
It is high time for Manipur to recall the CPI programme in 1948 under Hijam Irabot’s legacy of ‘right to self-determination’ if we are to survive in this dubious modern world. Strengthening the primary sector especially agricultural production will be the pivotal step towards a self-sufficient Manipur. As the old adage says “the greatest thing in the world is to know how to be self-sufficient”. This can act as the stepping stone to free the state from the muss of over dependency.
Besides, the untapped natural resources can be utilised purposefully. Also Manipur has ample potential to grow in the field of tourism industry with the God gifted natural beauties. It has large possibilities to generate revenue if a well-documented plan follows.
To consolidate the economic front, Manipur will need to adopt an inclusive sustainable political agenda. A Centre-State paradigm reformation is the need of the hour to end the political quagmire. Also the state will require a greater amount of autonomy to make her self-decision. Centre’s control over its policy making decisions have been the main issue that hinders political outgrowth and ultimately dependence upon the centre. The fate of crucial bills such as the ‘Manipur People’s Bill’ and the ‘Anti Lynching Bill’ which never gets the President assent are signs of centre’s play over the claim of larger interest of
the nation. But a small state like Manipur needs to assert their rights and protect its own indigenous people to propel in this competitive world order.
The unsustainable and unreliable political set up running under the whims and fancies of the centre created a sense of loss of trust in the democratic institution. It can generate independent thinking and could boost revolutionary ideas as have been happening in the state. Therefore politics should focus more on governance with active people’s involvement in the decision making.
It will indeed take a lot of chutzpah for Manipur to stand up to the centre and demand for political autonomy. But it will be a risk worth taking.
Conclusion
The old aphorism ‘extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures’ is in fact imperative for Manipur. It is extraordinary because Manipur has been reeling in this precarious situation for so long and demands changes. The outmoded style of dominance by the centre if continued then Manipur will lose its footings.
Example from history of Manipur such as the ‘lallup’ system introduced during the reign of king Pakhangba will be a good consideration. The organizational set up, particularly, was exemplary as it did give political and economic stability and sustainability. Such a programme of over the top thinking is urgently required to come out of this shambles.
A democratic political set up with certain amount of autonomy should give some room for improvement. Because it is the real federal structures that will allow a small state like Manipur to stand on its decisions. The aim should be for long term single political demand with an accommodative approach keeping in mind the various communities and not merely waiting for the centre to chart our policies. Rather an aggressive political voice should send to Delhi to assert the unarguable rights of Manipur. ‘Mikap thokpa’ or consciousness both politically and economically should drive Manipur on its way to self determination.

(This write-up is one among the two 3rd prize winner of the on line essay competition organized by Imphal Times)

Friday, 23 October 2020 17:58

A chaotic society!

By: Thangminlun Haokip

We live each day, never realising that this day would someday become memories and that this once living life would one day end , as from ashes shall we turn back to ashes again, to lay down six feet below the earth, never to be heard again, never to live this life again.
An era of social media and science and technology, the moment we get up from bed till we go to bed at night, we are filled and surrounded by people from all walks of life. News about wars and conflicts from copious angles, news on rape reported everyday somewhere around the country, problems on land conflicts and wars on drugs, unstable  political situations and what not. Social media’s are filled with these news,  both fortitude and forgery influencing people’s mind to the extent that what is seen on the screen flattered our minds to believe in something, whether be it a fact or a fabricated news. 
People live each day, just hoping to live a better life or may be much worser one than today. Hope is something  which keeps us living and hopefully alive to be a better version of ourselves tomorrow. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness. Hope being the only reason to keep living.
 Looking into the present context of our society today, our state in a smaller aspects, conflicts and misunderstanding between various tribes and communities living within the state  have been a monotonous scene. Bandhs and strikes, dharmas and protests could be called anytime, anywhere, by anyone-any community when their demands and rights are forcefully or knowingly taken away from them by their neighbouring communities, maybe for the sake of land conflicts or on some issues for which they are not in favour of; which the society does not accept. The present day issues as such conflicts about the demolition of  Anglo-Kuki War memorial stone and the removal of words inscribed as ‘In defense  of our ancestral land’, have brought misunderstanding and chaos between leaders and the people of this once independent land. Some people and scholars argued that it would lead to the loss of the long-history of the Kukis while few is of the opinion that this would bring a positive impact towards the betterment of the society.
A  chaotic world- a chaotic society we live in, makes it hard for people to survive and live life where love and peace are replace by pride and wars, where election are held and conducted on ground of clanism, money and barrels; where truth does not prevail and the powerful and moneyful ruled over the weaker  and voiceless section of the society,  keeping them remain silent just because they are weak and down trodden. When shall we live in peace? When shall our society embrace the past and look forward for the future? When would our leaders unite and stand together as one and only one. Be it our brave and strong national armies (undergrounds) , our leaders and we, the people, it is never too late to start a new and fresh journey towards a peaceful and loving coexistence among all. 

Friday, 23 October 2020 17:54

“Brothers in bad times”

By - Rabin Prasad Kalita

Evening, after closing the shop, Ritesh used to call his all three unwaged friends often to his chill-out room to enjoy some good times. Frequently they met at a preset time, enjoyed playing carom, cards, and seldom small-scale parties.
Based on his inherited wealth, Ritesh was sufficiently earning out of his readymade garment outlet as well as half a dozen rented out shops. Though his flow of income was much better of his other three friends, in spite of that he was tender-hearted. A government job was his first preference rather than continuing with his bequeathed business.
The pecuniary conditions of Mukesh, Beni, and Amit were almost the same. Not so good but was okay. These childhood friends who graduated from the same college were kept on hunting for jobs. Every so often, they applied for jobs as per the educational standard but in this competitive career market, they were left a few steps behind and remained unemployed till then.
Out of the four, Amit was more adept at playing carom, hence ofttimes on his own interest, hooked in making the set ready. They used to burn two or three fags while playing carom and in-between Beni’s lovingly rubbed lumps of ‘khaini’ was an added dose to their amusement.
Beni’s turn came amid. After pocketing the queen, he had to confirm it by dropping a white carom man, but he missed. “Damn it! Ritesh please pass me the cancer stick for a puff”, Beni uttered being a little displeased after missing out on his hit. He had a potty mouth and talked slang, whenever he opens his lips. Took a long gust, and then passed around the coffin nail to Amit and others.
Keeping the half-burnt ciggy in between the clip of his left-hand fingers, Amit aimed the striker with his right-hand index finger at a black carom man towards the pocket. “Dears, I have decided to go for a year-long hotel management course to Goa as I told you all some months back and the time has come to leave off you all”, he intimated after releasing the striker.
Three of them knocked for six with his abrupt decision and said “Are you sure or you imagined?”
“Not envisioning dears, I have already committed to move on next week and thereafter no more wait for a job”, worded reaffirming them.Okay, if this is your final choice, then you must have thought well! We all wish you luck!
‘Let’s, this pleasure be celebrated in Ramlalji’s Dhaba from my side today’, voiced out by Ritesh blowing a mouthful of spiral smoke up.
The three laughed aloud, and mentioned, oh dear; we swindlers are always living on your bread. Wish we could treat you once!
Stop talking nonsense you tramps; wind up the game fast and follow me to the Dhaba. They ceased the unfinished game for now and trailed Ritesh.
One day with their soaking eyes, they saw Amit off for Goa. They were sad about leaving the company of playful Amit. He took leave from his childhood friends, for realizing the dream he adorned.
The incidence of meeting rest three friends gradually lessened than before. Playing carom became the matter of past and the board laid packed.
On watching, how three hundred and sixty-five days gone by, it was not known. Until that time, Amit cleared his course with flying color and got absorbed in a prominent hotel in Mumbai.
Over-here, Mukesh too left for Guwahati on one of his uncle’s calls. A short while after reaching there, he started his own business venture of packers and movers in a small way. Ritesh backed him financially to start the project to the widest possible.
After one and a half years of stay in Mumbai, Amit got a chance to fly to Paris with a lucrative offer. Being a culinary specialist, especially in Indian cuisines, he was directly recruited, by a frontline hotel. For two years, he worked diligently over there, and in sync, he was planning to open a restaurant by himself. He thought of a big deal of staying in a foreign land.
Incubating indomitable guts, he kept himself busy in obtaining administrative obligations, a convenient place, and other information for a startup. But the biggest problem before him was to raise a huge fund, to begin with.
After thinking a lot, he dialed his intimate friend Ritesh with hope and briefed him about his plan. And then Amit asked if he could bless him by lending some money for making his dream into success.
“Idiot, speak out your pain, how much do you need?” Ritesh spoke with an upbeat vibe.
“Brother, it’s a bit big amount for you I guess. Roughly I’m in short of rupees twenty lakhs. If it is beyond your capacity, please let me know, I shall try out other sources, ‘cause I don’t want to see you in trouble”, Amit spoke sweetly.
“Okay-okay, just give me a week time to think about it”, Ritesh replied from the other end being a little solicitous.
Exactly in the weekend, on to his surprise, Amit got the happy news from Ritesh assuring him not to worry; he will manage the amount that he sought for.
“Ace buddy, how did you ménage such a huge amount so soon? Trust me Ritesh, feeling short of words to pay my gratitude to you”, Amit expressed being besieged in a flash.
“Just shut Amit and pay attention to what is important, and leave the superfluous. I’m sick of listening to any appreciation”, Ritesh verbalized to keep his spirit high.
Alright Ritesh, but I would like to tell you about my difficulty that you have to tolerate me for at least two years, I won’t be able to return to you before that, just think of it too.
“It’s Okayed my buddy; get your dream restaurant opened at all speed. Even after this, if you face any trouble, don’t hesitate to dial me back. Good luck.”
Likewise, two years passed by watching. Apart from talking over phones while staying far off from each other, they could not meet physically. Beni remained with Ritesh since then. Even after two and a half years, Amit was silent to repay his loaned amount owed from Ritesh until then. But Ritesh never even told him about it by mistake.
One day, suddenly Amit appeared right in front of him. The myriad happiness of Ritesh was on the seventh heaven seeing his childhood brother all of a sudden. Words were not enough to describe their reunion after quite a few years.
But what did Amit saw? He saw a big difference between the Ritesh of that day and the earlier one. It didn’t take long for him to smell something wrong. The whole ambiance was a bit strange.
He was staying in a rented house nearby to his own building that had been kept on the mortgage for a period of five years for a lump-sum amount to one of the rich men of his locality. He had no other option remained to help his friend Amit then. As per the agreement, Ritesh was to vacate the building, until the time the borrowed amount was not returned. In accordance with the deal was to return the sum within the time frame or else, there was a risk of losing Ritesh’s entire property. Keeping all pains sealed in his heart, he did not let anyone know this secrecy, except Beni who was working along with him.
This man Ritesh is not a simple human being; he is an angel, being emotionally hugged him again with his wet eyes. Amit was taken aback thinking, what are all qualities do one requires, which can make a man sacrifice his entire material possessions for his friends. Even then, he didn’t let his heart feel to draw in his face.
Amit soon got Ritesh free from all debts. Not only did he returned his entire wealth but also bought another big market across the road for him. Furthermore, he invited both Ritesh and Beni to join him to look after his extended restaurants in Paris.
“I wish I could make it work”; staying there, Ritesh wanted to take care of his ancestral property and the august gift that received as a token of love from his friend. He allowed Beni to accompany him instead.
By the time, Mukesh also reached there and all four met again in the same den where they used to meet often. To make their reunion memorable, Beni tinted the room like a bride to make it worth celebrating. Then the carom that kept by Ritesh for years as reminiscence, was unpacked and placed in the middle. Played, boozed, smoked and they became thoughtful remembering their past happenings. They were wrapped-up in immense happiness meeting physically after several years.
Taking care of their own businesses in different places, the time had come for them to leave. Hence they seriously thought it won’t be right to leave Ritesh unaided. While staying there; they all got him married to his dream lady within a fortnight, because no one knew when the chance to meet all of them together will come again.
Winding-up their catchy stay, they bade with a farewell from Ritesh to their respective places, promising to meet him again at the same hangout soon.

(The writer is an Ex-Air Warrior. He can be reached at E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

IT News

Imphal, Oct 22:

Of the five assembly constituencies which will go to by-poll on November 7, Independent candidate Chinlunthang of Singhat Assembly constituency today withdraw his candidature leaving BJP candidate Ginsuanhau as the lone candidate , which literally means that he is elected from the constituency uncontested.

A total of fifteen candidates were in the fray after the rejection of once candidate from Wangoi Assembly constituency during scrutiny yesterday.

With Ginsuanhau being the lone contestant from the Singhat, BJP now has 19 members literally and is the single largest party as of now. The Congress party has not fielded any candidate at Singhat Assembly constituency in this bi-election but fielded candidates in all the remaining 4 assembly constituencies where the bi-election will be held.

The BJP too does not fielded any candidate at Lilong assembly constituency but is supporting the Independent candidate Md. Nashir , whom the Chief Minister had stated that he had sacrificed his seat for the cause of the government.

Lilong assembly constituency is going to have a tough election fight with five candidates including a lady candidate in the fray. Except for MD. Azizul Haque which is a Congress candidate all the remaining are fighting the election as independent candidates.

After the rejection of one candidate during scrutiny by the returning officer yesterday, three candidates are going to have a tough fight at Wangoi Assembly constituency. INC candidate Salam Joy defeated last election with just two digit votes while the BJP candidate O Lukhoi is holding a cabinet post in the present Ministry. NPP candidate Kh Loken too is also working hard with two Ministers as NPP in a coalition partner of the existing government.

As for Wangjing Tentha, INC candidate M. Hemanta, BJP candidate P Brojen and Independent candidate M. Manaobi are in the fray. There are reports of election campaign gaining momentum amidst COVID -19 SOPs. 

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