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Nupee Lal observance: Are Our Women Genuinely Living in Better Times?

by Aribam Bishwajit
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Nupee Lal observance: Are Our Women Genuinely Living in Better Times?

While numerous lawmakers and prominent figures in the state commend the invaluable contributions of Manipuri women, as evident during the observance of Nupee Lal Numit and the solemn floral tributes paid at the Nupee Lal Memorial complex and various locations across Manipur, a persistent question lingers: Do the women of Manipur enjoy a better quality of life compared to those who endured the hardships of British oppression?
The commemorative event at G.P. Women’s College Central Hall, attended by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, not only symbolized a collective acknowledgment of Manipur’s historical significance but also underscored the role of women in shaping the state’s narrative. The participation of MLAs Irengbam Nalini Devi and Sagolshem Kebi Devi alongside the Chief Minister emphasized the recognition of women representatives, portraying a step towards gender inclusivity in leadership.
However, juxtaposed against this ceremonial backdrop is the sobering reality faced by many women residing on the outskirts of Imphal. These women, acting as the vanguards of their communities, stand as a testament to the persisting challenges in Manipur. Their nightly vigilance, aimed at safeguarding their homes from potential threats, serves as a poignant reminder that, despite ceremonial gestures, women, or the Nupee, in Manipur continue to grapple with multifaceted adversities.
The contrast between the formalities of the event and the grassroots struggles of these women highlights the nuanced complexities of gender dynamics and social realities in Manipur. While official platforms celebrate women’s contributions, the lived experiences of those on the periphery emphasize the imperative for sustained efforts towards addressing the underlying issues faced by Manipuri women. This analytical lens invites reflection on the broader societal landscape and the imperative for comprehensive initiatives aimed at improving the well-being and empowerment of women in the region.
In today’s commemorative event, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh eloquently acknowledged the enduring contributions of women in shaping the course of the state’s history, spanning time immemorial. Despite these commendations, a stark reality emerges: the government’s failure to ensure the peace and security that would allow women the comfort of peaceful nights in their homes.
While recognizing the selfless dedication of women, Chief Minister Biren Singh announced two initiatives aimed at honoring their pivotal role. The first initiative involved renaming the road stretch from Governor’s Traffic Point to Pureiromba Khongnangkhong as ‘Nupi Lan Road,’ a symbolic gesture reflecting the significance of women’s contributions. The second initiative, the ‘Chief Minister’s Ima Nongthangleima Yaipha Tengbang Scheme,’ aimed to address the challenges faced by women in the state.
However, skepticism arises regarding the true impact of these announcements, as they could be perceived as mere appeasement tactics by the state government, seeking to garner favor without addressing the root causes of the issues at hand. The discrepancy between rhetorical recognition and tangible action raises questions about the government’s commitment to effecting substantial change in the lives of Manipuri women. It underscores the importance of not only symbolic gestures but also concrete measures and sustained efforts to address the complex challenges faced by women in the state, ensuring that their contributions are genuinely acknowledged and their well-being prioritized.
Delving into the specifics of the recently introduced Chief Minister’s Ima Nongthangleima Yaipha Tengbang Scheme, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh outlined its parameters, targeting women aged 40 and above who lack a source of income and are not covered by existing government welfare initiatives. The scheme aims to provide financial assistance of Rs. 6000 annually (Rs. 500 per month) to these women. While such initiatives deserve commendation, the fundamental question looms: how meaningful is financial aid when the people, particularly women, grapple with the harsh reality of sleepless nights on the streets? True honor for women involves tangible actions that enhance their quality of life and contribute to a peaceful society, a domain where the government has fallen short for the past seven months.
Addressing the prevailing law and order situation in the state, the Chief Minister emphasized the imperative for unity among all communities residing in Manipur. He acknowledged the tragic loss of innocent lives and the displacement of many from their homes, underscoring the collective responsibility to restore peace and normalcy. This plea for unity reflects the recognition that sustainable change requires collaborative efforts and a commitment from all segments of society to confront the challenges ahead. The call for action extends beyond financial assistance, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of unrest and prioritize the well-being and security of the people, especially women, in Manipur.
Concluding his address, the Chief Minister sternly condemned the unfortunate incidents that transpired at various locations in the state, where groups took the law into their own hands to harass others unjustly. He earnestly appealed to the public, urging them to report any suspicious activities to the nearest police stations rather than resorting to vigilantism. The emergence of such incidents, characterized by groups engaging in moral policing, raises a red flag, prompting the need for immediate government intervention.
It is evident that these incidents are intricately linked to the broader deterioration of the law and order situation in Manipur. The inability of the police to safeguard citizens has created a void, leaving the public feeling compelled to take matters into their own hands. The rise of vigilante groups, acting impulsively without due consideration, underscores a deeper issue – a crisis of confidence in established institutions responsible for upholding law and order.
The Chief Minister’s call for government scrutiny into these incidents is not only justified but imperative. Addressing the root causes of the deteriorating law and order situation becomes crucial to prevent the rise of vigilantism. The public’s perception, shaped by months of enduring violence, has fueled a sense of desperation, leading to actions that might seem drastic. The government’s failure to control the law and order situation has contributed to this unsettling trend. A comprehensive approach is required to restore faith in the administration and provide a legitimate avenue for justice, mitigating the need for individuals to take matters into their own hands.
Amidst these challenges, the heartbreaking toll on families is palpable. Mothers have mourned the loss of sons and daughters, sisters grieve for their brothers, and grandmothers bear the pain of losing grandsons and granddaughters. The pervasive anguish underscores the urgent need for the government to shift its focus toward the welfare of Manipuri women.
The time is ripe for proactive measures that extend beyond symbolic gestures. The government must pave the way for ample opportunities for Manipuri women across various fields, ensuring their active participation and empowerment. Prioritizing peace as the foremost objective becomes not just a goal but a moral imperative. By addressing the root causes of unrest, implementing inclusive policies, and fostering an environment conducive to the well-being and progress of Manipuri women, the government can contribute significantly to healing the wounds inflicted on families and communities. It’s a call to action that transcends rhetoric and demands tangible, transformative steps towards a brighter, more secure future for all.

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