Posts Tagged ‘Insurgency’

 Everyone is wondering ‘Why so many complex issues one after another?’, and ‘when everything will be alright in Manipur?’ Reading concepts from sociology and public administration literatures (with specific emphasis on Manipur rather than Indian Union) can help us to enable Manipur state transformed back into a peaceful and prosperous land. ‘Poorly planned transition from traditional kingship model (i.e. rule by a king) to democratic Westminster model (i.e. representative MLAs/MPs supported by civil servants such as IAS, IPS) as way of public governance seems to be the source of all these chaos in current Manipur’. Transition, itself, is neither good nor bad; but rather it was too quick and inadequate change management programs for people during the transition phase were not seriously taken into consideration. Moreover, the then Manipur merging into Indian Union has added another new dimension to the transition complexities.


Institutional Failures:

If we have a quick glance at Manipur map showing assembly constituencies (spreading across entire villages in Manipur), we may feel as if there seems a well-balanced democratic representation from all ethnic groups and regions within Manipur. There ought not to be so many pending issues in Manipur (including demand of autonomies and homelands). So, what exactly went wrong with the transition phase as well as merging of Manipur into Indian Union. The answer seems rather simple than difficult – ‘Institutional failure of democratic and innovational systems within Manipur is the root cause of entire chaos in current Manipur State’.

Mindsets of people in Manipur (born and lived during 1891 to 1971) are yet to come out of the norms and way of thinking during Kingship of Meitei kings in then Manipur country. Lack of rapid expansion of educational and innovation institutions in villages/towns in order to catch up with impact of changes in public governance approach has indeed led to current chaos. Religious preaching by missionaries (with own vested interests) to various ethnic groups within Manipur has also seriously increased complexity of issues in Manipur. People have failed to recognize that ‘Religions are less to do with Spirituality, but rather are just political forums just like a social association’. When one follows a religion, they follow the culture, thinking and norms practiced in those foreign lands instead of local traditional values. Christianity followers will look toward West, Islam followers towards Arab, while Hinduism followers will look towards Hindi Mainland India. If there does exist GOD (supernatural almighty), isn’t it to do with SELF and HIM only? How is that prayer to our forefathers and traditional customs in Manipur not considered as a form of spirituality? Though we may lack in many concepts of GOD/spirituality as compared to other religions, what we indeed practice is about humanity instead of political forum (i.e. religion). Reading books and practices of religions are indeed good for enhancing societal knowledge and another perspective of thinking. Yet, we (as people of Manipur) ought to prevent mixing religion to our communities and state institutions.

Penetration by Christian missionaries in hill regions prior to setup of democratic and innovational institutions has highly intoxicated mindset of tribal groups with religious preaching as compared to modern scientific/logical mindset. Representations of tribal groups are supposed to be done by tribal leaders or village chiefs; instead church leaders (with one-sided myopic perspective of world as per their religious boundaries) are coming out to represent tribal ethnic groups. Among Meitei group, many have just started to come out from being blind followers of Vaishnavism and started to reason self with the inflow of education (scientific way of thinking). Spread of Hindi language and Hinduism in Manipur (and North East India) seems like tactics to bring NE Indian states within the current Indian Nationalism concept [created by Hindi Mainland India]. Growth of Muslim population in Manipur with influx immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar brings in non-local way of thinking creating fallout to the very existence of Manipur state as it is. In the past centuries, colonization of nations happened after spread of religious missionaries to foreign nations.

Societal Issues:

Prior to merging with Indian Union in 1949, public governance of then Manipur country starts and ends with the King. Though it may be a Meitei king and majority population was of Meitei group, there were also many other tribal ethnics groups. In the past 2000yrs+ civilization, there were mechanisms under the rule of King to include different ethnic groups into Meitei group by inserting them into one of 7-Meitei clans under a surname or exclude a current ethnic group by out-casting from 7-meitei clans. In fact, current Meitei group under a 7-clans structure is found to be final outcome of assimilation of different ethnic tribal groups spanning across centuries. Similar example that can be cited is the recent effort to form a ‘Naga group’ by clubbing many different small tribal groups. If we wish to know further on cultures and tradition of various tribal groups in the then Manipur country (including current Meitei group), we’ve to explore other ancient civilizations existed in current landmass of Manipur state such as the then ‘Moirang Kingdom’. In Moirang Kingdom era, the earliest Meitei sect is found to comprise only few smaller tribal groups unlike the current Meitei group. Only after downfall of Moirang Kingdom in 17th century, there came to exist only one kingdom of Meiteis with capital at Imphal (in various names such as Kathee/Kathey/Munnipoor). Thus, there was some control on social composition under the King’s reign. It is a fact beyond doubt that all tribes and Meitei group in current Manipur have common ancestors. But since 1950 (merging into Indian Republic), no insertion into or removal of ethnic tribes out of Meitei group is further taken care of (with the loss of kingship governance model). Complexity in Manipur’s society got increased further by inflow of new ethnic/religious groups from Indian Union into Manipur. Also, rule of law (for societal governance) starts following constitution of Indian Union rather than Manipur specific requirements and people are yet to adapt completely to the transition.

Insurgency Issues:

Underground militant groups along with their overground support organizations seem just fighting for own vested interests of power/control over people. Bargaining vested interests by these groups will only lead to the scenario of drowning themselves together and dying along with all civilian ethnic people within current Manipur state. Under current social complexities (in 2013), it seems to hint that time has already slipped for Meitei nationalism (as promoted by Meitei militant groups since 1964) to reclaim the ancient Meitei country by just emphasizing on the merger of Manipur kingdom into Indian Union in 1949 and story of Anglo-Manipur War of 1891. Meitei militant groups need to broaden their thinking by understanding that Manipur’s ancient history and culture isn’t only about current Meitei group, but also for various tribal groups which are not yet inserted into Meitei group. Thus, their vision of Meitei country (under the banner of ‘Manipur’ brand) isn’t likely to be a reality; because every ethnic group (under the Indian Union) has got their desire to lead and not follow other ethnic groups.

Resurgence of Naga militant groups in current Manipur state around 1980 by trying to regroup different smaller tribes into Naga nationalism seem just only a reactionary measure to mistreatment in the past to those Naga militant leaders at Imphal city by few Meiteis (who were born and still living with kingship era mentality i.e. attitude existed prior to merger of Manipur state to Indian Union in 1949). Kuki militant groups trying to create Kuki nationalism seems another reactionary measure to Naga group’s ethnic cleaning in 1990s. Also, appearance of other tribal militant groups seems reactionary measures to Kuki and Naga militant groups for their survival and dominance within current Manipur state. Emergence of Muslim militant groups in Manipur may be also because of religious fundamentalists among Muslim community by copying militancy activities happening in other parts of India and abroad by Muslims.

A Way Out from Socio-Economic-Politico Issues:

Individuals (from all ethnic groups) born after 1970s (i.e. after statehood of Manipur state within Indian Union) are likely to be of different mindset (far away from ideologies prevalent in those Meitei kingship era), exposed to global thinking (by understanding diversities in different countries), inspired with knowledge (of scientific logical thought process toward humanity), and majority living as working professionals (in various part of India and abroad). Those non-resident groups of Manipur people are the best bet to bring socio-economic-political transformation in Manipur, because they are experts in own professional careers and think reasonably on logical ways. Amidst current complex mistrusts among ethnic and religious communities in Manipur, the biggest onus to bring change in Manipur state lies with the state govt; since majority of Manipur’s population still consider govt as the only impartial form of public governance.

Manipur State govt needs to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences among Manipuris (i.e. those non-resident people and local people) under a systematic approach to support and maneuver the impact. Govt ought to organize ‘Global Manipuris Summit’ annually similar to ‘Pravashi Bharatiya Divas’ (conducted by central Indian govt) to bring global Manipuris together again for sake of Manipur state. Also, ‘KEN-Manipur’ ought to be created by state govt to systematically support virtual Knowledge Exchange Networks per industry/knowledge sector wherein professionals of Manipur origin (from all ethnic groups across the globe) can share experiences and knowledge thereby making a huge socio-economic-political impact to the future of every village/town in Manipur. Thus, Manipur State govt has to initiate creating a mechanism for people to people interaction supporting activities of Govt’s public services and also facilitate people’s willful contribution on logical/humanity terms (instead of vested religious or ethnic or political contribution by a party).

Thus, we (the people of current Manipur) have to create a common vision for future Manipur State and the purpose of existence of Manipur in the future, if Manipur and Manipuris are to remain existing on Earth


About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com


Read Full Post »