Crucial Time to Show Strong Solidarity against Any Unwanted Dictate
A fear and suspicion has ever been lurking far into the depths in everybody's mind in Manipur since the days when the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) agreed to talk over the table for peaceful or otherwise peace-breaking political resolutions. Some unscrupulous shallow political philosophers, mainly from the NSCN (IM) activists, might have thought it is a useless, time-wasting suspicion. What they should know is that Manipuris inclusive of all faiths, creed and culture are all patriotic sons and daughters, lovers of history and tradition, and they will be united solidly against any step to disintegrate the two millennium old ancient Manipur. A time-bomb of suspicion was about to explode during the days of the June 18 episode. Another powerful explosion was about to take place recently in the last week of the outgoing 2012. Somehow or other the atmosphere lulled down. A mother always has the softest corner for the oddest child of hers; but when it comes to the risk of family-integrity, good mothers always come to the hard decision of sacrificing her loved odd son.
An impish anticipation of a half-fulfilled and self-centered victory no doubt, must have also cast in the minds of those individuals among the few NSCM activists and NSCN oriented individuals. At the same time a mixed feeling of guilt also must have been very much there in them, least dire violent consequences should erupt in this region cornering themselves in a tight spot as they will be definitely pinned down with the name of the toe-curling name of braggarts who brought disintegration of this age-old nation or sub-nation. This none can askew from the truth.
Now the crucial time is at hand. It is time to forget all trivial squabbles that wasted time, energy and space in our social norms rather it is the hour of the day to show the strongest and most resistant solidarity against any unwanted dictate that might come off from the Indo-Naga dialogue.
Manipur has always been the unlucky mother under the whiplashes of history. The historical events how the British captured us, when the British left us with a hooking anchor on the arms of the new Govt of India and the coercion of the Govt of India with the trap of Maharaja Bodhachandra under house arrest during the signing of the Merger Agreement are all clear examples, which happened without much awareness and involvement of the public. The public never have been alert on such turn of events in the history of Manipur. All these events happened almost quietly strapping the so called political leaders, those days the kings and the people around the royal house, and a few self proclaimed political leaders, not sure whether they were really knowledgeable or not. The public just remained agape without knowing much of what happened and how it did in the past events of the history of Manipur.
Now we are in the age of democracy. The will and resolutions in matters concerned with the fate of the state should be in the hands of the public opinion and we are not supposed to be carried away by the decision of a few handful persons. The attitude of the GOI and NSCN (IM) with concealed agenda, not transparent to the concerned public, is highly condemnable. If the public of Manipur is suspicious of what is going in the dialogues, it is not their over-curiousness rather it is their wisdom. They have every right to know what fate the dialogue is going to slap on Manipur. It is being alert to doubt that once more again the Govt of India may coerce CM O Ibobi in the same way they did to Maharaja Bodhachandra 64 years ago.
What CM Ibobi should have done is to seek public opinion. Consultation with his Cabinet and a few legal experts is not good enough. He should have appealed to all, not only to the civil society organizations, but also to all sections of people, lawyers, teachers and professors, doctors, engineers, businessmen so on and so forth for a common consensus. He could have conducted kind of a referendum even. Then he should have asked the public of what he should say to Mr. Shinde, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan and, of course, to the NSCN (IM) guys. It is late now but it is better late than never. One more thing he should have done is to invite the Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and maybe others of other interested states of the North East and discuss the matter of the Nagas and come to a common line of strategy.
Historically, geographically and anthropologically Manipur should not have been divided into plain and hill areas. The so called plain area is not exactly of the kind of the plain as seen around the Ganges or the Brahmaputra; rather is kind of a plateau only. Manipur as a whole is all hills with a central plateau. All the natives of Manipur were settling in the hills and mountains only; they were all brethren-highlanders. The central valley was initially inhabitable as it was under water. The tops of the mounts of Koubru, Shelloi (Nongmaijeeng), Thangjeeng were the main centres of the early native settlement and growth of civilization in Manipur. The flooding water in the central valley later receded, the land became dried up. Then those who were fond of cultivation came down to the central plateau and started to settle down there to do farming and survive with their farm products. The different groups who settled in the valley came to have their own clan-names in seven names of Ningthoujas, Angoms, Luwangs, Leishangthems etc. War and battles among them did not stop. It was Pakhangba and Poireiton who decreed that no Ningthoujas or the other clans could marry among individuals of one single clan; it should be only intermarriage among the seven salais. That was how the Meitei or the Meetei nation got established. The Meiteis still had cordial relationship with their original brethren in the hill tops.
It is religion, Hinduism in the valley and later Christianity in the hills and mountains, which in fact was supposed to bring in peace and harmony, which ironically brought the divide among the so called hills and plain ultimately.
The Tangkhuls were the royal Nagas and they belonged to cultural centres of the yore because they were in constant touch with the kings of Manipur whereas the Nagas of the Naga Hills did not have such close touch with the Ahom or Cachharee kings of Assam. They remained as wild tribes left untouched in the jungles. It was only when the British constructed the present National Highway 39 during the World War II that they became prominent with Kohima standing as a centre of trade and commerce beside this main highway. Then the Kohima Town Club under the leadership of Phizo with the patronage of the British started to create the history of Naga revolution. Tangkhuls, who were the royal Nagas, and Nagas of the present Myanmar started to feel left out. They joined in the revolution. But when the NNC settled with the formation of Nagaland, the Tangkhuls and Nagas of Myanmar felt still more left out. That was how the NSCM took its birth. That has brought to this present picture.
Keeping all this past history in mind it is very sad that the Tangkhuls have the feeling of alienation from their brethren Meiteis whereas their language has got a lot more similarities with the Meiteilon than they have with any of the Nagaland Naga languages. With all these facts of history, geography and anthropology it is time to come to peaceful reconciliation and cohabitate comfortably to a negotiable political settlement but agreeable to all sections of people of the region.
At this present juncture, it is CM Ibobi only who will be the decoy and spokesperson for Manipur to talk with the GOI and NSCN chiefs. So it will be well to make Ibobi strong with the backing of Manipur's people so that he does not turn out to be another Maharaja Bodhachandra.