By:- Robert J Baite *
Manipur is a mini-India, no doubt. Inhabited by different tribes practicing different religion, culture and tradition, our land is a vast treasure trove of relics, cultural practices and what not. It is also an undeniable fact that the people have been living harmoniously for eons in spite of the differences. To be more precise, the people of the State have a common root or ancestors, which can never be refuted by any history textbooks.
However, times changed and the umbilical cord which had held the various communities is being pulled from every directions, thus threatening to severe the fragile bond that have kept the society in a pack. Various incidents have taken place which antagonized the different communities of the State. We have also seen blood and mayhem on the soil between different communities who surrendered to the myopic and selfish agenda of the powers-that-be.
Many innocent blood have been drained down the Barak, Imphal, Nambul, Tuithapi, Khuga etc caught in the dance of communalism baptized by people who are hell-bent on driving a wedge between two communities who were otherwise living peacefully under the sun. Today, even though we are fortunate that no major communal clashes have been reported in recent years, nevertheless, tensions often simmer off an on, on certain sensitive issues.
Of course, the public who are by now fed up with bloodshed and gore have strongly resisted and stood as the Rock of Gibraltar, thus prevented such tension from boiling over the cauldron. However, there is no guarantee that there can never be another ethnic war because one can still feel the presence of people who would love sit on the fence and watch their brethren butcher each other. The truth is anything can happen in Manipur and if the people are not wary of such sinister designs, the State may burn again.
If we look at the situation today, we looked like we are divided as never before. Though we may shout from the podiums about unity and territorial integrity, we wonder if we are only good in giving good bhasans. In fact, we are fed up of these shouting and screaming about our age-old relationships. If one looks at organizations (except for one or two) including the underground organizations who claim to be working for the people and the motheriand, fissures among them are uncommon. Each pursue their own agenda, drive the so-called funds from the public, organizes seminar on various issues.
This is not discrediting the policies and ideologies of the organisations. The point is how many policies of how many organizations have been translated into actions? If their ideologies and policies is unity of the people of Manipur, then why is the organization(s) itself a divided house? And what about confrontations between different organizations that we hear or see more often than not? These are questions that the frontrunners of organizations and clubs should start asking themselves.
For how long can they get physical , moral or finance support from the public when their bhashans are not translated into reality Sometimes, there is suspicion that these organisations have been set up just to mind money and hoodwink the public. Coming to the question of unity, let us look at the some bare facts. How many clubs, organisations or student bodies who claim to be representing Manipur are represented by different community? Or why do we have a different organization for the tribals and a different for the valley people? Even within the tribal community, we have numerous clubs and organisations striving for the welfare of that particular community.
Of course, there is nothing against the formation of an organization by the particular community since it is indispensable for the welfare of that concerned community. The point is these clubs and organisations often have clashes of interest. Look at our students’ organisations outside the State. There is no student organisation who represents the whole State as Manipuris. Moreover, when one talks of the organisations working in tandem and unity, differences always appear. Or else, how do you explain the mushrooming growth of organisations in the State? The best example is when there is a social crisis, many leading organisations spell out their support for such incidents.
Example may be made of the Naobi’s molestation case where numerous organisations pledged their support. But none of them have decided to come under one umbrella and fight the cause. This is to conclude that when we talk of uniting the different organization under a single administrative head, everyone will be reluctant. The reason is simple. It is because; everyone wants to be the leader. None wants to give a space to the other person. Every self-styled leader thinks that he knows best and whatever decision he takes is the ultimate, throwing the opinion of others to the wind.
It would have been very simple if these so-called social leaders or social workers unite and work under a single administrative unit, then they can convince the people about the importance of unity or territorial integrity. But things as today, is easier said than done. No one wants to make a sacrifice. Each wants to have a slice of the cake and more often than not the whole cake itself along with the pudding. And,of course, how can one forget the conflict of interest among them leading to unsavory incidents. They would argue on one issue or other and try to hijack one issue to demonstrate their role of a social worker. The writings on the wall are clear. As long as the leaders remain disunited, it will be near impossible to bring unity among the people.