Friday, July 20, 2007

Unwise Delhi Police divisive policy on NE people

By Thohe Pou

We are happy that we have an IPS in Delhi from North East India. He is from Northeast and people from NE may feel good because there is some one from NE who can fight justice for the NE people. But bringing out the booklet, “Security tips for the Northeast students/visitors in Delhi” is unwise booklet, which brings more insecure and division to the NE people from the mainstream India.

Today, there is a booklet on, Security tips for the NE students in Delhi, but I am afraid that tomorrow there may be many such similar booklets for each community living in different parts of India. In every city or town there are some minority people and if we make a separate rule for the minority group with the interest of the majority people, the minority people will have no place to live.

Bringing the booklet on, Security tips for the northeast students in Delhi is one of the most unwise booklets. I am indeed sad to learn that IPS who seems to be educated person is trying to divide the NE people, and divert the NE people from the mainstream Indian. We know that there are many politicians trying their best to bring unity in diversity in India. But he is just enjoying writing to divide the people.

Most of the NE people want to have their own state/nation as we observed in last 30-50 decades. So trying to divide and make such kind of discrimination would be added another chance or encourage to go ahead with their agenda to live a separate nation. I am sure that it is not wise to make rule for some specific people. I think we should always take precaution in writing very critical view or making such of separate rule for those insurgent dominated region. If they are hurt, law is nothing to do and the gun/sword what they have in their hand may be used to find the justice. I am sad because the Delhi Moral Police is treating us unwisely also they are indirectly destroying the good work of last 20-30 decades of our politicians.

Mr. IPS from Arunachal Pradesh might have gone out of his head. How can he insist to make separate rule for the NE and divide the northeast people from mainland India when many politicians are trying to bring the whole northeast people under the mainstream of India, if he continues to insist on his writing, thinking that "Pen is mightier than sword", I am afraid that some of the insurgents from NE may teach a new lesson that "Sword is mightier than Pen” in this modern world. We all need to know that in this modern world, no one is the boss to dictate. It is becoming very difficult to use force without the concern of the people. Let’s learn to live together peacefully and share the problems to solve the problems for there is no any human problem, which is too difficult to solve.

Source: Sinlung.Com

The assertion of the mizo identity as seen in the 'Lengzem' Magazine

By Lalthansangi Ralte
University of Hyderabad

Lengzem is one of the most popular magazines in Mizoram. It is a magazine for all age – groups, containing articles with a serious tone, jokes and comic strips and puzzles. The word “lengzem” literally means love song. But the editor splits up the word as “leng” and “zem”. He takes the literal meaning of “leng” which is going out and “zem” which is to captivate / to attract. He takes the meaning of the word “leng” a further step forward by taking the youth as a representative for the outgoing people. He therefore says that Lengzem is a magazine which is made to attract the youth. The magazine also has a tag – line “Mitin mil chanchinbu” which, roughly translated, means “a magazine which caters to the taste of everyone”. I will be dealing with two columns from the magazine namely “Kher lo” (not always so / not really so) and “An ti” (people say). In these two columns, the editor challenges the powerful institutions in Mizoram namely the Church, MZP, MHIP and YMA. These two columns are a clever ploy to critique the society. Lengzem deals with the important social issues such as gender, identity and politics. The editor becomes free of blame as everything is done in a comic tone. The public cannot really get angry at the editor as he cleverly adds “not always so / not really so” and “people say”. The accusations and mockery are not serious but the public are anyway made aware of the social happenings. It is not surprising to find that these kinds of columns are popular because they serve to the likes of the public. The public can identify themselves with the situations portrayed. In Mizoram, jokes are the most prevalent form of Popular culture. The editor says that he uses the phrase “An ti” and “ Kher lo” as both allows everything to be included. He also says that both have room for things which are not all that serious and things which “appear to be”. He also feels that jokes can act as a means for reform in society.

Lengzem gives much importance to the institution of family. The editor and the other contributors are all family men. They identify themselves as the fathers of their children – for example – P.L. Liandinga [Dika Pa (Dika’s Father)] is how he writes his name and so do the other contributors. The two columns deal with the usual family problems. In the “Kher lo” column (Jan, 2006), it was written that “Most families who have problems do not always want to be helped out.” This line has become true in the contemporary Mizo society because many families have started to feel embarrassed to share their problems with their neighbours. The once close – knit Mizo society is gradually splitting up. People now want to keep their identity and their problems hidden. A person can no longer barge into another person’s territory. In the meantime, the Mizos are beginning to feel that their population is very less in comparison to the outside world. They fear that they might be taken over by the immigrants (especially the labourers) who do not really bother themselves with Family Planning. Even though they fear this, they still do not want to bring up children whom they cannot provide for. In the “Kher lo” column (Jan, 2006), it was written, “Those who support having more than two children do not deserve to have more.” The Mizos are divided between those who support Family Planning and those who feel that the need for Family Planning has not arise. Many people have started to feel the threat of the media on their families. In the “An ti” column (May,2006), it was written, “People say that rather than the serial Kasauti, it is the obsession with the serial that is more threatening.” Many families do not support serials which are all about love / lust, adultery and hatred / jealousy. The serials can act as a threat because of the way things are being portrayed. It often seems as though they are justifying adultery. And in the July ’06 issue of “Kher lo” it was said that “Not all brave men can control their wives.” Maybe the T.V. serials serve as an instrument which gives courage to the women to confront their husbands. In the “Kher lo” column (Aug,2006), it was written that “ Wedding rings do not always prevent a husband from abusing his wife.” Maybe this is a further outcome of the serials which gives courage to the wife to confront her husband, who in turn is beaten up as she is not allowed to assert herself. The Mizo society expects the wife to be submissive to her husband. She is to give in to his every wish. Once they are married, she no longer has an identity as she is dependent on her husband. Lengzem does not forget the lot of the poor. In the “An ti” column (July,2006), it was written that “Not every underprivileged family wants to be on the B.P.L. list.” Even if they get various kinds of charity, they do not want to be on the B.P.L. list because they will be recognized by the others only as a B.P.L. person. Many poor people would not want to be identified as such.

The problem with the political system of Mizoram is that people tend to label the politician with corruption. Lengzem also gives much emphasis to the trustworthiness of a person / institution. There has grown a huge gap between the state of the rich and the poor. In the “An ti” column (Aug,2006), it was written that “People say that the farmhouses of the rich is an insult to the poor”. The farmhouses of the ministers and politicians are far better than the houses of the poor. Many rich men compete to have the best farmhouses. Maybe it was because of this that it was written in the “Kher lo” (june, 2006), it was written that “Not all rich people are respected.” In this month’s issue it was also written that “All engineers are not corrupt”. There is a slight fault in the stereotypical perception of the public about the engineers. Corruption is present in all levels of employment from the highest to the lowest – from politicians and officers to taxi – drivers and labourers.

The church and faith are two of the most important things for a Mizo. in Mizoram, a person is judged according to his spiritual state, in the society a person is judged according to his loyalty to the church. A “spiritual” person is easily accepted everywhere so a person often tries to emphasize his / her spirituality. But Lengzem warns the people to be aware of fake “spiritual” people. In the “Kher lo” column (May, 2006), it was written that “We do not always believe everyone who says that he / she has seen heaven” and “Not everyone who has been to Wales is spiritually blessed” (Wales because it is the seat of the Christian missionaries who brought the Good News to Mizoram). There are also some people who try to gain recognition by contributing a lot of money to charity and to the church. These people often end up being accepted and the means through which they get their money is often forgotten as well. And so it was written in “Kher lo” column (June, 2006), “Not everyone who contributes a lot of money is a good person”.

Immigration of Non – Mizos into Mizoram is one of the major problems faced by the Mizos. the immigration of the Burmese is one of the major problems which causes further problems in the state. In the “An ti” column (May, 2006), it was written that “People say that there are only about 1% Burmese in Mizoram, yet 90% of the drug – dealers are Burmese and 80% of the prisoners are also Burmese”. The Burmese immigrants have become a threat as they are mostly drug – dealers in Mizoram. The Y.M.A. which is the strongest Non – government organization feels that the Burmese are a threat and so they want to get rid of them. Many youth who are to be the future of the state has died because of this illegal drug – trafficking. Inter – community marriage which is often the outcome of immigration is now regarded a threat for the society. In the “An ti” column (July, 2006), it was written that “People say that there is an increase in the number of Mizo women who need to get Inner Line Permits for their husbands”. If there are more inter – community marriages, then there will soon come a time when it will not be possible to have a “pure” Mizo identity. In the “Kher lo” column (July, 2006), it was written that “People who befriend Non – Mizos do not always want them for a husband or a wife”. The Mizos are a close – knit community and it was until recently that Non – Mizos have started to immigrate. The older generations find it difficult to accept the inter - mingling of races. The Mizos are a closed group who do not mind being secluded from the Mainland India in order to maintain their identity.

Recently, the Mizo women have started to become more and more independent. This newly – acquired independence is not really supported by the society. Women have started to travel on their own. But everywhere they go they are followed by rumours. In the “ Kher lo” column (Aug, 2006), it was written that “Not all women travelers are sexually lustful”. It is the small number of women with loose morals who make the whole lot of traveling women being identified as being “sexually lustful”. And in the “Kher lo” column (Jan, 2007), it was written that “All non – mizo men do not desire Mizo women”. This sounds very unpleasant for the Mizo women but it seems to have another connotation. It seems to tells us that since all non – mizo men do not desire Mizo women, the Mizo women are safe from the clutches of the non – mizo men. I feel that the stereotyping of Mizo women as “sexually lustful” alongwith the threat of the non – mizo men is the outcome of the inability of the society to come to terms with the newly acquired position of the independent woman. This new identity will need time to gain acceptance in a patriarchal society.

In Mizoram, there has been an increase in the number of “celebrity singers”. Many people try to assert themselves by gaining popularity through singing and making music videos. But the public are aware of the singers who do not deserve to achieve celebrity status. In the “An ti” column (Jan, 2006), it was written that “People say that songs which make no sense are gaining popularity”. The status of the Mizo music culture is slowly deteriorating and is being degraded by these wannabe “celebrity singers”. There are many celebrities who try to be different by arriving late at functions. They think that it is fashionable to arrive late. This case has been mentioned in Lengzem in the May and August issues of 2006. Although there are many fashionable “celebrity singers” and countless music videos, Lengzem in the “Kher lo” column of January, 2007 issue writes “Not al the famous singers dare to have a solo concert”. This mockery of “celebrity singers” appears to be very amusing. But since many people read this magazine, the public may be steered to look down upon the “celebrities”. I feel that unless we are able to appreciate our native “celebrities”, we still have a long journey ahead of us. We should be the first ones to appreciate them and make them popular so that they can gain popularity outside as well.

Mizoram is a state which has a population of more than 90% Christians. But even though it is a Christian state, it is not at all free of evil and sin. H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. have increased a great deal in Mizoram. Pre – marital sex is consifered a great sin and many people condemn it. In the “An ti” column (Jan,2006), it was written “People say that after New Year celebrations many people get themselves tested for H.I.V. under suspicion”. Even though Mizoram is a Christian state, the youth have a misconception regarding Christmas and New Year. Many regard this time as a festive time and so celebrates it with pomp and show. There are many youth who regard this time as a time for free, lustful, sexual encounters. In the “Kher lo” column (Jan,2007), it was written “Not everyone who get gifts at Christmastime are children”. These gifts are often of the kind which shows its sign after two to three months. Unsafe sexual relationships is considered a threat for the public as there many risks of getting sexually transmitted diseases. In the “An ti” column (July,2006), it was written “They say that India has the largest number of A.I.D.S. infected people”. Its is a very subtle way to make the Mizo public ware. But will they feel that this is meant for them as they are so secluded from the Indian public.

The Mizos are very much influenced by the Western world in fashion from low – waist / baggy jeans to tattoos. Although there is the usual fashion trend, there are also many who want to look different. I the “Kher lo” column (May, 2006), it was written, “All wrinkled shirts do not imply that the wearer has not ironed it”. Looking different has become fashion. “Weird” has also become fashion. Around the year 2002, tattoos became quite popular. At the same time, there were many people who could not accept it. In the “An ti” column (May, 2006), it was written that “People say that there is a Mizo girl who was rejected for a wife because she had a tattoo on her lower back”. The West has influenced the Mizos in speech as well as in pronunciations. This influence is again felt ore on the youth who are fonder of using slang. In the “Kher lo” column (July, 2006), it was written, “Everyone who knows the correct pronunciation of football stars do not necessarily know how to pronounce ‘Aibawk’”. Many of the youth especially the girls regard it as fashionable to spell place names like ‘Aibawk’ and ‘Aizawl’ as ‘Ibok’ and ‘Izol’ which is not Mizo anymore. It becomes more of slang. The editor calls this as “colonial hangover”. The Mizos are also influenced by the Korean movies and it is not only the girls who are influenced. The guys dress like the male Korean stars and even grow their hair. In the “An ti” (July, 2006), it was written that “People say that there has been an increase of gays after ‘Full House’ became popular” (‘Full House’ is a Korean serial). The guys are as well – dressed and as conscious as the girls and so they are more and more “gay – looking”. Many people regard the various influences of the outside world as threatening in the way of framing the identity of a person. These influences can often make a person unsure of his / her identity as a result of unconscious imitation. Owning the latest has become quite fashionable. Many people often buy the latest gadgets so that they will be able to show off. And it is usually the unemployed youth who have the latest gadgets. In the “An ti” column (June, 2006), it was written that “People say that we gain nothing except the weight of a cell – phone if it too big and modern”.

Mizoram is a hilly place and so houses often have to be built on the hill – sides. There are not many level grounds. Large spaces are required to build churches. So, many of the churches in Mizoram take up the all the allotted space and no space is left as compound. This often spoils the picturesque beauty of the landscape as there is only one huge building standing tall, somewhat awkwardly. In the “An ti” column (June, 2006), it was written “People say that most of the big churches in Aizawl are almost too big for the compounds”. Moreover, when there are functions and loud singing in the church, it often becomes disturbing for the nearby houses. There are many buildings which are without good foundations. In the “An ti” column (May, 2006), it was written that “People say that there is nothing more dangerous than having a concrete building so unstable that it needs the support of a wooden plank”. Such kinds of constructions are dangerous not only for the owners but also for the neighbours as they will not be able to live in peace. In Mizoram, a person is evaluated according to the land and houses he / she owns. A person in order to be a prominent person in the society has to have a house of his own. Therefore a person often tries to assert his identity by owning some private property.


M.Z.P. – Mizo Zirlai Pawl which means ‘Mizo Students’ Union’.

Y.M.A. – which means ‘Young Mizo Association’. It is one of the most powerful Non – government organizations in Mizoram which often works as a mob rule.

M.H.I.P. - Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl which means the United Organisation of Mizo Women. This organization looks out for the improvement of the state of the Mizo women.

Non – Mizo – The Mizos often use this phrase to imply all those who are not Mizo including all the other people of the North – eastern states. It is not a racist term but a term which is commonly used. It is used even in the church.

B.P.L. – Below Poverty Line. This categorizes the people whose monthly income is less than Rs.500.

I.L.P. - Inner Line Permit which a non - mizo has to have in order to enter Mizoram. This permit is made so that the Mizos may be able to safeguard themselves from the “others” an d so safeguard and maintain their identity.


Lengzem - January, 2006.
Lengzem - May, 2006.
Lengzem - June, 2006.
Lengzem - July, 2006.
Lengzem - August, 2006.
Lengzem - January, 2007.
Source: Sinlung.Com

Insecuring Cultures

By David Buhril

The security tips booklet written by Robin Hibu, West Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police, with overflowing good intentions, particularly for the North-East students and visitors from the region raised serious questions. In most compartments where the “strange tribe” are, there is strong resentment and boiling anger. One wonders if the same booklet was also made for the equally multiplying population from South India or for that matter for others from the rest of India. If not, it truly deserves a serious discourse and debate on culture, race, difference, accommodation, understanding and what not, which must have compelled the need for the booklet. In the absence of that necessary, the booklet is more a talibanisation effort than the celebrated democratic one, despite the good intentions. The history of good intentions is not a beautiful one. Jesus Christ was hanged because of his good and loving intentions to save the world. That was when the “concert for democracy” was far from coming of age. However, it ought to be different today in the context of the proud populous democracy in India’s capital city. Or is that just a farce mask? Or is the population so big that it looks democracy-like without exhibiting the true principles of democracy? A make-believe unseen glitz to please George Bush. If it is, it won’t be far from a mosque full of terrorist. Is India’s democracy housing Talibans? The booklet is far from drawing applause in the background of unhealthy prejudices and the ever-growing gap of differences and discriminations.

The tips are stressed with strong and authoritative restrictions: what to do and what not to do in the sea of unacknowledged plurality and diversity. I don’t know if we are diluting the purity of national food, if there is any, with the smell of our unique foods. I also don’t know if the dressing sense of our girls is leading the unholy mainstream Indians into that sinful fantasy. But I doubt. The deteriorating and degenerating cosmopolitan is not negotiating merely on what smell should be allowed and what should not be. It is much destructive than that.

The People from the North-East cannot be blamed for the hardened prejudices that have been attached to our existence. It is unfortunate that we are a prey to that prejudices. But it is obvious. It seems to be restrictive at times, but it is also dominantly revealing. This prejudices, if correctly understood, is unnecessarily framed by the set of issues that relates to the context of India’s diversity and plurality and the ignorance that follows. On the part of the people from the so-called “mainstream”, who bear and breeds the prejudices, there has been a big failure on their part. This failure can be translated to their failure to understand the diversity of India, its people, culture, tradition, language, dress, taste, smell, etc. In their failure to confront the reality of our continuous existence, they were cornered to adopt a hardened and fixed picture and character of the people from North East that actually digress from the reality of the population who belongs to the region. That point of digression is the point where prejudices begin.

The picture and image imagined by the mainstream and extreme Indians also never seem to include the visage, structure and colour of the North-East people. Our food, smell, flavour, dressing sense and taste, no doubt, remain a mystery or junglee, if not strange. The image which people from the North bears, then, stands out to question the picture of the “Indian” they have been imagining. The image of the people from the North East actually shifts away from that imagination by the man from the mainland. He, then, started raising too many questions, which is draped and wrapped by his ignorance, understanding, and reason. But does ignorance have to be racist or discriminating?

Our claim to be Indian is a surprise statement for their acceptance, despite the imposition through the unholy union. We still are not yet melted. They still could not smelt us too. This difference has created a big wall of indifference. And when the racial difference is followed by differences in our culture, approach, inclinations, etc, whatever we do become strange, surprising, different and many a times unacceptable to their pattern of standard they have narrowly fixed. This could be exploited by anyone who blindly talked about assimilation to please their higher ups in the rusted colonial hierarchical structure. However, such exploitation act as the breeding ground for enhancing the existing prejudices that has already brayed with racist tones. Do we necessarily need to fit into their ears, eyes, nose and senses to be counted as one or equal?

In the year, 2005, a girl from North-East was raped in Delhi. The next day, the Vice Principal of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi boldly said that there should be a dress code for North East students, particularly girls. How do we define such prejudices today? How do we justify their categorisation? Shall we say it is a regional discrimination? Or a little harsher and say it is racial. Today many of Delhi’s pubs and discos, I was told by those who have experienced, call them ‘victims’, would not admit or allow people from the North East. They did that by judging the colour of our skin and looks. Now we cannot just call that a regional discrimination. Rather, it about this overblown prejudices that is getting uncontrollably bigger. I must say again that our space is getting clogged. It has pricked our tolerance, reason and conscience, which is not fair or acceptable. We are not to be blamed. There is no denying that from our experience as a people in the mainland India, there is always a tendency, if not to belittle, then to dehumanise us.

The inclusion of tips for not cooking our beloved food in a security tips booklet will remain an ignorance of what security is all about. For that matter I don’t know what becomes insecure with our food and smell. Changing our food habits and dressing culture would not improve our relationship with the so-called mainstream Indians. It would not change anything either. If we have to change, they will also have to change their clogged mindset and vacate their sink of traditional prejudices. That will also have to affect the curriculum and syllabus in schools and universities. Otherwise, if the ignorance persists, let us doggedly continue to educate them with our presence, colour, dressing sense, tastes and smell. The new generations should rather find ways for marketing and patenting the unique smell. Look East for that. The grass is green there. At the same time, besides the need for mentioning the neglected North East in the national anthem, the good officer(s) should immediately train and educate it’s boys (Delhi Police) about the diversity and plurality of India without forgetting the North East too. If the capital city could not appetite or tolerate the smell, sights and presence of us, the institution that published the booklet should better propose to the HRD Minister to restructure education by keeping North East also in mind. Understanding and acceptance should be accompanied by understanding and accepting our food habits, dressing sense, besides our identity and culture. Any culture or identity is defined by smell, taste and colour. There is a need to acknowledge and accept us by understanding our culture and not through their culture. Otherwise, whatever the intentions, it would remain an indifferent tips that would not bridge the inevitable gap. But a small tips to the eight sisters and the rest of Indians: dress comfortably and eat healthily, while you uphold your identity and integrity.
Source: Sinlung.Com

UNLF Stand Irks HSA

Tuithraphai, Jul 20 : The Hmar Students' Association (HSA) today said that the association was disturbed over the recent press release by the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) that appeared in The Sangai Express on July 16, 2007 edition in which the "outfit continues to deny the involvement of any of its cadres in the Tipaimukh mass rape and molestation of 27 Hmar women and minors in January 2006".HSA advised that it was immature on the part of the organization to shed its credibility and defend the serious crime of its undisciplined cadres.

The statement issued by Lalthlamuana Hmar, general secretary of the HSA, General Headquarters said that the Hmar students body is also dismayed by "the UNLF's immature proposal to rope in the International Committee of Red Cross Society to independently probe the case as if the matter cannot be handled by Human Rights agencies in India", adding that, "As a responsible organization, the UNLF should be aware that ICRCS or any other International Human Rights agencies, leaving aside the United Nations (UN) agencies, hardly intervene on behalf of non-state actors where a democratically elected Government is in place and that Government is recognized by the UN and the World Nations.

Sad to say, the UNLF have been wrongly ill-advised by its frontal Human Rights organizations.

If the need be, the HSA is aware of more effective international organizations to investigate not only on the serious crime of rape, but also on torture, force labour, landmines, and forced displacement".

Hmar Students Association apart from demanding that findings of the State Govt instituted Rajkhowa Judicial Enquiry Commission in March 2006 on the mass rape of Hmar women folk be made public also alleged a human rights organisation (Human Rights alert) of not only attempting to keep the truth under wrap but is also siding with the perpetrators of the criminal act.

HSA also referred to comments of National Commission of Women and independent report of the NPMHR to substantiate its contention that unseen hands are at work to ensure the inhumane action of the armed UNLF and KCP activists do not get publicised.

The HSA also considers any attempt to move the crime scene as a deliberate attempt to hoodwink justice and infringe on the rights of the indigenous tribals in Manipur.

The HSA will vehemently oppose any such moves that would cause further indignity, physical and psychological injuries to the violated women, it added.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

President Kalam Last Week In India's Highest Office

It’s President Kalam's last week in office. As the ‘People’s President’ prepares to step down, people in his hometown Rameswaram get set for a hearty welcome party.

APJ Abdul Kalam who is known as a distinguished scientist and a popular president is seen as a style icon in his own village in Tamil Nadu. If you find that hard to believe, listen to what a local barber has to tell.

“There are many people who come to my shop asking for Kalam haircut. Though it is little difficult, we do it without charging extra,” says Murugan, a saloon owner.

However, Kalam cult is not just about the saloon with the Kalam cut. The house next to Ramanathaswamthy temple in Rameshwaram is the one where Abdul Kalam spent his earlier years. And the building now becomes a tourist hotspot.

“I really like the simplicity of the house and the President who grew up here,” says Mahesh Bhandarai a tourist.

If that wasn’t enough, you have President Kalam’s elder brother Muthu Meeran Labbai Maraikayar, who patiently poses for pictures outside the house. There is an endless stream of visitors, not only from around the country, but also from different parts of the world.

“People love and respect Kalam, that's why they come here and visit this house,” says Muthu Meeran Labbai Maraikayar, Abdul Kalam's Brother.

After Kalam became the president, his ancestral house became a new sightseeing spot, tells ShehanShah, an auto driver who has been taking tourists for sightseeing for the past 15-years.

“People are really astonished to see that the president has such a small house, at the same time they are also very happy about it. They also thank us for showing the house,” he tells.

So the next time you visit Rameshwaram, remember, there's more than beaches and temples to this ancient town. Many visitors are making this small house and the saloon a part of the pilgrimage.

Biography of Pratibha Patil

Biodata of President Canidate for India

Name : Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil
Father's Name : Shri Narayan Rao
Date of Birth : 19th December, 1934
Place of Birth : Distt. Jalgaon (Maharashtra)
Marital Status : Married on 7th July, 1965
Spouse's Name : Sh. Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat
Children : One son & one daughter
Educational Qualifications : M.A., LL.B.Educated at M.J. College, Jalgaon (Maharashtra) & Govt. Law College, Bombay.
Profession : Social worker, practiced as Advocate at Jalgaon.

Permanent Address :

(a) 57, New Congress Nagar, Opp. Govt. Milk Scheme, Amravati (Maharashtra)

(b) 1701, Wainganga, Worli Sagar Cooperative Housing Society, Pochkhanwala Road, Worli, Bombay - 400 018.

Present Address :

Raj Bhawan, Civil Lines, Jaipur. Tel. (0141) 2228792 (Secretary), 2228716 (PBX) Fax (0141) 2228737 (ADC)


Political Career

Governor of Rajasthan: November 8, 2004 – present

Member of Parliament(Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha): 1985 – 1996
Constituency: Amravati

Member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly: 1962 – 1985

Deputy Minister, Public Health, Prohibition, Tourism, Housing and Parliamentary Affairs, Govt. of Maharasthra: 1967-72

Cabinet Minister, Social Welfare, Govt. of Maharashtra: 1972-74

Cabinet Minister, Public Health and Social Welfare, Maharasthra: 1974-75

Cabinet Minister, Prohibition, Rehabilitation and Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Maharashtra: 1975-76

Cabinet Minister, Education, Govt. of Maharashtra: 1977-78

Leader of Opposition, CLP(I), Govt. of Maharashtra: 1979-1980

Cabinet Minister, Urban Development and Housing,
Govt. of Maharashtra: 1982-85

Cabinet Minister, Civil Supplies and Social Welfare,
Govt. of Maharashtra : 1983-85

Elected to Rajya Sabha: June, 1985-90

Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha: 1986-1988

Chairman, Committee on Privileges, Rajya Sabha Member, Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha: 1986-88

Elected to 10th Lok Sabha Chairperson, House Committee, Lok Sabha: 1991

Governor of Rajasthan: 8 November 2004

Political Highlights

16th Governor of the Rajasthan.

Served as the deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha

Rajasthan's first female governor

Currently the only female state governor in India

Pratibha patil's Family Life

Born into the wealthy Jalgaon town of Maharashtra, Pratibha Patil was married to Devisingh Shekhawat of Amravati in Vidarbha 42 years ago. They have one sone and one daughter.

Prathibha Patil is a post-graduate in arts and law, having studied both in the small town and in Mumbai. She was first elected to the Maharashtra assembly in 1962. She remained a member of the house until 1988.

From 1967 to 1972, she was a deputy minister in the Maharashtra government, and then from 1972 to 1978 was a cabinet minister in the state holding several portfolios. She was the opposition leader in the Maharashtra assembly in 1979-80.

For two years from 1986, Pratibha Patil was deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Widely travelled, she was last elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991, in the general election marred by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Besides having been president of the Maharashtra Congress chapter, she is credited with establishing hostels for "working women" in Mumbai and New Delhi, an engineering college at Jalgaon for rural youth, a women's cooperative bank also at Jalgaon, and schools for poor children in Maharashtra.


Back To School Where God Is Principal

Tia Paranjape

Life is an institution. We have a principal, God, who looks over the entire working of our life. He allots teachers, namely our parents, to guide us through this path. We learn lessons and it is up to us whether we want to pass or fail. Every morning we wake up and give a tick mark to the attendance file of our lives. The only difference in this school of life is you cannot play truant even for a day! Though from time to time one may doze off and not pay heed to the message that is being given to us.
From the start my parents taught me and my sister to be good human beings first. Life has been kind, sometimes harsh but mostly fair. We make many mistakes, some of which we admit and others, we conceal. But now that i’m 22 years old, i can review every step taken by me.
Think positive. Yes, it’s that simple. Thoughts are actions. Imagine if there are a billion good thoughts, the universe will throw back a billion good actions.

Something within tells me: “Forget the world and listen to your heart”. If we all just start listening to our inner soul maybe we won’t be scratching our heads while taking the final exam. I am not at all close to being perfect but i know i want to get near it... not by mastering the business world, not by buying the perfect car or the perfect house, but by being the perfect self. The perfect self according to me... is kind, compassionate, and empathetic... one who sees the good in people and shares the good within themselves.

The true test is for us to examine, and to be honest to ourselves before we give a tick mark to our answer sheets. I had a lot of questions ready, my doubts all written, point by point... since i could not get the answer from my teachers i made an appointment with God. Doubts about life, love, death, fear, sorrow... i was angry. Why can’t He guide us?

God was there by my side, every minute, every step. Even though i haven’t gotten all the answers i know i will get there... He will take me there, in my own time, the same way He has gotten me here, where i am now.

Some say one should never pity nor envy anyone else... and i am happy to be me. The first important teaching to learn, count your blessings. We all stand to be a little more aware about what life is really trying to teach us... and for some be aware that life is trying to teach us something.

Money is like our grades in school... it helps us move to the next step but after that, who remembers what we scored in maths in the third standard? People forget that when we die... money does not come along with us. It becomes like our grades, we don’t remember how much we earned or how much we lost. Families fight, friendships are ruined; parentchild bonds are broken. Isn’t that a waste... why would anyone choose paper over love?

Here’s a plea for whoever is reading this... let us all try and be the best pupils in this school called life. Be true... love not only others but also yourself. Love God wholeheartedly because that’s all He wants, and you know what they say: “Be in His good books and you will go to the head of the class”.

The Zomi tribes may be classified into three zones according to their geographical habitation, viz

Southern Zomi,
Central Zomi and
Northern Zomi.

This classification is not very different from the conventionally made classification in the Linguistic Survey of India and other linguistic literature. So far as the history, language, and culture of the people are concerned, the Zomi would seem to be divided into North and South in contrast to the general east-west concept.

The Zomi Tribes : Southern Zomi

The Southern Zomi includes the Asho, the people of Kanpetlet, Patletwa and Matupi areas such as Chinbok, Chinme, Chinbon, Khumi, Khami, Mro, and Matu. The Asho (or the plains’ Chin) are found to have been geographically concentrated in such locations as Thayetmo, Insein, Minbu, Prome, Aunglam, Akyab, Sandoway, Syrian and Cape of Morton in the plains of Burma. Among the Southern Zomi, the Khyang and Chaungtha in Paletwa district of the Chin State have old relationships with the Arakan, like that of the Old Kuki to Manipur and Tripura.

The Zomi Tribes : Central Zomi

The Central Zomi includes the Falams, the Hakas, the Thantlang, the Maras (Lakhers), the Lushei, the Hmars, the Zahaus, the Hualngou, the Khuanglis, the Tlasun, the Laizou, the Bawmzou, the Zoukhuas, the Tawrs, the Zoutung, the Ngentes, the Kneltes, the Fanais, etc. They are found to have been geographically concentrated in such locations as Northern Arakan District, the Pokokku Hills, the Central portion of Chin State (all in Burma), Mizoram, Tripura Hills and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The old Kuki groups of the anthropological and linguistic literatures like Bete (Biate), Halam, Chote (Purum), Hrangkhol, Ngente, Aimol, Kom, Anal, Chiru, Mayon, Monsang, Koireng, Tarau, etc. also belong to the Central Zomi tribes whereas the Vaiphei and the Gangte belong to the Northern group.

The Zomi Tribes : Northern Zomi

The Northern Zomi constitutes the Galte (Ralte), Gangte, Paite, Sihzang, Simte, Tedim, Vaiphei, Thadou, Zoute, etc. They are found to have been geographically concentrated in such locations as the Tonzang district, the Tedim district (both in Burma), the north-east of Mizoram, the Naga Hills, the Somra Tracts, the Hkamti district, the Kale-Kabaw valley and the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam. The Northern Zomi’s socio-cultural system is basically complex but despite important structural distinctions, they have closer affinity to the Central Zomi, rather than to the Southern tribes.

In Manipur, as many as 21 tribes are listed as Scheduled tribes in the 1956 Tribe Reorganisation viz, Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chothe, Gangte, Hmar, Koireng, Kom, Lamkang, Maring, Mizo, Monsang, Moyon, Paite, Purum, Ralte, Simte, Suihte (Sukte), Thadou, Vaiphei, Zo. Even at present, the Mate, Kharam, Chongthu, Tarao and the Enpai are applying for recognition as a tribe in Manipur. All these tribes, inspite of minor dialectical differences, belongs to the same linguistic family, sharing common customs, culture, folktales, folksongs, passing through similar historical process, are descendents of common ancestor, Zo and inhabiting contiguous areas.

It may be noted that the Anal, Lamkang, Maring, Monsang and Moyon tribes in Manipur are ethnologically and historically the Zo descendants, however politically they are inclined to calling themselves Naga due to weak centripetal political movement among the Zomi in the past.

The Zomi tribes inhabiting the Tripura state of India are the Molsom, Langrong, Chongrai, Bong, Kaipeng, Hrangkhawl, Ruankhum, Darlong, Lushei, Rangchan, Paite/Paitu, Namte, Mizel, Lantei, Laifang, Fun, Khephong, Khareng, Balte, Jantei, and Hajango.

In Bangladesh, about seven Zo tribes can be identified viz; the Bawmzo, Asho, Khami or Khumi, Kuki, Lushei, Mosho and Pankhu.

Almost all the tribes inhabiting the Chin State in Burma and Mizoram state in India belong to Zo racial groups.

Ethnologically, the above named tribes belong to Zomi group because their progenitor is Zo. The close ethnicity is proved by the peculiarity that though variations in dialects exist, the Zomi - unlike other tribes - can converse with one another in their respective dialects with 70% comprehension. Thus the chain of their relationship is circumscribed not only by geographical bounds, but more often by racial unity.

A more detailed study into Zomi languages was made in 1931 and 44 (forty four) separate dialects were recorded as belonging to Kuki-Chin (Zomi) group.

As per the memorandum submitted to the British Government on April 22, 1947 by the Mizo Union, 47 (forty seven) major Zomi tribes were included, viz Aimol, Anal, Bawng, Baite, Bawngzo, Chiru, Chawhte, Chawrai, Chongthu, Chongthu, Darlawng, Dawn, Fanai, Hmar, Hrangkhawl, Hnamte, Kaihpen, Khumi, Khiang, Khiangte, Khawlhring, Kawm, Lushei, Lakher, Langrong, Mualthum, Miria, Ngente, Paite, Pawi, Purum, Pangkhua, Pangte, Pante, Pawite, Ralte, Renthlei, Thadou, Tarau, Tikhup, Tloanglau, Tlau, Vangchhia, Vaiphei, Zoute, Zawngte and Gangte.

Zomi Inhabited Areas

The Zomi occupy a contiguous region of about 60,000 square miles , not counting the Asho settlements in Lower Burma and Masho settlements in the Arakan (Burma). The area extends from latitude 25º 30’ North in the Somra tracts facing Mt. Saramati, and in Nagaland across the Namtakik River and the North Cachar Hills, to about 20º 30’ North Latitude. The longitudinal extension is between 92º 10’ East and 94º 20’ east. The North-South length of the Zogam is roughly 350 miles and East-West is generally about 120 miles wide.

S. T. Hau Go, a former Lecturer of Mandalay University and an authority on the Zomi wrote:

“Our present geographical distribution extends from the Naga Hills and the Hukawng Valley in the north to Bassein and the Irrawaddy Delta in the south, from the Irrawaddy and Sittang Valleys in the east to the Arakan coast, Bangladesh, Assam and Manipur in the West. In short, we occupy the mountainous region between India and Bangladesh in the west and the Chindwin-Irrawaddy valleys in the east, and the plains and valleys adjacent to these hilly regions.”

One Zomi folksong tellingly delineates the area of Zogam as follows:

“Penlehpi leh Kangtui minthang,
A tua tong Zouta kual sung chi ua;
Khang Vaimang leh tuan a pupa
Tongchiamna Kangtui minthang aw”
(The famous Penlehpi and Kangtui
Between the two is the Zomi country
The Southern King and our forefathers
Made an agreement at the famous Kangtui)

This old folk song clearly tells us the area of the Zomi ancestral homeland, for Penlehpi is a Burmese word for the Bay of Bengal and Kangtui is identified with Tuikang (Chindwin River).

This Zoland is geographically contiguous, compact and has been the land where the Zomi permanently settled for centuries (see maps). Here they lived in complete independence before the advent of the British. They lived without any outside interference and domination, and no part of her territory had been subjugated. Within their territory, they were knitted together by common traditions, customs, cultures; mode of living; language and social life (see Zomi Nationalism). They governed themselves in accordance with their customary laws. It was a sovereign land where the people enjoyed perfect harmony on their own (see Zomi as an Indigenous People).

Fragmentation Of Zogam

In 1824-’26, Lord Amherst waged the Anglo-Burmese War. This was followed by the Treaty of Yandaboo on February 24, 1826 by which Assam, Arakan and Tennessarim were annexed to the British India Empire. In 1834 another Treaty was signed between the King of Burma and the British representative, Captain Permberton, in which an imaginary line was drawn through the Zo country. Thereby the hilly regions of the present eastern and southern Manipur were to be looked after from Manipur. Then, with the partition of Burma from India in 1937, the line became the India-Burma boundary. This boundary effectively divided the Zomi between two British administrative units, one in Burma and the other in India. The dividing line however means nothing to the Zomi. In the words of Alexander Mackenzie,

“..according to the boundary laid down by Captain Pemberton, contained in the Treaty of 1834, part of the Sootie (Zomi) tribes at present live in Manipur and part in Burmese or independent territory”

He went on to remark that,

“So far as our records show, the Burmese government do not appear even to have exercised any control over the Sooties (Zomi) to the south of the Manipur boundary line. The whole tribe seems to be practically independent, and not to have been affected at all by the Treaty of 1834….no Burmese officers appear to have ever taken charge of this tract of territory under the fifth Article of the Treaty, and the Burmese and Manipuris alike appear to have treated the Sooties (Zomi) as wild and hostile tribes not amenable to their territory”

Nevertheless, the Zomi became divided as boundaries were drawn across their traditional homelands by the British colonizers without the consent of the people.

In the case of the present-day Mizoram, the Lushai Expedition of 1871-72 brought the Lushai Hills under the British rule from 1889. In 1891, the British created the South and North Lushai Hills district, each district under a Superintendent or Political Officer. The South was administered from Bengal and the North from Assam. In 1898 the two districts were merged and the Lushai Hills was made a part of Assam. With the partition of Burma from India, in 1937, the Lushai Hills was ceded to India.

Thus, Zoland was fragmented into two: one segment went to Burma, the other segment to India. At that time, the Zomi in India and Burma were too illiterate and ignorant to have a conception about their future political destiny. They, in the true sense, were politically unconscious and subsequently some part of Zogam was annexed to Burma while the other part to India without their knowledge and consent and even concern. This can be regarded as the greatest blunder the British committed against the Zomi.

The partition of Pakistan from India in 1947 resulted in further fragmentation of the India segment of Zogam into smaller units. The Bordoloi Committee’s Report (July 1947) recommended that the Chittagong Hills Tract and the southern part of Tipper Hills be ceded to Bengal (now Bangladesh) thereby, further splitting the geographical areas inhabited by the ZO people. It may be noted here that, the Chittagong Hill Tract was administered from Bengal since 1860 through Act XXII of 1860, and inhabited mostly by Kuki-Chin groups (Zomi) such as the Bohmong, Chakma, Magh and Mro tribes who have their tribal origin in common with the Lushai. Therefore, the ceding of Chittagong Hill Tract to East Pakistan (Bangladesh) not only divided the Zomi but also created several serious problems for India. In this regard, SK Chaube remarks:

“The loss of the Chittagong Hill Tract created for India a number of problems. The Kuki-Chin solidarity over the southern part of Hill Tipperah, the Chittagong Hill Tract and the Lushai hills was broken, and intensified the kind of ‘irredentist’ feeling that had been growing among the people since the separation of India and Burma in 1937. In the absence of a natural boundary between the Lushai and the Chittagong hills, the area developed into a paradise for smugglers and outlaws.”

Vumson also remarks in the same line as:

“This action, once again, intensified the kind of irredentist feeling among the Zomi, that had been growing since the separation of India and Burma in 1937.”

Thence, one part of Indian Zogam went to Assam (now forming Mizoram), one part went to Manipur (forming Churachandpur and Chandel districts and, the Sadar Hills), another part went to Tripura, and Assam, and another part went to Pakistan (now Bangladesh) while the Burmese part formed the Chin State and part of Arakan, Magwe & Sagang division. The impact of this fragmentation on the Zomi was clearly pointed out by Carey and Tuck, thus:

“By the delimitation of the Manipur boundary How Chin Khup (Zomi Chief) lost several villages which his forefathers had conquered and which up to that time had paid him a nominal tribute…, The border line between the Chin Hills and Manipur has carved the Thado tribe (Zomi tribe) into two…”

Thus, ZOGAM was dismembered into several pieces through which the international boundaries of India, Burma and Bangladesh and the State boundaries of Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Assam crisscross through. The ZO people were scattered and appended to these independent nations without the people being physically transported and emotionally integrated to, and without their knowledge and consent. In each of the countries they belong, they are inevitably minorities, convenient to be governed, subjugated and made aliens in their own land. They have been raided and massacred. Their humble habitations have been razed to the ground time and again. While they feel that they are moving within their own territory, they are treated as intruders, called treacherous people and jailed and punished severely. While they uphold their customs and traditions, they are being treated as violators of the law of the land, in the very land of their legends, poems and folksongs.

Today, the Zomi somewhat enlightened are not allowed self-determination and their own political destiny. They are deprived of their rights and privileges by being swamped by a dominant society. They are deliberately deprived of the economic development in each of the power they were appended to, and so their lands remains the ‘most backward,’ ‘the poorest’ and the ‘most secluded region’ in their respective countries. Laws, Acts and discriminating Rules were passed to exploit the people, the land and their natural resources which the Creator had gifted and preserved for them. And even in the dawn of the 21st century, they are not only suppressed and isolated but deceived and weakened by passing divisive Acts and Rules. The independence of India, Pakistan and Burma from the British has meant nothing to them. Instead, they added to their woes and dragged them deeper into bondage by restricting their freedom and liberty. More than a century has passed after their dismemberment and yet not a single part of their country has a railway line, an airport, a University (except Mizoram) a modern hospital, not to talk of industry! No one heeds their cry: it is inaudible, hushed by the lonely hills and lonelier vales. But they will never forget their land of freedom and can never rest till they are emancipated from bondage. Hence, re-unification of the scattered Zomi of India, Myanmar and Pakistan (now Bangladesh) has been the long cherished dream and desire of the Zomi.

Manipur: Militants vs. Development

M. Amarjeet Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

‘Development' has often been touted as a panacea for militancy in various theatres in India, and this is almost a basic article of faith in the bureaucracy and planning establishment. The result is that large financial allocations are made under a range of special schemes for areas afflicted by insurgency and terrorism, and these are duly expended by the Governments in these troubled regions. Outsiders are often mystified, however, that there is little evidence of these enormous ‘developmental' allocations and expenditures having a visible impact on the conditions prevailing in the target areas or on the populations that are supposed secure benefits and relief.

Manipur is a case in point. Between 1993-94 and 2003-04, in addition to its share of central taxes, which amounted to INR 22.7 billion, Manipur received another INR 60.8 billion in Grant-in-Aid from the Central Government under various developmental programmes, special allocations and other provisions intended to secure advancement in the State. Despite this, however, the State remains mired in poverty and backwardness, with avenues for employment chronically stagnant in virtually every sector, with the exception of the militancy itself, which has emerged as the largest ‘employer' in the State, after the Government. The per capita net income of the State at current prices was INR 11,370 for 1999-2000 as against the All India average of INR 16,047. There are more than 400,000 unemployed persons as per the live register of the Employment Exchanges (which represent, at best, an incomplete picture of total unemployment in the State), in a population of under 2.4 million. 76 per cent of a total 774,904 workers in the State are engaged in agricultural activities over a total cultivable area that covers just 9.41 per cent of the total area of the State, suggesting very high levels of disguised rural unemployment. Worse, several large manufacturing industries have shut down, while small enterprises are being progressively crippled.

Why the ‘developmental panacea' does not – cannot – work is evident even on the most cursory study of the circumstances that prevail in a situation of widespread intimidation, disorder and terrorism. In Manipur, large proportions of the State's resources are both directly and indirectly siphoned out by the militants' extortion campaigns, even as the delivery mechanisms for the developmental and relief services of the State collapse, bringing planned developmental activities to a standstill.

Over the years, Government departments in Manipur have regularly paid out a fixed percentage of their revenues to various militant groups. Further, the insurgents also directly interfere in the award of Government contracts and execution of developmental projects, which essentially are reduced to largesse that they come to control, rather than projects to be executed on the ground. On February 8, 2006, employees of the fisheries department went on a general strike at Lamphel in the capital Imphal, in protest against extortion notices issued by unspecified militant outfits. More recently, four officials of the state food and civil supplies department were abducted by suspected United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF) cadres from different places in Imphal on June 12, 2006, for their failure to meet monetary demands that have been intimidated to their respective offices. One of them was rescued by the Manipur police from a spot near Aimol village in the Thoubal District on June 16. Earlier, unable to cope with such undue interference, the taxation wing of the Manipur Government ceased to function after all the employees, barring the Head of Department, took leave en masse on August 25, 2005, following threats from various militant groups. Media reports indicate that this was the first time in Manipur that an entire office complex was closed down in protest against intimidation by the insurgents.

In such an environment of rampant extortion, compounded by widespread corruption at every level of the State administration, development activities have languished. Basic infrastructure facilities like roads, communications, health care and education, all show visible signs of decline. At a function in Imphal on June 2, 2006, the Chief Minister noted, "No outside firms take interest in working in the State due to huge extortion demands. Underground groups, irrespective of whether they belong to the Hills or Valley, have been demanding their percentage from any development project taken up in the State". Earlier at Khongjom in the Thoubal district on April 23, 2006, the Chief Minister said, "All development projects have been stalled for interference by militant outfits. The construction of a flyover in Imphal is delayed because the militant outfits are demanding a certain percentage of the project fund. The construction of the Assembly complex has also been similarly stalled." Confessing his Government's inability to deal with the situation, the Chief Minister asked ‘public organisations' for help in tackling the situation.

The Public Distribution System (PDS), which is intended to provide essential commodities at affordable prices, particularly to the poorer and more vulnerable sections of the population, has also been among the principal targets of the insurgents, who siphon off rice, sugar, wheat and other essential commodities, selling the bulk of these in the black market, though a small fraction of the total quantities is also distributed to narrowly targeted groups in their areas of domination at reduced prices in order to secure support and legitimacy. At meeting of legislators of the ruling Secular Progressive Front (SPF) held in Imphal on June 7, 2006, apprehensions were expressed regarding the failure of the PDS in the State, largely due to the activities of different militant groups. Some of the legislators who attended the meeting pointed out that at least 85 per cent of the PDS items were ‘diverted' to meet the militants' demands.

The functioning of Manipur's only medical institute, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) at Imphal, has also been repeatedly affected by undue militant interference. On June 14, 2005, an unidentified militant group served an extortion demand of INR 1.5 millions to its management. Earlier on May 9, 2005, a senior doctor, Yumnam Nandabir Singh, was abducted by the militants and a demand for INR 3 million in ransom was raised. He was ultimately freed on May 14, but it is not clear whether Singh bought his freedom by acceding to the ransom demands. Such developments have compelled at least seven senior doctors and professors to leave the Institute. There have also been several reports of the possibility of the Institute being shifted to Shillong on security grounds. Over 52 per cent of the respondents in an online poll conducted in January 2005 by Kanglaonline – a web portal – felt that "Underground organisations" should be held responsible if RIMS is shifted from Imphal to Shillong – as contemplated by the North Eastern Council, the region's planning body, which funds the Institute. "Even during war, hospitals are not targeted. But here in Manipur, several militant groups are trying to loot the hospital and people in the name of sovereignty. It is very unfortunate," the chief minister declared in the State Assembly on June 24, 2005.

Militant groups have also increased their share of booty from the general population, with extortion targeting almost every segment of the population. This has resulted in both protests and in the stifling of projects in the private sector. Thus, on May 30, 2006, the All Manipur Auto Rickshaw Owners and Drivers Association appealed to an unspecified militant group not to serve monetary demands on auto rickshaws owners and drivers. A statement issued by the Association in Imphal appealed to the group to understand the difficult conditions under which they earned their livelihood. On May 18, 2006, unable to meet the extortion demands served by suspected People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), twelve brick-kilns located at Pangei, Haotal and Waiton areas in the Imphal East District, temporarily closed down. On April 1, 2006, four staff members of a private recording studio were abducted by suspected Kuki National Front (KNF - Zougam faction) from Tuibong for their refusal to pay extortion amount of INR 200,000. They were subsequently released after an unspecified amount of money changed hands.

The road transport sector in the State – Manipur's lifeline, since virtually all goods and commodities have to be brought from the outside – is regularly targeted, and large segments are controlled by various insurgent groups, each of which levies a variety of ‘taxes' on every vehicle. On several occasions, services of passenger and transport vehicles running along the two national highways (NH-39 and 43) were disrupted following the threat from militant outfits to increase the amount of extortion collected from the vehicle owners. There have also been number incidences of attacks on tankers carrying liquefied petroleum gas and diesel/ petrol over the years. Militancy has also disrupted road construction and maintenance work on these highways, as militants have hijacked vehicles and abducted and harassed construction workers.

Of late, there have been some isolated incidents of protests against the militant diktats. On June 12, 2006, the entire Sagang Bazar observed a shutdown and local residents staged a dharna (sit-down strike) in protest against excessive monetary demands imposed by the UKLF, on some shopkeepers and other residents of Sagang and Borayangbi villages. Earlier on July 23, 2005, about 500 students took out a ‘peace rally' in Kakching town against illegal demands by militants on school authorities. On July 14, 2005, about 12 village Pradhans (head men) of Langmeidong block submitted mass resignations to the Deputy Commissioner of Thoubal District in protest against the militants' extortion demand. The insurgents had demanded a share out of money allocated to the Pradhans for village development.

Manipur has a vocal ‘civil society' which has dramatically protested against alleged human rights violations by the Security Forces and worked to fight against other social ills, including drug addiction, AIDS, alcoholism, etc. Despite the enveloping and uniformly adverse impact of extortion and militant intimidation on the State's development and on the living conditions of the people, however, otherwise vocal civil society bodies have remained persistently silent, strengthening significant claims that many of these ‘civil society' groups are, in fact, front organizations of militant outfits. That said, the utter incapacity of the State Government to recover even a narrow area of order free from extortion and intimidation at least within the Imphal Valley, indeed, even in State Capital, Imphal, points to a political paralysis and administrative incapacity that shows no signs of diminution.


:: H i s t o r y ::

Part 1

When one looks at the map of Asia he will find China, India and Burma. The Tri-junction is the position of Nagalim. Nagas are a distinct ethnical stock of Mongoloid race. They migrated to the present Nagalim in two broad waves. Originated from Mongolia, according to oral traditional history.

Both the waves passed through western China (Yunan Province). The first wave passed through upper Burma and occupied the present so-called Arunachal. The second wave stayed in Burma and settled down there for a considerable length of time. And in course of time moved towards west to the present central Nagaland, Manipur, North Cachar Hills and Assam.

Before the advent of the British they remained Independent of any foreign domination. Each village was a republic of its own in most of the tribes-like that of Greek City States. The Nagas have a distinct social life, manner of living, laws, customs and their method of governance of the people is quite different. In religion, they practiced enimism before accepting, Christianity. The Nagas have an efficient system of Administration. Most of the tribes retain to a considerable degree their ancient laws and customs and village organization which have lasted through centuries and these form an integral part of their life. Democracy in its purest form existed among the Nagas. The basis of the Naga system is the village organiztion. Every villageis an independent unit in the tribe. Villages are managed by a Council of Elders and men of influence elected by the people. Such a polity, such a state of society and democratic life is rare to be found. History speaks of the frequent contacts between the Nagas and Ahoms of the plain areas of Assam during pre-British occupation of assam. These contacts were sometimes fierce resulting in battles and sometimes cordial for reasons of conducting peaceful trade relations which were conducted through the barter system. But the Ahoms never attempted to interfere with Naga way of independence.

The British took over a part of naga territory: The opening of a direct route between the Assam valley and Manipur necessitated the British to come in contact with the independent Nagas for the first time since the beginning of time and the result was the annexation of a part of the Naga territory to the British Empire in the first half of the 19th century A.D. It was in 1832 that a survey party to undertake a survey of the proposed route penetrated into the Angami country of the Naga territory led by Captain Jenkins and Pemberton from Manipur. The party met with strong opposition from the Nagas and the foreigners suffered some casualties at the hands of the independent Nagas.

The British realised that without showing the might of the sword it would be utterly impossible for them to penetrate through the Naga teritory. Thus during the period of 1839-1846 altogether 6 expeditions were sent out to suppress the Nagas and during the years that followed thereafter the Anglo-Naga history is marked with many bloody battles.

This period of control by a system of show of force from outside Naga territory did not prove sufficient to subdue over the Nagas permanently by establishing outposts within Naga territory during the British occupied portion of the Naga territory which was declared a "British District" and Kohima was made the Chief Administrative Centre of the area. When once a colonial base was founded the British imperialist were ambitious for further territorial expansion and thus the Sema country was made a "Control Area" in 1887. And in 1889 the Ao country was taken over and another sub-centre was established at Mokokchung.

The controlled Nagas found their world changed with the advent of the British. British administration came into force in the occupied territory through political Officers. Village Chiefs and Elders were encouraged to look after the welfare and civic needs of the villages. Inter-Village feuds came to an end and head-hunting became a thing of the past within Naga Hills District boundaries. The Nagas accepted what life offered, lived their own life in their own mountain villages, happy and content, peaceful and romantic.

Part 2: The Free Naga Territory - "FREE NAGALIM"

The British could take over and control only the south-eastern part of Naga territory during the period of 1832-1880 which came to be known as the British District. But the North and eastern part which formed the larger part of the Naga territory, was left uncontrolled and unoccupied by the British.

This uncontrolled part of Nagalim, the "Free Naga Territory", remained almost unvisited, entirely self-governing and completely independent even when India attained her independence from Great Britian in 1947.

The Government of India Act 1919

According to the government of India Act 1919 the "Naga Hills District" was declared as a "Backward Tract" and it was made clear in the above Act that no Acts passed by the Indian Legislature were to apply to this "Backward Tract" and thereby, the occupied Naga territory was treated as a separate entity from the British India Empire.

The Simon Commission 1929

The year 1929 saw the Nagas again demanding the restoration of their independence when the British withdrew their power from India and Burma. On January 10, 1929, the Simon Commission (The Indian Statutory Commission) under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon and with Mr. Clement Attlee as one of the members of the Commission visited Kohima to ascertain the wishes of the Nagas on their political future. The Commission asked the Nagas whether they would join the coming "New Reformed Scheme" which became Government of India Act 1935. One of the Naga elders stood up and demonstrated the Naga cultural dance and said Nagas would remain free as before when the British would leave Nagalim. It clearly expressed the aspiration of the whole Nagas. In the memorandum submitted to the Commission the members of the Naga Club, the only all-Naga Organization existing then, speaking on behalf of the Nagas, demanded that the Nagas should be left "alone" whenever the British decided to leave India. The demand was couched in mild words but it represented their burning desire for independence. This memorandum is the first written document in which the Nagas had expressed the fervour of their national longing and political aspirations to regain their independence.

The Zeliangrong Uprising:

In 1929 and in the early 1930's the attention of the British Government was drawn to the Zeliangrong country in the south of Nagalim. The Naga national longing for independence was demonstrated by the Zeliangrong Nagas in an uprising directed to overthrow the British power in Nagalim by force under the leadership of Jadunang who was apprehended and later hanged at Gauhati by the British. The staggering number of Nagas who were shot dead, hanged or otherwise imprisoned in connection with this herioc revolution, was never made public by the British authorities.

The Government of India Act 1953

Under the Government of India Act 1935 which was passed on the recommendations of the Simon Commission, the "Naga Hills District" (Backward Tract according to Act of 1919) was declared to be treated as "Excluded Area" on March 3, 1935. This Act empowered the Governor to administer the area in his own discretion. It was also stated that no Act of the Federal Legislature or of assam Legislature was to apply to the Naga Hills, and thus the Naga area was not brought within the fold of Indian policy.

Sir Robert Neil Reid, Governor of Assam, 1937-41, says in "History of assam Frontier Areas Bordering on Assam" "throughout the discussions previous to the forming of the New Act, the Authorities concerned had no diffisulty in agreeing that Naga Hills ought to be kept outside the purview of the New Constitution. They were accordingly declared to be an "Excluded Area" under the government of British India (Excluded and Partially Excluded) Order 1936 and have since the 1st of April, 1937 been administered by the Governor in his discretion" (p.178)

Part 3: The Visit of British Cabinet Mission

The British Government sent a Cabinet Mission to India to study the political situation in the country in April 1946. The Naga National Council, which was formed in March 1945 to voice the national sentiments of the Nagas,waited upon the British Cabinet Mission in New Delhi on April 9, 1946 and informed the cabinet Mission that the Naga future will not be bound by any arbitrary decision of the British Government, and that no recommendation will be accepted without consultation.

The Naga National Council tried to make it clear that the Nagas would not accept any other kind of constitutional arrangement. Therefore the Nine (9)-Point Agreement was negotiated:

The 9-Point Agreement:

In June 1947, the Governor of Assam, Sir Akbar Hydari negotiated an agreement with the Naga National Council afresh in meeting on June 27, 28 and 29, 1947 in Kohima. This agreement came to be known as the nine-point Agreement. The Governor was acting on behalf of the Indian Constituent Assembly. Compromises on both sides produced the Agreement which gave increased administration authorities to the NNC.

In a memorandum submitted to him, the Naga National Council stated, "A constitution drawn up by the people who have had no knowledge of the Naga Hills and the Naga people will be quite unsuitable and unacceptable to the Naga people. It is our desire to make it plain to your Excellency that it will not be enough to say in the end that the constitution has been drawn up on the lines suggested by the Cabinet Mission.

"We know that Your Excellency will concede that the Naga people have as much right for self-determination as any other people. Our request to your Excellency is to do all that is in your power to enable the Nagas to stand on their own feet so that they may be worthy members in the civilized world."

"When a deputation of the Nagas very recently waited upon Your Excellency. Your Excellency was appraised of the demand of the Naga people for the restoration of their old boundary. The ancient boundary with the Ahom Kingdom previously observed by the Ahoms, has been overstepped throughout its length. All the valuable forests previously a part of the Naga Hills have been transfered to the Sibsagar and Nowgong District of Assam."

"In fairness, justice and equity Nagalim should be restored to the Nagas, for it is our great cry that Nagalim should be for the Nagas. We should urge Your Excellency to set up immediately a Boundary Commission to go into this very important question."

"The Naga National Council stands for the solidarity of all Naga tribes. The present Naga Hills District has arbitrarily been carved out for administrative convenience only. It is now our desire that Your Excellency take all steps to bring all the naga tribes together, for they all naturally desire to be together."

Part 4

The Following are the Heads of the 9-Point Agreement 10-Year Akbar Hydari Agreement:

That the right of the Nagas to develop themselves according to their expressed wishes is recognized:

1. Judicial
2. Executive
3. Legislative
4. Land
5. Taxation
6. Boundaries
7. Arms Act
8. Regulation
9. Period of Agreement.

The Government of Indian Union will have a special responsibility for a period of 10 Years to ensure the due observance of this Agreement; at the end of this period, the Naga National Council will be asked whether they require the above agreement to be extended for a further period, or a new agreement regarding the future of the Naga people be arrive at.

But at the same time, one evening, Sir Akbar Hydari warned several Nagas that if the Naga Hills District, in fact, refused to join the Indian Union, India would use force against them.

Gandhiji's Promise of Naga Independence.

There was only one thing to be done and it was to appeal direct to the Father of the Indian Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the one man who above all others was shaping the destiny of the sub-continent in the name of peace and liberty. A Naga delegation went to mahatma Gandhi at the Bhangi Colony in Delhi on July 19, 1947, to tell him that they were resolved to declare their independence a day before India did so, on August 14, 1947 and ask him for help.

It must humiliate every right thinking Indian now to recalled that the Mahatma admitted the justice of the naga claim at once. He told the delegation, "Nagas have every right to be independent. We did not want to live under the domination of the British and they are now leaving us. I want you to feel that India is yours. I feel that the Naga Hills are mine just as much they are yours, but if you say, 'it is mine' then the matter must stop there. I beleive in the brotherhood of man, but I do not beleive in force or forced unions. If you do not wish to join the Union of India nobody will force you to do that. The Congress Government will not do that". When the Naga delegate pointed out that Sir Akbar Hydari was threatening to do exactly that, Gandhi exclaimed, "Sir Akbar Hydari is wrong. He cannot do that. I will come to the Naga Hills; will ask them to shoot me first before one Naga is shot".

Declaration of Naga Independence - August 14, 1947

According to plans and preparations, Naga independence was declared on August 14, 1947 one day before India became Independent. The Government of India and the United Nations Organization were informed by cable to which the UNO was kind enough to send an acknowledgement.

The cable runs:

Benign Excellency (.) Kindly put on record that Nagas will be independent (.) Discussion with India are being carried on to that effect (.) Nagas do not accept Indian Constitution (.) The right of the people must prevail regardless of size (.)

Naga National Council

Assurances for implementing the 10-Year Agreement.

Following a statement made to the representatives of the NNc at Gauhati on February 2, 1948 by the Premier of assam to the effect that there can be no "Agreement" with the Nagas, a 2-man Naga delegation met His Excellency the Governor of Assam Sir Akbar Hydari, in Shillong on May 9, 1948. The purpose of the delegation was to ascertain the position of the 9-Point Agreement of June, 1947. The Governor said that the agreement would be incorporated in the Sixth Scheduled of the Constitution of India, although the 9-Point Agreement made no reference to the Constitution of India.

The Nagas took the Agreement on the basis of treaty. Further assurance for the 10-Year Agreement's implementation was given to the NNC by the adviser to the Governor of Assam vide his Memo No. 490/C Dated 11th June, 1948. The letter reads:

"His Excellency the Governor of Assam, I am desired by His Excellency to state that the machinery necessary to that end is already in motion. There was never, nor shall be, any question of non-implementation of the terms of the Agreement".


N.K. Rustomji,

Advisor to the Governor of Assam.

The final assurance for implementation of the 10-Year Agreement was made in a signed statement to the Naga National Council by both Sir Akbar Hydari, Governor of Assam and Shri Gopinath Bordoloi the Premier of Assam under Memo No. 88-C/47-570-72 dated June 22, 1948.

The signed statement reads:

"A deputation of Naga gentlemen had come to Shillong to receive a written assurance from His Excellency the Governor of assam and the Honourable Premier of assam to the effect that the agreement reached between His Excellency and the Naga Leaders in June, 1947 will be implemented. The deputation was given hearing by both His Excellency and the Hon'ble Premier and were given assurance by both that there was never any question of non-implementation of the Agreement. A misunderstanding has appeared to have arisen in the minds of certain section of the Naga people that the Agreement of June 1947 was nullified by the provision laid down in the Draft Constitution. It was explained to the deputation at length that the Draft Constitution is/was in no way inconsistent with the Agreement. On the contrary, it has prescribed the machinery whereby the Agreement might be translated into action. If, however, there still remains any doubt or apprehension in the minds of the Naga people regarding the validity of the Agreement, His Excellency and the Hon'ble Premier were prepared to give the written assurance that had been asked for. They have been pleased to do so accordingly and have both appended their signature to this document as a token of the assurance they have been asked to give".


A. Hydari,

Governor of Assam


G.N. Bordoloi

Hon'ble Premier, Assam

Part 5: The Betrayal of the Agreement by India

In order to extract a clear statement about the actual fate of the 10-Year Agreement (9-Point Agreement) a 3-man Delegation of the naga National Council met the represetatives of the government of India in Shillong on November 3, 1949.The Naga delegation was bluntly told that there was no Agreement made with the Nagas. Shri Gopinath Bordoloi himself sorrowfully admitted to the Nagas in the government House in Shillong on November 9, 1949 that the Agreement was no longer considered to exist by the Indian Government.

This betrayal of the Agreement by Indians in the face of repeated assurances given to the Naga National Council was a direct insult to the Nagas. It hurt tha Naga sentiments greatly. This deliberate lie to cheat the Nagas further widened the gulf separating the Nagas from the Indians. Men's memory is short, yet, this betrayal is still fresh in the minds of the Nagas. And people such as Nagas will never allow themselves to be called Indians.

Rajaji's promise of Naga Independence

Greatly dissapointed at India's betrayal of the 9-Point Agreement on June, 1947, an 11-man Naga delegation met His Excellency the Governor general of Free India, Shri C. Rajgopalachari in Shillong on Novemebr 28, 1949, at the Government House. His Excellency told the Naga Delegation: "India wants to be friendly with you. India does not want to deprive the Nagas of their land. Nagas are at full liberty to do as they like, either to become part of India or be separated if it would be best for their interest to be isolated".

Non-acceptance of the Indian Constitution.

On January 24, 1950, the NNC informed the Government of India the United Nations Organization and all the foreign ambassadors in New Delhi that NAGAS DO NOT ACCEPT THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION.

India informed about the Naga Voluntary Plebiscite.

On New Year's day 1951, the Government of India was given advance information by the NNC regarding the holding of the Naga voluntary plebiscite on the issue of Naga independence. Later on the Government of India was requested to send its representatives and observers to Nagaland to witness the holding of plebiscite vide NNC letters dated March 30, and April 11, 1951.

The Naga Voluntary Plebiscite of 1951.

Early in 1951, the Naga National Council launched a voluntary plebiscite which was inaugurated on May 16, 1951 at Kohima by Mr. A.Z. Phizo, who was by then elected to the coveted office of the President of the Naga National Council to disprove the slander that the desire for independence was held by only a few 'educated' Nagas. But the result, when finally tabulated was 99.9 per cent vote for a sovereign independent Naga State.

Part 6: The Impact of the Colonial Rule in Nagalim

The advent of the British Colonialists into South Asia was unprecedented since it brought about changes of historic significance, bad or good. It was more or less pervasive subdueing almost all the forces that resisted it.This turn of colonial power effected the Nagas (1881-1947) perhaps, worse than any other peoples in the region.

Their free homeland which was never conquered by any alien people, was just divided along the so-called Indo-Burma Boundary by the treaty of Yandabo in 1826 without their knowledge whatsoever. Nagas in their innocence did not know that their homeland was bifurcated by the foreigners whom they never knew before. This was the world they made out of Nagalim. But on this account, which is never their fault, Nagas had to suffer for years together. Their divided homes were further ramified according to what they called administrative convenience. In the west, souther Nagas were put in Manipur, some in Assam leaving the central portion as "Naga Hills". Indian Colonialist further placed a substantial area and population in the so-called Arunachal Pradesh. Eastern side of Nagalim which was called Naga Hills was also divided into two, with the north-east drawn into Kachin State and the south to the Sagaing Division. Being apprehensive of the imminent pan-Nagaism and also taking advantage of the Nagas' backwardness, Newin's regime abolished the "Naga Hills" unit of administration and divided it between the Kachin State and Sagaing Division without the consent of the Nagas. This policy of vivisection, old and new, victimized the Nagas beyond words. In addition, considerable areas of naga territory were just transferred to Nowgong and Sibsagar districts Assam at the sweet will of the British. Such act of cross-injustice shall, without question, continue to be the bone of contention, for the Nagas are now sufficiently alive to what are rightfully theirs. Nevertheless, the good side of the civilization they brought was immense and Nagas owed them as much. The south-west areas were brought under effective control. Administration was excellent. They stopped headhunting which was common among the Nagas. It was this savage practice which created hostilities and fueds among themselves. Before long Nagas were brought much to their senses. Schools were opened and they had the chance of learning the three arts for the first time. But the propagation of Christianity by the American missionaries along with the imparting of education by opening mission schools gave the greatest contribution to the rising of the Naga society. It was through them that the heathen Nagas learned of the existence of the Absolute reality and the better way of living. Nagas could comprehend the meaning life has and they wouldn't anymore part with it. They now felt blessed though endless hurdles remained. Nagas would be forever grateful to them.


Ceasefire Uncertainties

Posted: 2007-07-20

The ceasefire between the NSCN(IM) and the government of India is due to end on July 31, unless it is extended again, as it had been over and over again for the past one decade. Whether it is back to the jungles for the NSCN(IM) or another leash of life to the ceasefire remains to be seen. As of now, expectedly, it is a war of rhetoric, posturing and threats of resorting to the extreme – a modern equivalent of ritualistic war dances of the primitive era, aimed at making the opponent cower before the battle and ease up on their respective intransigent stances. But the hunch is, as it has happened in the past, at the end of the day on July 31, it will be another leash to the ceasefire that both parties agreed upon in 1997.

This is a natural presumption, for in the 10 years that have gone by, the peace that the ceasefire ushered in, however flawed it may be, has become a powerful vested interest for everybody, the Government of India, the NSCN(IM), the Naga public and indeed all other neighbouring northeastern communities. The peace talks may have stagnated miserably and the light at the end of the tunnel may still be as remote as when the talks began, but all said and done, it is better to stagnate in peace than in hostility. It needs to be recalled that if the 10 years of peace negotiations did not bring in any tangible result for the Nagas, armed rebellion could not do it either in all of half a century.

It is unlikely that a resumption of hostility now would make this scenario any different. It is a bitter irony, but short of a radical paradigmatic change in notions of people-hood, ethnicity, nationhood, territory etc, neither hostility nor ceasefire is likely to hold any promise. This is a valuable lesson not just for those who have bitten the peace bait, but also those who still have been resisting it stubbornly. On an optimistic note, the futility of it all must serve as the trigger for thoughts of other routes to a resolution. Whatever the case is, one thing is certain, the conditions for peace must be rooted in the soil, and in the present reality, not in the past or in ideologies evolved out of attempts to understand social conditions in other parts of the world in past eras.

The stagnation of the Naga ceasefire, in this sense was inherent in its very inception. In the semantics of the ceasefire terms agreed upon, maybe it was a ceasefire between two equal parties, but never so in reality. For there was another unwritten script that emerged concurrently, one which became the general understanding of the spirit of the agreement too. Unfortunately, in the euphoria accompanying the “peace breakthrough”, the signatories themselves either failed to notice it or ignored it. In this script, the Government of India was the benefactor, giving the insurgent organisation another chance to reform, or else an honourable exit.

If this was not so, the preconditions of the ceasefire would not have been about setting up designated camps for the insurgents, but of a clear Line of Control, LOC, between the two entities, just as there exists an LOC in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, or more relevantly between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE (ceasefire line as it is called in this context). Would the Government of India ever agree to such a term in the Naga situation, or for that matter any other insurgency in the northeast? The answer is a foregone conclusion. The unarticulated understanding always was, and still is, whatever the settlement reached, it will have to be ultimately within the Indian Constitution, or else within acceptable limits of amendments of this same constitution. If the NSCN(IM) or for that matter any other group which chooses to negotiate peace thinks anything beyond this is achievable, they better be prepared for a hundred years of unending fruitless negotiations.

The lack of an LOC has another implication. It puts the ordinary citizens in total misery. They are harangued by different and opposing laws, different tax (extortion) regimes, are expected to be loyal to two powers on the threat of being penalised either for the crime of being party to sedition and treachery to the nation, or else for being a collaborator of colonisers. Nobody has given much thought to this matter, but this is actually the status of ordinary life in this complex conflict theatre. Official ambiguity, be it on the terms of peace or strategies of war, have only accentuated the hopelessness of this predicament.