Thursday, May 27, 2010

Right time to contemplate

It is indeed a privilege to read the valuable opinions and views over the current crisis in Manipur. Quite a lot of people have written well with great thoughts and many interesting facts have also been placed. In fact we require such spaces for discourses, which we seem to lack most of the time. But the main setback in all these writings is that many seem to be in the tone of representing the ‘past’. How A and B were related and how B became C and this and that….Of course we need to be familiar with the past but contemporary problems seem to give more relevance, which has contributed to much of the conflicts. We need to address the root cause of all these problems-how these problems evolved and how can we minimize it. It’s a well know fact that the chingmis and tammis are /were associated with each other and that religion created divisions among them. Thus the chingmis (and also the Lois) were considered to be some sort of untouchables (following the infamous caste system of Hindu) and the practice continued for long time. This led to alienation and divisions amongst the people. The constant ill treatment and discriminatory practices to the chingmis led to hatred for the majority group and the reactions are here for all of us to see. Today due to the economic blockade in NH 39 and 53, the lifeline of the State, many people are getting the brunt. Life has been thrown out of gear. Educational institutions are badly affected. Although, belatedly the recent Mao incident and the territorial integrity things, has made some people contemplate over the issue of chingmi-tammi relationship.
Without doubt it is the right time to make the masses aware of the importance of existing together and not to repeat the past mistakes. Simply pondering over the ‘past’ associations won’t create much impact and the desired result won’t be achieved. We cannot deny the fact that we have become so much separated –emotionally and physically. It is the emotional truthfulness which is required first and without that everything is futile. Those people who are leading the movement for the safe guarding of the boundaries need to think over a long term arrangement so that we do not encounter the current situations in future. It is the exact time to educate the masses about the importance of existing together, through discussions and understanding. The majority group needs to understand the aspiration of other groups and learn to accommodate. Sharing resources is also another important criterion, for many of the crisis and conflicts has its roots in it. There are many sections of people who still are not ready to accept egalitarianism for all concepts and this has contributed to the further alienation of people. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to see Ema keithel with women folk from every nook and corner of Manipur sharing spaces and selling their produce? It is time for the civil society organizations to make the masses (esp. the majority group) aware of the importance of giving space to smaller groups. Ironically, many of the people who are so concerned about the territorial integrity rather than genuinely pursuing the goal seem to have some other vested interest. I have a strong doubt whether many of the so-called leaders and their followers would be ready to shed their orthodox attitude and eat or drink or intermingle together with the chingmis.

Will these people be ready to encourage their children to befriend children of other ethnic groups? Whether many of the women leaders who are the forerunners, be able to accept a chingmi ningol as a daughter-in-law is a not a mystery. This is the paradox. Actions and words never seem to match. It is due to such people and their attitudes that our society has not able to move forward and still entangled in maangba-sengba (pure/impure) obsession. And that in turn has led to major ethnic face-off and the result is present hardship. The long buried resentment and frustrations are coming apart and if it is not healed in time there will be no stopping of hatred and hostility. It is time that we retrospect and patch up our mistakes. Strike when the iron is hot, suits well in this situation. Counter blockade is not the answer to the problem. Rather it will worsen the situation and create further divisions. Neither it is time for creating ‘Heroes” and celebrating. It would have been more admiring had the people provided supplies to fellow citizens rather than blocking it. Such a small sacrifice would have made a great healing point because not all people are involved in the blockade. It is the right time to break the hurdles and to make the majority group make aware of the ill-effects of prejudice and inequality, which has backfired viciously. We need to create space for each and every person despite of differences in food habits, culture, and religion, if we truly have to keep the territory intact. We need to make the younger generations more open-minded and education can play an important task .We need to build a tolerant society. We all human beings want to live a dignified life and it is true for every group, small or big. If people do not realize the source of the present situation and act upon it, antagonism and hatred will dominate our society which will further stretch the conflict.

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