How can Irom Sharmila’s Hunger Strike be wrong when Anna Hazare’s Hunger Strike was right?

By Oken Jeet Sandham Anna Hazare, famed anti-corruption activist, led his strongest “Anti-corruption movement in 2011” by launching a “Hunger Strike” at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The chief legislative aim of the movement was to alleviate endemic corruption in the Indian Government through the introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement through

By Oken Jeet Sandham Anna Hazare, famed anti-corruption activist, led his strongest “Anti-corruption movement in 2011” by launching a “Hunger Strike” at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The chief legislative aim of the movement was to alleviate endemic corruption in the Indian Government through the introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement through

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Top 10 Points to Know About Irom Sharmila And Her Fast Unto Death

By: W Rorrkychand Singh   “Wake up brothers and sisters The savior of the nation We have come out all the way Knowing we all will die Why the fear… Read more »

By: W Rorrkychand Singh   “Wake up brothers and sisters The savior of the nation We have come out all the way Knowing we all will die Why the fear… Read more »

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Why Meitei Ethnonationalism?

By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh I am very moved with this email from EMMI SERTO,… more »

By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh

I am very moved with this email from EMMI SERTO, especially by the noble task he is undertaking. There are very few people like him in Manipur. “He writes: Sir, proud to have a son of the soil giving away his best resources to one of the most world’s riches and developed country… For the white people, you are a blessing.”

“While appreciating your noble contribution to the people of theUK, I would also like to make a special mention on your valuable “Diaspora column” in the Sangai Express. I am always the first of the first person of the family to grab the paper on Sundays and Saturdays just for a reason to be the first to go through your column… most of the articles give weight on Social change…”


“Well! I am helping a few orphans in my own set up orphanage for social change, in a remote village called Sangang, C’cpur Dist. I have sweet 17 orphans from 9 different communities of Manipur. I do enjoy working the whole day in the paddy fields for their tomorrow… I am spreading the message of |Love, Humanity and Tolerance through this humble service to the deprived children… We can uphold each other in our prayers. Thank you once again for being a kind-hearted to your motherland. My salute to you.”

Meitei ethnonationalism is necessary for a negotiating agreement in the God basement-bargain with Manipuri Naga, without giving in. They feel that it is the best way to deal with the Naga people’s problem to prevent them from rising. They think that it would help both peoples to have a good relationship and think of each other as partners in negotiation rather than adversaries.


Before 1949 there was a Manipuri nation or the Manipur state. The Meitei always had a concept of a ‘Manipuri nation’ – Manipursanaleibak, encompassing groups of ethnic people who have different cultural, traditional, ritualistic and religious traits, all living together.


A nation describes a geographical place that is defined by its borders and/or by a variety of cultures and a shared language. With the ascendancy of a new concept, Manipur is now a “proposition nation” ie groups of ethnic people who are united by a common ideology rather than a common ancestry.

Ethnic people mean the status of belonging to a particular group having a common cultural tradition. There are such 36 ethnic groups in Manipur.

The English word ‘nation’ in the Manipuri nation, is related to birth, not merely geographic or political boundaries. You are ‘native’ of the land of your birth. Manipur has a geographical boundary and any ethnic group born in Manipur is a native of Manipur. The Manipur Naga are Manipuris. Nationality is a legal concept while ethnicity is a cultural concept.


This thesis examines the Meitei ethnonationalism in Manipur and the influences that sustain it. It is a brief historical reconstruction touching on historiography – theorising parts of history and relying on idealistic epistemology.


Meitei ethnonationalism is fairly new. I am trying to write a bit of its history without an inventive approach to the truth.  Old histories might change over time. At the physical level, truth is absolute. But the account of human affairs that we call History, and that we make the subject of college courses, has little to do with truth. It is information that our rulers want us to have.

For example: Irom Sharmila’s fast to death for the past 11 years will not be Indian history, but the recent 12-day fast of Anna Hazare in August 2011will be.

Most people are aware of the continuing tension in Manipur, tensions centrally animated by the

strained relationship between the Majority Meitei and second majority Tangkhul Naga.

Ethnonationalism is where the ‘nation’ is defined in terms of ethnicity, incorporating ideas of culture and shared language. It denotes both the loyalty to a nation deprived of its own state and the loyalty to an ethnic group, embodied in a specific state, particularly when the latter is conceived a nation-state” like Manipur. It may thus be used interchangeably with nationalism.


A “nation-state” is defined as a sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united by factors which define a nation, such as a common language or common descent. The nation-state implies that a state and a nation coincide. Manipur was a nation-state united by a common language


The central tenet of ethnic nationalism theoretically is that each ethnic group like the Meitei, Tangkhul or Kuki is entitled to self determination for an autonomous entity or for an independent sovereign state.


Broadly speaking, nationalism is a term that refers to a doctrine that holds a nation, usually defined in terms of culture and language though consisting of a number of ethnic groups. Ethno-

nationality is thus a breakdown of nationality.


The word ‘nationalism’, strictly speaking, refers to either separatist or autonomist movements developing outside or against, the existing state. Theoretically, this is true for the Meitei, Tangkhul or Kuki.


Walker Connor (1994) defines the ‘nation’ as a self-differentiating ethnic group. Thus, we have the ethnic Naga nation, ethnic Meitei nation and the ethnic Kuki nation.


In reality, ethnos and nation are equivalents: the former derived from ancient Greek, the later from Latin. It then follows that the term ‘ethnonationalism’ is largely tautological, since ethnicity permeates nationalism any way. It is the same thing. But in Manipur it is not.


The Meitei ethnonationalism was born by a break-up of the ethnic components of Manipur, creating a lot of tension by the ethnic activists who try to have a historical construction of their activities.

The educated post-War Meitei began in earnest, to secularise and adopted the principle of multiculturalism based on a notion of ‘social reform’ in which programmes were introduced to redress the disadvantages of minority communities. This included the present titular king Laishemba, who reintroduced the Merahouchongba festival. He is a likeable and serious young man.

There are many major players in the ethnic movements who continue to act out their familiar roles in a secessionist policy. While efforts are made to bring back the Tangkhul and Kabui Nagas back to the Manipuri nationhood but so far failed, notably in their refusal to set up ADCs, which is aimed to somehow reconcile a ‘distinct society’ status with provision that all the districts are to be treated equally.


The Manipuri Naga’s demand for separation of Naga inhabited (not absolutely) areas of Manipur to integrate with the nationalist movements of the Naga of Nagaland is a redundant ethnonationalism. It is a confusion of state and nation, and they imagine that nationalistic identification can refer state loyalties.


Ethnicity normally refers to a belief in putative descent: that is, a belief in something which may or may not be real. It is a perception of commonality and belonging supported by a myth of common ancestry.  Therefore it does not necessarily suggest tangible elements of culture.


Connor (1993) has stressed the subjective and psychological quality of this perception, rather than its objective ‘sustenance’.


More generally, identity does not draw its sustenance from facts but from perceptions. Perceptions are as important or more than reality when it comes to ethnic issues (Connor 1997).

By perception I mean, the feeling, the consciousness that “I am a Manipuri”. The Naga need a longer term understanding to avoid misunderstanding.

The break-up of Manipur is not negotiable to the Meitei who have an embryonic concept of Ima (mother) Manipur embracing the hills and the plain. To them it is not like a marriage bond, where there is a legal frame work with which a spouse can divorce the other whenever he or she feels like it.


The Manipuri Naga ethnic challenges have shattered genuine Meitei pluralism and increased the tension between the need for cultural-ethnic distinctiveness and integrative tendencies. The Meitei began to think in terms of Meitei nation or ethnonation. It was a crucial time when the territorial integrity of Manipur was seriously threatened as never before, with internal ethnic politics and the territorial ambition of Nagaland.

Meitei needed to re-establish their cultural history and began looking at their history backwards.

They were aware that behind their bravado lurks one of the great political challenges of the next two decades in this extra-ordinary diversity of ethnic identities and political views in Manipur.


Manipur is inhabited by the Meitei and other 36 tribes plus a sizeable community of Pangals. The question of what it means to be a Manipuri and how far there are overriding values to which all can and must subscribe has moved on since the Naga ethnonationalism.


The Meitei liberal policy has been unable to persuade some tribal groups into a Manipuri national identity. They have demanded plural political identities, tolerance and openness from all the ethnic peoples. That has included intermarriage.

The struggle for the ethnic Naga to disintegrate Manipur began to crystallise the Meitei resolve to keep Manipur intact. Various civil organisations such as AMUCO, UCM have sprung up to shore up a united Meitei, non-Naga tribals and Pangal opposition.


Manipur is as much for the Meitei as is for all the tribes and Pangals living in it from times immemorial. The Meitei thus felt that they had to reinvent themselves with a search for their

indigenous origin in Manipur, first in the hills and then in the plain. This was how Meitei ethnonationalism was born.

The high-octane pursuit of Meitei ethnonationalism and a keen interest to safeguard the integrity of Manipur were reflected by the greatest sacrifice given by 18 Meitei on the June 18 2001 uprising.


Meitei remain vigilant against Naga nationalism and Manipuri Naga ethnonationalism especially because (1) their demand has nothing to do with economic disparity but ethnicity; and lately (2)

the NPF’s Constitution, Article II (21) reads: “To work for integration of all contiguous Naga

inhabited areas under one administrative roof…”


Daniel Converse challenged the dogma of economism as the cause of ethnonationalism.

Ethnonationalism appears to operate independently from economic variables and that

perceived economic discrimination is just a choice of battle ground. The economic issues at the centre of the analysis means to miss the primary point, namely that ethnic movements are indeed ethnic and not economic.


India has a large socio-cultural diversity. So has Manipur. Among this diversity the Meitei need a strong ethnonationalism, which will be bound together by equally strong bonds of common objectives and affection with other fellow Manipuris.


The writer is based in the UK



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Call For Commission And Ommission For A Better Manipur

  by Neken Singh Seram   Communal hatred and human right violations are the dual… more »

If housed under the same roof, even the cats and dogs become intimate friends. When the peoples of hills and valley live together, share their problems, grief, prospects and gaiety; there will be emotional integration among the varied and numerous ethnic groups of Manipur. The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act, 1960 (MLR & LR Act, 1960) enacted by Parliament to consolidate and amend the law relating to land revenue in the State of Manipur and to provide certain measures of land reform has affected the peaceful co-existence, since the act is excluding the hill areas of the State. Moreover, the antagonism of the people residing at far-off hill areas towards the mainland dwellers has become more and more widened due to lack of road connectivity and physical progress. Even though huge amounts have been pumped in to improve connectivity and infrastructure at the remote hill areas of the state through schemes like Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana, real development hardly reaches the targeted locations and intended beneficiaries as a few well-to-do people ranging from high profile contractors to politicians remain reaping the fruits. Thus, people at the edge feel excluded from the mainland. At this juncture, it is highly necessary to allow the valley people to settle in hill areas to bring about emotional integration.


by Neken Singh Seram

Communal hatred and human right violations are the dual tribulations bothering the smooth sail of Manipur society today. In the name of insurgency as well as counter insurgency operations, innumerable numbers of innocent human beings have been killed, rendered disabled for life or made to disappear. Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 has been manifesting itself as a notorious challenge to secured existence of natives of this land. The Act which is completely in contradiction to democratic values has been in force in Manipur. Side by side, there has been a strong wedge among communities created by the non-extension of Manipur Land Revenue and land Reforms Act. in the hill areas. It is now questionable why the AFSPA is still not removed from this state, even if it is claimed by the Congress regime that law and order situation of the state has considerably been improved. It is also worthy of discussion why the valley residents of the state are not allowed to settle in the hill areas in spite of the tall verbatim for emotional, cultural and social integration between the hills and the valley. Removal of AFSPA and extension of MLR&LR Act in hills are the issues needing urgent attention so as to bring about security of life and peaceful co-existence among the varied groups of people in the long run.


“When a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” This great saying by the legendary journalist John B. Bogart serves as the most convincing definition of news to journalism students. However, news reporters and publishers shall always remember their responsibilities of involving in socio-human issues concerning the people in democracies. The national newspaper The Telegraph recently published a news report regarding Sharmila’s personal love story which even led the Manipuri civil society to boycott the newspaper for irresponsibility. It is now questionable – which is more newsy between Sharmila fasting for 11 years for love of humanity and the same lady speaking out her personal moments in romance ? The Telegraph dwelled only on the awkward part of Sharmila’s decade-old movement and seemed to forget the endurance and toil during the whole process. It was also at a time when ‘Save Sharmila Campaigns’ to enliven her protest movement were being planned from across the nation. It is highly skeptical whether the media organisation was intentional towards sabotaging the Sharmila’s non-violent movement or some hidden-elements have maneuvered tactics for that end.


Universally, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 is inhumane and openly violates human rights. It is even more irrelevant in the context of Indian democracy, where fundamental right to life occupies the main aspect of its constitution. Certain provisions of the Act have allowed the security forces to kill innocent human beings out of suspicion. To enforce such an act in Manipur is highly irrational. It is high time the union government paid urgent attention towards the strongest ever protest by the non-violent striker Irom Chanu Sharmila and created a healthy platform for talks with the iron lady in the interest of humanity.


In the name of counter insurgency, innumerable numbers of youths of the state were killed after arrests, forced to disappear after pick-up by the security or to become psychologically and physically disturbed for life. We had seen widespread agitations in the state when a 15-year-old innocent student Yumlembam Sanamacha from Yairipok Angtha was forced to disappear after arrest by the security years back. In similar case, Laishram Bijoykumar Singh, a student leader also never returned home from the hands of security personnel.  We may also recall the cases of Chandam Chaoba of Pukhao Terapur, Lokendro and Loken of Khongman and Pebiya Pandit Leikai who were forced to disappear in custody. The RIMS massacre, Heirangoithong incident, Malom and Oinam incidents etc. were epoch-making happenings where security forces put to end innocent civilians. None will never forget the Thangjam Manorama murder episode in July 2004 which even led to the infamous nude protest by Manipuri women in front of the sacred Kangla and to the self-immolation of student activist Chitaranjan. There were also extrajudicial executions after arrests and tragic stories told by those escaped from security camps regarding the destructive motive of security forces.


Besides upholding human rights and dignity of the people, Manipur needs an enabling environment where innumerable number of varied ethnic communities may live together in peace and co-operation. The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act, 1960 (MLR & LR Act, 1960) enacted by Parliament to bring about uniformity in distribution of land throughout the State is excluding the hill areas of the State. There is a special protective provision of the Act on the transfer of land belonging to a tribal to non-tribal. Section 158 says, “No transfer of land by a person who is a member of Scheduled tribes shall be valid, unless the transfer is to another member of Schedule tribes or is by way of mortgage to a co-operative society.”


Moreover, the antagonism of the people residing at far-off hill areas towards the mainland dwellers has become more and more widened due to lack of road connectivity and physical progress. Even though huge amounts have been pumped in to improve connectivity and infrastructure at the remote hill areas of the state, real development hardly reaches the targeted locations and intended beneficiaries as a few well-to-do people ranging from high profile contractors to politicians remain reaping the fruits. Thus, people at the edge feel excluded from the mainland. So it is highly necessary at this juncture to allow the valley people to settle in hill areas to bring about emotional integration. If the people of the valley areas are allowed to settle in the hill areas, then there would be inter-mingling of populations among ethnic groups. Their problems and prospects would well be shared among them. Emotional integration would not be a far cry in such a situation. So why not the land revenue and land reforms act is extended to the hills ?
(The writer is a free lance Journalist)

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  To insist that one must address and understand “Political Premise” of AFSPA is to… more »


To insist that one must address and understand “Political Premise” of AFSPA is to insist that we must fundamentally know/address the following issues:

  1. “Law” is a juridico-political fact, thereby meaning it has a political premise and that must be addressed (more so with Acts like AFSPA).
  2. Even if the protestors prefer to de-link the political premise of AFSPA, will the Government of India, with which the protestors are engaging with in order to repeal the Act, de-link what it thinks the Act is addressing while thinking about AFSPA?
  3. All legislations are to address some realities/phenomena in our real world. Acts on dowry, sati, child-marriage, for that matter the recent talk of Lok Pal, all are (about) legislations to address or fight realities of our life (the menace of dowry, sati, child-marriage or corruption). Therefore, the discussions or debates on these legislations are not carried out by de-linking these realities.
  4. What is that AFSPA is fundamentally seeking to address? (Isn’t this a question of policy/approach and politics that informed the policy/approach, a question that is inherently implicated and critical in understanding AFSPA?)
  5. AFSPA is supposed to address the “disturbed condition” caused by “armed rebellion” (“khutlaipaiba lalhouba”).
  6. Aren’t the powers given in the Act related to “armed rebellion”, powers (actvities) that are to be exercised/performed by the military personnel?
  7. Why is it then that the Supreme Court says the “disturbed condition” wherein AFSPA has been enforced is not due to “armed rebellion”? (Is this a “legal” or “political” question?)
  8. If it is about “law and order”, are those powers noted in the Act in line with what is expected of a “law and order” enforcing mechanism or engaging in “war”, including those that can be described as “low intensity” ones?
  9. More crucially, if the Act is not addressing a “disturbed condition” caused by “armed rebellion” (khutlapaiba lalhouba), and it is about “law and order”, why does the Government of India outlawed those rebels groups or charged the members of these groups in Court saying that they are “waging war” against the State?
  10. Are these questions matters of “theory” or (as many have a habit of saying often as a way of debunking or refusing any attempt at deepening understanding on an issue) “ground reality” or both?


To those who are protesting against the AFSPA:


(a) Narratives of human tragedy, of near and dear ones having been tortured, detained, killed or made disappeared by the state agencies under the Act, are facts. But are these narratives of human tragedies un-related to the above questions/issues?


(b) But when somebody (or in “we the people” kind of programme in TV channels) brings out similar narratives of human tragedies in the hands of non-state actors, does the issue of AFSPA get diluted or distracted precisely because your fight is based on a limited or narrow legal/human rights perspective that does not address basic questions pertaining to the Act as I have noted here (as well as elsewhere)?


(c) How do you intend to make the issue of AFSPA politically significant (amongst others, keep the question/issue no. 2 above in mind as well) when your own politicians and middle class can probably sense the human tragedy and say it’s bad but insurgents also do the same and so on.


(d) Granted that, one may agree or disagree with those who are “waging a war” against the Indian State, but the fact is, IT IS THERE as A PART OF OUR REALITY. So, which one makes more sense: Address something that has been there for decades and something that affects our lives with an honest acknowledgment of the reality of “rebellion” and realistically approach the issue or continue to deny or distort the reality (which, while the AFSPA is ostensibly dealing with a phenomenon of “waging war” against the State with arms–in short, “armed rebellion” at the same time legally/juridically denying it, as in Supreme Court Judgment of 1997) OR allow one to be guided by a mob mentality or lynching mindset saying that these “extortionists” blah blah must be “eliminated” (something that the mighty Indian State has been trying for more than 50 years with its military might under a “legal fiction” all this while without success and only to be admitted now and then that we must find a “political solution”!)?


Lastly, HOLLOW promise of a “yes, yes, AFSPA must go” by your politicians or those who feel the human tragedies under the violence of the Act but have a nagging question “what after AFSPA?” for there are these “naharols” (or insurgents), can never be addressed (or rather exposed) until and unless one brings in the above TEN questions/issues into the struggle against this notorious “legal fiction” that has created havoc in our life.


These are some of the concerns that I have in mind when I insist on “political issue/premise” of AFSPA that we must take care!
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Sadar Hills Demand`”Winning Mantras!

by: – G.S.Oinam Since 1971, Sadar Hills Demand Committee respectfully beg something honestly for their… more »

by: – G.S.Oinam
Since 1971, Sadar Hills Demand Committee respectfully beg something honestly for their local people to the government and people of Manipur, however, preceding government does not  act honestly – had pass their  time, and the present government over 9 and half years does not attempt to move their ultimate demand earnestly. Giving something to Sadar hills people does not mean depriving Naga political solution and peace dialogue. However, Government intension is unclear and remained in confused state of mind. Freedom is not given easily—it is taken by force or defeating; it requires many attempt consistently, patience, determination etc. Win or defeat is the two face of one coin. Is your courage lost after your father falls in the battle field, asked in the American War of Independence? Spontaneous outcry of Sadar hills and Jiribam is the cumulative effect of failed promises made by the government from time to time and mishandling of the situations. Honestly, our people are not getting real freedom. We must fight for it!

History is for reference; we can learn our mistakes and achievements from history. If you are crazy, frenzy and psyche of land based on historical background, I said go back to China, Myanmar, and Thailand –your ancestral origin. Civilization of the past was very little. Our forefathers were nomad–roam from one place to another in search of food; finally learn skills of agriculture and settlement, chieftains’ system existence and finally kingdom and now, democracy after prolong British colonial rules.

This is the time to know the difference between power of tolerance and power to face the challenges. We face challenges to free ourselves from exploitation and abuses but we tolerate all pains to achieve our goal. We feel pain when some objects hurt physically and emotionally. Somebody may win you physically but nobody can win your emotion. It is your emotion that makes you defeat yourself. Self esteem, motivation, determination and courage can overcome your emotional weakness.

Why and when child cry? Simply to give attention when s/he feels uncomfortable, pain, hunger etc. Bad parenting makes a child naughty and cries habitually. In such a manner, civil society launches strike and band/ blockade to give attention when government give less attention.

We hope, Sadar hills/ Jiribam people must knowing where and when to stop road blockade—you can’t remained anger and hijack national highway all the time. I will ask you to break your fasting and road blockade—suffering of people is beyond limit and you will need other people help. Honestly, I feel pain to see your fasting ladies in newspapers. And the time has come to change your game plan—i.e. advocacy, media promotion campaign, public debate, discussion, negotiation and interaction etc. You must be preparing fully for coming struggle and my tough questions; perhaps, I may not be the one to ask you tough questions but somebody (Naga brothers) will ask you very tough questions. Wish you all the best.  Please accept it, Sadar Hills people have won one battle, government is defeated; further you have to fight for more tough two battles before bifurcation and up gradation of district.

Formation of Committee on Reorganisation of Administrative and Police District Boundaries is winning battle of Sadar hills people. Now, you have to face the administrative and police district boundaries reorganisation committee/ questions of Naga brothers and finally battle of assembly resolution and complete bifurcation drama. Anna Hazari won the half battle on Jana Lok Pal bill movement because team Anna’s concept and philosophy is very clear. Research work, promotion, strategy, communication, management, mobilization, determination, team combination and team work, financial support etc etc, are outstanding. I was looking every step of team ANNA movement. I am not a member of team ANNA but I like team ANNA. Today, Anna gives you a hope— Lok Ayukta  in state (similar to Lok Pal Bill at centre) to be implemented in every state of India beside citizen charter- to support public grievances while dealing with government offices. People will get information about the daily records of officials working and complain thereof. The idea of citizen charter was first propounded to me by late Sahib Singh Verma, former Chief Minister of Delhi and Union Minister of labour in NDA government. I met him personally many times in many occasions. He was trying his best to implement citizen charter in Delhi. But, after he was dead (road accident) his son was not given BJP ticket for election—million dollar questions remained unanswered to me.

It is true, District creation/ up gradation is a process; there is no short cut and magic formula to create a district. If somebody advice you a short cut formula, please don’t accept it. Believe it or open your rules book, short cut formula will never last and eventually will derail all the process of district creation.  Beside, one should not try to hurt others to please somebody; resolution shall be consensus. It requires a lot of dialogue, discussion, debate and advocacy to find out a consensus. Justice will be done finally and it is only matter of time-be patient; you have waited for over 40 years but why can’t some months? It requires official feasible reports which to be table on the floor of state assembly and finally budget is required for establishment, Chief Minister of Manipur said rightly to you. Officially, CM is not in position to declare Sadar hills as a district but congress party and any other political party can give assurance to the people as they did for Nagas. But nobody follow up further explanation of Chief Minister’s speech. These are the weakness of team SPF. Commonly, CM office must be surrounded by experts, scholars and well wishers. Here in Manipur, CM/ all ministers’ office are surrounded by percentage chamchagiri. I don’t know who the media advisor of CM is and who are handling situation in case of crisis?

Silence becomes a problem; it can’t be a solution. Wonderfully, powerful government have crunch of experts; nobody comes forward to help SPF team in critical situation of Manipur except UCM and some small organisations. Personally I have neither enemy nor friend of SPF. I agree with you; you have taught a good lession to SPF; government has damage severely- that’s enough. However, damaging government and public properties are not solution; anyway, we have protest enough- centre has given attention about Sadar hills.

If you are local politician want to play some small tricks— I warn you, stop punching to shadow. SPF government is dummy government of Dr. Manmohan Singh. That is why whenever you do verbal attack to O. Ibobi in Manipur, somebody will attack to Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. O. Ibobi Singh is the only CM does not face my tough questions in my time-empathy to him because I know how he had suffered during NDA period. Gaikhangam, Phungjathan were his closest team mate seeks advice from Dr. Manmohan when he was remained as MP (Rajya Sabha) for financial help from centre. By the way, his intimacy and attachment with Dr. Manmohan has developed. One of my Tamil friends called me one day- your state CM came to my boss residence for a cup of tea, he is very, very simple I never expected. Tamil Nadu CM will come to Delhi like Maharaja (national news) -50/60 Tamil Nadu securities will arrive as advance team before s/he arrives to Delhi. But today, O. Ibobi has changed. I talk to my clients that you will be faster taking appointment of PM than Manipur CM. One goodness of O. Ibobi is that he loves his loyalist very much. You can’t defeat him in the area he knows. One weakness is that he will not act immediately in the area he does not know; also, he has no time to learn new things. His strength is Dr. Manmohan Singh, among largest congress party fund raiser (Sanjoy Hajarika remark at Sunday Guardian) and his long service in congress working committee. His greatest threats are his MPs—most of the state MPs and ex-MPs are CM aspirants. His opportunity is new band of young candidates in the coming election.

May I advice the Sadar hills/ Jiribam district demand committee to look into administrative and police district boundaries reorganisation committee profile, methodology and objective carefully. So that past mistake in the time of Rishang keishing, W. Nipamach may not be repeated again (I don’t know what are the methodology they had used and if any political will they had to create district). Also, I don’t know exactly how many officials / state researchers have involved /well experience in action research study, therefore, methodology and time table of administrative and police district boundary reorganisation committee must be open to public so that we can see if any loop holes are found in the methodology. Committee must be strong, independent and well trained personals only. Action research and ordinary research for academic degree are very different in methodology and time frame work.

Administrative and police district boundaries reorganisation committee shall not work like an enquiry committee; if so, committee shall be better to chaired by retired judges—I wonder public hearing at the first instance; are you listening? Your Bare Babu is calling you at state secretariat office for your opinion on fact finding about district boundary bifurcation. Bare Babu must go to the field- meet the real villagers and listen their opinions first for primary data collection. Action shall be taken on the spot if the case was minor.

The basic approach likely to be adopted for this study would be a 360 degree analysis, advocacy, group discussion, action taken on spot, action to be taken, to be disposed of; and starting with assessment of the status of the present, past and new district boundary etc. So, the basic approach will be combination of the qualitative and quantitative research and giving due diligence to the various aspect of district up gradation. This would mean studying the forward and backward linkages between the stakeholders and the efficiency of the process adopted. Hence, it is proposed to collect relevant information/ data/ views both of secondary and primary from various stakeholders, to accomplish this district boundary reorganisation committee report successfully.

Integrated approach to the study requires—literature review, secondary data collection, primary data collection, tabulation and compilation, amalgamation/ superimposition, analysis and draft report preparation, conclusions, recommendations/ strategy and finalization of the report. It will requires minimum 7-8 months but say one year in case of Manipur (please do not accept 3 months time duration proposed by state government—committee reports will finally put into refrigerator because it is impossible to prepare a feasible report within 3 months except desk works and there are many complicated issues to be discuss, debate and finalise and it requires consensus both from different stakeholders and finally, election notification will faster and reports will keep with held—I  can bet because I was doing action research work)

Therefore, I suggest you again and again, don’t believe in short cut, you will face trouble—there is no short cut and magic formula for district creation and up gradation at the present situation. Your agitation will required more energy to store, exposure, mental balance of your supporters, relationship preferably more levis style of protest  may be expensive but necessary to bear and contribution from stake holders to success your mission and  your game plan of highway blockade batter to change— you will need support from other people. Please accept to my humble suggestion—forget for Manipur and India’s experts; even Mr Obama team will speak the same or less! Victory will be yours!

I disagree with Rishang keishing opinion in case of Jiribam (realising inconvenience of district administration)—existing boundary and population of Jiribam is enough for district up gradation in case Tamenglong people objected to integrate some part of hill. The best practises to insure the people Jiribam/ Sadar hills district is to create as a model district–neither hills nor plain district (look for future). Hopefully, Tamenglong people must be part of it. Of course, Districts of Nagaland are proportionate in size and population and convenience for district administration. I know the benefit of district creation and you are the real beneficiaries but it requires—consensus, dialogue, discussion and reconciliation.

Mahe is the smallest district in India. It has an area of 9 sq. km. Mahe is geographically located in the state of Kerala, where as administratively it comes under the control of Union Territory of Pondicherry.

Mahe has the official name of Mayyazhi in the local Malayalam language. Mahe has a population of about 36,000 according to the 2001 census. The population density of the town is 4091 per sq. km. Males constitute 47% of the population and females 53%. Mahe has an average literacy rate of 85%. Mahe has two members in the Pondicherry Legislative Assembly, representing Mahe and Palloor.

Nobody blew “Brahmastra” to weaken your government; government  itself weaken by differences in opinion among cabinet colleagues and congress party divided within— wait for party ticket offering drama for coming assembly election, you will see the real picture. By the blessing of Lord Brahma, I was able to know what is Brahmastra  mantra ( elite weapon/missile of mass destruction of Lord Brahma in Hindu Sastra) but, this powerful weapon should  never be remember, mention, conscious and not for use in war. This is the weapon for worshiping and decoration to show one’s might. The fact is, SPF government is infiltrated in Chakravyuh (warfare of guru Dronacharya) but don’t know where to exit. Unless government is trying honestly for a solution, government will remains at low level equilibrium. Still government does not know the big hole/gaps within, therefore, problems will come one after another and unfortunately, defence line is very weak.

Addiction have forgotten them how to speak ‘Hare Krishna’ or “Lord Jesus Christ” or “thank you” at their tongues. Say My Lord! Please forgive me, please save me; please bless me; God may kindly give you a small passage early to exit from the chakravyuh.

Interestingly, State has no opposition party at all-political situation is very confusing. MPP- MLA are seen in Congress party office; another MPP- MLA  speak in favour of ruling congress; NCP role is unknown —whether they are opposition or ruling party but the leader of opposition is NCP. When state face a critical situation all MLAs will remain silent –turn into mouse in many occasions. People have divided into three—my people (ruling congress workers) your people (opposition parties workers) and majority others (civil society groups like team ANNA). Surprisingly, government has forgotten the role of parenting people, instead, challenge to civil society, and finally, civil societies beat government.

Election commission has to amend certain rules for effective functioning of MLAs/MPs. Presently simple majority of vote make them declared elected and enjoy the privilege of being elected representatives. How many votes they get— may be 8000, 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 out of 40-50,000 voters. We are irritated to elected representatives’ bossism and their public relationship style. Our MLAs/MPs must get minimum 51% of the total voters to prove themselves majority voters representatives—defaulters must try to get trust vote within a year to get majority votes (51%) of their respective constituencies. Those unable to get majority vote shall not be eligible to withdraw Local Area Development Fund and other allowances of being MLAs/MPs. We hope Anna team will consider this proposal in their electoral reforms programme-“Rights to No Vote”. ( if the numbers of” no vote” listed in ballot paper become highest- election shall be re-poll)

Finally, There is no justice higher than equanimity; there is no friend like associate of holiness; no piety like compassion; no sin like violence; no pleasure like quietude; no pain like debt, no purifier like knowledge, no deity like god, no wicked like sinner. Each one of these is great in the respective field. The ids whose grandfather always told them that one day they will become President of USA and gave them the confidence from their early childhood actually went to become John F. Kennedy. At the same time, kids of an abusive family with constant negative reinforcements went on to become Lee Oswald, the man who murdered John F. Kennedy. What I am trying to say is that we are the one who will decide if tomorrow’s world will be a happy world or a sad world. Future is what we made for them today!!

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AFSPA: Tragedy of Delinking Its Political Premise

By Angomcha Bimol Akoijam By and large, those who oppose the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continue to de-link or ignore the subversive political premise of the Act in their… Read more »

By Angomcha Bimol Akoijam

All legislations are to address some realities/phenomena in our real world. Acts on dowry, sati, child-marriage, for that matter the recent talk of Lok Pal, all are (about) legislations to address or fight realities of our life (the menace of dowry, sati, child-marriage or corruption). The discussions or debates on these legislations are not carried out by de-linking these realities. If so, what is that AFSPA is fundamentally seeking to address?

By and large, those who oppose the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continue to de-link or ignore the subversive political premise of the Act in their criticism against the same. Primarily driven by narrow juridical perspectives informed by Human Rights concerns, those who oppose the Act have allowed AFSPA to go on without facing a fundamental challenge to its foundation. As a consequence, the prospect of the Act going through a process of mutation to come back in another incarnation to continue the subversion of a civilized democratic life in the Northeast in general and Manipur in particular cannot be ruled out.

Rhetoric of a Merry-Go-Round

It’s worth remembering that not only AFSPA came as a product of a “decision” by the political executive (i.e., as an ordinance on 22nd May, 1958) but also subsequently escaped more or less unscathed from the “legislative oversight function” of a democratically constituted Parliament on 18 August, 1958. And finally, rather than returning the legislation to the Parliament again for reconsideration, the President readily gave his assent on the legislation, thus making it into a law on 11 September, 1958.

Finally, this “special” law, which, unlike many other “extraordinary” or “special” laws, specifically allows the deployment of the military forces in the “internal affairs” (or as it has been termed as “law and order”) of the State, survived the judicial scrutiny in 1997 as the Supreme Court upheld its “constitutionality”.

Incidentally, after having escaped all these processes, legislative, judicial and executive scrutiny, the Act did return to the political domain once more as a consequence of the upheaval in Manipur in 2004. And yet, the political premise of the Act has never been the primary concern of the protest against the Act.

Indeed, despite this historicity of the Act, strange as it may seem, even as we mark the anniversary of AFSPA, the day the Act became a law, or a “lawless law” (as the then MP from Manipur Laishram Achaw meaningfully called it), one might continue to hear the same legal arguments against the Act which were put up before the Supreme Court. And redundant arguments (e.g., the power to shoot has been given to Non Commission Officer, as if the power is given to a JCO or Commission Officer, it will be acceptable) are likely to be in the air once again. This being the case, the need to go to the basics must be emphasized once more.

Basic Questions

One basic issue that has been relegated, with serious consequences, has been the issue of what this Act is for? All legislations are to address some realities/phenomena in our real world. Acts on dowry, sati, child-marriage, for that matter the recent talk of Lok Pal, all are (about) legislations to address or fight realities of our life (the menace of dowry, sati, child-marriage or corruption). The discussions or debates on these legislations are not carried out by de-linking these realities. If so, what is that AFSPA is fundamentally seeking to address?

The Act addresses a reality in our real world, that is, armed insurgency which purportedly threatens the “national security” (i.e. undermining the territorial integrity and constitutional order of the Indian State). In Manipuri, that phenomenon is called “khutlai paiba lalhouba” (or “armed rebellion”; here it must be noted that “insurgency” is a synonym for “rebellion”).

How does one hope to discuss the Act by de-linking it from the purpose and reality of “armed rebellion” that it purportedly seeks to address? Indeed, have the familiar arguments on power being vested with the NCOs or for that matter even the infringement on the fundamental and sacrosanct “Right to Life” of the citizens ever reminded one of what is that the AFSPA is seeking to address or deal with this reality of our real world? None!

Interestingly, all this while, as the protestors are busy while barking at the “bare act” of AFSPA with their increasingly redundant legal arguments, the Government of India does not and will not de-link what it thinks the Act is addressing while thinking about AFSPA.

It is no wonder then that the protestors are not only least bothered about, if not oblivious of, the dubious and sinister politics that has given birth to, and sustained, this legal fiction called AFSPA over the years. While the Supreme Court Judgment categorically has insisted that the “disturbed condition” is not due to “armed rebellion” wherein the Act has been enforced or that the said “condition” does not constitute a threat to the “security of the nation”, the military and the political class continue to maintain otherwise.

If the Act is not addressing or not related to what the people know it as “khutlai paiba lalhouba” (or “armed rebellion”), what is that the Act is seeking to address? Having failed to address or remained ignorant of such basic question, many have failed to understand the Act itself. For instance, the violence which is being exercised by the State through AFSPA is fundamentally based on or derived from the violence to “institute order” rather than “violence to preserve order”. That AFSPA is a violence to institute “Indian-ness” or the Legitimacy of “Indian State” in specific areas and their inhabitants wherein the “Indian-ness” are problematic.

Indeed, it is not merely the ignorance of written words or documents, even the empirics have failed to draw the attention of many protestors to the real character of the Act. For instance, that the AFSPA has not been imposed in all those areas that have “armed insurgency” does not even allow many of these protestors to see the real nature of political violence invoked by the Act. Thus, having failed to understand the political premise of the Act, they do not adequately comprehend the fact that AFSPA has always been imposed wherein “Indian-ness” has become problematic for the Indian State (Northeast, Kashmir, and briefly Punjab), not in those areas wherein “Indian-ness” has not been seen as a problem, albeit affected by armed insurgency (i.e., leftist insurgency in “mainland” India). And consequently they continue to argue against AFSPA as if the Act is an instrument of maintaining “law and order”, a premise dubiously set up by those who impose and seek to sustain the subversion of this diabolical legal fiction.

Having failed to understand the nature of the political premise and its violence invoked by the AFSPA, most of these protestors have also failed to understand that the reason behind the use of the military forces (which has the ultimate physical force for the “institution of order”) rather than the police (which exercise the violence to preserve/main order) runs deeper than the issue of whether the police forces can handle the situation or not. That had it been a question of “law and order”, either the police forces would have been readied long time back for the job or the military would not have also objected to the restraints on power which are typically imposed on those who perform the duty of maintaining “law and order” under the normative and institutional imperatives of a democratic order.

Thus, the delinking of the political premise of the AFSPA has been a critical factor in allowing the subversion of a civilized democratic life under a legal fiction. Not only that, such an approach has also allowed the people to be a part of the denial and distortions of the nature of the historically rooted and contemporary socio-political issues that affect our collective life for decades. Consequently, our capacity to address and deal with our pathetic situation in an informed, honest, purposeful and realistic manner has also been seriously jeopardized. And it must go without saying that harping on narrowed legal arguments, resorting to rhetoric and proclaiming dubious knowledge of “ground reality” to hide one’s ignorance or dishonesty do not help much to fight against AFSPA and its political premise.

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9/11 Day Observation – MSAD and Just Peace Foundation

PRESS NOTES Silently away from the blares of media it is but an inconvenient truth of the so-called largest democracy of the world. 9\11 is the day of the year… Read more »


Silently away from the blares of media it is but an inconvenient truth of the so-called largest democracy of the world. 9\11 is the day of the year 1958 when the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) was signed into a law by his Excellency the President of India, the most draconian and undemocratic legislation enacted by the Indian Parliament. Since then, without any break and judicial review, the black law has been in force in the region. The fact that the ‘right to life’ enshrined in the constitution is not a privilege of all may come as a surprise to many. It was an attack on democracy. While very few civil society organizations and individuals in Delhi has come forward to show solidarity to Irom’s cause, not many have joined her cry of repeal of AFSPA. The need to observe the 9/11 is to initiate discussions around such inconvenient truths. Let’s join the black day observation against the Draconian law, at Arts Faculty, Delhi University, on 9/11/2011 from 11am to 4pm. It is organized to support the world longest fast by Irom Sharmila and the cause to repeal AFSPA. Planning meeting of the worldwide protest on 5 November 2011 as Irom Sharmila is completing 11 years of fast will also be held during the observation. All the people from sections of societies are invited to join the observation.

President   Manipur Student’s Association Delhi (MSAD)

Coordinator, Delhi:  Just Peace Foundation (JPF)

Contact:  9250446722, 7503689305, 9718669413,
Date 9/9/11

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Some Suggestions to Govt. of India on AFSPA

By: A Bimol Akoijam Going by the dominant views, primarily legalistic and devoid of political basis, on AFSPA amongst those who are protesting against the Act in Manipur, sometimes I… Read more »

By: A Bimol Akoijam

Going by the dominant views, primarily legalistic and devoid of political basis, on AFSPA amongst those who are protesting against the Act in Manipur, sometimes I wonder why the Government of India keeps on complicating the matter for themselves!?

They could have easily repealed AFSPA and introduce a more “humane” one by taking into account some of the criticisms such as the power to shoot has been given to the Non-Commission Officers (NCOs). Well, don’t give the power to shoot to NCOs, but give it to Commission Officers, if not JCOs! And as for the “Right to Life”, repeat the same argument given by the Supreme Court and introduce some safeguards along with Dos and Don’ts of the Supreme Court Judgment of 1997. And also, provide a rationale for the new act, beyond the “bare act” of the new “humane” legislation; Govt. of India must say, unlike what it did while introducing the AFSPA in 1958, that we have “terrorists” who indulge in “extortion” and “intimidate” and “kill” innocent people in Manipur!

But before they repeal AFSPA and introduce a new one as an alternative, make it sure that the Central leaders call people, some of the major players in the state selectively (invitation from the central leaders can instill quite a lot of “self-worth” to people who have been complaining of being “neglected”) and (this is important) Prime Minster must pay a visit to Sharmila in hospital-cum-jail and give a press conference and announce that Govt. of India has taken time to take the decision (insist in English, one cannot take a hasty decision, and that one cannot afford to follow “hou hou laobi” culture or episodic response but requires a “holistic” response etc.) as the AFSPA involves “political” issues, amongst other, issues of “national security and integrity”.

Make it sure that such an admission is followed by a statement (preferably in soft and emotionally laden tone) that “insurgents” are our brothers and sisters followed by an empathic remark starting with a BUT (make it sure that this word is stressed) that Govt of India cannot remain as a mere spectator to the suffering of the people in Manipur and allow the “terrorists” who “extort” and delay “development” to go on with their activities against “the people” of Manipur! (Note: For a cue, whoever says this must watch Indira Gandhi’s expression in an interview with BBC at the time of crisis in the then East Pakistan, why India could not  remain a spectator to the human sufferings in East Pakistan in the hands of Pakistani soldiers!)

Lastly but not the least, such an announcement must be ended with wholesome praise for the Manipuris’ contributions to the world of sports, culture (theatre, dance, cinema etc) and announce some financial/development package, including plans to open KFCs and Malls!

After that, the Govt. of India don’t have to worry about a “movement” against AFSPA in Manipur and they can be sure of the moral high ground to watch the confusion and internal bickering amongst those protestors and people in Manipur for a while before it subsides ultimately!

In any case, if we go by what the Manipuris in general have understood about AFSPA as it can be seen from their slogans and articulations that reflect the way they understand AFSPA after all these year, it is unlikely that they will sense the problematic aspects of the fundamental political premise (of AFSPA and its would be substitute) that soon. After all, the alternative Act will take into account their complaints on NCOs and Right to Life etc). By that time, as such, situation would have also changed as various historical and unfolding forces would have shaped the world (including their own) differently.

Government of India must make its move; and they can expect a lovely slogan from Manipur: Jai Ho Manipur, Indian-na Yaifare!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there will not be fringe elements that will still talk and argue against the New Act for the basic problems inherent in the political premise of AFSPA and the new Act. But Govt. of India does not have to worry about those fringe elements, precisely because they are after all “fringe elements”.  In any case, intrigues against each other, pulling down one another, and killing each other IS NOT a WEAKNESS for the people of Manipur. Therefore, those fringe elements will be effectively taken care of by the people of Manipur themselves!


Meaning, accusation of Perpetrating a Colonial Act over the people ends!!!!


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Sharmila, Media and Manipuris

By: Sanjib Meitei I am a staunch supporter of Irom Sharmila’s struggle against the draconian law Arm Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). I too, always feel that mainland Indian media… Read more »

By: Sanjib Meitei

I am a staunch supporter of Irom Sharmila’s struggle against the draconian law Arm Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). I too, always feel that mainland Indian media houses are biased while handling two Gandhians of modern India – one from a neglected and failed state called Manipur trying to make people and leaders in mainland India hear that people living here are yet to get democratic rights even though India is celebrating its 64th years of independence while the other Gandhian belongs to one of the most prosperous states of India taking up a cause called corruption which most of the people enjoy indulging it personally at various levels but problematic when others indulge it at his cost. The only similarity between the two Gandhian activists is that both of them resorted to indefinite hunger strike to press their demands. Unfortunately, the similarity ends here. Anna Hazare took the nation by storm. Central government had to bow down in front of Mr. Hazare. The whole India got to know the modern era Gandhi, Mr. Anna Hazare, whose struggle lasted for a few months and almost succeeded getting his goals. Not bad and he rightly deserves to get respect for bringing awareness among the ignorant people of the country (I hope so and I would love to live in a corruption free society). One thing is clear. The mighty Indian government is not intimidated by any person but it’s afraid of the mass who can vote
them out of power. The success of his war against corruption would not have been easy had the media houses not covered each of his moves. Credit should go to media also for making the issue reaches to common men and gain their support. For media, it was a win -win situation. They got their expected TRP besides supporting a patriotic cause.

The other Gandhian is more humble and her cause is relevant to only a fraction of Indian population although it is not less important than that of Mr. Hazare by any standard. Most of the people living in AFSPA free states never heard about the Act itself let alone support the cause. Before Mr. Hazare become famous, I came across only a very few editorials of Hindi/English dailies supporting her cause while many retired army officials and other prominent people opposed it openly saying the reasons which sound so theatrics and painful to us. Their reason for supporting AFSPA sounds more hypocrite now a days after hearing the reason for their reluctance to use the same yardstick to treat the people of Naxalite affected areas of India where the condition seem at least similar if not more worse than APSPA implemented states.

For the last 11 years, Irom Sharmila has been fighting a lone battle against the law enforcers of the biggest democratic country in the world begging our basic democratic rights other than right to vote. No media house is interested in highlighting the plight of the people of India living without democratic rights. Their reluctance may be partly due to lack of response from their audience regarding the issue and simple arithmetic is that in this big bad competitive world, money matters. For them, money is directly linked to the number of audience for each news article. I think I could understand (at least I tried to convince myself that) the reluctance of media houses to put Ms. Sharmila on headlines is nothing discriminatory but simply business related issue. During Mr. Hazare’s fast, she has been compared with Anna Hazare and as a result many people got to know her even though most of them are not interested in knowing her cause for the indefinite fast. Ignorant people even hurled insults to hercause. Some prominent columnists and so called social commentators like Mr. Santosh Desai questioned the legitimacy of her demand without trying to understand the illegitimacy of the Act. Well, it’s unfortunate to say the least. Many people seem to hate people getting basic democratic rights even though they are fully enjoying it.

As for people like Mr. Dersai, had you ever been slapped across your face just because your name sound like a name of an outlawed person by a jawan frisking you in a cold late evening when returning home after a long day at work or had one of your sisters or your wife had to go to labor in the middle of the street just because there was a combing operation going on to identify some suspected terrorists by security personals, then I think, your comments would have been

. It’s very hard to explain the importance of basic democratic rights which you never had to struggle for in your life. Let me give you an example. I came across the love and hate relationship between Mahatama Gandhi and then British Prime Minister Mr. Winston Churchill who is considered as one of the greatest statesman and war time leader in UK. Despite the latter’s statesmanship and leadership quality for leading UK during hard times, he was against Indian independence movement.
There were reports that he favored letting Mahatama Gandhi die as a result o f indefinite hunger strike so that British rule could be continued in India. It’s very easy to Churchill than being Gandhi. I think same is happening in India now. It is very easy to deny basic democratic rights but very difficult to acknowledge and support it for the sake of others. While trying very hard to convince myself the logical reason behind Sharmila’s cause not being on headlines with its deserved importance, there came the news regarding Ms. Sharmila’s confession for her love of a person who she believes that he is the one. My wife called me up and informed me that she just came across the news of Sharmila’s romantic tryst. I told her that it’s good thing to happen to our beloved Gandhian. After all, love makes life beautiful and in fact the world is beautiful when you are in love. I pray that the two beautiful people in this world live happily for the rest of their life. When I read the news, I was saddened by the fact that Sharmila is not happy with the way her close associates treated the man whom she loves. I feel that if AFSPA is draconian, then objecting to Sharmila’s choice of partner is much more draconian. As usual, the chaos begins the next day in Manipur. Some
people are demanding the editor of newspaper in question to come down to Manipur and apologies to the people of Manipur. Isn’t it too much?

There are two big problems

(i) the way telegraph India sensationalized the news which sounded rather insulting to the people who are suffering under AFSPA than any show of sympathy on Sharmila’s struggle per se and

(ii) the way on how people reacted to the situation by directly resorting to violence. Violent reaction on this issue demeans Sharmila’s genuine sacrifice and struggle.

It simply accelerates the deviation of the focus from the genuine issue and making it a romantic comedy. I think, our political leaders (if they genuinely felt for the plight of the people of Manipur), social activists and organizations can express their displeasure regarding the news which sounded like making a joke of Sharmila’s personal life instead of appreciating her struggle. If the news is baseless, I would appeal to social groups to sue the media house to teach them a lesson. Even if it is genuine news, we can still make our displeasure known to the media house on the way how they handled it. It should be made clear that even if the mainland media houses could not appreciate or help the genuine cause of our beloved lady’s sacrifice, they should not try to malign it by sensationalizing it by giving a negative light. The editors and reported should remember the old saying that “If you cannot help someone, then at least don’t do bad for the person”. You people have a big role to play in maintaining cultural harmony and national integrity. Instead of making the people of Manipur out of place by sensationalizing the news in a different light other than the people of Manipur expect, you can help the genuine cause of our Iron lady.

To me, I respect Mahatama Gandhi much more than Mr. Winston Churchill for the formers ideology of non violence and equality of rights even though the latter won a big war against non democratic groups. In the land of Gandhi, let us not follow Churchill’s footsteps.
The above article was sent to by Sanjib Meitei, sanjibmeiteicha[at]
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Devil’s Advocate: Deranged Man and Protestors (PART 2)

By: A Bimol Akoijam The deranged man reads the leaflet again and scratches his head, and looks up at the leader of the protestors, and says, “So, she has been… Read more »

By: A Bimol Akoijam

Previously on Devil’s Advocate: Deranged Man and Protestors

LP: What do you mean?

DM: If she decides to call off the fast or something happens to her, what will you do?

The leader shots back, “Then, you will see a civil war if anything happens to her! Government of India will be solely responsible …God forbid, if something bad happens to her!

DM: And Armed Forces Special Powers Act?

The leader and protestors look at each others.

The deranged man reads the leaflet again and scratches his head, and looks up at the leader of the protestors, and says, “So, she has been fighting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, uummm…I see”

“Yes, she has been fighting against this draconian Act”, replies the leader of the protestors.

DM: I know

LP: How do you know?

As their leader asks the question, looking at the clothing and disheveled hair of the deranged man who keeps on scratching his head, the other protestors smile.

DM: Oh, it’s written here…this leaflet that you have given me.

LP: Oh!….So?

The deranged man scratches his head again as he continues to read the leaflet all over again. Then he looks at the protestors and their leader.

DM: So? Ummm…do you support Sharmila because she is fighting against the Act?

LP: Yes, we support her because she is fighting against AFSPA

DM: You should have told me that. Instead, you said, you are supporting Sharmila because she is ON A FAST!

And the protestors again look at each others.

“Why is she against this Act?” asks the deranged man.

LP: It deprives us of our basic human rights like the “Right to Life”

DM: You mean, AFSPA deprives you of your “Right to Life”?

LP: yes

DM: How?

LP: It allows the army to shoot, even causing death, on the basis of mere suspicion! It’s there in the leaflet.

DM: yeah…I see that but this is wrong…

LP: That’s it…we have been wronged…

DM: No, I mean what you are writing here is wrong. You write here and also say that AFSPA deprives you of the “Right to Life”, but it does not!

LP: What!?

DM: Yes, AFSPA does not deny “Right to Life”!

LP: How can you say that? This Act gives power to security forces to shoot to kill even on the basis of suspicion, it’s unconstitutional…

DM: But that was what those who fought against the Act have said in the Supreme Court and the Court has given its judgment that says that the Act is constitutional and the soldier cannot shoot and take the life of a citizen arbitrarily. He must have reasonable ground to justify the suspicion because the Constitution still protects the citizen’s “Right to life” as the Constitution is not suspended while the Act is in operation.

The leader and protestors seem to get puzzled by this observation of the deranged man. And they look at each other. Looking at the leader, the deranged man continues, “Have you read the Supreme Court Judgment?”

The leader stares at the deranged man for while and then uneasily looks at his followers. Slowly turning towards the deranged man, he says, “Errr ahh err…well…errr…yes…long time back!”

As they hear their leader, the followers look at each other. There is an element of disbelief in their glances on what their leader has just said and their own experssions also seem to indicate that they haven’t probably read the judgment even though they have been protesting against this Act for years, repeatedly shouting all these while, the same slogans as they did before their challenge against the Act in Court was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1997.

DM: Then, why are you saying that AFSPA denies “Right to Life”?

The leader keeps quite for a while and looks at his followers, then says, “Well…I don’t agree…you know it is democracy, people have the right to disagree”!

DM: True, but under the democratic system, Judiciary is important, and the Highest Court has given its Judgment which has rejected the view that the Act denies “Right to Life”. Anyway, you must have a reason to disagree? Why do you disagree? What are your reasons behind your diagreement?

LP: Ummm err…leave the Judgment…reasons and all that…it’s all talks…those are all “theories”. We have to understand the “ground reality”!

One of the protestors says, “Yes, yes, “theories” are not important, we must know the “ground reality”!

DM: “Theories”? All talks? Aren’t you also only talking, your slogans and this leaflet?

LP: What!?

DM: Anyway, is “Right to Life” a theory or ground reality? Is there such a real thing called “Right to Life”, people do get killed in reality anyway, not only in Manipur. So is “Right to Life” a reality or a theory?

The leader seems to be taken aback by this question of the deranged man. Just as he seems to ponder over it, one of the protestors says in Meiteilon, “Tok-o yaare..angaobasiga waari touranu…kari kanndoino” (it’s ok, stop it, there is no point in talking with this mad man). Another chips in, “Masi mee-se ngaosinnaba oiramganee…Govt ki agent oiramgani…intelligence  agency-sing-gee mee soidana oiramgani…ngaoragabu kamaina maana mee-gee judgment-kado paramdoi-no” (this man must be impersonating as a mad man…he must be an agent of the govt…a member of the intelligence agencies…how can a mad man read judgment and all that)!

Masi nupa-se moi-gee atoppa group-ki mee oiramgani…Iche Sharmila-da support touganu, AFSPA-ki fight-ta oina support tou kai-na ngashai haikhrido

Still another protestor looks at the deranged man suspiciously, then turns to his other colleagues and says, “Masi nupa-se moi-gee atoppa group-ki mee oiramgani…Iche Sharmila-da support touganu, AFSPA-ki fight-ta oina support tou kai-na ngashai haikhrido” (This guy must be from the other group, that’s why he was saying that we should fight against AFSPA, not support Sharmila)!

Then the deranged man interrupts them, looking at them and then at their leader, he says, “What are they saying?”

Looking at the deranged man, the leader replies, “Nothing”!

DM: They are saying something though?

Saying this he smiles at the leader. The leader also looks at him.

LP: It’s not important!

DM: Really? What they are saying is not important?

The leader seems to be flummoxed by this pointed question from the deranged man and he seems to ponder on the remarks of the other protestors for a while. Then looking at the deranged man, he continues.

LP: well…err…anyway…what were you asking?

DM: I was asking as to what your friends were saying just now?

LP: Leave that…before that, what were you asking?

DM: Oh that! Well, I was asking, is the “Right to Life” a theory or what you called a ground reality?

LP: Ummm errr..errr…

One of the protestors intervenes, “You must know ground reality”!

LP: Yes…you must know “ground reality”!

DM: That’s ok but you haven’t answered my question and you are trying to avoid…

Before the deranged man could complete, the leader says, “see, people have been killed…you know extra-judicial killings…you must know…”

Just as the leader was saying this, a protestor interrupts, “call Engel-lei, she is there…her husband was also killed in a fake encounter”. And he sends someone to call Engel-lei.

LP: Yes, you must know the “ground reality”…we have amongst us a victim of extra-judicial killing, a young girl in her early 20s whose husband was shot dead right in front of her by Manipur Police Commandos”!

DM: God! That’s terrible!

The deranged man seems to be disturbed by this information of a young widow.

LP: See, you must know “ground reality” to understand AFSPA!

DM: But to the best of my knowledge, Manipur Police and its Commandos are not covered by AFSPA; they do not operate under the AFSPA!

The leader looks at the deranged man and then to his followers who also look at each other, as if the remark of the deranged man seems to have unsettled their “ground reality”!


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Devil’s Advocate: Deranged Man and Protestors

Amidst the sultry tropical weather, a group of protestors repeatedly shout, “Save Sharmila!!!! One of the protestors passes on the leaflet that they have been distributing to people to a… Read more »

Amidst the sultry tropical weather, a group of protestors repeatedly shout, “Save Sharmila!!!!

One of the protestors passes on the leaflet that they have been distributing to people to a deranged man who happens to pass by. Shaken by what is written on the leaflet, the deranged man seeks to strike a conversation with the protestors. Initially, seeing the odd looks of the man, some of them laugh at him and teasingly calls out one guy, who happens to be one of the leaders of those protestors, to entertain the deranged man. He, along with a few, decides to take a break from the protracted protest, and have a conversation with the deranged man. As such, they need some rest as they have been shouting for a while and it will be some time before those who have gone in a police vehicle to summit a memorandum to the PM or his office, something that they have never failed to do so each time they organized such a protest during the last decade, return to the protest site.

As they sit down, one of them asks the deranged man, “So, what do you want to know”?

Deranged Man (Henceforth, DM): Why are you supporting Sharmila?

Leader of the protestors (Henceforth, LP):  Because Iche Sharmila has been on a fast!

DM: Oh, you support her because she’s been fasting?

Yes, yes! Some of the protestors answer almost in unison!

The leader continues in all seriousness,  “Yes, Iche Sharmila has been fasting for the last 11 years!”

DM: Oh I see! So you are supporting her because she is on a fast?

LP: Yes

DM: Why don’t you ask her to eat; In fact, still better, since you seem to love her so much, why don’t you offer her food, instead of protesting like this?

LP: You mad!? She’s on fast for 11 years!!!!

DM: That’s what…you shouldn’t have allowed her to go hungry for so long?

The deranged man continues, scratching his head as he glances at the leaflet and looks at those protestors.

LP: She has been forced-fed all these years… She won’t eat!

DM: Too bad!

LP: What!!!!?

Taken by surprise, the leader retorts back; the deranged man continues again.

DM: You people love her so much and protesting all these while in this weather and she refuses to eat! I don’t understand. Doesn’t she love you? If she loves you, I think she will start eating food!

The deranged man continues.

Hearing his remark, the protestors look at each other and some of them become visibly perturbed by the remark. One of them says in Meteilon (a dominant language which consists of a group of Manipuri dialects spoken by people in the valley of Manipur as their mother-tongue…like the Mandarin amongst the Chinese), “Masi angaobashi…mathong maram khangdaba…kaothatlu…fujillaga fadouni…mee ushittaba…makok yaodaba” (this mad man has no sense, kick him, it’s better to beat him up…brainless fellow)!

The leader looks at them and says, “Ngaikho… tapthakho…angaobaga maanaraga kei kandoino” (Wait…what you will get if we do that with a mad man”)!

DM: You angry?

LP: Of course not

Being a seasoned leader, with a touch of diplomacy, he smiles as he answers. Then, he looks at his followers with another smile.

DM: So, does she love you people?

LP: Yes, she loves us, why would she fast if she does not love us, the people of Manipur!?

DM: That’s all the more reason for her to call off the fast so that you don’t protest like this in such weather!

One among the protestors menacingly walks towards the deranged man and says, “Shut up!”

LP: Wait!

The leader stops the guy and then looks at the deranged man and continues,

See, she won’t eat until the Armed Forces Special Power Act is repealed by the Govt. Of India

DM: Oh, then you should be fighting against that Act, rather than SUPPORTING HER BECAUSE SHE IS ON FAST!

The leader thinks for a while and answers, “That’s what we are doing”!

DM: But you said, you people are SUPPORTING SHARMILA BECAUSE SHE IS ON A FAST! Didn’t you say that?

The leader looks at the deranged man and his followers. Then he continues.

LP: Yeah…err…but it’s the same thing!
DM: No! How can it be?

LP: What do you mean?

DM: If she decides to call off the fast or something happens to her, what will you do?

The leader shots back, “Then, you will see a civil war if anything happens to her! Government of India will be solely responsible …God forbid, if something bad happens to her!

DM: And Armed Forces Special Powers Act?

The leader and protestors look at each others.


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What if Anna Hazare comes to Manipur

Let us hope that Anna comes to Manipur. Manipur will resonate with Anna’s calls of Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai and Jai Hind. The national tri colour will make… Read more »

Let us hope that Anna comes to Manipur. Manipur will resonate with Anna’s calls of Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai and Jai Hind. The national tri colour will make our beautiful land, Manipur even more beautiful. Once this happens, most of Manipur’s problems will get solved. It will be interesting to see the reaction of that section of Irom Sharmila supporters who are against the tri colour, Vande Mataram, Jai Hind and Bharat Mata ki Jai. Let us hope they will be mesmerized by Anna to chant with him and change their attitude and outlook & usher in a new era of peace and development in our beautiful state.

We need to give it a serious thought.

Sent by: Bijoy Sharma

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Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958: Manipur Experience

The above booklet was sent to by Malem Ninthouja with the following note.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958: Manipur Experience

Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958; Manipur Experience

© CPDM 2010

Malem Ningthouja

Editorial Team
Ksh. Dayabati, Malem Ningthouja, Manishwar
Nongmaithem & Salam Sanayaima



The above booklet was sent to by Malem Ninthouja with the following note.

Ahanbamaktada adomgi media house pu eekai khumnaba ootchari. CPDM gi chefongsinggi marakta houjik faobada khwaidagi circulation touba ngamba asi mathakta pnjariba compilation asi oiri. Eikhoina masi sendonggidamak puthokpa natchade. Hairiba chefong asi soft copy oina online da fanghanba pamjabadagi editor gi mafamda attach toujari. Masibu adomgi media da fongnaba haijari. Adomgi toubimalbu kaojaroi.
With regards
Malem Ningthouja

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Meeting Notes: Anna Hazare and Sharmila Irom

  By Chitra Ahanthem It was 1997, the year India was marking her 50th year of Independence. There would have been many celebrations of this momentous occasion but only one… Read more »


By Chitra Ahanthem
It was 1997, the year India was marking her 50th year of Independence. There would have been many celebrations of this momentous occasion but only one unique observation of this historical timeline stays on with me: a NGO based in Mumbai was taking about 250 young people from India and across the world to places of India’s history and future in a train specially reserved for the purpose! The announcement was made on a popular cultural TV program (which we don’t see the likes of now) called Surabhi beamed on Doordarshan and various other newspapers. It was a happy moment when I got confirmation that I was to be one of the said young people on the train that would ultimately travel for 11 days across the country facilitating interactions with people who were inspiring: Mark Tully, Abdul Kalam (then with ISRO and who talked us then of the possibility of an Indian moon mission which did become a reality!), Bunker Roy of Tillonia (married to Aruna Roy and behind hugely successful rural enterprises, water harvesting, adult literacy among others in Tillonia in Rajashthan), Kiran Bedi (much before her controversial stint in Mizoram) and Anna Hazare who was known at that point of time mostly for his pioneering work in Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.

The said rail yatra was mainly organized to instill in young people the essence of leadership, innovation and social development. The routine was that we would be traveling in the train non-stop till we reached the places we were meant to be and then getting back to the train for the night. So, there was an air of curiosity when we were told that we would have an overnight stay at Ralegan Siddhi to meet a Gandhian who had taken up rural conservation and community work. The villagers took us around the place and we were told how small canals had been dug up to generate water flow. But it was two things that impressed me greatly: a school for juvenile children and the practice of Shramdaan or volunteer work as a form of social charity. The school had classrooms but if the children so wanted, classes would be held under the shade of trees in the open. There were yoga classes for “anger management” while most constructions in the village: the small dams, solar panels, wells, places of worship were all built through Shramdaan.

In the evening, we sat in a community hall and then, in walked Anna who spoke of his “second life” (he was the lone survivor during an enemy attack during an India-Pakistan war). We talked then mostly of philosophy and working for social upliftment. Like many of my fellow yatris, we thought nothing much about questioning his rigid stand against alcoholics (they were beaten up, period) and I even piped in my two bit and told him how Nishabandi women in Manipur were also doing the same! It would take me some years to understand the concept of public health and harm reduction and see that the greater crime of punitive measures on substance abusers only marginalizes them and do nothing about addressing the dependency. Anna Hazare’s activism against corruption started later and one cannot say much of what happened in between. But personally, the posturing Anna that one sees on TV (wagging fingers and dictating terms) is a very different person from the Anna I met all those years ago. The Anna then actually asked us young people on what we thought he should incorporate more into his work in his village in terms of forest and water conservation etc. The Anna one gets to see now refuses any kind of disagreement with his thoughts and beliefs.

November 2000 and a young woman called Irom Sharmila decided to fast to protest after 10 civillians were gunned down at Malom. My first reaction then (and I am/ not ashamed to own up to this now) was that it would be some token fast. Some days later, there was the “fast against AFSPA till the act is taken off” context and I thought that hers was an illogical/irrational and totally crazy stand to take. I also shrugged it off as “some group must be behind her” motive. I totally bought the “AFSPA is necessary till there are insurgents” theory for quite a long time till my own readings on militarism and armed conflicts around the world and conflict resolution/reconciliation processes made me sit up and engage in some serious questioning.

The first meeting happened in March 2009 during her customary yearly release. It was total chaos: there was a meeting of over 50 odd woman journalists from all over the country happening in Imphal and they all wanted to meet her. And then, there was the usual local media attention too. The first meeting was more of a brief sighting especially since I did not believe I needed to add my own questions to the many that were being addressed to her.

The second meeting happened in a unique setting: something that I have only shared with a few friends but one that can be let out in the public domain now. January 2010 saw me with very high fever after a trip to Bangkok and my Uncle, a doctor asked me to get a swine flu test done. Since he was with Jawarlal Nehru hospital then, I went there. Those who follow news would be aware that I was tested positive for swine flu but much before that news broke, I was raising hell over the state of the isolation ward at the hospital. What I did not want to call attention to the media then was that while I was standing outside the isolation ward with the face mask on, waiting for hospital staff to find the keys to the room (they took about an hour and a half!) I saw a familiar figure some 10 metres away from me. It was Sharmila Irom! My heart plummeted inside me: here was this one person I wanted to talk with and I was supposedly at risk of an infection that I could pass on to her. I have a small face and the mask covered most of it and I saw Iche Sharmila looking quizzically at me. I rolled my eyes at her and hoped that she would not come near (I did not want to be responsible for her health!). When eventually, my test results came in positive, I wasn’t too worried about my own health (I did not take Tamiflu medication) or my family (they did not have any fever) but I obsessively kept an ear open for any news on Sharmila’s health!

In May 2010, I got third time lucky and I had a long meeting with Iche Sharmila. I was going along as a sort of translator for a journalist and writer. We talked mostly of non-political issues: of her books and poetry we talked at great length. And then she took both my hands and said solemnly, “remember when you were at this hospital with your mask on?” And then she laughed and told me, “you don’t know the amount of activity and consternation that happened here after you left!” There was no air of moral superiority following the status of icon-hood that has settled on her: I was face to face with a unique person yes but also a normal human being, a young woman kept in isolation but very aware of the world around her.

Many people have pitched Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption and Sharmila Irom’s stand against AFSPA. But their stands are different and the battlefield totally apart from each other. My own interaction with both of them happened at different times and stages of their journey. But what stays on following my interactions with Iche Sharmila are the little ways in which she is so much a person than an icon. It is something that one does not get to see in other people who take on the mantle of greatness.

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My father, the politician

By Shachi Gurumayum “Give *us* the future, we’ve had enough of your past. Give us back our country, to live in, to grow in, to love.” – Michael Collins It… Read more »

By Shachi Gurumayum

“Give *us* the future, we’ve had enough of your past. Give us back our country, to live in, to grow in, to love.” – Michael Collins

It started with an article I chanced upon en route from Beirut to Dubai. Hoping to keep busy on the plane, I picked up an early edition of Gulf News, dated Saturday August 20th 2011, and flicking through the pages, I was surprised to find an article entitled, “Manipur activist has been on fast for 10 years” written by Thingnam Anjulika Samom. Manipuris around the world will immediately know on whom the article was based but, for those new to this subject, the “activist” is Irom Sharmila Chanu who has been fasting, and is being force-fed by the authorities, for 10 years campaigning for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 “which gives India’s armed forces the power to arrest, search, and destroy property without warrant as well as shoot, and even kill, on mere suspicion”. To see an article as such to be so prominently presented, perhaps catalysed by the well-covered hunger strike of Gandhian Anna Hazare, in a Dubai based newspaper surprised me but it raised a few questions; why is the Act still in place, why is it so difficult for our state government to repeal an Act that is obviously condemned en masse in Manipur, and why is Sharmila so unimportant compared to Anna? Is it because Manipuris are insignificant at only 0.2% of the Indian population, or because we are so meek and unable to raise our voice against the majority, or because our MPs do not present enough strength in the Indian parliament, or because our elected leaders are so weak and fragmented that they cannot fight for what is good for Manipur?

I do not have the answers to any of the questions above however I do have a few stories to tell of my own, stories that highlight the mindset of our fellow citizens. I had only arrived at one of India’s top colleges when one of the teachers told me in the face that “you northeast students do not work hard” – only to later find quite a few NE students in the top five to 10 of their respective classes – and over a decade later, in London, introducing myself to a key Indian manager of a UK organization, I was asked “if you guys are still creating trouble and fighting for independence” – I was dumbfounded and did not want to risk the business relationship we were establishing to answer back tersely to such a comment. The third story is around getting married to a non-Indian in Manipur. Knowing that my fiancée would need a Restricted Area Permit, we applied for the permit in July for a wedding scheduled on Christmas day, a day we considered auspicious. Rather unsurprisingly, the permit was only issued a few days before the wedding after my father and I had literally camped in the corridors of the Manipur Secretariat building for a full week. And, after I had personally complained to the Chief Secretary, and sent a fax to the Home Secretary in Delhi that I was treated with more respect in a foreign country than my own country and asked them how they expected Manipuris to feel Indian when we were being treated as step-children. The treatment and support meted out by my own fellow Manipuri bureaucrats were no example setters either.

The above stories appear to only blame others however I believe we also ought to ask ourselves what we are doing wrong that is sending such messages. Why are we perceived as less hard working, as less culturally advanced, as politically weak and so forth? I saw Manipuri students in Delhi and elsewhere who were only too happy to waste their parents’ hard-earned money but a majority of my friends and contemporaries were diligent students who wanted to achieve success, peace and stability in life. A culture that developed its own language and script can by no means be any less advanced than the others in India. A state with tens of ethnic groups and dialects should, if anything, be a global anthropologist’s dream. Yet, why do we come across as weak and insecure? My feeling is that this is because we are a divided lot; we are too busy defending our individual identities that we have forgotten the higher goal of defending our state. There will always be those who question and fight for the loss of sovereignty of a kingdom that had never been dominated until the British empire came along, the creation of states in a union that divided ethnic groups into separate states and districts, and the subjugation of minorities within each of the states. But, in the context of today’s India, why could we not take a pragmatic approach and find a social and political solution that would strengthen us? Are we so weak that we cannot find strength in whatever little number we have?

As a student growing up in a Manipur ravaged by bandhs, strikes and violence, I wondered why our people could not sit down together and peacefully work out solutions to our problems. I would hear my father talk about the need for change and I would often retort back by asking him, then a fast rising engineer within the Public Works Department, what he was doing to do this. His answer was that he was changing the system from the inside in whatever way he could but that it was only limited to his sphere of influence, which I must say was rather limited. So, it came as no surprise to me that, a year or so ago, he declared that he and a few like-minded Manipuris were creating a party for the people of Manipur and for Manipur, above everything else. Until then, I had only known him as the Roorkee (IIT Roorkee now) educated, state-selection-exam topping, tough but fair, driven and ambitious engineer who wanted to make things happen, and happen quickly. Until then, I had known him as the ever eager engineer who collapsed of malaria purposefully touring the deep interiors of Tipaimukh and Jiribam, the father who competed with me to be the first one to get a doctorate by writing his thesis in his mid-fifties, and the husband who sacrificed a lot of family time by visiting every remotely located project as often as possible to ensure progress and delivery. And, the one who retired at the pinnacle of his career as the PWD Chief Engineer without the black spots of corruption normally associated with his line of work. To start a political party has been an inspirational move from my father and he truly is my hero! You may consider this article as promotional but I genuinely believe that Manipur needs change and that Manipur desperately needs good people at her service.

Having heard a lot of stories about how politicians in Manipur get elected, from spending crores of rupees to adopting every means possible to get elected, I was not sure if my father had the financial strength and popularity to win in such a ‘competitive’ landscape. Now, having had the luxury of time to ponder and consider the impact, I believe the time is right for Manipur to see a leader who is willing to take the risk of challenging the status quo, and one who is willing to shake, even if not entirely uproot, the tree so that the rotten fruits drop off. For how long can we Manipuris continue to live in such abject ignorance of the things that are happening around us? For how long can we bear the destruction of our motherland by a select few selfish power-hungry individuals? And, for how long can we tolerate the fact that, despite 60 plus years of being India, we seem to be so far behind the rest of the country? Why is it that no state-minded political party has had much success in the state? Why is it that we allow ourselves to be fooled with a few short-term sugar-coated development initiatives and charities whilst losing our long-term right to peace, success, employment for ourselves and our children, and continued prosperity of our state which God has blessed in so many ways? Why can we not elect a government that will govern rightly keeping the people of Manipur top of everything else?

Why can we not develop an outsourcing village with uninterrupted power and good infrastructure where large multinationals could set up bases thus creating jobs for our people? Why can we not set up a sustainable and highly productive agricultural system that will not only provide our basic staple crops but also surplus fruits and vegetables that could be exported? Why can we not securely maintain the two National Highways we have so that we cannot be made to dance at the whim of any self-obsessed organization that decides to blockade either one of the two? Why can we not have integration where Biharis, Kukis, Marwaris, Meiteis, Nagas, Nepalis, Pangals, and all the other ethnic groups think of Manipur at the same time they think of themselves? Why can we not establish a successful textile industry like Kashmiri carpets and shawls through our renowned muga weaving skills? Why, when we have the only floating national park in the world, can we not turn ourselves into a tourist and relaxation paradise for all those hard-working, exhausted, citizens in the big metropolitan cities of India? Being at the epicenter of a trade route between the fast rising eastern countries such as China and the rest of India, why can we not provide good infrastructure to act as a trading hub in the region? Why can we not achieve the same level of success as Singapore and why can’t we learn from them? Are we really so incapable? Why are our roads always full of potholes? Why are we so focused on banning Hindi movies instead of channeling our energy and resources on making Manipuri films, videos, songs, literature, and art better resourced and more present? Have we been so dumbed down through years of corruption and politicking? Why can’t all our elected members stand up in parliament and demand what is rightfully ours and what is good for us? Have we lost the entrepreneurial spirit that makes every Manipuri a fast learner and adapter wherever he or she goes? Have we lost the fighting spirit that produced such elegant martial art forms as Thang-Ta and Sarik-Sarak? What happened to the artistic and creative instincts that led to such beautiful and colourful art forms as the Meitei jagoi, Kabui and Naga dances, and so on? Are we Manipuris ready for change? Perhaps, I am asking the wrong questions, and I know he does not have all the answers but I surely will be continuing to ask these questions to my father, the engineer turned politician.

Shachi Gurumayum is the son of Dr. G. Tonsana Sharma,  President of Manipur Democratic People’s Front that will make a political attempt to bring good governance to Manipur in the upcoming elections.

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By: Seram Neken “If Irom Chanu Sharmila fasted for corruption and if Septuagenarian Anna Hazare protested against AFSPA, the matters would have been different. If Sharmila hails from mainland India… Read more »

By: Seram Neken

“If Irom Chanu Sharmila fasted for corruption and if Septuagenarian Anna Hazare protested against AFSPA, the matters would have been different. If Sharmila hails from mainland India and if Hazare is a native of Manipur, the vice versa of what is being strongly addressed by the government might have happened. This time, Sharmila expressed her whole-hearted moral support to Anna Hazare’s protest following the latter’s invitation. Had the invitation for joining the protest come from Sharmila to Anna Hazare, would the latter have responded readily ? ”

Great personalities are created where there is respect for human values. The dignity the British attached to Gandhiji as a freedom fighter helped him gain the fame worldwide and glorify his non-violence. Had MK Gandhi been born in a place like Manipur or had he undergone his protests against a government such as that of today’s Manipur, Gandhijis non-violence would not have gained its fame and he would not have been recognized as the father of the nation. Indifference of the rulers might have jeopardized his cause half-way or he might have ended his life in the bullets of mindless security people of this land.

The strikers whom politicians, media persons and the intellectuals are attentive to or glorify most, are considered as strong revolutionaries fighting for the people’s cause. If Irom Chanu Sharmila fasted for corruption and if Septuagenarian Anna Hazare protested against AFSPA, the matters would have been different. If Sharmila hails from mainland India and if Hazare is a native of Manipur, the vice versa of what is being addressed by the government might have happened. Let us examine the importance of the two causes between corruption and human rights, and let us compare the personalities of Sharmila and Hazare. Personality cult seems to out-do the issues. Sharmila has readily extended her support to the cause of Hazare’s protest following the latter’s invitation to join him. However, the nation has not responded to the call of Irom Chanu Sharmila for over ten years.

Sharmila has now become a symbol of peace, in the true sense of the term. She has earned the reputation of having the strongest will and heart for protection of human rights around the globe. She is not a mere striker, but a model of truth and justice. Gandhijis non-violence has been glorified by her personality in the twenty first century. It is not politically motivated and her demands represent the general will of the hapless people residing amidst the draconian laws of democratic India. In spite of neglects and indifference of the rulers for more than a decade, she never goes back. It is natural that Anna Hazare invited Sharmila to join his crusade against corruption. It is more natural that the Iron Lady expressed her moral support to the cause, but declined to join the fast in New Delhi for the Hazare cause. She rather blamed the nation for its indifference to the cause of human right violations.

The national media is highly discriminatory as did the government and political parties at the national level in regard to the dual cases of Sharmila and Hazare. Both strikers have been fighting for the social good, both have been following the non-violent means of fasting. However, Sharmila has almost crossed a decade of fasting, while Hazare’s appearance on the scene is quite recent as compared to the former. However, the national media have been disproportionately viewing the two protests. Intensity of the protests and the causes themselves have to be considered in balance while reporting to the people and drawing government’s attention.

Meanwhile, Dr. Manmohan Singh has written a nice letter to the septuagenarian protester with the highest concern for the latter’s health. In the letter, the Prime Minister says : “Over the last few days, I have watched with increasing concern of your health. Despite the differences between the government and your team, I don’t think that anybody is or should be in any doubt about the deep and abiding concern  which I and our government share about your health, arising from your continuing fast. I have no hesitation in saying that we need your views and actions in the service of the nation, from a robust physical condition and not in the context of frail and failing health……..” The emotional care of the leader of the nation towards a Gandhian as shown in the letter is indeed envious and courteous, and highly expected of a leadership where the father of the nation was born. It is really lamentable that during the last more than a decade of Sharmila’s fasting, not a single courtesy of such kind has been exhibited towards her from the end of a nation’s leadership. Barring independent writers, political motivators and select media personalities, the nation has been keeping mum on her cause and protest. Now that Anna Hazare and his cause have gained widespread media coverage and government attention in a comparatively short duration, has reflected some kind of nostalgia in the hearts of the so called Indian citizens residing in the far border hilly state of Manipur. Let us uphold human rights while fighting against corruption at all levels.

(The writer is a freelance journalist)

The article was sent to by Seram Neken.

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Time to look within and have some shame and self-respect

By: A. Bimol Akoijam To all those denizens of Manipur who are offended or hurt by the manner in which the “mainstream”, the “national media” and “politicians” at the “Centre”… Read more »

By: A. Bimol Akoijam

To all those denizens of Manipur who are offended or hurt by the manner in which the “mainstream”, the “national media” and “politicians” at the “Centre” have “neglected” or “marginalized” Sharmila’s fast…


THINK ABOUT THIS: Only a few years back, one of your brothers burnt himself to death while some of your “Imas” (mothers) had stripped in public and yes, Sharmila has been on a fast for a decade now…”the people” in traditional attires (such as pungou faneks, feijoms and colourful ethnic dresses) and children in school uniforms formed human chains in protest against AFSPA…







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