One would find it difficult to disagree that Meiteis are great cynics; but one need not be a cynic to be cynical about the fatuous dramas unfolding before our eyes; after all one is made a cynic by the environment in which one has grown up, and Manipur is just that.
Now, look at the news : Tripartite talk involving Government of Manipur, United Naga Council and Government of India – Government of India acting facilitator-cum-mentor – at Delhi to resolve issues raised by UNC against the acts of the “communal” government of Manipur.
The talk deals with the aspirations of the Nagas represented by its apex organization, United Naga Council, led by its president, whom the SPF government proclaimed “wanted” with a reward of Rupees One lakh or so, on his head. What a scene ! It should have at least honourably withdraw the wanted tag before it sits with its wanted man-turned-respected adversary at the Delhi Meet.
One would remember that problem started after the Naga bodies along with others demanded a review of the ADC Act before holding elections some six-seven months ago. However the SPF government seemed not to have listened to their demand. Whether agreed or disagreed, it was expected that the government should have taken the initiative to get the agitating parties to the negotiating table. But quite surprisingly, there was no such things – no meeting–no talk, between the agitators and the government before elections were conducted. This had happened inspite of appeals to the SPF government from different quarters including the local English dailies to get the agitators to the table – the antithesis of the recent Manipur Government’s seminar – “The Way Forward”?
In between, the NSCN(IM) supremo T Muivah had his plan to visit his birthplace in Manipur after he left home for the cause he has dedicated to, some four-five decades ago.
However according to the SPF government there was and is a threat to the integrity and solidarity of Manipur in the event of T Muivah landing up on the soil of Manipur. It seems the SPF government have been afflicted with a fear psychosis of a Muivah visit. One would remember, since its coming to power in the beginning of the last decade, the Chief Minister has always been saying that there is no threat to the integrity of Manipur and that there is no reason for the people to be panicky or apprehensive.
Apart from the SPF leadership’s assurance, the UPA government have also, time and again assured the people that the boundaries of the Northeast states would not be disturbed.
One can also understand that the UPA government or any government for that matter, would not like to put itself into a sticky situation by disturbing the problematic Northeast for the simple reason that it will create more problem for them, leave aside the Northeast.
The oft-repeated pronouncement of the Chief Minister and the stated position of the UPA government probably have enhanced the confidence of the people in the unity and integrity of Manipur. That may be the reason why civil society bodies in Manipur had no apprehension of the visit of T Muivah. They, therefore made no objection to his visit until the SPF government pushed the panic button.
Now, there is a mystery. A government which has all along been saying that there is no threat to Manipur, have suddenly become apprehensive and has sensed a threat to Manipur by a visit of T Muivah. This is a paradigm shift of the SPF government and it has become all the more important because it hints a change of mind somewhere in the centre.
Therefore the question is, is there a strategic change, in the mind and policy of the UPA leadership at Delhi, privy only to the Chief Minister which is detrimental to the unity and integrity of Manipur, which rightfully prompts the Chief Minister to push the panic button, frightening the public ?
The answer to this question is important. If the answer is ‘yes’, then it promises more problem, and if ‘no’ then why the panic button that has caused the communal conundrum and deepened divide between the Meitei and the Naga ?
And if the Chief Minister choose to ignore the question then it is obvious that the Chief Minister purposely played with the emotions of the unsuspecting people to serve his political interest – remember, the Chief Minister was cursed by the public just before he was hailed the Integrity Hero by the same public for his violent rule.
Fact is, the Chief Minister could have coolly managed the problem taking into confidence the Home Minister, P. Chidambaram from the very beginning; which could have been as simple as supervising a conducted tour by a travel agency – no apprehension, no panic and no division caused.
Now that the public have been totally sensitized to the brute force of communal politics on all sides of the divide and that the divide has been deepened too, by the bravery of the SPF leadership, who probably see no further than their immediate gain – power and money – forget the valley thing, or of the sort but probably their supporters who send them to the Legislative Assembly.
What is interesting and which I believe, would have been appreciated too, by T Muivah himself is, what he could not accomplish in five decades of hard labour, have been done by the Ibobi Singh government in five months – a commendable job for the cause of Nagalim !
The SPF government have done lots many works including retrieving and developing of Kangla, the heritage of this ancient land; but it has done enough damage to Manipur which may be irreparable and could negate its commendable works; while our spirited youths are away from home, who may come back when it is too late, to a deeply divided Manipur, sometime in the future.
The panic button has set off a chain reaction in Manipur and its neighbourhood, which are anything but pleasant and acceptable. Now it has reached the Delhi Durbar – the Tripartite talk, paving the way for retrieving some of the lost ground in this tormented land – probably the most important achievement, for the SPF leadership! Now, it may seem incredible but can anyone disagree that the Ibobi Singh government and not Delhi nor NSCN(IM) will decide our fate ?
Copy with high regards to :
Dr. Manmohan Singh,
The Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Writer is ex-candidate, Singjamei Assemby Constituency,