Parity and Equality


Now is perhaps the time for the government to begin thinking in terms of a special administrative arrangement not just in keeping with the demand of the United Naga Council, UNC, for the Naga areas, but for the entire state. We had made a similar suggestion before but the matter is becoming even more urgent. Manipur as it is has been described in various quarters as a failed state, and indeed this is beginning to look to be what it really is. It does seem nothing can function and no substantive progress can result. The chief reason for this is that Manipur is today a hopelessly divided house. Every horse in it is pulling the wagon in different directions with the result that nothing ever moves or is allowed to move, even those who are willing and are capable of doing so. Each of the major communities in the state are acutely suspicious of each other and are quick to attribute sinister motives behind every one of their moves without even a thought on the possibility that these moves may actually be perfectly innocent ones. This is a state which cannot even think of creating a new district for administrative convenience without kicking up ugly and quixotic uproars that even threaten to explode into ethnic violence. The current unseemly tussle over the proposed creation of SADAR hills district is just the most immediate and prominent example of this hopeless situation.

It is long overdue that each of the communities be liberated from each other. There is at this moment no single oppressor and no single victim. Each has come to be an oppressor and tormentor of the other and equally each has come to be the victim of the other. This being so, let the special arrangement asked for be expanded to mean special arrangements for all the communities so that each can be themselves for once. At this moment, everybody’s creative energy is being sapped so senselessly, and each has to be always cautious of offending the other even by being honest to their own instincts to be themselves. The way things are heading, anything that one community does is beginning to be interpreted as an attack on the interest of the other. Partly, this has to do with the government’s indifference in clarifying serious allegations resulting out of what are quite possibly misconceptions. The government employment scenario for instance is a sore point, with those in the reserved category always believing they have been short-changed. We had been recommending the government to clarify conclusively and officially what the exact situation is on the matter. Let there be a white paper on it with the objective of not just laying bare the facts of the matter, but also to see how any discrepancy, if any, has happened: whether those in the general category have been responsible for these as always alleged, or if it is the result of corruption, not necessarily of officials in the general category alone.

In the area of private enterprises, this blame game should not be there at all. This is an open field and only individual enterprise, perseverance and a willingness to work and sweat it out with dedication in whatever profession one is in, is the key to success. Thus, a tailor, a carpenter, a motor mechanic, a cycle repairman, a journalist and so on, must, as suggested in the Bhagavat Gita, make their given professions their worship. The near total collapse of work culture of the government is on account of a lack of this attitude, and equally the rise of individuals and communities in any of these fields of work is also precisely because of this dedication and belief in their work and nothing else. Of course, there are other factors like availability of seed capital to launch commercial enterprises. In this regard, it is also a fact that those with landed property for obvious reasons will always have more of it. A farmer in any of the revenue districts of the valley, if his son wants to start a new business venture, can always sell off a part of his land holding and raise the necessary money, or else mortgage it to get a loan from the bank. No bank extends loan, especially entrepreneurial loan for this involves recover risks, without collaterals. In many ways, the ease with which an economy moves forward in the modern context, depends on the shape and quality of superstructures within which the economy operates. These superstructures, of which the pattern of land ownership is a very important one, are radically different from one community to another. The upward mobility of the non-government, therefore unsponsored economy of the private market therefore is destined to be unequal too. Unfortunately, a very vicious circle has today come about form this and this inequality in turn is breeding the contempt of the kind we are witnessing today. No community trusts the other. The state cannot carry on like this. Let the government then work out a consensus on bringing about some parity of superstructures, or else give a serious thought to the idea of “separate arrangements” for everybody.


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