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Do we really need to talk?

Sanatomba KangujamThe Sangai Express 16 Oct 2007

Constant efforts of the Indian Government to quell the insurgency movements in the North East in general and Manipur in particular seems to have shown results with sections of our society beginning to exhibit a gradual propensity towards holding a peace dialogue since recently.

It’s really going to be a sad development if things are to take shape as per their plan given the supreme sacrifices made by our brothers and sisters and the sufferings that we have endured for so long.

Gazing at the wind of political changes blowing in the sky of Manipur that is clouded with the smokes emitted from the funeral pyres of our patriots, I simply can’t help pondering over the ‘cause’ for which they had laid down their lives.

Today, that cause seems to have been bartered away by a few sections of the elite class as they are definitely trying to make a business out of the blood and tears that the sons and daughters of our motherland had given.

Sad! …

North by Northeast

North by Northeast
The Imphal Free Press
Jan 25 2010

Does the Northeast deserve a separate time zone? This is an old question but one which has gained momentum once again in the wake of a coordinated campaign in Guwahati, the veritable capital of the Northeast, the prime mover of which is Jahnu Barua, the well known film maker from Assam. The contention is, the current uniform time used in India makes it impossible for optimal use of daylight hours in the Northeast. Longitudinally India spans across almost 30 degrees and this translate into a time difference of nearly two hours between the westernmost and easternmost points of the country. The Indian Standard Time, IST, meridian is calculated on the basis of the 82.5 degree longitude which passes by Allahabad, the city considered to be somewhat the lateral midpoint of the country. This being the case, the actual time of the Northeast would be ahead of the IST by about an hour, while the actual time of the westernmost points of India w…

Prabhakara's parting shot

Prabhakara's parting shot
by Iboyaima Laithangbam
The Imphal Free Press
Feb 04 2010

So M.S. Prabhakara, has eventually left the North Eastern region for good. It must have been an excruciatingly painful moment for him who had spent over 42 years of his life in the region. It was on the day of his departure from Guwahati that I read his article in The Hindu which was published three days earlier. My attention had been drawn to this article by a general discussion in a stag party. I made a point to skim read the article. I did not think it proper to read a friend's write up with mistrust, suspicion and with the objective of finding loopholes and infractions.

From the general discussion and my cursory reading of the article two points struck me. What is more I had a single line discussion on it with Prabhakara himself while his taxi had revved up engine for dropping him at the airport. His article gave me the impression that the merger of Manipur to the independent India on Octob…

Insurgencies in Manipur: politics & ideology

By M Prabhakar
The Hindu
Jan 28 2010

Every time one travels to Manipur, one returns humbled. This has been the case since my first visit in the late 1960s, long before becoming a journalist. Active insurgency was not even on the horizon then though some resentment against ‘India’ was evident. Between 1983 when I joined this paper and mid-1994, I visited the State at least once every year — more than once during some years. In the last eight years I have returned four times. The feeling of inadequacy to confront and understand the complex situation in Manipur, the whys and wherefores of the insurgencies (the plural is advisedly used), the resilience of the ordinary people whose amazing creative energies thrive in the midst of all the pain and violence manifest in every walk of life, has only increased.

Thirty-eight years ago, on January 21, 1972, Manipur became a full-fledged State of the Indian Union. The status was conferred belatedly and grudgingly, a most underwhelming gift. In the…

Cash for truce?

The Sangai Express
Jan 14, 2010

It is getting murkier and dirtier by the day. While questions were rightfully being raised in all circles on what grounds the agreement between the Apunba Lup along with the JAC of Sanjit and Jac of Rabina and the Government were arrived, there is now the serious charge by the Sanjit JAC that five members of the 30 member JAC had their hands greased to settle the issue. Moreover the JAC of Sanjit has also gone ahead and announced that they would not support or associate themselves in any future course of action taken up by the JAC in connection with the July 23 incident. If the allegations of money changing hands is true than there can be nothing more tragic and shameful than this. Adding to the murkiness of the whole thing is the fact that the agreement of MoU was signed without the Government fulfilling any of the major demands put forward by the Apunba Lup. What one should not forget is the fact that the some five month long agitation was launched by…

Flopped civil administration

The Sangai Express
Jan 05, 2010

Ever wondered why the Assam Rifles or the Army make it to the news ? For one, they have very good public relations officers. Number two and this is more important and critical, they make it to the news, that is positive information, because the civil Government, read the Government, has failed in its duty and it has been left to the security personnel to carry out some remedial measures. Read about the military civic action programme carried out either by the Assam Rifles or the Army and one will get a fair idea of where the civil administration has failed. From providing a water tank in a nondescript village to administering anti- snake venom, the Assam Rifles and the Army have been doing all these and more. Memory fails us at this moment to minutely list all the developmental works that these security forces have done, but it tells a sordid tale of Government incompetency marked by red tapism and favouritism.

Why should it take either the Assam Rifles…

MOTHER OF INSURGENCIES OR REINVENTION?

M. S. Prabhakara
March 26 2011
The Hindu

Has the Naga insurgency come to terms with its unrealised and, indeed, unrealisable sovereignty aspirations?
In the early 1980s (when this correspondent returned to Guwahati as working journalist after an eight-year absence), insurgency in the northeast was limited to Nagaland, parts of Manipur and what was then the Union Territory of Mizo Hills. In Nagaland, the Naga National Council (NNC), political face of the oldest of the insurgencies in the region, was led by Angami Zapu Phizo, then in exile in Britain. Despite the challenge posed by a faction of the NNC that had recently split after much rancour on both sides and formed itself into the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), the NNC remained the dominant voice of Naga nationalistic assertion. In Manipur, Naga insurgency was active those days in the Naga-inhabited hill districts mainly in Tamenglong, while in the Imphal Valley, several outfits, some of them fighting on…

Fighting the External Enemies in Manipur

- Reflections on Civil–Military Relations -

Sanatomba Kangujam
March 24
The Sangai Express

“Armed Forces are designed and structured to fight external enemies”. This was found written on the Invitation Card of the seminar which was jointly organised by the Red Shield Division and Manipur University at Centenary Hall, MU on January 7, 2011. Generally, external enemies refer to alien powers or international ‘terrorist’ organisations engaged in hostile activities against the State. As a matter of fact, Indian Army has been operating in Manipur to fight external enemies in the garb of protecting law and order. In this regard, it is highly imperative to understand the implications of the term ‘external enemy’ in order to decipher the political logic behind the deployment of a large number of Army troops with its legal armoury called Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The Government of India (GoI) has so far stationed eight battalions of Army under the 57 Mountain Divisions in Manipur…

Over 4,14,850 NE people migrated in five years

28 March 2011

Hueiyen Lanpao
March 27 2011

Imphal, March 27 2011: Over 4,14,850 people from NE states migrated to mega cities of the country during the last five years from 2005 to 2010, a study report of the by NE Support Centre & Helpline revealed, citing the main push factor as lack of educational infrastructure.The latest report of the group observed that the annual average increase in the number of migration is 13.62%.Delhi is one of the most preferred destinations for NE migrants, currently with over a 200,000 population, which is 48.21% of the total number of migrants.