Showing posts from June, 2011

In a Time Warp

Imphal Free Press
June 22 2011

In the time warp that Manipur is caught in, nothing which is happening all around the country and the world seems to matter. No issue it also seems is worth consideration except those that it has been fixated on for a long time now, such as the increasingly sickening hill-valley territory tussle. So while the entire country rages on the issue of the Jan Lokpal Bill to be designed by prominent citizens to control official corruption, Manipur remains blissfully unconcerned although in spirit, though not in volume, it must remain one of the most corrupt states in the country. Little or nothing can make government files move without corruption. Every recruitment to government jobs has a price tag, and those who manage it without paying are those too brilliant to be left out without making it obvious corruption was the key to success. In the past, in opinion surveys after surveys, in talks shows after talk shows, so many supposedly enlightened citizens had co…

Manipur's 1950 Revolution Revisited

By Professor Naorem Sanajaoba
September 20 2008

Part 1
In the significant revisit, the author holistically examines the local application in Manipur ,of the Asian communist revolutionary movement in 1950-1951, the inauguration of post-independence Manipuri armed struggle of the Manipur Communist Party, that transformed qualitatively, along with the Manipur- specific national question which had been subverted by the communist party of the annexing power and, that had been taken all the more seriously by the post- MCP Manipur national liberation movements.

The Culture of ‘Bandhs’ and the Absence of Local Governance in the Northeast

Namrata Goswami
November 25, 2010
The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

In common parlance and academic literature, good governance is the prime indicator of the success of a state. While many would argue that India’s experience with governance after independence is mostly unique based on a delicate interplay between a modern state and a traditional society, it is also equally true that governance in India depends to a large extent on individual rationality, which is “bounded by the local context and embedded values, based on the perception of sanctions, welfare and identity as well as general trust.” Thereby, the level of governance in a state is conditional on its ability to transform citizens into stakeholders in the process of governance itself. This in turn is co-related to the pay-off structures in which abiding by the rules is viewed by citizens as offering an incentive structure for a better living.

Naga Peace Negotiations and the NSCN (IM)’s Significant Shift in Posture

Namrata Goswami
February 2, 2011
The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,

The NSCN (IM) leadership's acceptance of Indian passports reflects a significant shift from its earlier political posture of an independent sovereign Naga homeland.

Which Way Manipur

Imphal Free Press
June 16 2011

The question that haunts many in Manipur today is undoubtedly: which way Manipur? For many the hunt for the answer verges on despair. The fact is there seems to be too many answers but not a single clear cut one. There are too many unsettled issues of awesome magnitude, their problem potential accentuated and amplified further by the fact that they seem to share no point of confluence. Our mainstream established politics is totally in a mess; our society has no clear focus on any particular goal; our civil society is so hopelessly divided that it is questionable if there is anything that can be termed as civil society at all; reciprocal to this division is also the underground politics, multiple-fractured and threatening to tear Manipur along the many fault-lines they have introduced on sectarian lines; law breaking has ceased to be the preserve of those who consider themselves out of the purview of the law of the land, but also the law enforcer as well.…

Reaching Out and Connectivity Compulsions But A Failing State Instead: Our tragedy

By Amar Yumnam
June 3 2011
Imphal Free Press

Conflicts have been with humankind since the beginning of life on this planet. The presence of conflict is not something which should necessarily cause loss of heart among the homo sapiens, but what should be of concern to us is the manner with which we are handling the situation and the potential outcomes of conflict at any point of time. In the case of Manipur, the latter seems to be exactly the case; the overall mannerisms, behavioural manifestations and assertions of power all point to a direction we do not individually as humans and collectively as society intend to move towards. But we are indeed retrogressing, regressing and degrading towards a non-enviable state. The society of Manipur has had a tradition of suppressing overt manifestation of poverty and lack of access to resources, but the daily encounters with people and events prove beyond doubt that we indeed are in a bad shape. Well, we certainly do not possess a red-light area…

Importance of 9th January in the History of Manipur

- (1819-1826) -

Prof. N. Joykumar Singh
Aug 30 2010

People always look back to the history only when they are in the midst of confusion in the changing process of their own life. After having a detail knowledge of reasons either for success or failure of every historical events they again make an attempt to judge whether their approach is right or wrong. With these corrective measures they try to assert for the promotion of their national identity.

Why there will be Manipur forever - Undivided

By Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh
May 30, 2011

There is an ongoing tripartite talk to discuss the demand of the UNC for the separation/secession of Naga inhabited areas of Manipur from Manipur itself. I have a gut feeling that whatever the outcome of the talk, the boundary of Manipur is inviolable.
‘Manipur’ is for all the Manipuris while archaic ‘Kangleipak’ is for the Meiteis, incorporating the Imphal valley. It was the water-filled Imphal valley that dried up, not the hills.

Aren’t we the legitimate citizens of Manipur ?

by Sonia Oinam
June 11 2011
The Sangai Express

Reading the article “Why there will be Manipur forever - Undivided” by Dr. Irengbam Mohendro Singh has given me some foods for thought and thereby has resulted in this article.

Herein, I am raising the question if we are legitimate citizens of Manipur? If we are, then are we the right citizens at the wrong place, or ideal citizens with no will to bring up means and solutions to our existing problems; are we aware of what is happening around us or are we so dumb and so innocent? Do we realise the forces that are pulling us apart? What are we supposed to do, what can we do? Will Manipur flourish?

Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Manipur & Suggested Remedies

By Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh
The Sangai Express
June 5 2011

As the Northeast Indians are finding out that their ethnicity as Mongoloid Indians has profound consequences for their physical safety, political status and economic prospects in India, this paper looks into the ethnic conflict in the tiny State of Manipur.


by Babloo Loitongbam
Imphal Free Press
June 12 2011

This paper was presented at the Regional Workshop on War on Terror and Asian Democracy 17 May 2011, Kim Dae-Jung Convention Centre, South Korea organised by Solidarity for Democratization Movement in Asia (SDMA)

Mayangs, Flat Noses and Nationalism: Time for Public Diplomacy

By Amar Yumnam
September 1, 2010

“Perhaps the immobility of the things around us is imposed on them by our certitude that they are themselves and nothing else, by the immobility of our thinking about them”. This is a wonderful observation from Marcel Proust, and very significant one in the context of necessity for aesthetics in Asian diplomacy today. I make this statement in the context of the recent Indian hyperbole over rejection of visa to an Indian army general by Chinese authorities. In this context, I would like to point out that as late as July 2010 a Chinese Consul General based in India was denied permission by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to enter Manipur to deliver a lecture at Manipur University. Well China did not react to this unlike the Indian hyperbolic way. This hyperbolism is true both for Indian state and the Indian media.

University, Education and Society: A Chequered Trajectory

Amar Yumnam
January 12, 2011

In a recent function in Manipur University, an ex-Vice Chancellor related a sad and disappointing experience with the Chief Minister of Manipur who held the helm of affairs during the early 1990s. The university was an institution then funded by the provincial government. I would not take name of the Chief Minister, but it was during his reign that the most unlikely and most unthinkable as well as anti-historical Meetei-Meetei Pangal communal riot took place. It was during his reign that the ethnic clashes in the mountains of Manipur started occurring in a very violent way. All these were social incidents which completely negated the cultural ethos of the people of Manipur. This was also the Chief Minister who did not understand the Indian economic reforms initiated in 1991, and so left the State of Manipur completely unprepared and unadjusted to the changed policy environment. This particular politician is now in absolute political oblivion, …

Fears, Reassurances and the Widening Capability Divide: Social Agenda for the new decade

By Amar Yumnam
January 27, 2011

The only way to carry the forward movement of a society onward and ensure the sustainability of social coherence is through ensuring the positive quality of contemporary youths forever. We may be enjoying a high social growth at one moment of history because of the adults performing well, but this will be lost in the next period if the youths of the present period are of questionable character. Manipur now stands at a critical historical juncture in so far as this issue is concerned.

Trapped in Purgatory

The Imphal Free Press
August 12 2010

It is unimaginable that even with an administration firmly in place, petrol and other essential products still remain out of reach of the ordinary citizenry. This, it will also be recalled, has been the situation for several months, in fact almost half a year now. What can anybody make of this? Not only this, not so long ago, Manipur Rifles personnel were found hoarding petrol, obviously to be sold in the black market for a huge premium. The incident was not only atrocious, but confirmed a popular suspicion that powerful vested interests within the establishment were at work, or at least were ensuring that not enough was being done to bring back normalcy. This is not a call for a witch hunt but for the authorities to pull up their socks and ensure that things are back to normal. They must control prices of essential commodities and not the least, ensure petrol and cooking gas availability at officially authorised outlets. No government can afford t…

Art of the Possible [2010]

The Imphal Free Press
June 25 2010

(Brave sons and daughters of the land, Your fatherland is on fire. The flames are rising roaring and cracking, Come and douse the fire, Come and douse the fire). This is the translation of a Manipuri patriotic song lyric which goes: Pari Imom Shamu Pangalba-sa, Napam Lamdam Khambi Meihou-re, Chaklak-le Mei-se, Lao-na Khong-na, Khambi Meikal Houro-ne, Khambi Meikal Houro-ne. Like all good poetry, this one too has a rich array of meanings leaving ample room for variegated interpretations. Our fatherland, or motherland if you prefer, Manipur today is on fire. Brave and nimble sons and daughters of the soil, let us put our heads together and think of a way to douse this fire. We have come to be a society on the precipice, let us pull ourselves away from the death trap. We can only do this by keeping a cool and thinking head, and never by blind fury. On our success or failure in this enterprise hangs the fate of all of us and our children, so the stakes a…


May 8, 2007 by the Arambam Somorendra Trust
Inaugural lecture by Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam.
Part One - Introduction
Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen, and friends: First of all, allow me to confess that it is not without a sense of being a little out of place that I am standing here to deliver this Lecture. This sense comes to me from my awareness that renowned personalities, intellectuals and academics with proven credentials are the ones who usually deliver the Memorial Lectures, and I am clearly not one amongst them. I am acutely aware of the fact that by extending the invitation to an inconsequential academic like me, the Arambam Somorendra Trust has moved away from such convention. At the same time, I am also equally aware of the faith the Trust has reposed in me by bestowing on me the responsibility and honour of delivering this inaugural Arambam Somorendra Memorial Lecture. Therefore, despite the initial surprise of getting the unexpected invitation and the subsequent hesitatio…

The devil within! Split wide open!

The Sangai Express June 10 2011 
Launching an armed movement on some lofty ideals and ideologies is but just a part of the whole, known as the insurrection. Sustaining the movement is an altogether different kettle of fish and more challenging, if we may add. Apart from the challenges of sustaining a movement, which every rebel leader must tackle, another equally challenging task is keeping the flock together for it is not without reason why there is the popular observation that one needs to be more wary of the enemy within than those outside.

Manipur’s Potential

The Imphal Free Press
August 23 2010

There is nothing black and white about life. If every dark cloud has to have a silver lining, it automatically implies that every silver lining must have a dark cloud. Manipur is probably spared of the dilemma, for as of today there is no doubt it is under a dark cloud. It can also only hope for the silver lining without having to go through the philosophical exercise of extrapolating whether the putative silver lining would again be dove-tailed by more dark clouds. Manipur’s dark clouds are not difficult to visualise. The complex and often antagonistic ethnic relationships in this multi-ethnic situation is just one. Even if a fatalistic approach were to be taken on the issue leading to the belief there can be no way to prevent the differences between the various ethnic groups, the question would remain as to how to reconcile this which the idea of fair play and justice. It is true that in the continued absence of the right kind of leadership, Mani…

AFSPA: a legacy of colonial constitutionalism

by Sanjib Baruah
The Imphal Free Press
Nov 30 2010

WHAT is the state of the republic on its sixty-first year? No assessment can be complete without consideration of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that has its roots in the legal framework of colonial constitutionalism inherited at independence, and is at odds with the democratic rights enshrined in the 1950 Constitution. It has been in force for fifty-two years in Northeast India, and in Jammu and Kashmir for twenty.1 Its controversial provisions are well known. In areas declared ‘disturbed’ under the act, the armed forces can make preventive arrests, search premises without warrant, and shoot and kill civilians. The judicial enforcement of fundamental rights is effectively suspended: court proceedings are made contingent upon the central government’s prior approval.

Manipur still paying for blockade blues

by Yambem Laba
The Imphal Free Press, Hueiyen Lanpao, The Statesman
August 3 2010

A rumour doing the rounds during the 68-day blockade of National Highway 39 that petrol was available at a nearby pump resulted in a kilometre-long queue of two-wheelers forming overnight, only for their owners to be told early the next morning that it was all a hoax. The non-availability of petroleum products forced schools to close and fields remained untilled because tractors had stalled due to a shortage of diesel. High court lawyers also struck work and even hospitals closed their operation theatres because the stock of bottled oxygen had run out. On the other hand, blackmarketers had a field day, with petrol selling for Rs 150 a litre, diesel for Rs 120 a litre and an LPG cylinder available for Rs 1,800. Also, bags of cement and urea were selling for Rs 750 and Rs 1,000 apiece, respectively. Adding to these woes was the fact that thousands of Manipuris used to travelling by road to the rest of Indi…

Understanding Conflict

The Imphal Free Press
July 22 2010

The often cited mantra that a lasting resolution to a conflict situation can only be brought about if the roots of the problem are identified and tackled has become little less than a cliché. The danger about mantras is, they are far too often chanted by robotically rote as if the sound of it is the diagnosis and cure for the problem addressed. The approach has seldom been of treating the contents of the mantra as a formula to be applied in practice and assessed against the results they wield. Perhaps the problem is also of the difficulty of putting this mantra into practice which has made it convenient for its chanters to shroud it in an aura of learned mystery, not easy or desirable to be analysed and dissected too closely. This would have been very fine had it not been for the fact that the approach has deprived the mantra of its applicability in problem solving. Such mantras are prone to be reduced to material for fine rhetoric, but nothing beyon…

If I were a liberal Loohoopa or a Kathay!

By Loghan H
June 23 2010

Would anyone care to know whom the Loohoopas or the Kathays were? In the midst of political expediency and populist cacophonic measures, the true sense of identity and belongingness seemed to have lost its charm and relevance in the state. Emotions have taken over reasons; there isn't any space left for the liberal minds.

Merger Of Manipur Into India: A New Interpretation

By N. Joykumar Singh (Professor, Manipur University)
June 10 2010

Change and development are the basic salient features of the history of human civilization. In their long process of history and development the people had an opportunity to witness the activities of various types of events. No doubt these events had a far reaching impact in the future history of human beings. On the other hand they also laid a foundation at base for a drastic change in the course of the historical process. Indeed, the idea for a change in the existing norms may be treated as a kind of barometer of the given particular society. Change always led the society toward a new direction. Only the question is whether it is toward the positive or negative direction. Sometimes change also had produced a significant result against the desire of the people of the society. Therefore, every historical event has got its own importance with the changing perception in the minds of the present generation…

Questioning Political Solution in Armed Conflict of Manipur

by Dhanabir Laishram
Imphal Free Pree
June 8 2010

Every one on earth likes peace, but not at the expense of his own fundamental freedom. It is a simple logic, which is at the centre of the scale whenever we are talking about peace. Peace is thus largely identified as a lack of conflict of any serious kind. More often the term, ‘peace making’ is associated with conflict resolution without the use of violence. Even in case of peace and violence, the major debate has been whether to define peace simply as the absence of war often called ‘negative peace’ or the concept encompasses both the absence of war and the presence of social and economic justice, often called ‘positive peace’. The masses are really in favour of the broader concept. So, they are arguing that the violent life-threatening characteristics of various forms of systematic repression and underdevelopment approach exceed the direct impact of regular warfare. It means that the Government actors should not hold traditional man…

Understanding the Politics of Plebiscite

Towards Participatory Conflict Transformation

Sanatomba Kangujam
The Sangai Express
June 8 2011

Factors Triggering Plebiscite Proposal
Responding to the call of the former State Governor, Dr SS Sidhu, for insurgent groups to shun violence and find a peaceful democratic solution to the problem, the United National Liberation Front, UNLF, had floated a four-point proposal for holding plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations to resolve the Indo-Manipur conflict satisfactorily once and for all. In a speech delivered by the then Governor of Manipur on the Republic Day in 2005, His Excellency had indicated that insurgency problem should be resolved politically while addressing the insurgents as “dissatisfied brethren”.

The change demonstrated in addressing the insurgents as “dissatisfied brethren” and not as “misguided youth”, which earlier was the case was appreciated by the UNLF as a change in the attitude of the Governor/Government. What prompted the UNLF to initiate a new …

Aspirations and Reality

Imphal Free Press

The old saying “the mountain did not come to Mahomet so Mahomet went to the mountain” comes to mind in any consideration of the gulf between aspiration and reality in Manipur today. The thought is important and relevant precisely because the prevailing attitude by and large is just the opposite in both the policy making circle as well as amongst radical dissenters to the establishment. Manipur must learn to adjust to the reality of the times, rather than wait for reality to change to suit the place’s aspirations. For this to happen, it must first and foremost make an assessment of what the current realities are as accurately as possible and in an informed manner. For far too often, analysts who have no knowledge of even the existence of updated data on the ground situation, much less made any serious studies of these data, and in fact do not even follow daily reportage of current events in newspapers or assessments of these issues in books written by others in positi…

Amazing Manipur

by Bimol Akoijam on Monday, 21 March 2011 at 21:21
via Facebook

Part One

If fear is the justification for silence, abandonment of responsibility and a verbal gymnastics that renders ‘inaction’ as a form of ‘action’, that society is bound to be morally bankrupt insofar as the basis of morality is what, as J F Kennedy famously said, ‘a man (or woman) does what he (or she) must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacle and dangers, and pressures’…

Sharmila’s fast has been ignored because AFSPA affects only a part of the country? THINK AGAIN!

by Bimol Akoijam on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 00:43
via Facebook

There are a couple of “reasons” that have been put forward as explanations as to why Sharmila’s struggle has been ignored…these “reasons”, which seem true at the first glance, are in fact misleading ideas and must be debunked. One taken for granted reason is: AFSPA only affects a small part of the country (as compared to “corruption” which affects the entire country), and hence Sharmila’s (unlike Hazare’s) struggle has been ignored.

Think again! And answer 10 questions for the truth!!!!

A crime is a crime whether it happens inside the "home" or "house" or the "backyard"!!!! And an abuser is an "abuser" irrespective of the place or people against whom the abuse has been committed!

The idea that AFSPA only affects a small part of the country is a “false consciousness” that allows the continuation of the atrocious ethos represented by this AFSPA. The fact is AFSPA does not affect …

Art of the Possible

The Imphal Free Press
June 7 2011

There is a tendency in Manipur for things to always return to square one. The avenue for a way out of this depressing stagnancy eludes the imagination of one and all, including our leaders, intellectuals and the numerous NGOs in the field of social works. The shared obsession seems to be to analyse, dissect, scrutinize and then either rubbish or glorify the past compulsively and then blame each other or else some external agency or the other for all the misery and misfortune that is everybody’s fate. Maybe there is some truth in this vision but it certainly cannot be the whole truth. To think this is so would be to reduce the social organism that we all are part of, to a simplistic mechanics of stimulus and responses only. And this we know cannot be, for the being and the soul of any society is far more complex, and we would contend, infinitely so. The difficulty in sizing up a society or its mores completely lies in this complexity and not to any attr…