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EXPANDING THE DREAM OF NAGA NATION AND THE THREAT TO INTEGRITY OF NEIGHBOURING INDIAN STATES

By H Bhubon Singh The Sangai Express Aug 11 2011
In his book “Durable Disorder: Understanding The Politics Of North East India” by ShriSanjibBaruah, published by Oxford University Press: Rs. 495/=, he wrote about “The Naga nation in-building-phase”, as follows:-
‘On the question of expanding the identity of the Nagas which has embraced communities with close linguistic and anthropological ties with other ethnic groups their sympathy in matters of identity, the only thing that should matter is how the group wishes to be known. The problem arises when this expanding identity is tied to territory. The newly born state’s consciousness can come into direct collision with existing historical states…” The goal of creating a single political / administrative unit out of all Naga inhabited areas, puts the Naga project of nationhood in collision course with a parallel Manipur project, which was historically, linguistically, ethnically and culturally consolidated by successive Maharajas of Manipur. …

PEACE IN MANIPUR; ITS DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS — A DISCOURSE

By Priyadarshni M Gangte
The Sangai Express August 27 2011
"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" – Albert Einstein. The word “Peace” means freedom from cessation of war, i.e. peace with honour, peace at any price (J.B. Sykes (ed) : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (7th Edition), Oxford University Press, 1987, p.753). Leiren (Dr. L. Leiren’s Article, “Peace Education in the 21st Century.” Imphal Free Press, 1st Sept., 2006) has elegantly contended that “peace” as a comprehensive enterprise that requires a transformation in our thinking sense of valued wills, resources and solidarity of all. Thus, it is a way of life in which one experiences inner tranquility, harmonious relationships and an interconnectedness with the world. Moreover, the term connotes in the real sense a state of Being (Net). It is about honouring and nurturing our spiritual side.

CENTRIFUGAL FORCES AT PLAY: IDEA OF MANIPUR

August 27 2011 The Sangai Express  There are reasons why the pressure of pulls and pushes exerted by the growing centrifugal forces have come to define today's Manipur and one of these could be the tenuous ground on which the idea of Manipur as a political and social entity rests. The pace at which these forces of pulls and pushes have grown as well as the trail of deep divide that these forces have spawned along ethnic and community lines is amazing and surely there are factors and reasons for making the ground so fertile for these forces to grow and prosper. Apart from the dirty hands of politics contributing its share in preparing the ground work for such forces to bloom, what is disturbing to see is the failure of Manipur as a whole to take everyone along with the idea of its existence as a political and social entity. The many disturbing issues which continue to haunt the people on a regular basis can be traced to the exclusivist identity that the term Manipuri has come to mea…

HOW DID MANIPUR COME UP FROM UNDER WATER?

By Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh
Kangla Online
Aug 24 2011


There is some archaeological evidence that the valley of Manipur was once filled with water. The Meitei Puya also mentions that the water in the valley dried up by draining through Chingninghut i.e., tunnels through the mountain ranges at Tengnoupal in Southwest Manipur.

We believe in science because scientists use logic to make conclusions about the things in existence. No other area of expertise has provided us with more knowledge about the universe than has science.

There is now definite geological evidence that Manipur along with the whole of the Northeast
was once submerged in water. With the tectonic uplift of the Northeast, Manipur was raised from the bottom of the sea as a valley surrounded by hill ranges and filled with water, just like a cup rose from under the water.

SANCTIONING REPRESSION IN VIOLATION OF INDIA'S HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Manipur and other States of Northeast India

A special report by Asian Human Rights Commission, REDRESS and Human Rights Alert (E-pao.net) published on Aug 24 2011


The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (hereinafter "the Act" or "AFSP Act") has been in force in several parts of India, including the State of Manipur in the northeast of the country, for more than fifty years. The vaguely formulated provisions of the Act grant extraordinary powers to the Indian armed forces in the so-called "disturbed areas" where it is applicable. The Act has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila in Manipur.

WAR AND PEACE AND NAGA CRUSADE

— UNABLE TO DECIDE BETWEEN POWER POLITICS AND PEACE POLITICS

B Hemchand Sharma
The Sangai Express
August 18 2011


1. One of the great social problems ranking with poverty and racism, War has evoked a variety of responses from Christians, ranging from non-violent pacifism to the idea of the just war and the concept of Crusade. The reasons of such a variety of opinions include the problem of harmonising the OT and NT and the difficulty applying some of the ethical teachings of Jesus. In the OT many passages endorse armed conflict, such as Dt. 7 and 20 and the war narratives of Joshua, Judges and Samuel. The directions that Jesus gave to His followers that they must be non-violent, in such statements as “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt. 5:39) and “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44).

HYSTERICAL SOCIETIES

The Imphal free PressAugust 24 2011

At many crucial and traumatic junctures of history, a very disturbing question always have thrown itself up and not very often was a satisfactory answer found to it. What is this entity called “civil society” on whose judgment many who claim to believe in democracy and democratic norms far too often rally behind, proclaiming they thus have the mandate to do what they do even if what they do is coercive in nature? Is it just a matter of popular will or must there be some qualification to this popular will? In situations of conflict this thought actually can get terrifying. Just suppose the majority voice begins to demand blood or else silently approves bloodletting and victimisation of other sections of the people, would that voice still be called the voice of the civil society. In many of the atrocities committed through history in every part of the world, the disturbing question has often been not just about where have the “civil society” disappear…

WORLD'S OLDEST INSURGENCY IN NE INDIA

By Professor Naorem Sanajaoba E-pao.net, 21st May 2008
Humanity has borne clear testimony to the resolution of a hundred national liberation issues with the emergence of 143 newly sovereign states joining the world order, subsequently after the Second World War. Recent globalization process is not going to undo the emergence of these nations.

One of the oldest insurgency that happened in the North-eastern states since 1950s remain unresolved, let alone half–hearted efforts of the government and deliberate apathy of the world order.

The NES peripheral secessionism arising out of hegemonised "National Questions" occurs, for historical reasons, in acquired territories [AA-NSGT] exclusively, not in mainland India.

As soon as the government fully addresses the centrality of the legitimate national questions, durable peace could be just a footstep away.

DO WE REALLY NEED TO TALK?

Sanatomba Kangujam 16 Oct 2007 E-pao, The Sangai Express
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.

TWO HANDS TO CLAP

The Imphal Free Press
August 10 2010

It needs two hands to clap, just as it takes at least two to be in a conflict. The inference is clear from this that in the search for comprehensive peace in a conflict ridden region, there can be no solutions in isolation. Nobody lives in a vacuum so that settling a single party’s problem alone cannot result in regional peace. In fact, this is all the more likely to aggravate the situation. Settling one problem in isolation may result in setting off several others in the same stroke. This is why the notion of inclusive peace must have to be promoted before any tangible blueprint of peace can emerge. This is especially true after the breakdown of walls in the post Berlin Wall era that once were thought capable of putting people in isolated compartments of nation-states, provinces, districts and whatever other classifications of segregations. There have been initiatives towards inclusive peace from many quarters, but unfortunately it has to be admit…

MENDING RELATIONS

The Imphal Free Press
August 4 2010

In resolving the crises of identity and other problems arising out of irreconcilable demands by different ethnic groups in Manipur, and indeed the entire northeast region, it would have been realised by now that it is peace initiative by an enlightened civil society at the ground, rather than intervention from above, which is of primary significance. The interventions from above must come about, but these must not be as an independent process, but ones which are designed to complement, nudge, encourage and even kick-start civil society efforts at peacemaking. This is one area where the desired bridges have either been nonexistent or else extremely nebulous. It must be said that here it is non government organisations, NGOs, and non government funding agencies, which have been taking the role that the government too should have had a major interest and in fact pursued as a policy matter. At the risk of being accused of repeating the obvious, we are c…

PEACE RESPONSIBILITY

The Imphal Free Press
August 3 2010

Manipur today is in an unenviable situation. Multiple insurrections and the accompanying demands for unique identities and homelands have literally paralysed all vital activities both in the civil as well as government spheres. There is an added dimension to the problem now. This is most acutely felt after the government of India actively pushed its policy of suspending operations against militant groups which accepted its offer for peace negotiations. This is understandable, and any government anywhere in the world would happily have done what the Indian government has done, that is, to agree to cessation of hostility with any militant organisations which wish to settle their problems peacefully across the table with the government. However, in a multi-ethnic situation where there are many ethnic insurgencies whose interests and demands overlap considerably this strategy has given rise to previously unseen and grave consequences. One of them is tha…

SALAD, COCKTAIL OR STEW

The Imphal Free Press
July 29 2010

The question of integration of culturally and ethnically diverse population is not an agenda peculiar in our state alone. It is there practically in every plural society, in other parts of India as well as other countries. In the US for instance, towards the turn of the century, there were nine German newspapers in the state of Columbia. Today there are none. In San Antonio, Texas, a Hispanic majority southern city, there are a couple of Spanish newspapers, but they are already marginalised. According to the Hispanic pressmen society there, the Hispanic population still speak Spanish but most prefer to read English. As in India, the English newspapers seem to be considered more liberal, cosmopolitan, reliable and literate than the vernacular. This may be myth, but this definitely is the general attitude. However there are no overt, nationalistic agenda on the part of the US government or the American population as such, to convert everybody to the En…

DARK SHADOW OF THE PAST EVENTS

Kambam Ibohal  The Sangai Express,  July 15 2009

Everyone big and small is aware of the present situation in Manipur. Not a single day passes without a loss of life or suffering. Bombs, extortion, monetary demand, kidnapping and abduction for ransom have been the order of the day.

FUZZY DEVELOPMENT LOGIC

The Imphal Free Press,  Aug 19 2011
For far too often we have been told, and indeed made to believe, there is no paucity of developmental funds for the Northeast. The North Eastern Council, NEC, with its headquarters in Shillong and the relatively recent Department of North East Region, DoNER ministry in New Delhi, are supposed to be the nodal instruments by which these development funds are to be disbursed for the purpose, and whatever funds not utilised is also supposed not to lapse but go into a separate coffer of non-lapsable pool of fund to be carried over to subsequent years and remain basically a Northeast developmental fund. Although we do not have the exact figure, understandably this non-lapsable pool of NE developmental fund would have built up quite sizeably in the years that have gone by. The question is, why is this fund not translating into any tangible and visible developmental projects? There are developmental activities no doubt, but hardly at the pace of magnitude tha…

INHERITED NEGATIVISM

The Imphal Free Press Aug 8 2011
Life in Manipur ceased to be something to be exulted a long time ago. In its place we have today the protest culture. And hence there is never a week that passes without some form of a protest bandh or rally or strike. Again, except for our religious festivals, not many of the days we observe as holidays or else as simply a day to be remembered, are actually in the real sense of the words, celebrations. Most of these are observed in recollection of dark and tragic events. The state’s calendar year hence is dominated “dark days,” “gloomy days,” and “protest months”.... Then there are of course the predictable general strikes, as for instance on January 26 and August 15, apart from a horde of other absolutely impromptu strikes and bandhs, that are immediate responses to developments that are not upto the liking or taste of any given group big and small. While we do not deny that all these reflect the condition of Manipur today, it is also true that we have…

TRYST WITH DESTINY: WHITHER MANIPUR?

The Sangai Express
August 13 2011
It is an annual ritual. It is that time of the year when people speed through their last minute marketing and parents anxiously wait for their children to come home before sunset. To the cops, particularly to those who have seen it all, it is yet another rerun of their annual duty where all, well almost all of them, have to be on night duty. In a few days time the country will celebrate Independence Day. The tri-colour will be unfurled on the Red Fort by the Prime Minister of the country and on the eve of Independence Day, the President will address the Nation. A fitting tribute to Nehru's Tryst with Destiny speech delivered on this day in 1947 when India won her independence from the British. It has been a long march since 1947 and while Nehru's “Tryst with Destiny” has gone on to inspire generations of Indians down the years, the deserted roads, the closed shops, the eerie silence that has come to characterise many States in the North Eastern …

ILLEGITIMATE VIOLENCE — SCOURGE OF UNETHICAL POLITICS

By A. Bimol Akoijam Aug 4 2011 The Sangai Express 
In our times, empirically and theoretically speaking, terrorism has been an illegitimate child of a legitimate politics. The so-called “Islamic Terrorism” is a classic example. It’s a part of common knowledge today that it is a phenomenon which was initiated and groomed by the Western Powers, particularly the United States, in their effort to counter the erstwhile Eastern Block. So is the case of the Tamil nationalist outfit LTTE, which was initially groomed by none other than peace loving IndianState. Now, going by the allegation of the Govt. of Manipur, perpetrator of the terrorist violence at Sangakpham turns out to be a “legitimate” organization.

TRUCE PACT: TALKING THROUGH THE HAT

The Sangai Express,  Aug 4 2011
The manner in which the State intelligence agencies moved swiftly and managed to zero in on the mastermind of the dastardly Sangakpham bomb blast came like a whiff of fresh air. Can't really recollect the last time that a case of this proportion was laid bare so fast and so conclusively. However as in everything that has got to do with Manipur, trust the political class to foul things up and this time we had none but the Chief Minister himself trying to reduce the good work of the intelligence agencies to some sort of a poor joke. We understand that the political class in Manipur have the uncanny knack of talking through their hats and this is unfailingly visible during election campaign and at the time of inaugurating a bridge or laying the foundation stone of a community hall. However this is not election time, though it is not far off, and the occasion was certainly not an inauguration function of a bridge or a foundation stone laying exercise of a…

A RETURN TO HUMANISM

The Imphal Free Press  Aug 2 2011
A question often confronted by those in search of a moral stance on issues of life and society is, what or where exactly is, or should be, this moral stance located. This undoubtedly is a slippery question considering one man’s perception of moral is not always the same as another’s, especially against the backdrop of diverse religious upbringings and outlooks different people grow up in. The difficulty hence is not just in satisfying those who pose this question, often provocatively and sometimes even tauntingly, but also to convince oneself as to what exactly should be a moral stance. Perhaps a beginning could be made by distinguishing between what is legally correct from what is moral. What is legally correct can, but does not necessarily have to, coincide with what is moral, although ideally the two should overlap totally. What is moral then must broadly be the conscience which guides the legislative process of making certain action legal or illegal…

PROCESS AS END

The Imphal Free Press 29 July 2011
Are peace talks in the northeast destined to remain a process until finally the process itself becomes the goal? This is a question which cannot miss any serious observers of the region. The answer seems to be in the affirmative, not merely from watching the Naga peace talks, but also the entry of so many other groups in Manipur into this process, in their case without any clear cut route charted out, or even the blueprint of what might be the ultimate solution, known. In fact, for many of the groups entering the fray now, it was never very clear what they were fighting for when they were fighting, unlike say the Nagas who were never in any doubt what they wanted from the time the elite leadership amongst them from the then Naga Club met the Simon Commission when the latter visited Nagaland in 1929. It is also unimaginable these latter groups would be able to come up with any credible, tangible goals, justified by the history or the present, now that t…

MANIPUR AND THE PARADOX OF SECURITY

Bidhan S Laishram Research Officer, IPCS 12 August 2004
A strange security paradox presents itself in Manipur: the state is disturbed over "Disturbed Area". Barely one and half months after the state government notified the whole of the state to be a Disturbed Area to extend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act for another six months, the people are in rebellion against the Act. The virulence of the agitation has repeatedly caused an exhaustion of tear-gas shells and rubber bullets; however, it is important to distinguish between the immediate causes underlying the present flare-up and its deeper roots.

MANIPUR: REBELS AS MORAL POLICE

Wasbir Hussain Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati 10 March 2005
Moral policing by separatists in Manipur has peaked in recent months, raising questions whether insurgent groups, through such actions, are filling the void created in society due to poor governance by the authorities, and the political class, and the ineffectiveness of civil society. Of late, an assortment of rebel groups in Manipur has taken up the responsibility of purging Manipuri society of its ills. In their zeal the rebels are going around awarding death sentence to drug peddlers, pumping bullets into teachers' legs for letting students copy during examinations and raiding restaurant cabins to look for cavorting couples.

WHO RULES MANIPUR'S STREETS?

Oken Jeet Sandham 15 Sep 2005 Editor, North East Press Service
In post-Independent India, Manipur state is afflicted by one of the oldest insurgencies. Even after 33 years of statehood, there appears to be no hope in future. The present scene in this once princely state, is of anarchy. In reality, nobody knows who the real ruler is. Any organization, underground or civil or a mere youth or even an individual can dictate to the state government. With several parallel regimes in the state, the people are gradually losing their confidence in the popular Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government headed by O Ibobi Singh.

TRUCE IN MANIPUR: POPULAR PERCEPTIONS

8 October 2005 Oken Jeet Sandham Editor, North East Press Service
Manipur is undoubtedly the only State in India besieged by nearly 30 militant organizations. The power of the State administration does not run beyond a few kilometers from the capital. The situation in Manipur has become one of the most serious threats to national security today.

THE NAGA PEACE PROCESS: ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

5 January 2007 Upasana Mahanta
The talks in mid-December between New Delhi and the Nagaland separatist group, the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), in Amsterdam, raises some faint hopes for peace in the region. The talks are seen as a fresh attempt at saving a nine-year ceasefire from breaking down. The ceasefire, which is in place since August 1997, faced rough weather in the recent past, with the NSCN-IM charging the Center with lack of sincerity in chalking out a plan for resolving the Naga issue. Against this backdrop, the recent talks and the consequent arrival of NSCN-IM leaders in Delhi to further the initiative hold crucial significance.