ECONOMIC EQUALITY -- A PRE-REQUISITE FOR PEACE AND INTEGRITY OF MANIPUR

Aaron Keishing, Sub-Editor, The Aja Press, wrote this article for Morung Express on 30 Mar 2012 

A state integrity cannot be ensured by exclusion policy or weakening of a section of people in economic growth. A state territory cannot be protected by political slogans or breaking our heads on the streets, but by ensuring economic equality among different communities living in that territory. Peaceful co-existence and economic inequality are diametrically opposed to each other. Latter needs to be eradicated to achieve the former. The question of peaceful co-existence cannot come unless our hearts genuinely accept economic equality and our actions follow it. By merely saying peaceful co-existence or economic development of the poorer section of our people without action can never ensure a territorial integrity. The phrases “territorial integrity or peaceful co-existence” itself constitutes a threat to integrity or peaceful co-existence when the shouter himself act against it. Therefore, economic equality between different communities living in Manipur is a pre-requisite of peace, prosperity and integrity of the state.
 
Ensuring economic equality between Northern India and North East Region, hills and valley, tribe and non-tribe, OBC and general; Thoubal and Keirao; Somdal and Kasom Khullen areas of Ukhrul, for instances, shall result in peaceful co-existence which would give the political stability and economic viability of India, Manipur and Ukhrul. Religious leaders, politicians, thinkers, media houses, bureaucrats, educators and youths should aspire for peace and evolve divergent theories for maintaining peace in Manipur, and economic equality among various ethnic groups living in the state is the best theory for ensuring the same. So, is the case in Indian politics. It’s a universal truth and there is no substitute to it. Since we are closely knitted geographically or as a state, any occurrence of event in one part of Manipur has its immediate impact on the rest; any unhealthy incident adversely affects the state as a whole. Therefore, poverty of hill areas of Manipur constitutes a threat to peace and integrity of the state. It is for this reason economic equality of all areas becomes necessity, not an option anymore because poverty anywhere constitutes a threat to peace everywhere.

Economic inequality breeds exploitation, hatreds, jealousy and so on. It’s a disease, a parasitism because it is all evil. All the major world revolutions e.g. Afro Asian resurgence, French Revolution 1789, India’s Independent Movement, Economic Crises of 1929 which resulted to World War II, are all the results of growing consciousness of economic exploitation. Economic inequality caused tension, war and disintegration in the world. History is a testimony to the fact. Therefore, to Karl Marx, economic inequality is root cause of destruction of peace. Economic enslavement destructs people’s liberty and increases misery. 
 
It is said that only sufferers can break the shackles of dependency. It is for this reason why the hills should stop blaming on valley alone but take sincere initiatives for its own economic development, and the valley being a more advance capital city of Manipur, should extend all possible assistances for the economic regeneration of weaker section of people, particularly people living in the backward hill districts of Manipur in the interest of peace and integrity of the state. We may not be able to continue living together or ensure the integrity of the state by throwing mud on each other or considering of each other as rivals but by accommodating and safeguarding each other’s interests. The new government of Manipur should work on the principle of ‘equal treatment for all”. The rights of all communities must be cared without favoritism.
A government has the obligation towards all the constituencies, not only for the people of its choice. Even within the valley areas, there is, no doubt, a wide gap between what ought to be, and what it is. Similarly, within Ukhrul district itself, the western side is much more developed than the southern and eastern areas. If the fragmentation is to be prevented, this has to be corrected, only then, territorial integrity or peaceful co-existence shall not be far to seek. Economic development should be inclusive, not exclusive. Peaceful co-existence or maintaining of integrity are high sounding but of no practical utility in the absence of economic equality. Therefore, economic equality must be considered in the interest of peace, prosperity and territorial integrity of our nation, state or district.

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