Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Manipur and Nagaland:a saga from the mahabharata to the present

If you have been following the news recently, you must have read about the economic blockade of manipur by the All Naga Students' Union of manipur. these 'students' (pun intended) have partly achieved what they wanted i.e cripple Manipur, but their other aim that of making the rest of India take notice of their claims has not clicked that well as they might have expected to. it will not, because when have non NE Indians bothered about what happens in the NE? we ourselves humiliate our NE countrymen/women by calling them 'chinkis' one of the most disgusting terms i have ever heard. our knowledge of the NE region is confined to Assam and Sikkim, albeit limited. the indifference can be guaged from the coverage given in the press to incidents like the blockade, the anti-Assam rifles protest, the manipur assembly burning. these hogged the headlines for a few days and later on completely disappeared. I know that this is true with all kinds of news, but if one were to use a half-life measure for longevity of news items, do you think stories connected to the NE will even have nuclei left to be counted?
In this respect, our ancient scriptures (specially the Mahabharata) (which organisations like the BJP/Shiv Sena/RSS and sometimes even the thieving/chameleonistic Congress exploit to the hilt to garner votes) have integrated the NE into the story. Lest we forget, Arjuna had wives in nagaland (Uloopi) and in manipur (Chitrangada). Infact he faces defeat and death in manipur at the hands of his son Babruvahana during the battle for Yudhisthira's Sacrificial horse. The lessons associated with the NE saga of Arjuna teach us about the existence of a matriarchial society in manipur (kerala is the only other place where such a system exists).
The solution to this problem is not simple. many have suggested a military action against the Naga students. Please people, just pause to think. These guys are fighting for a legitimate demand. Imagine, if maharashtra can have the bloody gall to ask for Belgaum just because there is a sizeable marathi speaking population there, whats wrong with the Nagas asking for a district like Senapati wherein the population is almost entirely naga?
At the same time, Manipur is precious to us too. The Manipuris too have attachment to their state. Who doesn't?
The only solution to this problem is in the rest of India earning the trust of both the Nagas and the Manipuris. The two parties should first develop the trust that people on the mainland have not isolated them and they are ready to help. we should also learn to respect them and not call them by derogatory terms. If we don't do such basic things, don't be surprised if the NE becomes part of China/Myanmar within the next 50 years.
As a conclusion I would like to say that the occupying allied forces won the trust, love and respect of the West germans when they flew in essentials at great risk to their own lives because of a Soviet economic blockade. At the same time they might have earned the love of the East germans too. Imagine if we put our lives on the line for the manipuris. Not only will we earn their trust, but at the same time the Nagas will realise that we appreciate their needs too but they will not twist our hands in such a way that we make another set of our countrymen suffer thus!!!


Karthik Subramani said...

"Chinks "... the word somehow always struck me as harmless . But when I remember my school days when I was called names because of my dark skin ...I realised it can rankle very deep indeed.

I must admit though that I am one of those mainland dudes who's not aware of such happenings . Coming to think of it , I wonder what would be the problem if that region did become part of another country? Anyway we don't seem to care about them ...

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