By Araba Meitei
Politicking on the creation of Sadar Hills, a proposal initiated even before the present legislative members could spell the word “POLITICS”, is wrong. The delay is only helping the formation of dark clouds looming over the issue from Senapati where the CM was given a foreigner and a land grabber’s welcome. It is unfortunate that the successive clandestine MoUs between the Government of Manipur and Naga NGOs initiated, signed and re-endorsed by Rishang Keishing and whose footsteps W. Nipamacha Singh, a Meitei Chief Minister, toed is tumbling out of the closet much to the amazement of the SHDDC. The government’s intentional disregards only accentuate the suspicion that like his predecessors the CM might have compromise the integrity of Manipur for Naga integration. To make things straight, one may recall the source from where the CM gained political strength to oppose Th. Muivah. Had the present government formation been the same as that of Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh, the government would have crumbled or the CM would have gone to Mao gate to welcome Muivah with garland made of Lotus buds plucked from Loktak Lake.
The delay in the formation of the district aggravates the issue further and by now a stroke of communal colour is painted by the Naga NGOs. All the possible consequences are now laid bare for all to witness. The calculated move to ignite fresh ethnic conflict between the hill tribes is not likely to surface this time round. With the agenda of land annexation in the name of urbanization still fresh in the minds of the hill brethrens, the conflict of interest is likely to result in communal re-alignment among the hill tribes. The re-alignment or unification of the hill brethrens is going to be the sure nemesis of Manipur.
In the politics of Manipur, the Kukis are like ping-pong balls between the Nagas and the Meiteis. The demand for fulfillment of the proposal made in the early 70s is made a ping-pong game between the opposing integrations – Manipur and Nagas on the simple pretext that Kuki population is disproportionately high in the proposed Sadar Hills. For the Nagas, Sadar Hills is a move to curve out generous portions of the district they hope to integrate with Nagaland. For the Meiteis, it is an opportunity to strike a discord and disintegrate the unity of the hill people seen in the form of COPTAM. Between these opposing forces the issue of creating a mere administrative unit is blown out of proportion underscoring the fact that in the politics of Manipur nothing matters more than the politics of the opposing nationalisms of Meiteis and Nagas. However, the balance between the two will be easily tilted in the wake of the Kukis taking a u-turn. Any move to reach a consensus between the Nagas and the Kukis is going to prove highly detrimental to the interest of the Meiteis. Unlike earlier times the consensus is no longer impossible. That will be the end of Manipur’s integration or aspiration for Manipur’s sovereignty.
To maintain the status quo of Kuki political tone is to maintain the status quo of the integrity of Manipur territorial boundary. The use of trifle matters like creation of Sadar Hills district as a pawn to usher in communal hatred should not be seen as the solution to gain inches in the hills. The move to seize settlement rights in the hills and protection of Manipur integrity, at this point of time, will not go hand in hand and it is likely to backfire sooner or later. It sent out a very wrong signal that protection of the whole of Manipur is given up and the government is merely attempting to save small pieces of land surrounding the valley by means of urbanization and human planting.
Therefore, creation of Sadar Hills should be seen as a move to bring about development and administration and nothing more.
The above article was sent to Kanglaonline.com by Mr. Araba Meitei, he can be contacted at araba.meitei[at]yahoo.in
A rare article. Mr. Araba hs hit the right chord; may his wisdom of integrity shines forth, and bring development throught the state, Manipur.
I really like the article posted by araba. It is indeed true!… My request to the government is dont politicised the issue, its enough for 39 years… my humble suggestion is just declare it the district… else the right thinking citizen of Manipur will assume the government is weak and control by some devilish force…. Sir O Ibobi JUST DO IT!
A short but lucid political analysis of the present emerging issue around ‘Sadar hills’ from the perspective of ‘Integrity of Manipur’ and ‘Integration of Nagas’ binary frame. It highlights that elected leaders of the state are still caught within the colonial strategy, misleading people and creating anarchism. As such what is often not clearly handled and understood in the context of Manipur is the embedded reality of the independent and co-existing social structures (called also tribes) who have became the most neglected and troubled periphery at the persistent blanket application of such a binary strategy in the state formation processes. Such sections of the society are commonly sacrificed in Manipur politics (they have been totally made silenced in any territorial delimitation, seen clearly since McColloch policy itself) but everyone knows such tribes exists, indicating the over all prevalence of dominant ethnic bias politics. The solution to the ongoing problem lies only in understanding and giving political space to this reality. To my mind, a holistic strategy can be only arrived at by making a paradigm shift; from the colonial construct to allowing the embedded alternative strategy emerging from below, from the last unit of the social section such as Koms, Purums, Kharams, Koirengs etc as for Sadar hills, who have been one of the earliest settlers. This embedded natural social structures have been too long coerced consciously and unconsciously within ‘integrity versus integration’ dialectic nationalism, which has and will always backfire. A shift of paradigm is the need of the hour.