Manipur – The Land of Jewel

2093

Md. Raees Ahamed. (M.A)

Described by our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as ‘Manipur – The Land of Jewel’, Manipur boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emerald green valleys, blue lakes and dense forests. It is the sheer tranquility enveloping it, interrupted only by a soft breeze that sets it apart from the other northeastern states, and makes it the ideal getaway. Manipur, literally meaning the land of jewel, is a paradise on earth when Mother Nature has been extra generous in her beauty. And from the very inception, this princely state of Manipur has always been a shinning outpost of the country in the sparse of the eastern Himalayas.

A full view of Langol Hill Range tugged in the northern part of the Imphal Valley (as seen from Nongmaiching Hill Range). Photo: Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh

Manipur is a part of India both from the point of view of geography and culture. It never lost its basic link with the mainstream of the Indian culture. The culture of Manipur has been a part of Indian culture. It accepted aspects of Indian culture and transmitted them to Burma, China and other lands of East Asia. On political grounds Manipur can hardly be separated from India. We find the invaders from Cachar, Tripura, etc., during the successive periods of its history.  The religious movement of Manipur in the 18th century conveys the spirit of universality and strengthens the bounds of unity. It asserts that Manipur is a part of Bharatavarsa.

Origin of the Name of Manipur

There are different names commonly used in discussing Manipur by different neighbouring people. To quote W. McCulloch, “The country inhabited by the Muneepoorees is by the inhabitants of Cachar it is named Moglei; by those of Assam Mekhlee and by the Shans or those who inhabit the country east of Ningthee or Khyendwen river it is known as Cassay of which term the Burmese word Kathe is a corruption.” The narrative of Symes and the maps of that period give the name “Cassay” to this country. In Rennell’s Memoir and maps of India it is mentioned as “Meklee.” Other popular names by which it is known are Manipur and Meitei Leibak. This is found in the treaty of king Gourayam and the British East India Company in 1,800 A.D. According to Kalika. Purana it is the place where the waist of Devi fell at the time of Daksa-Yajna. Another account declares that the outer garment, i.e., Mekhela fell to the ground in her dance in this land, Siva called it “Mekheli”. Various meanings are given to the word “Manipur.” According to Atombapu Sharma Manipur means “naval circle on earth.” Another argument is given by some to show that Arjuna was restored to life by the Mani (gem) from the nether world and the land came to be known as Manipur.

People and Culture

The people are simple and happy. They speak sweet words. The place is the land of diverse origins, but of a unique culture. Here different ethnic groups of people are living together for centuries with peace and harmony. Majority people of the State are the Meiteis. Other people of present Manipur include Bishnupriya Manipuris, Naga, Kuki, Meitei-Pangal (Muslim) and other colourful communities which have lived together in complete harmony for centuries. These are the people whose folklore, myths & legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms & handicrafts are infested with the mystique of nature. The Hill tribes of Manipur although divided into a number of clans and sections, maybe grouped under the two divisions -Naga’s and Kuki’s.Manipur is a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns, best represented by its dance forms.

Current Situation in Manipur

With reference to above small/small paragraphs contribute and mean that Manipur is Land of Diversity which has rich cultural heritage from the time of existence but if we see the situation which is going on has been defined as one of the worst land ever in this planet called Earth which is really unfortunate to all of us. WE have no understanding at all in all ethnic groups; every individual has their own perception that perception is not positive manner which affect to communal harmony in the state. As a Manipuri, I went through a lot of tough time which was not acceptable at all; in short WE the Manipuri are not treated as HUMAN BEINGS who have no rights to survive with their own fundamental rights. On the other hand, Law and Order in the state is called ‘Jungle Raj’ and those who has responsibility of the state has no capable to lead and handle it. We are not talking about their individuality; we are talking about the performances they are contributing to the state is like their Own Business strategy which has not to be. We are very shameful in comparison with other part of the India or World because the people of Manipur have no faith in their future.

If we discuss on the GDP of the state then we can easily simplify as Manipur totally depends on Centre because we have no sufficient foods and essential commodities which are compulsory in day to day life. Our one and only agricultural production called rice plantation is also not able to produce consistently sufficient because of flood, scarcity of water and other natural calamities. Apart from this our Government is not trying to uplift the situation and not even trying to do for research and development (R&D) of the state performance which they have to concentrate in this regards. One saying for Indian – “Roti, Kapda aur Makan” is the primary source (need) of survival because of this we have a lot of noise from every corner of the state.

Then it comes up one very important question to ourselves, who is the responsible for this entire incident? The simply answer for this question is that everyone is responsible for this entire incident because we always tend to forget our basic duties towards this existing society. We have been habituated to live with easy way of lavish life due to this we have to do a lot of noise from every corner. At the end of the day, we have to survive at any cost so obviously it will impact to our normal life.

Bandhs, Blockades & Dharnas

India is a largest democracy country in the world as per our Constitution so it declares the Union of India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic, assuring its citizens of Justice, Equality, and Liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity among them. The words “Socialist”, “Secular”, and “Integrity” were added to the definition in 1976 by constitutional amendment. India celebrates the adoption of the constitution on 26 January each year as Republic Day. After coming into effect, the Constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document.

But in Manipur, the above given statement extracted from Our Constitution is not applicable at all because the concerned are not considering/accepting as an Indian. Here, we have one fine example – Sharmila Chanu Irom who is  fasting since 2 November 2000, she has been on hunger strike to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of India’s northeast. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. On the other hand, Anna Hazare was fasting only 8 days for ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ and Government are accepting and agreed of his agitation however one woman who is fasting for more than 10 years for the repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) which is called Jungle Act has not even been considered seriously that something very unfortunate of general public of Manipur as well as in North – East India.

And from August 1, 2011 our main and primary sources of 2 National Highway (NH) has been imposed continuously Economic Blockade by separate groups as Kuki-tribe-dominated Sadar Hills District Demand Committee had called for an indefinite blockade of National Highways 39 and 53 from August 1 to mount pressure on the Manipur government to create a separate district for the Sadar Hills area, carving it out of the present Senapati district. The prices of essential items have already shown an upward trend, as the supply of goods along the two highways has been severely affected.  Since August 1 has led petrol to be sold at Rs 120 per litre in the black market instead of Rs 62 and LPG Cylinder at Rs. 1500-2000, while the prices of vegetables have also gone up, the reports said.

The National Highway 39 connects Manipur to the rest of the country through Dimapur in Nagaland while National Highway 53 connects the state through Silchar in south Assam. Despite heavy deployment of forces, blockade supporters have dug up craters at many points on the NH 39 besides torching a number of government offices and establishments.

Meanwhile, the All Naga Students Association of Manipur has opposed creation of a separate Sadar Hills district carving it out of Senapati district. “The All Nagas Student Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Nagas in general will like to remind the state (Manipur) government that Sadar Hills district will not be allowed to be created by carving the area out of Naga-dominated area of Manipur,” the ANSAM stated.

The Kuki tribe has raised the demand for a separate Sadar Hills district as they are wary of rival Naga tribe’s demand for an alternative arrangement for administration of Naga-dominated hill districts of Manipur, including Senapati district.

Manipur Nagas’ demand for a separate administration for hill areas in Manipur enjoys the backing of Naga rebel group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isaac Muviah, which is engaged in peace talks with the Centre.

Every land has issue with their own affairs and resolves the issue with their mature capacity but in Manipur who would be the responsible for all issues and also to get resolve the issue which is happening since August 1, 2011, our Government mums not even think of single second for general public who are facing such difficult life. I, as a citizen of this country would like to express deep concern about the situation of Manipur and would like to keep this matter to the world and those who are concerned about Human Rights of every individual.

For many years now, the Nagas in the hills of Manipur have been periodically blocking the two highways. Last year, they blocked the two highways for 68 long days. From August 1 this year, the Kukis imposed a blockade on the two highways to force the state government to concede their demand for a separate district. Since then, the people of Imphal Valley have been facing unimaginable hardship with the state government unwilling to remove the blockade by force and clear the highways for trucks carrying commodities to travel freely. There is a severe shortage of everything. Prices of all items ranging from matchboxes to LPG cylinders have gone through the roof. The situation eased somewhat a week ago with the state government providing armed escort to convoys carrying petroleum products, foodstuff, medicines and other commodities. But shortages persist and long queues are visible outside gas stations, grocery and fair price shops and markets.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Md. Raees Ahamed, you must have put a lot of physical hardwork to produce this article. Unfortunate, I must tell you that you have not been critical and you are far away from reality. you romanticised history about manipur  and her relation with india. you have used invasion as one of the criteria for manipur being a part of india. india was invaded by Greeks and even Chenghiz Khan so do this logically amount to India being a land of Greeks? you also talked about the sharign of cul;ture bvetweem india and manipur in terms of religion too. there are several indians in india who are christians and even St. Thomas came and landed in India and he even died in India. will you say that India is a land of Christians? you are wrong when you claimed that the people in maipur live in harmony and peace. the fact is that the kukis and the nagas never had a good relation since theior first meeting or interaction. the nagas in the hills did not have goos relation even with the rulers of the valley. and now look at present context. where is the peace and harmony?

    do not be naive in dealing with historical facts.

    • Hi Kamei…
      First of all, I would like to thank you so much for reading my Article which is based on the current situation of Manipur. I really appreciate your feeling towards Manipur History and so on…But in this Article, I mentioned and highlighted some Historical importance which I can conclude what would be the next steps to get resolved the current issues as a common man who can speak out with his perception..I never mention in my Article that Kukis & Nagas had a good relation in the past although this article is mainly focused on General Public (Common Man) who are facing a lot of issue which has not to be and how to survive in this current scenario but the Concerned Govt. are ignoring (State & Centre) without listening our (Means whole communities) demands.
      In this Article, you will find one paragraph as “Then it comes up one very important question to ourselves, WHO IS THE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ENTIRE INCIDENTS? The simply answer for this question is that everyone is responsible for this entire incident because we always tend to forget our basic duties towards this existing society. We have been habituated to live with easy way of lavish life due to this we have to do a lot of noise from every corner. At the end of the day, we have to survive at any cost so obviously it will impact to our normal life.”
      My intention to write this article was just to highltight the current situation of Manipur and never tried to naive with the historical facts… Once again thank you so much for your feedback towards this Article and looking forward to discuss a lot of issue in different stuffs…
      Regards,Raees

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