Two different assertions in recent times have led our minds to ponder upon the hill-valley equation in terms of political representation and that of territoriality. The first assertion is the effort of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) for making 50-Kangpokpi Assembly Constituency a reserved seat for Scheduled Tribes. Out of the 60 assembly constituencies in the state, 20 are in the hills of which Kangpokpi assembly constituency is a general seat. Although, the Kangpokpi constituency is Kuki dominated there is a sizeable population of Nepalis besides Meiteis and of course Nagas. It was with a view to protect the interests of the Nepali population that Kangpokpi was made a general seat. In fact, the Kangpokpi seat was represented by one Kishore Thapa thrice in the past which happened mostly because of the divide in Kuki votes. However, due to Kuki consolidation and population shift in recent times the constituency has been continually electing Kukis as their representatives. In the present assembly also, the constituency is represented by one Nemcha Kipgen. The proposal for making Kangpokpi a ST reserved seat was discussed recently in a meeting of the Hill Areas Committee, in which a decision to consult the state Law Department was taken. While this proposal has been taken with a pinch of salt by other communities, a surprise demand has come up from seven Nepali villages of Makeng Dolaithabi Gram Panchayat under Sawombung Sub-division for inclusion in the Saikul Assembly constituency, which happens to be a neighbouring constituency of Kangpokpi. A memorandum seems to have been submitted by Gorkha Welfare Association, Saikul Sub-Division, Sadar Hills on behalf of the seven Nepali villages to local MLA Yamthong Haokip in this regard while also conveying their decision to boycott the forthcoming Panchayat elections. The memorandum also claimed that no representative from the seven Nepali villages have filed nominations to contest in the forthcoming Panchayat elections. The seven Nepali villages are Motakhong, Iram Gorkha, Molkom Gorkha, Hangoipat Gorkha, Makeng Ngulrou, Bunglung Gorkha and Liklatabi. Saikul MLA Yamthong Haokip had said that the seven Nepali villagers were earlier under Saikul constituency, but later brought under the Sawombung sub-division of Imphal East District following the delimitation exercise conducted in 1981-82. Whatever be the grievances of the Nepalis under the Imphal East district sub-division, one has to take into consideration the logic behind the 1981-82 delimitation exercise. And, it is indeed strange that the Nepalis who were traditionally more attached to the Panchayat system of village level administration should begin to opt for inclusion in the Autonomous District Council structure. But politics combined with ethnic assertions move in mysterious ways. Not long back, the Panchayat administration in Nepali areas has been a contentious issue between the Nepalis and the tribal population in the Kangpokpi area. But certainly there must be reasons beyond one’s control in the recent change of heart. The smaller tribes indeed have a major problem with the issue of ‘compulsory’ identification with bigger groupings in their areas of dominance. Among the tribes identified by British ethnographers as the Old Kuki, many of them have become the lesser tribes due to shrinking population and they differently affiliate with either the Naga or Kuki grouping due to compulsions beyond their control. Thus it is necessary to look at the recent Nepali change of heart in the above-mentioned complex. On the other hand, the issue of contested territoriality has been dogging the hill-valley equation more particularly in the peripheral areas where the valley connects with the hills. The issue comes up during the elections of ADC and Panchayat. Recently with regard to the Sadar Hills district demand the State Cabinet a committee called Committee on Re-organisation of Administration and Police District Boundary with the Chief Secretary as chairman for identifying and demarcating the boundaries. We think, a Commission would be more appropriate as the issue involves a wider perspective beyond bureaucratic imagination.
Interior View of ISKON Temple, Imphal , Manipur by Rashingam Ngoruh
Photography Credit and Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Siroi hills/ Shirui hills ranges in the Ukhrul District of Manipur, India, at an elevation of 1730m–2590m above sea level. Picture speaks itself the beauty of the Siroy Hill
Kankhui Cave – Sculpted by Nature – Ukhrul Manipur Photography Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Khangkhui Cave is a remarkable natural lime- stone cave located at Ukhrul, Manipur, India. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil … Continue reading
Unique Manipur Yaoshang Sports – Bor Keina Competition – 2013 Photography and Credit: Loyangamba Khundongbam All types of sports are held during Yaoshang Sports meet at Manipur or different parts of the world for women, men and children namely Chaphu … Continue reading
View of Manipur Valley during evening time Photography Credit and Copyright: Moirangthem Ranjit This is the valley where we live. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and hills, once upon a time, this valley was submerged underwater. All waters were … Continue reading