Non-Occurrence Of Development: Manipur riddle
By Amar Yumnam
The biggest riddle of Manipur is the potential and revealed capability of the people accompanied by the continuous failure to transform by the society for causing the land to experience development. In this context, two new publications in the first month of the year just begun are rewarding reading though not necessarily yielding final understanding of the issues confronting the land, people and society of Manipur. The World Bank has just brought out an edited new book titled Puzzles of Economic Growth. The scope for paraphrasing the issues being examined in this book prompts me to quote the scope for this book: `Observation of economic reality brings remarkable facts to the surface and prompts numerous questions. Why, for example, has Australia gotten so much ahead of New Zealand, in spite of the latter being held up as a paragon of free market reform? How is it possible that Austria, with its persistently oversized state enterprise sector, has managed to (nearly) catch up with Switzerland, which in the early 1970s boasted per capita national income that was more than 50 percent higher? How can we account for the differences in economic growth between Estonia and Slovenia, and which of these two countries has been more successful at systemic transformation? Why is Mexico so much poorer than Spain, despite having been wealthier all the way into the 1960s? Why has Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela, which in 1950 had a per capita income higher than that of Norway and remains a major exporter of oil, slipped behind Chile? How is it possible that its currency, considered one of the most stable currencies in the world until the 1970s, has lost its luster even for Venezuelans? How has Chile, blighted by acute crises in the 1970s and 1980s, managed to overtake other South American countries in terms of income per head? Why is Costa Rica lagging behind Puerto Rico, even though in the 1970s the U.S. territory`™s fast development slowed to a crawland is now far below other comparable island economies? Why has `communist`China outstripped `capitalist` India? Why has Pakistan`™s growth lagged behind that of Indonesia, even though the latter was exposed to recurrent bouts of state interventionism, and suffered one of the deepest crises in world economic history in the years 1997`“98? Why, even before the 2010 earthquake, the Dominican Republic has been visited by tourists many more times than Haiti, despite being situated on the same island? To what extent are humans responsible for Haiti`™s exposure to the hurricanes occurring in this region?` This book argues that `Economic policy, in turn, is shaped not only by the personal choices of political decision makers but also by the institutions that impose stronger or weaker limits on their power. We consider these institutions ultimately responsible for economic stability.` All these raise important issues which should bother us contextually in the case of Manipur.
The second book of the new year I have keenly interested in is the three volume work of Gangmumei Kamei on A History of Modern Manipur: 1826 `“ 2000 (A Study of Feudalism, Colonialism and Democracy); this is the outcome of his stay as a scholar at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Among the authors from Manipur Gangmumei Kamei is one I always hold on a pedestal higher than any other. While I plan a longer review of the three volumes, I would rather refer here to the Chapter Four of Volume 3 on `Manipur in the Post-Colonial India`™. I would rather like to quote some parts from this chapter for the institutional implications as we see happening in Manipur and definitely not because of the polemical value. Kamei writes: `Result of the Merger was unexpectedly the denial of democracy and a rule of Indian Government which meant to the common man the replacement of the monarchy by that of the Indian bureaucracy. . `¦`¦Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was no much concerned with Manipur affairs`¦..and looked towards it more as a frontier state with boundary problems with Burma and possible insurgency in the region.` This culminated in completing the twentieth century in Manipur with `panicky Governor Ved Marwah with an incompetent DGP recommended the dissolution of the Assembly and imposition of President`™s Rule in the state in July 2001. Thus ended the story of democracy during the last decade of 20th century and beginning of 21st century.`
I read these two books after reading a research report of the last month of the year just gone by on 1758 conflicts in Asia, Africa and Europe during 1400 and 1799 and their relationships with the development experiences of the countries in these continents. There is a powerful thesis of Robert Bates in his Prosperity and Violence which states: `In historical Europe, then, states emerged from war. Governments pursued policies that promoted the growth of the economy and the rise of parliamentary institutions not because they wanted to but because they had to, the better to secure resources with which to fight. In what was to become the advanced industrial world, as states developed, coercion therefore did not disappear. . . To a greater degree than before,