Annual Sangai Festival from November 21 to November 30. This is the constant. Another disturbing development is the growing trust deficit amongst the three major communities of Manipur-the Meiteis, the Nagas and the Kukis. This has also become a sort of a constant in the life of everyone here. The three Bills passed by the State Assembly on August 31 this year undoubtedly provided the spark for the inert ‘hostility’ amongst the different communities to come to the fore. A violent one at that and which has already claimed the lives of nine people in Churachandpur district. Checking the influx of outsiders or non-local people into the State of Manipur is undoubtedly the driving force behind the intense movement that was witnessed in the valley area of Manipur for months, even leading to the death of a young student in police action. On the other hand the cut off base year of 1951 to identify the indigenous people of Manipur is another reason for the huge uproar in Churachandpur district and the yet to be cremated/buried nine mortal remains is the proof of the intensity of the protest. Apart from this there is also the heated debate on whether the three Bills passed by the State Assembly were money Bills or not and why the Hill Areas Committee was by passed. Each side obviously seem to have their own side of the story to tell, but has anyone really thought about Manipur as a whole ? Looking at the reality, it should be obvious that no one has looked beyond the immediate interest of the community to which he or she belongs to. So there are Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, Meitei Pangals and others here but no Manipuris.
Not the first time that The Sangai Express is commenting on this and this will not be the last either, if one goes by the ground reality. This is where the Meiteis, by being the major community need to seriously question themselves why the idea of a Manipuri has refused to cut into the consciousness of the Nagas and the Kukis ? For starters one may well ask how many students from the Naga and Kuki communities are actually members of the Manipuri students bodies in different parts of India ? Just to cite an example, how many Naga and Kuki students are members of the Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi ? The same question may also be raised with regard to student organisations in other cities, such as Chennai, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai etc. The reality is grim and ugly, if one may add. But has this reality really helped anyone ? None. This is where the people need to come together, shed pre-conceived notions and find common interests which would be beneficial to everyone. For this to happen, the reality has to be accepted first. There may be genuine reasons for any grievances but reading everything along the line of community divide is not the answer. The people do have a responsibility in making the place a better place for the youngsters to inherit once they come of age. How to build up trust may just be what the doctors would prescribe to deal with the ailment afflicting Manipur now.