NEW DELHI, December 14: Manipur Students’ Association Delhi (MSAD) observed the day of Nupi Lal at Delhi University on December 12, and conveyed their message to the people that Nupi Lal still exists in Manipur society and women are fighting as a collective force for the oppressed people, said a press release by MSAD.
It said, Nupi Lal which literary means Women’s War in Manipur in 1904 and 1939 has important aspects in the history of Manipur society, and it would not be wrong to say that the ideas of the colonial rule and its ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas and the women in Manipur were fighting against these ideas and sowed the new seeds of economic and political reforms in the society.
One of the mechanisms which created such a menace in the society is the political dominance, which however there were no any such issues in earlier years of Manipur, but unfortunately the number of such menaces increased after rule of the colonialists politically and economically, said MSAD in the press release.
It said, the outbreak of the wars in the 19th century between the Manipuri Kingdom and the Awas Kingdom in the year 1817 which led to the massive seven years devastation was the root cause for the Women in Manipur to agitate against the oppressive economic and administrative policies and also the Anglo Manipuri wars which was fought between the Manipuri Kingdom and the British empire in the year 1891 was another aspect. As a result the first Nupi Lal broke out as a protest against the force to become labour on Manipuri men. These aggressive pressures led the partial victory of “Women’s war” in Manipur and this agitation shocked and moved the British colonialist.
The second Nupi Lal was also the result of the colonial trade policies of the British and that was implemented through state Maharaja where they tried to get maximum profit out of other’s valued labour and the policies were more based on export oriented for their maximum benefits. The colonialists and bourgeoisies’ ideas propagated by the aristocrats for their well being were denied by the womens’ movement of Manipur and agitated against the durbar. Furthermore the womens’ movement also took part in wide spreading of demonstration against the increase of water taxes. The women in Manipur were involved on several things for instance: from production to selling and marketing of their food grains to make themselves economically independent. They not only involved in the economic activities but also in political movements and reforms. However, the status of women in Manipur is not significant despite of their contributions throughout the past and present, said the press release.
It said, in the late 20th century, women in Manipur society volunteered themselves to make an end to alcoholism and drugs abuse in the state to control the menaces created by the drunkard husband to their wives. Nisha bandh and Maira Paibi are movements that can be mentioned here as an example of women activities actively participating in curbing social evils for the sake of their daughters, sons and for the welfare of the society. It’s also worthwhile to mention that the Maira Paibi movement of the 1980’s emerged to safeguard the youth from atrocities by Indian security forces like arrest without warrant, tortured or being killed without any reason in general and Indian state oppression in particular . In present, many women organizations are agitating on several issues and launched even more massive struggle for the rights of the oppressed people in Manipur, and to combat the rising issues of sexual harassment and violence which were the results of patriarchal ideology and its practices, also it is heartening to know that women in our society are fighting for their chastity and life since the atrocities towards women are increasing day by day.
It would be a shame for the kind of democracy it claims when the people are oppressed and suppressed and being denied again and again to live with dignity of life as all the Manipuri have been experiencing from so many instances and from the instrument of modern state oppression –AFSPA. It would be wrong to call India a ‘democratic country’ when the rights are snatched away, when people are oppressed. Many scholars and activists are agitating against such issues, among them one of the prominent figures we can mention is Irom Chanu Sharmila who has been protesting against the imposition of inhuman act “AFSPA” in the state and she has been fasting since the last Fifteen years to repeal the black law. Unfortunately instead of her plea to repeal the act she has been charged with an “attempt to commit suicide” and arrested, said MSAD in the press release.