By Phundreimayum Irphan Ahamed
When a human body acquires a disease, if the science of diagnosis falls short to identify the disease, we see only the symptoms; rather unfortunately, when one is beset with misperceptions and illusions, the one is extremely distanced away from objectivity and rationale. When such a negative system prevails upon us, there forms the breeding ground of all kinds of wrong notions, false beliefs, misconceptions, gullibility to the patronage of demagogues and vested interests. Here arises the question of the role of social intelligence and education. If the academic fraternity and intelligentsia of that society remain nonchalant and unprompted by such emerging social problems, causing the spread of diseases of the kind among the masses, it is indicative of serious underperformance, to the extent of ridiculousness, of our academy and intelligentsia. Manipur has been witnessing, in a routine manner, internecine conflicts and clashes between ethnic and sub-ethnic communities, and more than that, sometimes even to the extent of intra-regional conflicts. Many a times, it is seen that the reflections from our academia in the form of conducting seminars, discussion and research in ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in broader perspective as also under the purview of conflicts and resolutions, tribal issues etc. Of course academic research into the problems should yield some benefits obviously, but thanks to the type of methodology employed in and precept of the research, it remains a far cry from identifying the root cause of the problems as such and hence unable to bring out any tangible solution to, at least, help in decelerating the vicious trend.
It is pertinent, from academic perspective, to quote from Carl. G. Hempel’s arguments in scientific research in confirmation theory: “scientific investigations made is as a rule psychologically guided and stimulated by antecedent knowledge of specific facts, its results are not logically determined by them, the way in which scientific hypothesis and theories are discovered cannot be mirrored in a set of general rules of inductive inference”. What is observed from the statement is if the degenerative trend in Manipur is viewed only within the four cornered wall of ethnic problem, the track of scientific inquiry, if acclaimed so, has a serious deficit. But the reality that the pervasive ethnic problems are only a symptom, not the root cause calls for scientific study and objective investigation. Symptomatic treatment in medical science may have some gainsaying but in social problem it is wastage and proven effect of intellectual impotency.
Conflict and clashes between Kuki and Naga, Meitei and Kuki, Kuki and Paite, Meitei and Naga, Kuki and Hmar, Meitei and Meitei Pangal; residents of Thangmeiband mathak Leikai and Uripok Leikai, residents of say locality A and Locality B etc, are a symptom of some potential root cause, yet to be identified – a one and only serious challenge before us and before the academia of our land. The body of the society is already afflicted with some invisible disease and people are engulfed in the conjuring symptoms: the illusions. Common masses are lost in the madness of emotional outrages; prejudices, stereotyping other ethnic group, developing paranoia of common man, trust deficit among the communities, etc are a product of the illusion. Of course, partly contributing factor by the patronage of vested interests too cannot be ruled out.
But if we study logically, for example, ethnicities A, B, C, D………engage in clashes in the pattern of binary combinations among themselves, will it be rationally true that stereotyping any particular community as a wrong doer and a cause? Stereotyping Meiteis as hegemonic and usurping others’ share by strength of their demographic advantage, Pangals as having more number of criminals and robbers, Nagas as unfriendly, savagery and seditious, Kukis of hypocrisy and dubious citizenship, etc , etc, are the most appalling, illogical, factually and empirically incorrect propagandas. None of the co-inhabiting communities are bad; animosities between them are temporary and short lived. There is no inherent communalism, sectarianism, antagonism and religious chauvinism in the individual and social character of any ethnic group. Our social characteristics and behaviour is conspicuously quite contrasting when compared with that of other parts of India.
Then our question is “where is the fault line?” Why does Manipur remain as the most ethnic feud and conflict ridden place in the North-East India? Unlike other hill states like Nagaland and Mizoram, Manipur is the most diverse place in terms of ethnicities and tribes in NE region of India.
Against the backdrop of recent two communities’ clash, the statement of appeal to both communities released by CorCom opens a new dimension of scientific investigation and objective research over the pervasive problem provided our academicians are sincere, bold and scholarly enough to look beyond four cornered wall of ethnic problem as the root cause of the problem.
Duncan Green’s book “From Poverty to Power” is a collection of research findings of Oxfam international on social, political and economic transformations with case studies worldwide and reflections. The book outlines that major root causes of all evils are poverty and inequality: the only forces that can liberate us from these evils are active citizens and effective state: the state must have a structure that can actively manage development process.
If we can introspect, retrospect and circumspect political system, social and cultural behaviour under of the nation under which we are living, we will surely step into the path of becoming active citizen. So we need consciously active citizens who subscribe to rational inquiry , not the ones with lacking in emotional intelligence and hence indulging in emotional outrages.
Ever since Max Muller wrote communal history of India, the divide and rule policy of British on communal lines was a rudiment or seed of schism and fissures from which the devil had sprouted and outgrown to religious, caste, regional divides in post British India. If we look closely, present day politics in India, by its inherent structure, is a powerhouse of all kinds of divide and rule tactics and strategies along caste, class, religions, ethnicities, regionalism, majoritarianism, gender biasness etc. Under this political environment, any microscopic community like Manipuri, Khasi, Mizo, Naga etc lost its space to learn to how to develop when majoritarianism and number strength remains as backbone of politics in India. Centre state relation is made in such a way that elected representatives of the state are not counted with respect to their ability to work for development, but counted on how much power they can sell to the major parties in the centre in return of which they will get currency notes. Under this environment, there is no possibility of electing meritocratic ones who are not only competent and efficient but also have vision and understanding of resource mobilisation and development. Rather We elect the same variety of politicians to bring in and inject the same fissiparous means in our society too and divide the people on ethnic, sub ethnic and intra-regional lines for their petty political gains. Our politicians are trainee in political power brokerage and trade; development, resource creation and mobilisation of our own region are never a thing of their concern. So also people of our land are getting a wrong environment to learn the truth and instead of making our people active and conscious, we have the system prevailing upon us to make a factory of emotional fools, impoverished and parasitic mindsets.
If one goes through the book written by the former IB deputy director, Maloy Krishna Dhar ‘Open Secrets (Indian intelligence unveiled)’, one will be enlightened how the political parties in ruling dispensation use Indian intelligence to do dirty and divisive politics in North East and how intelligence officials collude with some of the insurgent groups in North East and in particular context of Manipur, how the erstwhile popular Alimuddin government was pulled down through conspiracy.
My focus here is not to suggest and trigger another emotional outrage against India; my quest is to reckon an intellectual movement in the search of basic truths and correctives. The success of any revolution is inevitably grounded on intellectual revolution and education to impart mass awareness if we retrospect into the trajectory of history of past revolutions such as Paris revolution, Bolshevik revolution, Cultural Revolution in China, etc, etc. Intellectual revolution precedes armed revolution much ahead in terms of scope and intensity. Else any group which comes out in the name of revolution is seriously subject to public scrutiny. The book open secret narrates stories of many such conniving elements which got money from government intelligence machinery.
To hope for the best, we, the Manipuris, may strive for taking up a leading role to bring a revolution in India provided we are armed with the findings of basic truths and hence can hope for sowing the seed of bringing a social transformation in India.
Some of the palpable realities are: we are living in a nation in which when Irom Sharmila fasts for a right cause for 15 years does not give any cognizable impact whereas Anna Hazare’s fast for a few days shook the nation and the parliament was bound to call for emergent joint sitting. Our centre state relation needs a serious review to save the microscopic communities of smaller states from the appalling deprivation and victimisation created by the forces of supremacy and exploitation bolstered by number game and majoritarianism politics in India. The need of greater autonomy for smaller states is subject to contemplation and open discourse.
On the other hand, the present trend in Indian politics is replete with, at its peak point, spreading hatred and animosities between communities on religious, cultural and food habits lines, and so dividing the people based on ill-adopted concept “purity of race “borrowed from Nazism and Fascism has become unruly reality. Looming danger can be sensed since these forces have started lurking in our society too, waiting for right time to openly operate with their evil designs. It is in our intuition that once these forces started operating in our society, the fate of our 2000 years old organic Manipuri society may be at stake. We should beware of it.
Many a symptoms of such politics are appearing before our eyes. It may be pertinent to remember that Mr. Neiphiu Rio who projected himself as a caretaker of Naga movement during his election campaign in Manipur and also obviously injected fissure between ethnic communities there, tried a flop show to eke out his political mileage, by earning a favour from the ruling party at the centre, and hence a hope for expanding of his party base in this region.
He had spoken in Indian parliament the following statement: – “when Naga nationalists, they are willing to become in the union and be a peaceful citizen I think all should support and try to resolve it…………” (exact reproduction of what he cited.)
What he succinctly said is Naga nationalists are willing to join the union of India and he pleaded that India should be considerate of their willingness. Is it the fate of sixty years Naga movement that today’s Naga nationalists are, according to his plea in Indian parliament, in the mode of surrendering and willing to join the nation after such a prolonged weary war against India.
Indian political and intelligence policy in this region needs a complete overhaul and transparency.
Finally to conclude with, I sincerely feel that scientific study and objective research without the slightest influence of any kind unsure hypothesis, subjectivity and precepts must be put to work in time before it falls in the hands of unintelligent and myopic politicians who are eagerly waiting to use it as an object of power trade with ruling dispensation at the centre and colluding intelligence machinery. How long will we be made to live with the self suicidal perception that we live by the money from centre; we don’t have any resource in our land?