Playing Aunt Sally on ST status


It is a healthy sign of democracy to have discussion, debates, discourses; organize bandhs, rallies, hunger strikes; sending petitions, representations, memoranda; writing editorials, press-hand-outs, open letters etc., on crucial issues pertaining to our society, economy, politics, and culture and so on. But having all these sans violence and destruction will prove to be a greater achievement.
When you claim you are a tribal and deserve to be enlisted as ST. Onus probandi (burden of proof) does not lie on you. In other words you are not supposed to prove that you are virtually or really or truthfully a tribal. The burden of proof is on the Govt of India and Parliament. No other organization has the locus standi to decide your tribal status.
Let the Govt of India break its head to decide whether we are primitive or not, whether we have a distinct culture or not, whether we are shy to contact with other communities or not, whether we are backward or not. Why should we scratch one another for ascertaining whether we have fulfilled all the criteria or not.
That is the duty of the Union Home Ministry, Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India and ST Commission to examine and decide whether to confer ST status to a community or not.
Now the issue is very clear. We have nothing to do but to decide whether we should claim tribal status or not. Whether Meeteis/Meiteis should claim ST or not? A simple recommendation from the state Govt (Cabinet decision) to the Union Govt will trigger the process and bring to a logical conclusion. Please go through my previous Sunday article vis-a-vis the procedure.
At this juncture I would like to draw the attention of all my fellow citizens including our legislators and leaders that in the last 65 years or so the list of STs and SCs is getting longer and longer. Later on the OBC list is also expanding steadily. It has become a pan-Indian syndrome to demand ST/SC status or OBC status.
The reasons are quite obvious. Such demands are increasingly political rather than social or cultural. And no one is asking to withdraw from these lists. Some national big guns have started talking about job reservations for SCs and STs in the private companies and multinationals operating in India. Now a bill is pending in Parliament for providing reservation in promotions to SCs and STs.
And you will be surprise to know that RSS is now for strengthening and broadening the scope of SC/ST benefits. Some more freebees are likely to come before the state elections next year (UP, Manipur included). Kakching people are intelligent enough, now they are in the SC lists. Whether they have lost their prestige, dignity or pride after enlisting themselves in the SC list, I don’t think so.
They are never unhappy about their new identity or status. Perhaps they are more in an advantageous position in all spheres of life. Whether it is for getting quality education or employment opportunities or fee & fare concession or loans & scholarships or even for the protection of life & liberty, they are much better placed.
From cave life to this cyber life history shows repeatedly that only intelligently opportunistic people always have the say, share and stake.
Barak Obama was not purely Black, but he knew how to use his identity on his advantage; won twice. Yes, today Meiteis may be lacking tribal traits but the remnants may be used to our advantage.
I simply express my views, to agree with me or not, is left to the wisdom of the people. However let us not undermined the significance of training the people for referendum or plebiscite or mass opinion poll.
We need to make the people understand how to decide our own destiny on important issues in a democratic way. During the summer vacation let our student organizations together conduct a mass public opinion drive in the valley on this issue? Everyone above the age of 15 may be allowed to cast their votes.
Let the local MLAs bear the expenses (permission to spend some amount of money from their local area development fund may be accorded by the competent authority). Issue is to decide, whether we (state) should send our recommendation to the Centre for the inclusion of Meiteis in the ST list. Meiteis application for STship has nothing against the hill people who are already in the list.
Rather it is an endeavor for reunification and re-amalgamation among the people who were mechanically divided by religion and orthodox practices. This will make us more equal and egalitarian.
And as far as the reservation/facilities/benefits/shares of the hill people within the state are concerned, the same kind of arrangement (ratio) must be continued. There should not be any infringement upon the already existing rights/quota of the hill people.
Some NE ethnic groups are too clever that they go to Delhi half-naked with their spears for Republic Day celebration. But the ground reality is that they use maximum number of I-phones. Let us be worldly wise. Exploiting the existing system for our own benefit is not a crime. How long shall we continue as butterfly eaters?


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