More people to people contact. This is the call of the hour. Now with the BJP led Government reaching out to the hills and which has been reciprocated well, it is only right that different civil society organisations and the student bodies based in the valley and the hills too try and reach out to each other. There are reasons why this observation is being made at this juncture. Manipur today is placed at a strategic time and while politically the State Government seems to have made amends and made rooms to accommodate the hill based political parties, it is only right that the people too break out of their self imposed ‘walls’ and see how they can make more meaningful contacts with each other. This is where the media too can chip in with their mite. The present opportunity should not be allowed to go waste and it should not only be left to the State Government for ultimately it is the people who matter. Break down the mental barriers that have taken roots in the last many years and learn to look beyond ‘I’ and ‘We’ as understood in the context of hills and valley and learn to see how all can walk together to the realisation of a ‘We’. Should not be such a tall order, provided one adopts a free mind and the willingness to accept and accommodate differences of opinion. This is the ideal time to go beyond the understanding of Chingtam Amattani and see how this can become the guiding light for all, at the individual level. The ’individual level’ and this is where the importance lies.
To bridge the hill valley divide, one has first acknowledge that there is indeed a deep divide and this is not artificial. However Manipur cannot afford to go on existing in this state and it is here that everyone should start questioning oneself at the individual level. Let the CSOs and other organisations go on with their efforts of reaching out to each other, but it is important that everyone should ensure that at the individual level they do their own bit to remove doubts and suspicions against each other. Once the trust and confidence at the individual level is established it would not be so difficult to bridge the divide at the higher level. And as repeated many times in this column, the Meiteis, by virtue of being the majority community, should take the onus of first reaching out to the hills. And in doing this it is also important to acknowledge that the seeds of divide were sown a long, time back. Just how many students from the hills of Manipur identify themselves as coming from Manipur once they go outside to pursue their higher studies ? How many of the students from the hills of Manipur identify themselves with Manipur student organisations or associations that are formed at some of the major cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Pune and Mumbai ? Let the different communities of Manipur have their own respective student organisations yet at the same time efforts should be made to let all identify themselves with the student bodies which come under the nomenclature of Manipur.
Source: The Sangai Express