Welcome to South Nagalim. Not just a greeting or a slogan, but pregnant with innuendoes particularly with the intention to insult and elicit a rebuke or an uproar.
This is what can be read into the ‘Welcome to Southern Nagalim’ slogan, etched in black on the road near Japhou bazar during Chief Minister N Biren’s maiden visit to Chandel to hold a Cabinet meeting, the second such meeting to be held at a hill district headquarters.
It was mischievous and dangerously so, for such a misadventure can give rise to unwanted developments and this is what those who were behind the caption on the road intended.
However it stands that the mischievous intention of the trouble makers stands defeated roundly.
Chandel may have never seen such a reception accorded to the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers and MLAs and the gates that were erected at different villages along the way to Chandel from Imphal should stand testimony to this.
Moreover it was not some deserted villages that greeted the Chief Minister and his men but people, real people, on whose behalf the offending phrase was put up, by the mischief makers.
A clear indication that those who put up the offending words in the middle of the road are far removed from the reality that is Manipur and the people on whose behalf the slogan was inscribed in bold in the middle of the road.
This is a point which should not blow over the heads of all those who have been standing by the idea of a united Manipur.
No importance should be given at all to the lame duck exercise of scrawling some offending words in the middle of the road, and the reason why The Sangai Express ran the story under the bold heading, “‘Welcome to South Nagalim’” greets CM, Ministers, MLAs” was to demonstrate how far removed were the mischief makers from the reality that was seen when hundreds of people came out to welcome the Chief Minister and his men on their way to Chandel district headquarters.
This is not a recap of what happened way back in 2006 when a placard emblazoned with the same words “Welcome to South Nagalim” greeted the then Chief Minister O Ibobi in Senapati.
Ten years is a pretty long time, and just to illustrate this, one should acknowledge that a child of 10 back in 2006 will today be a 21 year old youth.
However some ugly incidents have the propensity to replay themselves and what was witnessed on the way to Chandel on November 4, 2017 may be said to be a replay of what happened in 2006 at Senapati.
The situation has changed.
This is a new Government, one that is trying to reach out to the hills, but yet at the same time some things will not change and that is the territorial integrity of Manipur.
The ‘Welcome to Southern Nagalim’ slogan embossed on the road was a challenge to the idea of Manipur as a geo-political reality and the challenge is still there, especially now with the ongoing political dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) at its final stage.
In as much as the slogan near Japhou was a challenge to Manipur, it should also be remembered that it will not do anything good to react to what happened but take it as the doings of some mischief makers, whose only agenda is to create problems and more problems and it would do no good to play into their game.
Source: The Sangai Express