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EDITORIAL: Idea Of Manipur As A Geo-Political Reality: Picking Out The Chaff From The Grain

Without a doubt the idea of Manipur as a geo-political entity or a reality has increasingly come under the scanner, especially in the last 20 years or so, more so after the Government of India inked the peace deal with the Naga rebel group, the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN on August 1, 1997. This brings us to the question of whether the idea of Manipur as a geo-political entity is under threat or not. To dismiss this question would not only be premature but also immature for the fact stands that there are competing forces over the land and territory of Manipur, which has existed as a geo-political entity for ages. It is here that an important point needs to be stressed. To view Manipur as the creation of the British Raj or India would be missing the trees for the woods for the fact stands that Manipur has existed since the advent of mankind. It is not a gift of India or a gift of the British, but is a social and political entity that has existed for years.

Yet modern day history tells us that not all or not all community stand by this. Home to a number of communities, each having its own set of religious and social beliefs and practices, the question of ‘Who is a Manipuri’ has increasingly gained currency over the years. This poser has to be understood in the backdrop of the reality that each passing year has seen the emergence of groups or communities which have gained prominence under the slogan that they are there for the people ‘against the majority’. Such train of thought is not only undesirable but also unwanted for it poses a direct threat to the existence of Manipur as a place which is there for all groups of people, irrespective of their religious beliefs and practices.

Different interest groups, each batting for their own community are not only a bane on the social solidarity of the people but also come dangerously close to the idea of bashing Manipur. On the other hand there is a group of people or a community which have stood by the idea of Manipur as a geo-political entity where all people lived and continue to live as one people, despite the differences in religious beliefs and practices. While the existence of such a group of people is welcome, and indeed a departure from the existence of such a group of people have been tearing at the social fabric of the place, it is not surprising to see the emergence of fanatics who have come under the impression that loving or living by the social and political entity known as Manipur is their sole prerogative.

Peddling ideas that do not stand criticisms or questions then become their calling card. It is the emergence of such elements which all right thinking people should be on guard against for there is more than a grain of truth in the observation that the visible foe is more welcome than the invisible ones, especially the ones who cloak themselves as defenders of the land under a myriad of terms. It is not that the people of Manipur have not seen outsiders being eliminated and the elimination being justified on some cooked up charges by such pretenders. These are the elements that the true people of Manipur must be on guard against. The dividing line between the true sons of the soil and the pretenders can be thin and deceptive. Time to pick out the chaff from the grain.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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