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No More Rhetoric On Kuki Nationalism

Proposed Kukiland State. Image Credit:

As a teenager, growing up in the scenic beauty of our land called Kukiland, I remember my heart swelling up with pride when I went through the history of our great grandfathers, who courageously resisted the mighty Britishers from occupying their land.

Now, looking back at my life over the last two decades, I begin to wonder as to how any sane person could believe in such narrow nationalism.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that life and dignity of Kukis have lost meaning. There seems to be no end to the vicious plan of what can easily be termed as factional killings, allegations and counter-allegations amongst the Kuki underground groups beginning in the late 1990s and even after signing the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Indian central government and the Manipur state government since 2005.

Take the case of the latest stand-off between the combined team of KRA and KLA with KNF in Sadar Hills. Such factional hunting among the warring opponents leaves not only fear psychosis and insecurity to the common people but many have also lost their precious lives and properties so far. The saddest part is that the ghost of the brutality of the NSCN (IM) in the 1990s and the Manipur valley-based underground groups in the recent past has still yet to diminish from the victims’ mind.

Needless to say, it is now apparent that if we were asked to share our takes on underground groups, I guess majority of the people would have branded them as a serious problem rather than a voice for social justice. On the other hand, there is a section of society who thinks undergrounds are a social movement against the rampant social exclusions of the have-nots.

It is the fight of the poor, discriminated, and the marginalized masses for social justice and basic rights to natural resources. This debate needs a better understanding of the sensitive and delicate subject which could be resolved only through fear-free questions and some fair-frank answers. For example, is undergrounds a problem or is it the consequence of social and spatial disparity?

Updated Proposed Kukiland State... Image Credit:

Use of arms is no sign of a revolutionary, and this was stated by many great revolutionaries like Gandhi, Karl Marx, Engels, Lenin, Martin Luther, Nelson Mandela, Bhagat Singh etc. In a country like India, the armed forces respect the constitutional system and election results, and do not interfere in politics.

This factor is most favorable for democratic and people’s movement. But most of the undergrounds, by their thoughtless actions, are only inviting and strengthening the armed forces and the state apparatus. This is a most senseless attitude, which only helps the reactionary and imperialist forces.

As pointed out by Karl Marx, revolution was a serious business and not a plaything. For him transition was a historical era, which would happen when conditions matured. Marx did not use the poor illiterate masses, their problems and sentiments for ‘˜revolutionary’ games on the political chessboard. He dealt with a whole series of issues before the revolutionaries: their aims and objects, methods of struggle, use of democratic rights, propaganda, and nature of revolution and so on.

Therefore, it is a high time for the Kukis to realize what went wrong in the process of our political struggle. After decades of factional killings, bloodshed and enmity that plague the society, a prospect that the signing of SoO with the Indian government would ease the memories of the past turmoil was just minimal.

More and more new or factional groups have emerged and now the number of the Kuki undergrounds under KNO and UPF has touched the 20 plus marks. Looking at the present scenario, indeed this outcome is not a healthy thing.

Both UPF and KNO demands for the creation of Kukiland/ Zalengam within the framework of the constitution of India. Of late, one of the UPF members, UKLF, had started a demand for the formation of Kuki Development Council (KDC) in line with Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Kuki Regiment. The memorandum has also been submitted to the concerned authorities both in the state as well as at the centre. There are people who argue that this proposition is pragmatic and a realistic approach, considering the present situation.

After all, be it Kukiland/ Zalengam/ KDC or whatever, the need of the hour for the Kuki society is unity, commitment and conviction in regard to the social and political set-up. It is now to be seen what kind of real change for the better Kuki undergrounds are able to bring about in the SoO environment during their talks with the concerned authorities. What is required is substance, not rhetoric.

*The opinion is written by Joel Mangboi Haokip.

*The author is an undergraduate engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

(Courtesy: Kukiforum)

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1 Response to " No More Rhetoric On Kuki Nationalism "

  1. Sam says:

    We came to know that you are using the proposed Kukiland state map drawn by us. It was not accurate at all as we have missed Sadar Hills in Senapati districts and also parts of Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts. Therefore, we request you to kindly update the Kukiland Map you’ve embedded with the following or direct link to the map here


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