Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 24:
The Central Committee of the UNLF besides greeting the people of Manipur on the occasion of its 42nd foundation day has also issued its annual statement, addressing a gamut of issues and highlighting its ideologies and beliefs to the people.
Therefore, the UNLF would like to emphasise the imperative necessity of exploring together by the responsible bodies of all the ethnic communities the path to our survival, without India’s involvement or interference whatsoever.
In this regard, the UNLF wish to invite the responsible leaders of all ethnic communities to discuss the matter with an open mind.
3. Lackeys India: It is unfortunate; however, that our ethnic communities have not sufficiently understood together the historical necessity of “Coexistence and Codevelopment” and that some leaders have been playing ethno-exclusive politics all along so as to wreck the historical process of our coexistence.
Meanwhile India, our common enemy, apprehending the historical force of ‘Co-existence and Co-development’ has already taken steps to thwart such a development.
What is even more unfortunate is the emergence among us of those people who have no moral compunction to become India’s lackey by helping and assisting in implementing the policy of ‘divide and rule’.
These people are indulging in anti-people activities, particularly against our National liberation struggle, in collusion with the Indian Security Force (ISF).
These so-called leaders have maintained their own ‘private armies’ and have been using them in creating inter-ethnic tensions and conflicts.
They are terrorising peoples in the foothills and committing crimes against the Nation by collaborating with the ISF, such as kidnapping ex-revolutionaries and handing them over to the ISF.
The UNLF earnestly appeals to such elements to stop their negative activities forthwith.
Further activities in defiance of this appeal would be treated as anti-people and anti-National and those responsible would be awarded severe punishment without any distinction of ethnic affiliations.
4. The Issue of Language and Script: Today’s generations are confronting a threat to the integrity of Manipur which is the political fallout of the religious division of our society by Hindu religion.
It is very unfortunate that the issue of ‘Meetei Mayek’ should become, at such a crucial juncture, a contentious issue which has the propensity to widen further the Ching-Tam divide.
The onus of responsibility for creating this situation should be equally borne by the present Manipur Government for its short-sighted policy and the narrow ethno-exclusive politics of some groups bent on creating ethnic disharmony.
The situation has prompted the UNLF to reiterate its principled stand on the issue.
The foundation of UNLF’s political outlook, rather National outlook, is “Co-existence and Co-development” with respect for one another’s distinct identities, to guarantee to all ethnic communities, particularly to smaller ones, the right to preserve and develop their distinct identities within a political system that guarantees autonomy at all levels.
On the basis of this outlook, preservation of one’s distinct identity, particularly preservation of one’s language and script and to be able to pursue education in their own language and script is an inalienable right of all ethnic communities.
Therefore, there is no wrong with the Meeteis desiring to reintroduce their original Meetei script instead of the Bangla script imposed very much later.
This is their right.
On the same principle, there is no wrong with other ethnic communities desiring to learn in their own language and use a script of their choice, for those who do not have one.
This is their right, and the Meeteis should support it.
Therefore, it is the principled stand of the UNLF that any measure amounting to imposition should not be used on other ethnic communities in propagating Meeteilon and Meetei Script.
The UNLF is pained to observe that such a policy is being pursued against democratic principles by the present Manipur Government and that it will only bring about the disintegration of Manipur.
Taking the minimum steps first for co-existence and co-developmemnt that would give a sense of belongingness to other ethnic communities in learning Meeteilon and Meetei Mayek, instead of applying such coercive methods, would be the correct approach.
The economic activities for coexistence and Co-development encompassing the Hills and the Plains will highlight the absolute necessity for interdependence, bring the two more closer to one another and become more caring for one another.
Thus, the interaction for coexistence would result in the emergence of a common cultural identity in a natural process.
Particularly, a commonly acceptable lingua-franca would emerge.
That language will no more identify with a particular ethnic community; it will have become the language of Manipur.
Such a natural cultural process should be cherished, but should never be sought to achieve through imposition.
The same is true for Script as well.
Therefore, specific measures for developing other dialects should be taken along with the propagation of Meetei Script.
This outlook demands a slogan to “Develop other dialects!” along with the slogan to “Introduce Meetei Script!” The Meeteis should display far-sightedness in working for developing other dialects.
So when their goal is round the corner, the organisations and leaders spearheading the movement for Meetei Script should not commit the mistake of resorting to any method that may be wrongly construed as ‘Meetei chauvinism’ by other ethnic communities.
Because, this would tantamount to alienating for the second time those ethnic groups who do not use Meetei script who were alienated about three hundred years ago in the name of religion.
This should never happen again in view of building a united country, particularly from the perspective of our National liberation struggle.
This is something that goes very much against the spirit of coexistence.
Let us understand together also that inimical forces against coexistence and codevelopment are out to take advantage of tensions and conflicts arising from such issues of language and script and that the Indian Government is working hand in glove with such forces.