TODAY -

Incomplete Nation, Central Arrogance and Communal Politicking: Muivah at the receiving end

Amar Yumnam *



Let us admit it! India is a big country, but still a very incomplete nation. This being so, governing this country to move towards a nation is a big challenge. Further, the constitutional fathers had gone for a federal structure with a great foresight. These facts need to be kept absolutely in mind and repeatedly reminded while the different layers of government decide on critical issues, especially when they hinge on nationality, history and territoriality.

The necessity of this assertion is all the more imperative in the light of the recent autocratic and arrogant decision and directive of the central government to the State government of Manipur to give security and ensure peaceful conduct of public meetings of an individual who has been waging political and other wars against the general interests of the State.

This single autocratic decision of the centre had achieved for the anti-state organizations in Manipur what they had failed to do so for the last nearly a decade. In fact, along with the appreciation of the firm stand of the State government, the anti-India feeling has risen a few notches above it was before the current blunder.

From Ethnicism to Communalism: This cost in terms of regression in nation-building consequent upon the gaffe of the central government has another very dangerous element. It is as if the centre has been trying to convert the ethnic politicking in the region into massive communal hatreds; well, communalism is a more familiar terrain for the centre as the larger part of India has been marked by casteism since centuries. For once, communalism now shows signs of getting bred in this part of the country as well, thanks to long political misgovernance of the centre.

Muivah’ Failures: Th. Muivah is one individual who has loads of potential in him, but who has dissipated all that. Besides, he has now started paying the price for all his wrong application of potential capabilities.

We all know that he has been waging a war against the Indian state. In all such movements, there are certain basic rules to be followed. The movement protagonists should be harnessing all possible social energy solely for the targeted objective. The mobilized energy should not be wasted on unrelated though temporal nuisances. Further, in all such movements, it is important that the number of enemies is minimized. Still further, the movements are to be based on inherited history and convenient geography, and definitely not on yet-to-be founded history and inconvenient geography.

Our Muivah has faltered on all these counts. While he had every reason and liberty to wage war against the Indian state, he had projected himself as against the existing territoriality of Assam and Manipur. This immediately created two big forces, Assam and Manipur, which would always be opposing all his moves. Here he should have kept to himself his longer run vision and not antagonize these two; he should have tried his best to at least ensure near-neutrality of these two to his maneuvers.

Further, he has projected himself, in the process of antagonizing Assam and Manipur, as somebody against the population and ethnicity of Assamese and Manipuris. Of course, there are signs of his efforts to clear of this image, but could not convince anyone as all his endeavors were covered with politicking overtones. This definitely must have been very costly to all his efforts for his avowed objective. The reality has been that the Assamese and the Manipuris have been groups farther ahead in the civilizational trajectory and more advanced in the modernization process than his own community still in the formative stage.

Besides these two entities, Assamese and Manipuris, have had a long history of royal politicking and Machiavellian gaming. Since he has projected himself as someone against these two, the latter socio-politically more organized entities must have checkmated all his moves. All these could have happened without the fanfare characterizing all his moves. We should also remember that these two entities are his immediate neighbors unlike the intangible though real Indian state.

Still further, Muivah has shrouded himself with unreal efforts at history building. He should rather have concentrated and based himself on collective aspirations rather than presumed history. As the days go by, the weaknesses of the historical foundations of his movement are getting exposed increasingly. While it would be hard for anyone to question the collective aspirations of a group of people, attempts should by no means be made to construct history in a context where the very geographical limitations are very strong and the social dynamics are so manifest as to make the manufactured history look so unreal. Muivah should have aimed for history in the making rather than re-living history.

While there was a time when his ethnic based articulations commanded attention and scrutiny, the setbacks to his progression towards the avowed objective seem to be increasingly turning him and his main protagonists towards communalism. We have the manifest actions on the national highways, actions which would never be appreciated anywhere under the sun. This is more so post 9/11.

In The End: We feel so sorry that someone, who has so devoutly committed to his cause for the larger part of his life, now seems to be at the receiving end of everything. A decade back, it was inconceivable for an Indian bureaucrat to speak openly against his demands. But now it is happening. Back home, because of his manifest actions against the territoriality and the people of Manipur, he cannot be allowed to enter the State. In fact, it is as if he cannot make meeting his mother a pure emotional affair and unmixed with his political strategies; mark the public meetings he had planned.

Even if he does not have any love lost for the (mother) land of Manipur, he could have genuinely longed to meet his mother. Unfortunately, the years of politicking seem to have made him look at own mother as a political instrument. It is so unfortunate if it really turns out to be so. Whatever the case, we have here a person who could have been a powerful leader of a united Manipur, given his perseverance and power of political gaming, but has lost himself the opportunity. We have a saying in Manipuri where the lady cannot be with the husband nor with the parents.




* Amar Yumnam writes regularly for E-Pao.net & The Sangai Express. The writer is the Dean: School of Social Sciences, Manipur University, Director, Centre for Manipur Studies at Manipur University and a Professor at the Department of Economics, Manipur University. He is also the President of North Eastern Economic Association. The writer can be contacted at yumnam1(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk
This article was webcasted on May 13th, 2010.


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