TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Saluting Womanhood
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 12th December, 2006



Yet another Nupi Lan is upon us and while the State Government and numerous civil society organisations will leave nothing to chance to pay fitting tributes to the spirit of the historic event that took place years back, perhaps it would be right for all of us to sit back and think whether the Manipuri women are being accorded their due place in the social, political and economical hierarchy of society.

The Meira Paibi movement is a unique facet of the Manipuri society and its importance has been stressed and demonstrated time and again.

The Manipuri women have been at the forefront of many issues confronting the State and women have taken the lead on many occasions.

One has to just recollect the nude protest in front of Kangla in 2004 and we will not be exaggerating things in stating that the nude protest gave a whole new dimension to the movement against the continued imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Even today the agitation against this controversial Act is epitomised through the person of one woman, Irom Chanu Sharmila.

That the Nupi Lan is going to be observed when the name of Sharmila has become the inspiration behind the people's movement against AFPSA is significant and in essence the importance of Nupi Lan should be seen and understood in the context of the status and role of women in the present day Manipur.

What is the exact position of women in society, is then the question that beggars an answer and a sincere one at that.

Stereotyping the Manipuri women or type casting them is easy and can be done by anyone or any organisation but frankly this cannot be the yard stick to judge the position of women in society.

To realise the true significance of Nupi Lan let's have the moral conviction to admit that the Manipuri women still have to go a long way.

Women continue to be discriminated against and in almost all the families, a son is always preferred over the daughter.

Let's take a look at the upper echelons of the State administration.
How many women do we have in positions of power and influence ?
How many political organisations are being headed by women political leaders ?
Why is it that curfew time is fixed for daughters in every family but seldom so for the sons ?

Even in the case of HIV/AIDS, the looming social challenge before the Manipuri society today, it is the women who face discrimination and stigmatisation the most.

True we do not have the culture of dowry demands or dowry deaths or Sati or keeping widows away from the social mainstream, but this should not lull us into believing that our women are placed at par with their male counter parts.

For the Manipuri society to progress we need to rip away the mask of hypocrisy.

Let's observe Nupi Lan.

Let's place the meira paibis on a pedestal.

But let's also remember to observe such functions by studying the real positions of women in society today.

Refusing to see this line will amount to nothing else but living under the garb of social hypocrisy.




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