TODAY -

Editorial of the week

The seeds of Integrity
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 05th August, 2006



After Manipur merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949, the history of the State may perhaps be divided into two broad phases, pre-June 18, 2001 and post-June 18, 2001.

We need not go into the details of June 18, 2001, but it may be said that the seeds of June 18, 2001 were sown on August 4, 1997.

Imphal or rather Manipur saw the biggest ever public rally on August 4, 1997, when the All Manipur United Clubs' Organisation mobilised the public to come under one platform and pledge to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur in the backdrop of the looming threat posed to its boundary courtesy the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India.

A lot of water has flown down the Nambul river since August 4, 1997 and there has also been a marked change in the social and political realm of Manipur.

The August 4, 1997 rally not only sensitised the people to the threat hanging over the territory of Manipur but also drove home the message of communal amity and peaceful co-existence.

It is now nine years since the momentous rally was held and we may study the significance of the rally in the backdrop of the developments that have taken place since then.

There is no doubt that voices on either side of the Lim divide have become more audible and today it has come to mean an exercise in lung power and raising the decibel level.

The proponents of Greater Nagalim too have changed their tactics and strategies and what was once seen as solely the demand of an armed outfit engaged in a peace talk with the Indian Government, is today being projected as the voice of the Naga people.

Different political and social strategies have been staged and enforced during the last few years by either side and the 52 days economic blockade, the move to affiliate to the Nagaland Board of Secondary Education, the various meetings held to protect the ties and bond of brotherly co-existence etc are all steps that have been adopted by the two parties on either side of the Lim divide.

From Integrity Day, now what direction do we proceed is the question that ought to be occupying the minds of the leaders of AMUCO.

Special meetings and functions may be held on August 4 every year to mark the momentous occasion, but integrity day should be a continuing process and this is the message that should be rung out to the people.

One day, one occasion, one episode cannot protect the integrity of Manipur and likewise not one single event or one development can break up Manipur.

In the backdrop of this fact, the important thing to keep in mind is to ensure that the true message of Integrity Day is not lost in a hazy smoke of communal distrust and latent animosity.

We would like to believe that AMUCO's concept of Integrity Day goes far beyond the territorial integrity of Manipur but entails integrating the different communities of the land while at the same time safeguarding the distinct identity and culture of each group of people.

Nine years is not a short period of time and perhaps it is right to introspect today and study how far the people or Manipur has progressed or regressed since the first Integrity rally was held on August 4, 1997.

When 2007 comes, it would be ten years.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that when the ten year mark is reached, the social relationship between the different communities would have taken a turn for the better.




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