TODAY -

Giving a communal tinge
- Sangai Express Editorial :: October 27, 2008 -



A very disturbing development that has emerged in the last few years and is becoming more intense with each passing moment is the growing tendency of the people of Manipur to interpret and see everything along communal lines and this also include interpreting things along religious divides, though not as explicitly as the communal interpretation.

This is not only dangerous but also extremely mischievous, for this can and has been used and exploited by a few to climb the ladder of leadership.

Nothing can stir a people's emotion more than whipping up communal passion and one of the easiest ways for anyone to climb the rung of leadership is to play the communal card. Incidents across the country are enough evidences to prove this.

Remember how a non-entity like Praveen Togadia shot into the limelight by going on the offensive against anyone who he thinks is against the grand concept of Hindutva.

A Raj Thackery is today grabbing the headlines of all newspapers published in the metros and the TV channels, not because he has done anything good for the country but for championing what he believes or would like the Maharastrians to believe that the only way to protect the interest of the genuine Maharastrians is to assault and intimidate North Indians.

Being a multi-cultural, multi-religious country, there will be many issues of different hues and shades dogging India, but these issues should be understood for what they are and not along communal lines.

However as events in the past and the present have taught us, this is nothing short of wishful thinking. It is in such a climate a common hoodlum like Dara Singh could gather enough conviction to burn to death Graham Staines and his two sons.

We do not have a Togadia or a Dara Singh in Manipur but there are elements who have been trying to inflame communal passion by interpreting everything along communal lines.

A case in point at the moment is the contentious reservation norms at Manipur University. The ST students may have a point in wanting to stick to the earlier reservation norms, when MU was under the State as the tribal population in Manipur is more than 7.5 pc which is the case when calculated all over the country.

The issue then should be about the need for the tribals to have their share of quotas and this point should not be lost on anyone who matters, especially the tribal student leaders who are spearheading the campaign to get their voices heard.

However as things have unfolded, certain elements have tried to give it a communal tinge by alluding and at times even openly stating that the reservation policy has been changed to benefit the majority community, which happens to be the Meiteis in this case.

Nothing can be more dangerous than such a mindset.

The issue should be how to convince the University Grants Commission that special arrangements be made for Manipur, in the face of the fact that the tribal population in Manipur is more than 7.5 percent of the population of the State.

It is the issue that needs to be studied and understood and giving it a communal interpretation will only make matter more complex and dangerous as well.





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