E-Pao! Opinions - A Little Bit Of Opinion On

A Little Bit Of Opinion On
Ranjan Yumnam Opinion Series in the E-pao websites
By: Khamchinpau Zou *

I appreciate the esteem E-pao and Mr Ranjan Yumnan for this commendable opinion poll. As we are new to this modern civilization, we need to share ideas and an opinion on varies issues that can awake us from Ignorance. Most of us have lost our names, forgotten our roots and now drowning in the sea of hypocrisy. Opinions may vary from person to person but there would have been more opinion had Ranjan Yumnam absorbed the entire people of Kangleipak. Anyway, the reality will remain unless we change it. In addition to the opinions expressed in the poll, I would humbly like to share my personal view as a social activist who dreams of bring together the entire Mongoloid community of India's northeast and a fan of Reverend OINAM TOMBA who had started the theory of B-R-A-C-H-I-N. I pray to all readers to kindly understand my personal view, as I am not intending to hurt anybody's sentiment.

In the opinion of Bro. Opendra on the topic

Article 341 of the Indian constitution empowered the president of India to protect the lower caste section of the Varna Ashram of Hinduism now called scheduled caste communities from being exploited by the stronger communities within the Hindu communities i.e. Sikhs, Buddhist and Hindu. This Scheduled caste status shall cease from the day they ceased to be a Hindu by religion. The meiteis, who comes from Southeast Asia, has no link or relation with the varna Ashram of Hinduism and therefore, we cannot be called Scheduled caste.

Article 342 of the Indian constitution empowered the president of India to protect the indigenous primitive settlers generally called tribal having distinct cultures and traditions from being exploited by outsiders or stronger communities under scheduled tribe category. Recognition of scheduled tribe status is not based on religion like the Scheduled caste. Unlike Scheduled caste's, the scheduled tribe communities are mostly indigenous settlers of their own lands with a distinct cultures from the rest of the country. The green book of the ministry of Home affairs, Govt. of India laid down 5 criteria for identification and recognition for scheduled tribe status in the country as follows:

1. The Community must be distinctive in cultures, traditions and customs.
2. The community must be geographically isolated from the rest of the main stream
3. The community must have shyness to contact with the mainstream at large.
4. The community must be backward.
5. The community must be indigenous settlers having primitive trades etc.

The constitution of India protects the scheduled tribe communities under many articles and schedules. Example: under the 6th schedules of the constitution, the tribal lands should be protected from the non-tribal and they should be allowed to administer themselves without the interference of the non-tribal.

The Meiteis, who have been claiming to be advanced and ruled Manipur for several years, refused this scheduled tribe status, which has now become the fountain of controversy and a deterrent to the integration of the state. Whereas, the Tripuris, who were much greater than Manipuris, ruling Tripura for several years, lost their identities and kingdom after converting into Hinduismand now becoming a minority in their own kingdom, democratically ruled by migrants etc. Isn't a pity that the erstwhile powerful king is now protected merely by the Indian constitution under scheduled tribe category?

Bro. Opendra Singh said that Meiteis have no closeness with the tribal except in eating Dog meat. The Random house Dictionary explain clearly the word 'tribal' meaning any aggregate of people united by ties of descends from common ancestor, community of custom and traditions etc and their characteristic is called tribal. So where do the Meiteis stand? Can the Meiteis ever escape from their tribal identities, whose customs are more tribal than the Debbramans of twipura, the Mishings, Deoris etc plain tribes of Assam State? They are also linguistically and traditionally closed to the rest of the tribals in manipur except the few suspected Bengali bloods like the turban clad sikh speaking mizo with a Mizo tribe certificate. The Meiteis are always being understood, treated and recognised as tribals by their fellow mongoloid ethnic groups and the national mainstream. The Meiteis has nothing to loss by fighting for their rightful claims for ST status. Infact, it would rather relieved them from imposing like a Hindu high-class mongoloids who always isolate themselves from their origins but neither fully accepted nor treated with equal social status in the Hindu society as they do not belonging to the Varna Ashram of Hinduism.

The benefits from Scheduled tribe status: -

The Meiteis will come closer to the rest of the Mongoloid communities and vice versa. Manipur State will become a tribal state like Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya etc and included in the Map of national tribal sub-plan Schemes and get protection from outsiders in employment, trade and business etc.

The kings of Manipur will have the opportunity to be recognized and recorded as the indigenous tribal king of India's northeast.

Secondly, the entire Meitei Films, Arts, Scripts and cultures etc can be promoted in the form of Indian tribal Arts by the central Government and create avenues for the younger generation.

The ST status will bring the younger generation closer than ever in the state where we Don't have to abuse each other for being an SC/ST or Bahmons or Lawais etc.

There will be no more producing fake Scheduled tribe certificates with fear and shy for further studies, hostel admission and for employment etc in the mainland with the help of out tribal brothers which is rampant.

The economy of the meiteis and the indigenous tribals are more or less the same except those people in the Imphal valley, politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats. If the politicians and bureaucrats (Meitei/tribal) can eats up the paltry pension of old aged citizens of Manipur, it does not matter who eats up the entire tribal welfare fund; the paap is already waiting for them. But this does not mean that all meiteis are economically well off. The poor meiteis of chairen, Andro, sekmai, churachandpur etc are never bothered by the advantage meiteis. What is the harm if the poor meiteis can get some benefits under the scheduled tribe catagory? This would atleast help me from telling lie for protecting desperate meiteis students in Delhi and else where. It would not be fair enough to give comment without seeing and knowing the reality. Please read 'Disintegrating Manipur: sown seed (1) & (2) by Mahindra Konsam in this e-pao'.

In the topic 'WHAT IS IN A NAME?'

It appears that many readers are still not aware about the meaning of 'name' and its importance. Person, land, race, religion etc are all known by its name. There are the English names, Russian names, Asian names (common Mongoloid names), Indian names etc. The purpose of having a name will be meaningless if you cannot be identified and accepted by the society from where your name is derived. Example; List of names in the accident is pasted in the notice board. (All names are fictitious) 1. Mr James 2. Mr Kishore kumar, 3. Ms Anjelly, 4. Ms Mary, 5.Mr Biswaijit singh, 6.Mr Ningthemjao 7. Mr Thangchinpao etc. Except two persons i.e. no-6 and no.7, we will not be able to identify the rest of the victims from the newspaper unless we see the body even though we may be from the same place. The simple reason is that their names are not sufficient to prove their identities. Some Mongoloid girls appearing for the Post of hostess in the Ashok Hotel in Delhi were told that the Hotel is looking for a candidate with a natural look. So what do Ms Prema devi, Ms Lakshmi Singh (name change) etc do? They are Indian with Indian names but yet denied the post because the Hotel is looking for a candidate with a natural Indian look in which they don't belong. Isn't it humiliating?

Names are supposed to denote the identities of the bearers. Isn't a matter of shame that we don't even know the meaning of the name of our state 'Manipur' and our Gods? We called our State Guesthouse 'Manipur Bhavan' which we could neither pronounce correctly nor the local wallas understand our pronunciation.

Similarly, we don't know the real meaning of tribes like Kukis, Nagas, Meiteis and what not. We all know about the powerful Greeks also called the Romans, who crucified Jesus Christ. Their neo religion is called Roman Catholic and the religious ceremonies are based on their ancient tradition. They convert people to Roman Catholic and give them a new name like Mary, John, Anthony etc and called it a holy name. They are taught to be fanatics about their religion and make them forget their root, identities etc and yet remain as a non-westerner.

What else can we lost more when our names, roots, etc are forgotten and survive with borrowed names, borrowed ideas, borrowed religion and boast of our so called rich Cultures, identities etc and so on.

After all, The name of the first king of Manipur is Khuiyo Tompok who ruled for 121 yrs, The second is Lairen pakhangba ruled for 110 yrs and the third Taotinmang rules for 100 yrs. Ref. 'Manipur and the main stream'. N.Tombi 1975. So how are all these devi's, Kumar's, John's, Mary's Rajesh's and many many singh's.

In the topic of 'Delhi connection'

Bro. Ranjan Yumnam seems to be worst than the mainland journalist who traditionally sidelined and ignored the cause of the northeast people. Fortunately, I have been fighting against this type of ignorance in Delhi and back home since 1987. I hope he will go through some of my opinion webcasted in this esteem e-pao. Who are the people of Manipur? Is it those communities who were isolated and branded as untouchable (Scheduled caste), The indigenous tribals groups, the indigenous Moirangs or the chauvinist and well-off section of Imphal valley? In 1989, we try to reform Manipur Student Association Delhi and include Meiteis, Naga and the Chin-kuki in the list of office bearers. Unfortunately, it could not grow further because some youth want to compel others to speak only Manipuri in every official meeting. If learned journalists, based in Delhi, where so much of common problems are faced together, deliberately exclude the indigenous tribal communities, how can we talk about Integration. If the tribals, who are most well organised and have been extending necessary help to any desperate people from Manipur without discrimination where ever they are, how will they continue their friendship if excluded unceremoniously in this manner? Why don't we have enough of egos and distorting realities in Manipur? How will he feel if a tribal journalist expressed an opinion in a similar manner and exclude all activities of Meiteis in Delhi etc.

The reality in Delhi is that All Manipuris are living like brothers and sisters and any one is approachable in times of needs. Many Meitei are also taking parts in the activities of All India tribal students Association in Delhi and northeast as well. Every ethnic student organization celebrates Fresher social meets. Unfortunately, the parent body of Manipur student (MASAD) is unable to make its presence as a parent body and now reduced to a mere ethnic student organization.

Ranjan Yumnam opinion on 'U.C.M. should be more proactive'

I appreciate the role of the United Committee Manipur. The committee is expanding its Activities in various fields and I hope they will continue to work tirelessly without fear and discriminating any section of the societies in the state. Unlike Ranjan Yumnam's Opinion, I would not encourage the UCM to be a mere Meitei organization and fight against the Naga propaganda's or only issues involving Meitei interest. The UCM and AMUCO being the only Organization with the highest membership in the state under the most educated and committed capable leaderships, needs to delve the entire affairs of the people of Manipur. The recent integration programme organized at Takhelpat is wonderful event where most of the indigenous people of manipur share their sentiment. Even though I am a non-entity to comment, I am enthused by the commendable works undertaken by the organizations. However, if I am allow, I would humbly request these organizations for the followings:

  1. Inclusion of member from all sections of the manipur society in the organisation.

  2. To conduct programme on the problems of the Hills and Integration of Manipur, Manipur state Policies on Education, Employment, Industrial development, and misusage of official powers by bureaucrats etc.

  3. Intervention in any dispute arising between localities and tribes, Government policies etc.

  4. To keep away from electoral politics and acts as the guardians of the people of Manipur.

* The writer is a social activist & Advocate in Delhi High Court and can be reached at [email protected]

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