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E-Pao! Opinion - Should Meitei belong to Minority community of India?

Should Meitei belong to Minority community of India?
- Part 1 -

By: Chengleima Laisom *


The minority status of a community is going to be set up in Manipur by the visiting Members of Committee of the Govt. of India within a short duration. During this duration the Meitei community should characterized them in many particulars and genuine things without missing the future importance.

The main suggestion of criteria for identification and categorisation of socially and economically backward classes among religious and linguistic minorities should be well understood by the person who represent Manipur officially, to recommend the remedial measures for backward sections in the field of education and employment, suggestion of necessary constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for implementation of recommendations aimed at development are all included in the terms and reference of the Commission.

Do you really understand the status of yourself first to characterize in front of the Minority Member committees of Govt. of India? Manipur, small state having nearly 25 lakhs of Population consisting of Valley and hilly landscape, settlements dominated by the indigenous people Meitei and other hill tribes. The major population of the Manipur belongs to the valley (790 sq.km) whereas Valley becomes the destiny for permanent settlement of all community people from mainland and the Hill tribes of Manipur even though it has been believe that Meitei rebirth in this valley since 2000 years.

Manipur was one-man rule Kingdom, which was very stronger and truly indigenous up to 1709 A.D. before the assimilation plan of Shanti Das Gosai from Sylet of Bangladesh. Total of 108 kings had been ruling this small state till now. Manipur disintegration started since the day the Raja Charairongba and Khagemba followed the words of Shanti Das Gosai at 1709 A.D. Those words impact a lot in the disintegration of Manipur society which is presently going on its fruits not among the Manipuris but also among the Meitei community.

I am trying to focus the way our king accept others without the consult of his family members and other community. By that time Lourembam Khongnangthaba was the one of the prestigious minister of the majesty who opposed the act of the Kings activities in destroying the religion of Sanamahism and the Meitei Mayek scripts, luckily those puyas are available at some places and preserved by few people among the Meiteis and few tribes.

To revive everything, will take time but it also can bring the peace and prosperity of Manipuris if they really remember the past of our hill and valley relationship. What and how we have been continuing the journey for about 200 years after assimilating with the Shanti Das Gosai troupes till now. The recent activities mainly anti-peace and anti development movements are due to those words which was followed by our king (un-identity) which is still in some people mind who still want to act in that nature.

This group of the people may not be belong to 100 percent Meiteis community but assimilated groups, which doesn't know his brother and sister, as they themselves never realized what is their Identity. Hopefully some of real educated Meitei realized themselves and trying to take back their ancestor's tradition, culture, scripts and mainly religion to bring Manipur into a single unity with peaceful and developmental activities by sharing all the community who really belong to the Manipur.

First of all we need a good protection of our identity by following a rule or law, say for example tribal status are to protect the rights of simple and indigenous tribes from the external bodies. In the same case Meiteis need a protection to keep the identity stronger and uninterrupted. Whereas at present scenario Meiteis suffer much as the AFSPA act is mainly acting against the Meitei community if you really think in.

What is the status of Meiteis in the Indian Union?? You are not getting this answer still after we joint India since 1949. Meitei status is a second citizenship here in India as we can't get a brotherhood treatment from the Indian army as well as the mainland politicians.

Recently Meiteis are suppose to be belong to the OBCs status which is equivalent to the Muslims, Nepalese, poor or lower economic people of highly populated states like Bihar, Hariyana and UP. But is not like that all Meiteis belong to OBC category, some of high class Meiteis like R.K. and Brahmins will be following the same trend as a full flagged general category in the Indian constitution by having the population of about one lakh.

The strength among the Meiteis will be stronger when we belong to the same category but it may be a big demoralization or divide rule policies to divide Meiteis by this OBC status in the future. Have you seen how many of Meitei people clear IAS,IFS,??.. after becoming an OBC status . No, nothing it will be very difficult to fight for jobs with those other person of India who belongs to the OBCs as they have bigger in population and stronger political supports.

Also, it will be more critical as you have half religion not a first class status of religion (pure Hindu) or Sanamahism (still not yet recognized well by this country), the facial structure is of mongoloids stocks. I have seen few Manipuri good students who were neglected by the selection committee during the appointment for the officer level ranks by demanding unrelated documents and suppressions. It will be very much important to have a protection of an indigenous Meiteis from the assimilation and suppression within the India.

Whereas the OBC is not enough, which will, only disintegrates the Meitei strength and unity. Please come out to ask for a particular protection act or laws to the Govt. of India yourself otherwise other community will not help you to protect from such activities. I hope within a short period of time if the ruling govt. of India wants to do for minority Meiteis they can do at least little which can be simply helpful to the community in terms of Identity like religious minority and indigenous right of Northeast Indian as we don't belong to the Schedule tribe and Caste in the stage.

The right of the minority and indigenous people of Northeast India is going to be strongly affected day by day from every action and plan of Indian Govt. like construction of Hydroelectric power projects Dams in the tectonically active areas, and base camps of Army, endangering of the rich Biodiversity, intrusion of the economic and business holder from the outside. So, it is not only to have the protection right of the indigenous people but also the protection of nature and biodiversity of North East India from the Govt. of Indian Policies.

But it is very necessary to stabilize the education and the economy of the indigenous people to make the voice to stop the destruction of Northeast peace, landscapes and biodiversity. At most of the places the outsiders or migrants or refugees people take it easy to follow or accepted a system where the majority power need within a state or countries. For example Sikkim a mountain country was handled to the Govt. of India by a refugee Nepali lawyer who lives in the Sikkim under the kingdom rule to become a Sikkim a democratic state of India.

These activities can happened in case of Manipur as Manipur was and has been dominated by the mixed minded or blooded people who never think of themselves in terms of Identity, who almost assimilated with the outsider since 18 century. We should realise this things in the mind of the indigenous people otherwise Manipur may not become a place for its own people. In a case we can ask ourselves a question that Is Manipuri Meitei still an Indigenous as compared to the other OBCs of India.??

Yes, Meiteis are still an indigenous weaker section having a population of about 13 lakhs with stronger cultural and traditional but the small no. of employees in the central Jobs. They have been suffering more in terms of economy, education, landmarks, lifestyle, religious identity and community identity. But Meiteis never realised such things which are more necessary to have better future with a stronger rights and peaceful mind.

Whereas if we don't say or ask our problem who will do our help for this it may be very difficult to remind the Indian Govt. openly as Manipur is always believe to be the sons of one mother, if Meiteis thinks for their own may be other community may have mind but it is not like that Meiteis will create more betterment of the development and educational sectors to Manipur as we belong to the indigenous community, we should take ourselves a better initiative with the other Indigenous community.

But it will be very difficult to say that sons of Manipuri belong to a single mother in terms of Indigenous right including Bihari, Marwari, Punjabi, Burmese, Nepalese, Bangladeshi Muslims. They should follow the same right, which are applied by the Govt. of India like Business community or refugee, status. The human right should be same among them and us.

We know the right of the people leaving as a businessmen have very genuine right of protection as compare to the indigenous Manipuri by keeping Army and police force for them, on the other hand indigenous people can be killed anytime by violating the human right for those outsiders human right. It is still having the problem of difference of cost of human life by comparing the village and city people in India. AFSP act make Manipuri very cheaper in front of the world, which can be kill anytime if you are suspected and act against the owner of the house.

My suggestion is that we indigenous minority needs a stronger protection base on the laws and regulation of Govt. of India through our sound demand otherwise day will be gone out to safe our identity and economy. Let us take this right time to seek for our pure status and cost of leaving with true Identity before we are going to be endangered from every aspect.

Now, Meiteis especially in Manipur are really in a poor shape in terms economy and religious status as Meiteis are neither fully Hindu nor believe 100 % in their own religion Sanamahism. So, if you really love your ancestor and forefather you need to conserve your tradition, culture, laws and religion with a proper understanding of Indian constitution otherwise day by day we will lose our right and status.

I am quite sure that Meitei Individuals are hard work, intelligent, warm friendship but without a proper status or Identity it may not be a longer to survive in this highly competitive world. It is true that Manipuri Kuki and Naga are well protected by the Schedule tribe status including the lands and revenues whereas Meiteis neither belong to any protected status, which impact a lots in the employees and Human rights.

Since, 5 years some section of Meiteis becomes OBCs but it is not a right terms if Govt. of India is comparing Meitei with the communities like the Muslims, Haryanbi, UP, Bihar, (Rajput, Thakurs) and South Indian OBCs as they have population in terms of millions and belong to the major religious group.

Meitei should care about them while deciding for the categorisation of the socially and economically backward classes among the religious and linguistic minority as they have population of about 13 lakhs only with a settlement area of about 709 sq. km in Manipur Valley and other extremes.


Chengleima Laisom, a resident of Halifax - Canada, writes for the first time to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on April 14th, 2006

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