One Thing the Imphal Protestors Got Totally Wrong on Naga Issue
People in the valley, mostly the Meiteis, are highly concerned about the nearing Naga political solution. The Imphal valley is filled with wail of angry slogans and protests almost every single day. Yes, it is the way to stand up for one’s own rights against the hegemonic power. People in Imphal are champions when it comes to holding protest rallies against the government on various issues.
However, the protestors seem to have not given considerable time to reason out what could be the actual fallout of Naga political solution over Imphal settlers. They seem to have lost the capability of forming a farsighted understanding of the actual threat to the state of Manipur. It is like they are investing all their time fighting with their neighboring households over a drainage leakage by completely ignoring the unpreventable tsunami coming on their way; meaning they are hundred times more concerned over Naga political issue, which is not going to affect them at all, than inevitable and undefeatable Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) or Non-Implementation of ILP which has the capacity to completely turn Manipur into a Tripura-like state in few years.
Naga solution in no way is going to be a threat to the identity, culture and people of Manipur but CAB is. Had the COCOMI taken action against CAB and for ILP as much as they have done against Naga political solution, people of Manipur can be protected and safe.
Manipur would be much more safer and peaceful with the Naga political solution safely landed than forceful implementation of CAB in the state. But why the Imphal protestors missed out the bigger threat and investing all their energies in the harmless Naga political solution? They might have got it completely wrong. Naga solution in no way is going to be a threat to the identity, culture and people of Manipur but CAB is. Had the COCOMI taken action against CAB and for ILP as much as they have done against Naga political solution, people of Manipur can be protected and safe.
Politically speaking, CAB is preventable and can be stopped because it is a law made by legislators whereas Naga issue is a deeply rooted 7 decades old political issue like a thorn in the left hand of India. From the commitment expressed by various Indian leaders, Naga political issue is NOT an option whereas CAB is a decision based issue, it can be stopped anytime. However, the issue of CAB is arguably thousand times more dangerous than Naga issue; for Imphal people. Now the question arises as to why Imphal protesters are politically short-sighted by not fighting against the actual common threat of CAB and keep dwelling on the harmless Naga political solution?
Taking the worst case scenario, suppose all Naga territories are integrated from the state of Manipur, Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, what will the Meitei lose? Literally nothing, except the financial share of the Nagas coming from the centre and the territories of Nagas which will never belong to Imphal people anyway even after thousand years pass. So once again, what will they lose from Naga integration? The answer is again NOTHING. Then what is the big deal and what is their logic of storming the Imphal valley in protest against Naga political issue? The answer lies in their short-sighted political understanding of the actual threat coming on their way.
However, if they stop paying attention to CAB and if CAB is implemented in five years, then Imphal will be the new Agartala where they can no longer rise us against the outsiders. Businesses, administrations, entertainments and everything will be dominated by the outsiders. That’s when the identity of Meiteis will be overpowered. But there is a way to prevent such identity catastrophe; that is through the force of togetherness. Naga areas in Manipur, after Naga integration, will remain at the same place even after million years, it will never go to Nagaland but only administrative trajectory will change. So there is a need for joint effort by Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis to fight against CAB together. In that way, everyone will have the chance to safeguard their identity. Nagas will never be able to safeguard their identity by fighting against Meiteis, and Meiteis will never protect their identity by winning over Nagas because these two are not at all a threat to each other’s identity. The same applies to Kukis too. The only forces that will burn down the identities of these communities in Manipur to ashes are CAB and non-implementation of ILP in Manipur. Nagaland is already gearing up strengthening the implementation of existing ILP.
This short-sighted current social unrest in Imphal only serves as an opportunity for the greater hegemonic force of India to cost the arms and legs of people of Manipur – Nagas, Meiteis & Kukis – only to let them cry over the spilt milk later on. COCOMI should reconsider not to put all their eggs in the Naga Issue basket because when the dangerously powerful force in the form of CAB comes tomorrow there will be no energy left for them to stand up which will eventually lead to the disappointment of all communities living in the state.
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