Imphal Free Press - Imphal Free Press
Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

COHSEM cleanliness drive

IMPHAL | Oct 1

Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur (COHSEM) conducted today a cleanliness drive as a part of Swachhta hi Sewa campaign.

The employees of the council under the supervision of chairman, L. Mahendra Singh and secretary, M. Vidyasagar started the drive from 7.30 am to 1 pm at the office of the council and its surroundings to keep them clean and sanitary, said a release.

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Amar Yumnam

National behaviour is different in different societies. Some societies behave like a weak person – subservient to the strong one but cruel to the weak. Some other societies behave like a person of strength – supportive of the weak but responding to the strong one on equal terms with a strong sense of justice. The weak societies are opportunistic and keep looking out for scope for exploitation and dominance over the weak. The strong societies are relatively transparent in their behaviour, but not opportunistic while being assertive and aggressive against the unruly.

The beauty of Manipur lies in the fact that the manifested character over centuries displays the features of a strong society. The power of resilience is superb. Even in times of absolute disadvantageous situation, this society would never display signs of subservience. The people would care a hoot for a temporal superior position of any other. The society could still evolve a system of sustaining the hold of the traditional institutions and belief system despite the governance-supported imposition of Hinduism. In the process an absolutely enchanting social institution emerged. Besides, the society has always shown readiness for opening up and relationships with others far and wide. Anyway, 38 per cent (8) of the 21 players to represent India in the U-17 Fifa World Cup being from Manipur only cannot be something which can come out from a social vacuum.

This is where Ibobi emerges as an exemplar of the social strength of Manipur. He lifted AFSPA from seven Assembly Segments outstripping the stiff opposition from the powers that be in Delhi. On the eve of the recent Assembly Elections, he created new Districts outplaying the political game of the powers that be in Delhi. In this and in what follows since the elections, the Indian state does not show signs of a strong nation; it continues as it has been consequent upon the centuries of subjugation by two exogenous forces. The imposition of a conditionality of mastery of a language on groups of people from the Northeast to be accepted as having qualified for the Bachelor’s Degree in Delhi University, in which interestingly English is the medium of instruction. The university being of a weak society does not have the guts to shun English and openly declare Hindi as the medium of instruction in the institute though it has no qualms in imposing the non-adopted language on the minorities from the Northeast. The Rohingya Issue and the recent appointment of a retired Army Brigadier as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh are prime signatures of a weak one. These are coupled by pretentious designs for large-scale subversion under a sect of Hinduism.

An interesting social dynamics is salient in Manipur right now. But before we come to that it would be rewarding to recall what has happened in the development trajectory of different countries across the world. The critical challenge in development transformation of any society historically has been the evolution of relevant political and economic institutions to take the society to a stream of continual adaptation to the changing technology and economic systems. The Ottoman Empire was an endogenous civilisation based on private capital and cotton spinning, but one failure was to transform the agriculture sector. Timur Kuran, an Economist colleague at the University of Southern California, has in his book The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law held Back the Middle East (2011) pointed out another institutional transformation failure. The Europeans had already evolved a complex institutional financial mechanism capable of handling many new forms of merchandise relationships during the height of the Ottoman Empire. Within the Empire, the European merchants could resort to the European system but this option was not extended to the domestic merchants. The uncertainty associated with the new system got better of the Ottoman thinking resulting in the prevalence of the traditional system. This resistance led to the decline of the Empire to sustain and evolve into the next stage of development trajectory.  Similarly the Qing Empire was apprehensive of the Western organisational structures and went inward. This led to China missing the earlier opportunity to diverge ahead. In still another instance, the attitude of Shogunate Japan to European interactions reversed the strengths of the Meiji Revolution.

All these are instances of societies where the ruling ideology lacked self-confidence and thus shunted anything new, particularly when it comes to technology and economic systems. Here comes the catch in the case of contemporary Manipur. As seen, the conflicts in the earlier civilizational instances were between existing traditional institutions and the new technologies and systems. We should make a distinction between sustaining traditional social institutions and calcification of traditional institutions. Calcification happens as a reflective and defensive mechanism against the new ones for the fear of uncertainty associated with the new one. This is what has happened in the Ottoman Empire, Qing Empire and the Shogunate Japan. But the conflict happening in Manipur has nothing to do with technology and moving upward in the development path. What has happened and is happening in Manipur is only between the endogenous ethos and the exogenous ethos. This nature of conflict is one where the exogenous ethos constantly tries to superimpose and dominate over the endogenous ethos of the people of Manipur. The strength, self-confidence and adoption of the external as internal have been proven in Manipur right from the pre-historic times. My Historian friend, Professor Naorem Joykumar, has been educating me on the pre-historic foundations of agricultural innovation in Manipur. This goes true in the case of sericulture and other non-farm activities. The quality of Manipur to keep moving forward is proven by these instances. While the great Empires were killed by their own inability to adjust and adopt to the changing technology and financial systems, Manipur has always moved forward with her inherent capability to do so. This exactly is the worry for the exogenous ideology of a weak society forever looking for dominance, stunting and subjugation of the Manipur strength. No this can never be a robust ideological foundation for a model of India for the 21st Century. The recent celebrations of personalities and events in Manipur are already sending the signals loud and clear. Manipur will not indulge in institutional calcification but denial by design of development trade-offs to emerge would be very unfortunate.  

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

Irabot’s legacy

It is a measure of the greatness of Hijam Irabot/Irawat that so many different organisations, professing different ideologies, are claiming him to be the inspiration behind their own political visions. Perhaps he does indeed belong to all these different ideologies, even those that contradict each other somewhat. This idea is perhaps close to what the American poet, Walt Whitman, pronounced in his extended epiphany of a poem, Leaves of Grass, when he wrote: “Do I contradict myself?/ Well then I contradict myself,/ I am large, I contain multitudes,”. Whitman’s poetry, it may be recalled, is said to be influenced by the Bhagavad Gita, and indeed Krishna’s sermons to Arjuna in the Gita do reflect this idea of the unfathomable largeness of the transcendental self. It is there in everybody, but in great personalities, this quality becomes pronounced, and Hijam Irabot, the man who challenged the establishment on behalf of the weak and downtrodden, it must be said, truly did contain multitudes. Today, unfortunately even the spelling of his name is a matter of dispute. IFP had written about this in this same columns in 2001, and a letter writer, ostensibly belonging to the CPI, had responded that Irabot did in his later years begin singing his name as Irawat, although  he was known by the indigenised Irabot. There is no reason to support or object either, but Irabot does sound more authentic and more likely to be the name given to the leader by his parents, for this is generally the way the Manipuri tongue corrupts the Sanskritised sound of Irawat. But in these times of aggressive Sanskritization by the BJP government both at the Centre as well as in the state, any move to return to the original Irabot, even if this is what it was, may be a lost cause. Whatever is the ultimate decision on the spelling, one fact will remain. Irabot is much more than just the name. Hence the CPI claims him to be theirs just as various underground organisations look up to him as their spiritual founder. Hence, today’s established order, including as was notice yesterday in the celebrations of his death anniversary, by the BJP government in the state, venerate him as a patriot and an anti-imperialist. Quite ironically, in equal fervour, many underground organisations also call him the first revolutionary to raise the banner of revolt against the manner in which Manipur was merged into India.

In the absence of adequate non-partisan scholarship on the life and times of this enigmatic leader, nothing can be said for certain. But from whatever is available, it does seem that he is all of these at once, without being contradictory. That he was associated with the CPI cannot be challenged. His confessional letter to the CPI leadership after the Pungdongbam incident seeking the party’s pardon for not heeding its advice to found a unit of the CPI formally in Manipur is a proof of this. In this same letter he had spelled out why he had resisted the advice of the CPI leadership. He had thought then that the situation was not ripe and organising the movement that he headed under a formal communist party may actually become too powerful and difficult to control. If we may interpret what he meant, we think the people’s energy that he was handling at the time was much too raw and volatile to be harnessed within the communist ideology alone. That it may actually turn violent and give way to total anarchy and hence it was first essential to prepare the grounds on which the party was to stand on. Perhaps the visionary in him foresaw the anarchy that Manipur is witnessing today, with powerful forces let loose and becoming increasingly difficult to yoke and put to progressive use. However, after the Pungdongbam incident, when the police breakdown began, the movement suffered a severe reverse and it was then that like all great men capable of questioning themselves, he regretted he had not prepared for such an eventuality by founding a formal party. For a self-questioning man, it must indeed have been an awesome dilemma.

We can imagine that on the one hand was the excessive steam that was accumulating within the society and on the other was the danger that giving vent to the steam prematurely may actually result in explosions beyond easy control. The scenario must have been one of general bigotry of the existing monarchy of which we have a hint in the number of taxes that existed at the time enforced with the threat of excommunication of anybody who was unable to pay; the uncertain political future as was highlighted by the attempt in certain quarters to surrender the identity of Manipur by merging it into the proposed Purbanchal Pradesh etc.. and the explosive energy building up must have been frightening to those who could see it. It must have been what YB Yeats called the “terrible beauty” and perhaps this was what made Irabot hesitate. Maybe we are in the midst of this “terrible beauty,” and given the leadership, this energy will find sublimated to turn creative, taking the place new heights of self-actualisation.

Published in Editorial
Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

Irawat day celebrations gratitude

IMPHAL | Oct 1

A joint statement by Socialist Students’ Union of Manipur (SSUM), Manipur Proletariat People’s Democratic Union (MPPDU) and Struggle Committee Manipur (SCM) has expressed thankfulness and commended to all for observing the memorial celebrations of Lamyanba Irabot.

A release said the mentioned organisations lauded the public, local clubs, meira paibis, civil bodies, the people who are residing outside Manipur and abroad the country for organising the celebrations widely. A society of equals will be created when the people can turn the goals and dream of the leader into reality, it added.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

Police seize 300 litres of local liquor

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Oct 1

The Heingang police lead by assistant sub-inspector, Seikholen Haokip today has seized 300 litres of local brewed liquor worth around Rs. 30,000, one car and arrested two individual during frisking and checking at Mantripukhri toll gate.

The arrested individuals are identified as Ch. Monoi Singh (20) son of Ch. Ibotombi Singh of Khongampat and Khungdongbam Premkumar (21) son of Khungdongbam Oken of Khongampat.

According to police they were carrying the liquor in a sentro car which does not have a registration number plate at the front of the vehicle and was driving at a suspicious manner.

Regarding the matter a case has been registered in the Heingang police station.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

AMWJU to stage protest against killings

IMPHAL | Oct 1

The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) said it has held a sitting yesterday regarding the increasing rate of crimes against journalists and violations against the freedom of press in India and resolved to organise a sit in protest on October 2 at Keishampat.

A release said that the protest will be held to urge to government to institute measures to ensure the safety of journalists of the state as well as around the country. For the state of Manipur, at least six journalists have been shot dead, it said.

The police have lodged FIR in connection with the said killings of Journalists of the state but no visible actions were taken up against the persons involved in the killings so far, it continued.

Three journalists were murdered in September across the country, a month that also saw a sharp rise in the number of attacks and threats on journalists, it maintained.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

CRPF Swachhata Hi Sewa at Lamphelpat

IMPHAL | Oct 1

Troops of 143 Battalion, CRPF, Lamphelpat rendered cleanliness activities under ‘Swachhata Hi Sewa’ in the area of Lamphel Yaiphai Leikai near Election Office at Lamphelpat, Imphal West today.

A release said, the troops along with Lamphel Yaipha Leikai Apunba Nupi Lup of the localities cleaned the area, removed garbage and sprayed pesticide to make the environment clean and healthy to prevent potent diseases. The team also used fogging machine for prevention of Malaria.

Meanwhile, around 100 personnel of 109 Battallion, CRPF deployed at Raj Bhavan conducted cleanliness drive around Raj Bhavan near temporary Ima Market in front of Manipur State Museum and along governor road up to Nityaipat Chuthek. The drive was organised under the supervision of Alok Ranjan DC (Ops) Raj Bhavan.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

AR jawan hangs self


One 39 AR jawan namely Prabin Singh, (53) son of Nandan Singh from Guniyal village, Lansdowne, Pauri Garwhwal district, who was attached to the post of 28 Sector AR at kakching Lamkhai was found hanging from the ceiling of his room. Sources said his dead body being hung in the room was discovered by his fellow personnel.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

Two-day long Shumang Leela seminar begins

IMPHAL | Oct 1

Shumang Leela is the only art form which can be witnessed by all irrespective of age. It is a platform for reflecting social issues of the society. The art form must be promoted and preserved, said IPR minister, Th. Biswajit Singh.

He was speaking as the chief guest of the inaugural function of two-day long seminar on Shumang Leela, entitled “Shumang Leela Tradition”.

Biswajit further observed that cultural integration will strengthen the bonding between different communities residing in the state.

Minister Biswajit also said the government is committed in keeping transparency in every aspect. Each and every one of us has to play a key role in bringing development in of our society.

He also urge the members of the council to put up the portrait of all  artistes in the gallery to make the gallery more attractive and at the same time the artiste will also  get due recognition. The Minister also assured to the member of Manipur State Shumang Leela Council to fulfil their demands in consultation with the chief minister.

The two-day long seminar is being organised by Manipur state Shumang Leela Council with an aim to promote and preserve this unique art form. On the opening session of the seminar various resource person presented papers.

Chief advisor of Manipur State Shumang Leela Council, M. Nara and members of the council among other attended the function.

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Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

Youth camp held at Keithelmanbi school


HM Higher Secondary School, Keithelmanbi, Kangpokpi district organised the 20th Youth Awareness Camp, 2017 with an aim to provide an opportunity for the youths to step into their own relationship with God and to help them become matured.

The youth awareness camp was sponsored by the family of the school founder, S. Singsit, who is also the chairman of the camp, under the motto, ‘Your Word is Truth’ (John 17:17).

Rev. Dr. Ellen Gangte attended the camp as speaker while Lalboi Singsit attended as director, where around 94 youths from various places across the district participated in the four days camp which culminated today.

No participants were allowed to meet their family and friends. The participants were divided into four houses, Mary House, Esther House, David House and Joseph House who had house-wise competitions, especially in discipline, cleanliness, time management and others.

Speaking to the media, S. Singsit said that the camp had played a significant role in the spiritual life of the youths as they grew up to accept Christ. The camp has developed the self-confidence among the youths and created great memories of the positive activities done in the camp, he added.

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About IFP

Imphal Free Press is a widely circulated English daily published in Manipur, North-East India. Started in 1996, it has relocated its head office from Sega Road, Imphal to Palace Gate, Imphal.

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