By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | July 15
Hijam Surjabala, not only fetching the top spot as an actress in Manipuri cinema, topped the 6th semester examination, 2017 in B.A Home Science (Honours) conducted by the Manipur University.
Despite her tiring shooting schedules, she managed to bag the 1stposition in the 6th semester examination from Standard College, Kongba.
“It is a commendable effort from an actor, who is serving the people of the state, to balance both her acting profession and academic performance. I want to know her routines and how she managed it”, said one of Bala’s fans to Imphal Free Press.
Another fan added that this should set an example for upcoming actors to flourish both in acting profession and academics.
Besides, many students offering arts and science subjects of private colleges affiliated to Manipur University were among the top 10 position holders in the 6th semester examination, 2017. Private colleges are getting good results this year.
Recently, Bala faced criticisms after her remark on Meitei women marrying non-indigenous men, especially the mainland men. Later, she clarified that any of her comments did not mean to hurt the sentiments of the indigenous Meitei community.
We are still naked, removal of AFSPA will clothe us: Ramani
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | July 15
The Supreme Court’s order for CBI inquiry into fake encounter killings in Manipur has not “clothed” the dozen elderly women, who disrobed at the gate of Imphal’s Kangla fort on this day 13 years ago to protest excesses committed by security forces in the state.
“The Supreme Court ruling does not clothe us. Until the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is repealed from the state, we would take it that we are still naked and without cloths,” Ima Ramani said. She, however, welcomed the ruling.
Ima Ramani, is one of the 12 protesters. The unprecedented protest was triggered by the killing of Thangjam Manorama by personnel of the Assam Rifles after alleged rape on July 11, 2004.
Following the incident the then Okram Ibobi Singh government withdrew the armed forces act from Imphal Municipal Limit.
Thirteen years after the demonstration that shook the security establishment of the country 11 of the protesters, who are now fondly called by citizens mothers were honoured today for their courage to “rebel” against the “repressive” actions of the security forces.
One of them, Ima Ibetombi passed away some years back.
To commemorate the historic day a programme called by Anti-Repression Day is observed here today at Gandhi Memorial hall, Imphal today. It was organised by observation committee of Anti-Repression Day.
The first Anti-Repression Day was observed a day after the Supreme Court ordered CBI inquiry into 83 cases of alleged fake encounter killings.
The apex court yesterday ordered inquiry into 83 cases of extra-judicial killings in the state by the state police and security personnel and fixed the deadline of December 31 for registering FIRs, completion of investigation and filing of charge-sheets in appropriate cases.
Those gathered at the programme honoured 11 Imas by presenting them shawls. A booklet about the life of the 12 Imas was also released during the programme. They observed a two minute silence in honour of Ima Ibetombi, who took part in the protest. She died some years ago.
Former member of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Kh. Chonjohn attended the function as chief guest. During his speech he had emphasised on how AFSPA had affected the normal life of people of Manipur. He said that taking advantage of AFSPA, armed personnel had committed excesses.
Babloo Loitongjam, executive director Human Rights Alert (HRA), Johnson Elangbam, president of United Committee Manipur (UCM) and Thounaojam Brinda, social activist spoke during the function.
They said that they welcomed the decision of SC yet the fight is not over and should pressurise the CBI who was given the responsibility of these cases. Johnson urged to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to especially look into the matter.
“The programme is held to commemorate the protest, celebrate the courage of Manipuri women to rebel against repressive measures and honour the Imas. The disrobing is symbolic whipping of the security forces with Imas’ fanek for humiliation and defiling the body of Manipuri women,” Babloo said.
Retired professor of political science of GP Women College, Rose Mangshi Haokip and Kh. Anandi, chairperson of observation committee attended the function as guest of honour and president respectively.
By Col Anil Bhat, VSM (Retd)
“It is truly a historic visit,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who termed the friendship between India and Israel as "natural". Breaking protocol, he personally received Mr. Narendra Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, an honour previously accorded only to the US President and the Pope and that too with Israel’s entire Cabinet present at the airport. “Aapka swagat hai, mere dost” (welcome, my friend), said Netanyahu to his Indian counterpart.
Soon after, Mr. Netanyahu announced that a $40 million innovation fund was being set up for cooperation between India and Israel. In his comments, Prime Minister Modi said India counts Israel as an important partner in its path to development and a strong resilient partnership with it will be his focus.
"You said when it comes to India-Israel relationship, sky is the limit. But actually my friend, the sky isn't the limit because today our space programmes are working towards reaching even greater heights," Mr. Netanyahu said with a smile. "The tie between our talented, innovative people is natural. It is so natural that we can ask what took so long for them to blossom…..We love India…..We have been waiting for the last 70 years for a visit by an Indian Prime Minister”, the Israeli PM affirmed and hailed Mr. Modi as “a great leader of India and a great world leader”.
The significance of these statements is borne by the fact that the Jewish people, often persecuted in history, found India a friendly country to be in and the many synagogues they built stand as a testament to the Indian spirit of inclusiveness. Maharashtra has twenty synagogues, including six in Mumbai itself and two in Pune. Gujarat has one in Ahmedabad, New Delhi has one and Kerela has at least five in three of its districts. The earliest synagogue in Kerela dates back to as early as 1130, while almost all others were built in 1800s to early 1900s.
Following in-depth talks PMs Modi and Netanyahu, India and Israel signed seven agreements to step-up cooperation in key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Department of Science and Technology and Israel's National Technological Innovation Authority for setting up of USD 40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund. Mr. Modi said, "we are of one view that together our scientists and researchers would develop, build and implement mutually beneficial solutions in the field".
Mr.B. Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary (West Asia and North Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs, is reported to have stated prior to this visit that Israel has expressed its "great willingness" over the last three years to participate in India's flagship initiatives like Make in India, Clean Ganga, Smart Cities and Digital India. Stating that there has been ongoing cooperation going on in the agriculture sector, he said: "With the help of Israel we have established centres of excellence in various states aimed at increasing productivity, crop management, and water management."
Inviting Israeli youth to visit India in large numbers, PM Modi announced that Delhi-Mumbai-Tel Aviv flights will start soon. To the Indian diaspora in Israel, he informed that India will soon open an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel and assured that Indians in Israel will never face difficulty in obtaining OCI and PIO cards, clarifying that
even those who have completed compulsory service in Israeli Army will not face an trouble in obtaining an OCI card.
During a recent pre-PM Modi’s visit seminar at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), retired Ambassador Shyam Saran expressed hope that the visit would have a significant impact on taking forward the diplomatic and strategic ties between the two nations.
The earliest signs of unannounced India-Israel military collaboration were during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, and later in both the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars. India reciprocated during the six-day war in 1967 by providing Israel with spare parts for French-made Mystere and Ouragan aircrafts as well as AMX-13 tanks (also French-made). However, when Israel offered to refurbish Indian Army’s World War II vintage British made Centurian tanks, whose crews had destroyed disproportionately large numbers of Pakistan army’s relatively newer Patton and its other tanks in both the 1965 and 1971 wars, India declined the offer, much to the disappointment of personnel of regiments equipped with them. By 1974, the Centurians were sold off to some African nation and were replaced with a then new indigenous tank, which hardly saw any battle and was eventually replaced.
Former Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, India’s first defence attaché to Israel after the start of India-Israel diplomatic relations in 1992, disclosed during the IDSA seminar, that missile pods timely provided by Israel in 1999, were of great help in capturing Tiger Hill from Pak army during the heightened confrontation in area Kargil. In the same confrontation Israel also supplied Indian Army with artillery shells which there was a shortage of.
In the late 1990s, a crucial defence deal was the Indian purchase of Barak 1, a very versatile air-defence missile, capable of intercepting thet US-made Harpoon missiles deployed by Pakistan.
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre is repoted to have stated that over the past two years, contracts signed by India for the procurement of weapons and military platforms with Israel, make it India’s second largest source for weapons after the United States.
Three months before PM Modi’s Israel visit, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was awarded a $2 billion contract of military hardware to India, considered to be “the largest defence contract in Israel’s defence industries’ history.” IAI announced that it has signed a mega-contract worth more than $1.6 billion to provide advanced medium- range surface-to-air missiles (MRSAMs) to the Indian Army. The balance of about $400 million in contracts has been awarded to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Israeli weapon systems and equipment acquired by India are the Barak 1surface to air missiles (SAMs), medium range SAM, Spyder surface to air mobile air defence system, SPICE (smart, precise, impact, cost effective) precision bombs, Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control system), Heron armed drones, SPIKE anti-tank guided missiles, Galil sniper rifles, Aerostat radars and the IWI Tavor assault rifles.
The combo of PM Modi’s visits to the US and Israel one after the other has caused severe indigestion to both China and Pakistan. While China is freaking out with transgressions in many locations along the Line of Actual Control, Pakistan has been smarting as much of its terrorists’ movements across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir have been detected by Israeli surveillance devices. Pakistani Lashkar e Taiyaba’s heinous attack on Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat, killing seven, including six women, is its latest desperate act fuelled by frustration.
(The writer, an independent strategic analyst, is Managing Editor, WordSword Features)
By Shahnaz Husain
The hot and humid season undermines the beauty of the hair. The look of the hair really suffers. This is more so with oily hair. Sweat and oil secretions attract dirt and pollutants, making the hair dull and matted. The salt in our sweat also makes the hair rough and robs it of body and shine. Hair loss is also common during the Monsoons, due to oiliness and sweat deposits.
Sticky dandruff is another problem to contend with. The scales, along with oil and sweat secretions, tend to stick to the scalp. Rich conditioners and hair styling products can also lead to a build-up on the scalp. For sticky dandruff, hot oil therapy is useful. Heat sesame seed oil or olive oil and apply it on the scalp with cotton wool, rubbing gently to dislodge the flakes. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave the oil on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp and wash your hair after 20 minutes. You can also add 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse.
Shampoo the hair more frequently during the Monsoons. Use less shampoo and rinse well with water. Then, have a tea-water and lemon rinse for silky and shiny hair. Take used tea leaves and boil them again in 4 to 5 cups of water. The amount of water depends on the length of the hair. Strain and cool the water. Add the juice of a lemon and use as a final rinse after shampoo. To add shine, you can also whisk egg white with the juice of a lemon and apply on the hair half an hour before your shampoo.
Another problem is that of bad odour from the scalp during the humid season. Wash your hair at least four times a week. Rinse thoroughly with water. For a fragrant hair rinse, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse after washing the hair.
As nutritional deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss, the diet is very important. Hair is made up of a protein matter called keratin. So, ensure adequate protein in the diet. A balanced, nutritious diet helps healthy hair growth, since the hair is actually fed by the nutrients in the blood stream. Include lean meats, fish, egg, dal, beans, fruits, sprouts, vegetables and whole grains. Consult your doctor before making changes in the diet. Vitamin C, Zinc, Omega 3 fatty acids are all necessary for healthy hair growth. Vitamin C is available in oranges, lemons, tomato, papaya, grapefruit, cabbage and cauliflower. Zinc is plentiful in seafish, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables and wholegrain cereals. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, available in fish, plant and nut oils, seaweeds. Cut down on aerated drinks, fried foods, too much salt and sugar. Dull, lifeless hair can be a sign of a poor diet.
Take a small bowl of sprouts daily. Sprouts contain amino acids, which are very beneficial to the hair. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and curd in the daily diet. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Drink freshly extracted juices of fruits and vegetables, adding enough water to them. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.
By Nganthoi Khuraijam
We have always been a proud community. We take pride in our culture, heritage and traditions and basically anything that defines us as a group. The history of protests and fights to protect and safeguard who we are stems from this pride. While this pride finds ground in reasoned debates and many esteemed discourses, we have failed to also recognise the repercussions that have blinded us to the discrimination, perilous communalism and misogyny that we practise. They are deliberate, unrepentant and out in the open and deep-seated to the core of which define us, and manifest in incidents that remind us of the hateful attitude that we have adopted. But these incidents are not isolated. We see misogyny in one form or the other in our everyday lives and fail to discern it as such.
Cultural Certificate for Women: From raising a girl to behave in certain manners to publicly bashing women who speaks against what is conceived of them, we have normalised the patriarchal system of condescendence. Our collective consciousness recognises examples of strong and ideal women to be embodiments of high endurance, and humbled, meek, gentle and subtle cleverness. Cultural folklores associate women role models with the above. How many times have we heard of the brave and clever but soft-spoken and gentle Thoibi and Sandrembi? Characters like Toro and Cheishra are associated with deviousness. The fault lies in not being as proper and prim as the other heroines. The ideal woman is the epitome of ‘akhaang kanbi, eng tappi’ (someone who has high tolerance and yet gentle in mannerisms). It cannot be denied that this woman as the other half of a binary notion of gender that we understand is allowed substantial freedom when compared to our perceptions of her other counterparts across the rest of India. The fact that I have used the word “allowed” in the previous sentence speaks of how this so-called freedom is given and not entitled.
Normalising Sadism: A false consciousness, which shames any woman who dares to cross culturally prescribed gender territories, has been openly crucified by our ‘cultured society.’ We derive sadistic pleasure in condemning those who do not conform to societal norms and gender templates set by our society, to appalling degrees. A young and popular actor who, in my personal opinion, held herself to dignified grace in the face of a misogynistic and condescending banter is bashed and shamed on social media by men and women alike until she is bullied and pressurised to issue somewhat of an apology. She is apparently wrong more for her demeanour and less for the opinions she expressed. The degrees of discomfort that a woman can face at brazen misogyny aimed at her is of little concern to our culture as she attempts to mask what has been conditioned culturally for centuries as necessary in part of being a woman. A woman is taught to be ready to face, for a lifetime, the brunt of eve-teasing, sexual predation and moral policing. Instead of dismantling the normalisation and calling out the heinousness in the acts, the woman is expected to deal with these with an ideally calm and seasoned response of being monumentally quiet.
Hailing Patriarchy: In the aforementioned incident, the actress made the ‘mistake’ of masking her discomfort with sheer exasperation and disdain for what is asked of her and is consequently retributed with bullying on social media. The kind of normalcy that our culture projects in telling women how to conduct themselves and maintain certain decorum is alarming. The disconcert lies even deeper in the failure to recognise this troubling regularity. We are a culture with supposed guardians of women empowerment and rights of women shaming assault victims for enticing rapists and assaulters. This is rampant to such an extent that counsel narratives of rising above victimisation escapes debates. What passes for contemporary popular print culture dedicated towards women empowerment are narratives which report crimes against women with paradigms which include patronising messages that such and such behaviour leads to such and such consequences. The patriarchal system that runs this kind of misogynist complacence is hailed to be culturally true and is protected and projected to be the moral and ethical guide of our society. The misogyny is unrepentant and rationalised to function as a part of our culture; and the need to dismantle such behaviour remains unattended.
Binary of Hatred: The kind of collective pride that this community has in its ethnicity and culture stems itself from a strong historical sense of who we are as a cultural group. This sense, however, also makes its way to provide room for clamoring discrimination and prejudice against those who are not us, leading to impressionable minds being ushered to a binary narrative of ‘us vs. them’, thus conditioning racism and hatred against those who are not ‘us’. This kind of binary is embedded deeply in our psyche as a cultural group that we have come to accept it as completely normal and deeds that disrupt, blur and budge this landscape are intolerable and taken as betrayal to our culture. The question of discussing ideas like feminism, sexuality and gender sensitisation remains a far cry in a society like ours which considers movements like these to be a hegemonic wave of western modernity opposed to what we perceive as our culture. The binary framework in our consciousness is wary and dreads any kind of ‘adulteration’ in our culture and provides open contempt in acts as personal as marriages when they are interracial. This brunt is faced more by the woman solely because women are consigned to be the custodians of emotions, body and culture, and their cycles of actions and thought processes since childhood are circumscribed around these notions of femininity. The garbs of women empowerment and freedom in our culture are worn by lessons on how women should behave from a young age. Repression of sexuality and reprimanding of those who attempts to unsettle this becomes a tool for the culture to refrain and restrict them from seeking partners outside of the community and thus preventing our culture from ‘adulteration’.
Reclaiming Pride: Our society is so afraid of women’s lust and bodies that any expressions of these are seen as invitations to threaten our so-called culture. Should we as a group take pride in such a culture that is unashamed to hate those who are not us? Should we as a culture continue to propagate and define ourselves with continuing patriarchal and misogynistic systems? It can be rightfully claimed that these deep-rooted problems cannot be uprooted in a day as we still remain ignorant and fail to see these as problems. The arrogance in the outright refusal to rethink and self-retrospect our cultural paradigm is dangerous and precedent and remains foregoing. The need of the hour is to realise the urgency to educate ourselves of narratives that recognise and understand these nuanced problems. Only then may we take and reclaim pride in defining ourselves.
(The writer is a student of English literature. She completed her M.phil on popular culture from Delhi University)
By Jinine Lai
July triggers me reminiscence of my partaking in campaign against militarization; Thangjam Manaroma’s killing and my participation in Apunba Lup ever since floated it in a sangoi of her neighborhood, and birth of my conceived campaign idea - EEVFAM to an energetic Loitongbam Sarat, father of a fake encounter victim.
Then my poor memory cannot forget an incident of a small sigh of relief amidst the aching atmosphere of tight militarization in Manipur.
Somewhere around the end October of 2005, Indian army stormed in to the southern Jiribam with a military operation called Tornado. The situation feared human rights violations and displacement.
On 28 October, we, some activists and Meira Paibis set off to assess the situation with the Human Rights Commission.
Next morning, our private bus approaching from Jiri town, along a stretch of about 30 km to the south. The Commission started some hours earlier in their vehicles. We followed them. Along the dilapidated roads in the rain forest, swarm of army with sophisticated rifles and machinery were lined up. Now and again we were stopped and checked by the army and got throbbed in military phobia in our heads.
Around the noon of 29 October we reached a village where motor-able road ended. Left the bus there and walked into two three villages. To see us, those men, women and children who could not flee earlier were so happy and relieved. People from other villages came to join us and some also came out from the jungle then. They felt like rescue from a death danger. They narrated - army came with Zoros, (the bad guys hiding faces under black scarfs) beat up the villagers, posed questions whereabouts of underground cadres. After the military action, civilians were displaced to leave the landscape deserted. Some of them reached safely Jiri town, some were hiding in the jungle some had crossed Barak River, escaped to Assam. A woman who gave birth to a baby just after half an hour joined the run.
The Commission had assessed the situation and left in the afternoon. Our team too was about to follow their vehicles for avoiding unnecessary harassment from the army on the way. Then, most of the families wanted to leave the villages, they wanted to go out to Jiri town in our bus. Scanty passenger buses, one or two times were plying in and around the villages. Yet they could not travel by those buses because military men would pull down, torture, harass even kill them on the allegations of nexus with the armed opposition groups.
Finally, negotiated four five villagers to be in our bus. Our team hurried to the bus as we would follow the commission close and go away from the Tornado’s tense before getting dark. Things began going wrong, the bus got stuck in the soft soil of the road aside. Three-four hours had consumed trying to push the bus out of the sticky mud. It’s getting dark, no way to go out that day.
Soon the darkness of the evening began covering the place black, no electricity and no moon in the sky only glow worm and blinking stars. Locals suggested that that darkness was ideal to avoid the attention and action from the army. At around 8 pm, a quick big supper for about 25 people was done in a house. During the food, more stories, fearer words of torture, harassment and need of getting away from militarized zone were surfaced.
For night rest, Meira Paibis went to some houses and we headed to a Bengali teacher’s house. We were sleeping in his side parlor extension. I noticed some melodious insects’ song fondled the quiet night but dogs’ bark afar agitated the black night. Though we had been exhausted, could not sleep well fearing army might come to harm us suspecting their enemy.
Got up early in the morning, felt a bit relief that night was safe. While we were moving down from our night shelter, a woman showed us army personnel movement in around the village. From that small hill side we saw some blurred personnel down there in that hazy morning of early November. The woman told us that they had been there all night long in search of some young boys. The army accompanied Zoros to identify the suspects and their houses. According to her, some boys were hiding in the jungles fearing the army action. These boys sometimes were used by the underground in trivial work and made mingle with them.
We visited some houses and met the families as they requested in the morning. The hard time we really encountered was – again, they wanted to go with us and be safe from the military hand and we did not have practical capacity to do that.
We tried to convince them at our level best by ensuring that we should convey the message of the situation to the government. But we could not deny one request for saving a life of a boy who just came out from hiding nearby jungle. He should be taken with us otherwise he would be finished that day itself.
The army and the Zoros had been searching for him for last few days. Dilemma! If we did not take him along he would be killed or if we even let him in our bus how could we save him. For sure army and Zoros must check our bus and us, all of us must get down off the bus to line up aside, pass the check post by walking, not only once, at least three or four times on the way to Jiri town. As his life was just on the balance of terror, I suggested to escape to southern part of Manipur through jungle. No way, he could not agree to do that. So we accepted the boy in the bus and another 4 villagers too we agreed previous day.
Around 9 o’clock in the morning we gathered nearby the bus - some were weeping biding departing gesture some casting long face for could not go along. The bus was parking about a kilometer away from the previous place it got stuck.
When I got into the bus I saw the boy wearing a woman dress with some face make-up like lipstick and powder sitting beside one mother. Yet all his fear was worn on his face - in the eyes, on the lips. He was putting on Phanek, on top a blouse and an Inaphee. Shocked! That appeared much dangerous. His looks completely showed a joke kind of make-up. Nothing was hid, nothing could disguise, and one could see the odd so straight. His head was covered with Inaphee down up to the upper part of face. But that was a sheer disastrous attempt, rather exposing then disguising. If we were going that manner we were inviting a big inevitable danger. We all very likely ended up there soon. I discussed that with Meira Paibis and other colleagues. As an ultimate way out I made the boy wear like a bus a conductor/handyman. Took off the women dress then got changed to an extra frayed short pants owned by the real bus conductor, a dirty T-shirt and a loin tie from a mother made a scarf around his head. Some dirt of black oil somewhere from the bus engine applied on his face. I told him to act like real bus-boy and not to show any tension and worry on his face - one hardest thing.
Almost one hour or so passed in the bus yet we had not started. Then the bus started to set off for the Jiri town carrying about 25 panicking passengers. With heavy worries and anxieties in all our heads the bus was moving. I told the boy not to get off the bus while stopped at the army check posts. In fact, nothing smarter things we had in our heads to manage the menace. Having nothing else to escape the situation, after few minutes the driver slowed own the bus; we reached the first army check. At our scariest, some Zoros were being seen sitting on elevating roadside of nearby hillock. A dozen of camouflage full equipped armed men stopped our bus before crossing a narrow bridge. We got down to cross the bridge. It was supposed to search our bodies but that did not occur. I liked to look at the bus behind the bridge fearing something was happening – but could not.
We were standing in line aside the road talking nothing one another. The bus came, we got up then it started moving. Next moment a sigh of relief, the boy was alright. Soon the air in the bus was of pretty quiet again because next check post was the one where worst Zoros were active. After about half an hour, the bus reached near another narrow bridge. Our bus was stopped again by four -five military personnel. This time a young officer with an ease face with no weapon was coming up accompanied by two armed soldiers, and talking with a little smile in Hindi. Greeting the mothers with Namaste! Two of Meira Paibis were responding in broken Hindi. The short conversation was around - if we had food, where we were staying previous night. He did a brief interaction in English with me too, identifying ourselves, asking if the situation in the place had just visited was alright. Luckily, we did not see the bad guys there. Nothing was happening to the boy.
Then we were set free to drive away from their check post. Another huge relief gusted in us.
After few minutes our bus was stopped again by another group of military personnel at a small market place. We were asked to get down. Some mothers had already stepped down, we were about to follow them. Then suddenly the bus driver declared that no need to get off as the army permitted him to pass the check post. Drove away again, another relief sweeping in, without nothing happened to the boy.
One of the mothers told us that there would be no more risk onwards as army check post left all behind. We stopped somewhere on the way to ease out our natural calls. After tensed sweating hours we reached the Jiri town safe and sound. For one last time I looked at the face of the boy and asked if he was alright then.
(The auther is Assistant Professor, University of Suwon, S Korea)
By Garga Chatterjee
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”, said Karl Marx. It is unlikely he had the farce that took place in New Delhi on the last day of June. At the stroke of the midnight hour on 30th June 2017, history repeated itself as farce, as Indian Union’s incumbent BJP government put together a dazzling show in the central hall of its parliament, ably supported by corporate media barely concealing their glee at this “revolutionary” step – the Goods and Services Tax or GST. This GST replaces state and central taxes on most goods and services, replaces it by “one tax” that will be divided between centre and state and whose rate cannot be changed by individual states. The tragedy that led to this farce had happened on another midnight hour, when perfectly autonomous sets of linguistic nations with a good degree of mutual cooperation was made into a super-centralized system called the Indian Union. The GST or the tax system that ends the autonomous power of individual states of the Indian Union to change the tax rates in its realm according to its own needs is but a natural corollary of the process that was set in motion in the midnight hour of one August day in 1947. And while that plan to transfer of power from colonial whites to their chosen natives went about with history repeating itself first as tragedy, Bengal, my motherland and Punjab were partitioned. Millions were displaced. Their world was not the same again. That was cataclysmic. The Indian Union will not be the same again after the GST. It effectively destroys whatever was left of a federal structure in a constitutional system that in spirit wants to destroy all sources of power except Delhi. History was indeed first formed, before the tragedy, in 1757 when the British chose Mir Jafar to transfer power they had wrested from the last head of state of a sovereign united Bengal. The British got the revenue powers. The natives were straddled with power without means and soon they understood that power lie were the money lay. This is true today. By capturing nearly all elastic sources of revenue from the states, it is clear that New Delhi of 2017 had learned well from New Delhi of 1947 and Calcutta of 1757. Post GST, diarchy is back in its most naked form in recent times in the subcontinent.
GST has been the apple of the eye of every Delhi head quartered so-called “national” party led government. Even when they themselves admitted as Yashvant Sinha did that a GST like thing might not survive a legal challenge on the question whether it is a violation of the federal structure that is part of the basic structure of the constitution. Things have moved, slowly but surely, under both Congress and BJP, thus underlying the continuity of the New Delhi deep state that is ever conspiring against state rights, even when the saffron BJP mask changes places with the tricolour Congress mask.
GST’s final hurrah at Delhi, the pomp was in vain. Much of the opposition was absent. Trinamool led the charge by announcing the boycott first. The Left Front, which rarely aligns with the Trinamool also joined. So did many others. Tamil Nadu, the leading manufacturing state, has been opposing not the detail or date of GST roll out but the concept of GST itself, given its superior level of discourse and understanding of Centre-State relations and hence the implications of GST vis-à-vis state autonomy. Large organizations of small and medium scale traders observed a protest shutdown. Beyond Delhi’s think-tanks, fawning media, pathetic Indians anxious for an ego boost from their couches, pimps and other such creatures that Delhi ideology produces, the mood was sombre. There was no consensus, however much Arun Jaitley wants to claim it. From concealing crucial data from state finance ministers to feeding them with outdated data to blackmailing states by threatening to bring GST as money bill, this government has tried every parliamentary and administrative dirty trick, legal and illegal. It promised one tax but ended up taking away tax rate changing rights from the states while the centre retains the right to impose and change cess rates without consulting anyone except itself. The lie of consensus was poignant on that midmight hour in symbolic ways. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley switched from English to Hindi in his speech, thus underlining the brazen Hindi supremacist ideology of his party and government and hardly a consensus building measure in a federal union where a majority have non-Hindi mother tongues. May be he saw reality, he saw who had boycotted and realized that it was mostly non-Hindi India that was boycotted and may be he had decided to address those who had not boycotted, That was mostly Hindi India. That was mostly Hindu India. That was mostly Hindustan region of India. The GST is a nail in the coffin of federalism and a huge victory the Anglo-Hindi corporate kleptocracy that has now aligned with Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan in a marriage of mutual convenience.
The GST will further destroy the few methods left to the states to generate revenue independent of the centre. The long-range design is clear – to homogenize the whole subcontinent for the benefit of big money and its wishes. From stupendous public investments in ‘world-class’ NCR to dedicated corridors that will rip across people, their livelihood and their cultures, the force that hates states rights, linguistic rights, human rights, environmental rights but singularly upholds the ‘right’ to chose from a larger array of consumer goods points to something called ‘aspiration’ as a liberating force. This force loves individuals and hates families, loves bands of shoppers and hates consumer right collectives, loves eco-tourism and hates environmental clearances. In the end, this era belongs to those who can smoothen the transfer and investment of big capital – wherever, whenever – and destroy all impedance on the way. These impedances, known in the subcontinent as jal-jangal-jibika-jomi-jonmobhumi, human rights, family ties, tribal homelands, rights of states and federalism and such things are holding back GDP numbers. Remove them and New Delhi will shoot to the stratosphere and will pull up the rest to the clouds. But those who want to stick their ground, peoples whose lives, dreams and economies are not out of this world but evolve on the land of their ancestors, speed-breakers are their only hope. Surrender by the states on the question of GST is tantamount to the betrayal that the Indian Union is, after all, a federal union of diverse people with diverse aspirations, identities and markets. Markets are for the people and not the other way round. The illusion of free movement of goods is a cover for the free and unhindered extraction of profit from places with weak manufacturing bases. In this game, forces bigger than the Congress(I) and the BJP put together have a stake in pushing the states to the wall. ‘National interest’ always bring the ‘national’ parties together. The people and federalism be damned.
From Our Correspondent
UKHRUL | July 15
Villagers of Sambu area have allegedly blamed Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) contractors in causing all types of transportation hardships during the monsoon season.
Following the heavy downpour of rains in the district, the only road by PMGSY that connects Ukhrul district with the Sahamphung village has been completely destroyed due to landslide at many portions from Zingsui to Chammu at the stretch of about 50 km.
Speaking to IFP correspondent, president of Sambu area villages, Gideon expressed distressed against the agency holders of PMGSY. He said that the poor work quality has brought misery to the villagers and the contractors do not follow the requisite guidelines of PMGSY during construction works.
Sambu area Committee member Aleng mentioned that the severe landslide were due to lack of proper drainage, culvert and press wall. The villages have already aired their grievances to the concerned department earlier to look into the matter of hardship of transportation. The unprecedented rains have completely disconnected the Sahamphung village for at least a month.
The Sambu area President has urged the state government for immediate attention to look into the matter of the villagers’ distressful condition at the earliest.
In the meantime, a huge tract of paddy land was destroyed in Hunphun village due overflow of water from the river and landslide. According to the statement of the victim Honpam Raleng, the paddy field from the area Kasom Kong to Halang Chihui has been inundated by the muds from higher slope, which has accumulated and deposited in the paddy field.
Form Our Correspondent
MOREH | July 15
People’s Day which is observed on 15th of every month in the state which has been introduced by BJP government in Manipur as part of a new program, was also observed also today at Tengnoupal district headquarters. The programme was attended by DC, Raghumani, SP, S. Ibomcha and ADC, Moreh, N. Gojendro along with village chiefs and community leaders of the district.
Interacting with DC people shared problems on inadequate staffs of veterinary department of Tengnoupal viallge, ZEO and staffs of education department, irregularities in PHED water supply and low glow of the street lamps in Moreh town. The DC noted the problems of the people and assured to redress the problems of the people after discussing the issues with the authority of the concern departments.
As part of the onservance, SP, S. Ibomcha handed over the newly constructed waiting shed in Tengnoupa bazar to the people. It was also observed in Moreh police station under the leadership of SDPO and OC of the station.
IMPHAL| July 15
The Kharam Students’ Union Manipur (KSUM) felicitated successful students of class 10, 12 and graduate (B.A/B.sc/B.com) examinations 2016-17 at Tribal Research Institute (TRI), today.
The programme was attended by L. Dikho, minister of PHE, printing and stationery as chief guest, Haokholal Hangsing, ADC chairman, guest of honour and Langounlung Gangmei as functional president respectively.
During the programme, Dikho congratulated the successful students and said he will give free education to two students who are good in study at ASUFII Christian Institute, Mao. “Success will come if you have faith in God and give time in studies”, said the chief guest.
In the programme, the organisers handed over cash prizes and gifts to the successful students. The main objective of the felicitation programme was to encourage young learners of Kharam tribe to seek and find future through education.
The theme of the programme was “knowledge comes, wisdom lingers”. The ultimate goal of KSUM is attainment of good citizenship through quality education for development and peaceful co-existence with other communities in the state. In the programme, teachers, other dignitaries and students were also present.