Owner’s pride, neighbour’s envy

Howsoever nonchalant the Prime Minister be, Inner Manipur MP Angomcha Bimol Akoijam struck the right chord by invoking a comparison of Modi’s uncaring silence with the attitude of British colonialists then.

ByNarda Ningthouja

Updated 6 Jul 2024, 6:35 am

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One can’t help recalling the advertisement in the 90s which glamourised Onida TV as “Owner’s Pride, Neighbour’s envy” as we scan the comments and reactions regarding Inner Manipur MP Angomcha Bimol Akoijam’s powerful midnight speech in both mainstream and social media. While majority of Manipuris cheered his speech as he roared like an incarnation of long lost ‘Meitei Nongsha’, a few supporters of non-performers here sulked in a corner cursing his brilliant performance.

In that midnight hour slot, undaunted Professor Bimol spoke for the whole of Manipur and the apathy of the unconcerned Prime Minister to the 14-month long crisis who chose to bask in foreign trips and keep himself busy in electioneering. The next day after Professor Bimol thundered in the last hours of Lok Sabha session with his maiden speech, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to ignore Manipur in his Lok Sabha speech amid cries of ‘Justice for Manipur’ by the Oposition. Yet, he chose to speak on Manipur in the Rajya Sabha, where BJP and NDA had a brute majority.


Howsoever nonchalant the Prime Minister be, Professor Bimol struck the right chord by invoking a comparison of Modi’s uncaring silence with the attitude of British colonialists then. A parallel drawn with the colonial attitude of the Indian establishment so far espoused by insurgent groups must have awakened Narendra Modi. But, his reply and speech in Rajya Sabha regarding Manipur turned out to be nothing but a routine bureaucratic report from the Home ministry.

ALSO READ: PM Modi’s speech reflects normalisation of abnormality: Bimol Akoijam

So much so, Professor Bimol’s midnight thunder in Lok Sabha became viral on social media and there were widespread salutations not only from Manipuris spread across the world but appreciation from neighbouring states of the Northeastern region so far neglected by the Indian mainland. The reactions were as if the Northeast had at last found a voice in the Indian parliament. While Manipuris congratulated themselves on voting and electing him as their representative in Lok Sabha, our neighbours in the Northeast also took upon themselves to own up Professor Bimol as their true representative.

In him, our neighbours found a commonality of identifying themselves and their neglected voice and angst. Reminding the House more than once about the plight of 60,000 displaced people in his state, Bimol Akoijam said the absence of Manipur in the President’s speech was a reminder of a sense of nationality that excludes people. The Indian state is a mute spectator to the violence and civil war like situation in Manipur, he said.


Tragedy is, when our neighbours in the Northeast chose to identify with Professor Bimol, Modi bhaktas here in Manipur chose to deride his speech. In doing so, they were trying to impress the general populace that Professor Bimol is neglecting the ‘core issues’ of the Manipur conflict as presented by the BJP leadership. In doing so, they had forgotten that their own MPs in the Indian parliament had totally failed the people of Manipur in the past and now also. Their repeated excuse of ministers not being allowed to take part in debates or not being given time do not hold ground. It is known fact that the esteemed member in Rajya Sabha and our titular King Leishemba Sanajaoba have chosen not to go beyond Zero Hour to stamp his participation in parliament.

So, their repeated insistence on criticizing Professor Bimol’s speech has landed them in a position alien to the Manipur people. Instead of our traditional neighbours in the NE states, the party BJP and their devoted nincompoops have chosen to side with the Indian establishment. In fact, they are envious of Professor Bimol’s performance. Not only in the Northeast, Professor Bimol had become the toast of every news channel in the country with his roaring performance.

(The views expressed are personal)


First published:


parliament sessionmanipur crisismodi's silenceAngomcha Bimol Akoijambimol speech

Narda Ningthouja

Narda Ningthouja

Imphal, Manipur


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