The Lion Roars!

Inner Manipur MP Akoijam Bimol Angomcha delivered his maiden speech in the Parliament with the right dose of emotions and his focussing on the 60,000 odd people staying in the relief camps brought in the sympathy from anyone who heard his speech.

ByRK Nimai

Updated 4 Jul 2024, 4:13 am


After Akoijam Bimol Angomcha was elected as the MP of the Inner Parliamentary Constituency, due to his skill in articulation people were expecting him to present the case of Manipur crisis before the Parliament. The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee also did its bit by a team consisting of the five MLAs that include the state president, the member of the CWC and the two MP elect called on the National party leadership to allow the MPs from Manipur to speak during the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the joint session of the Parliament on May 27. 

When people in Manipur got the information that Akoijam was listed as one of the speakers from the Congress party many waited for his speech. It was later confirmed that after the extension of the sitting hours till 10 pm people were expecting the speech within 9-10 pm. But that was not to be as it was further extended till 12 midnight and he was the last speaker.

Despite a move for a point of order where an MP from the ruling party spoke a little bit about the support to the state; nominating Mary Kom as an MP, establishing the National Sports University and his uncle who was a DIG in CRPF got injured in Manipur the speech was delivered without much interruption. If he had replied in a sentence that no construction of the NSU has been completed even after the passage of 10 years, it would have silenced the member who raised the point of order. But he refused to be distracted and focussed on his speech. 

Mary Kom had garnered glory for the state and the country in her sports for which all in Manipur respect her but as an MP her contribution is negligible with no work or speech for her to be remembered in posterity. One may observe that our MP delivered his speech with the right dose of emotions and his focussing on the 60,000 odd people staying in the relief camps brought in the sympathy from anyone who heard his speech. Though some may not be happy that there is no finger pointing into the cause of the crisis, it was perhaps done with a view to draw the attention of the Union Government that the priority is in creating a situation conducive for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs in their original place of residence, without which there can be no peace. It was made loud and clear that the failure is from the governments, which had failed to protect the lives, liberty and property of its citizens, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.


His statement of with the midnight approaching makes one recall Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny, but in so different situation; one where India is embarking on the process of making it a great country experimenting on the independence it had attained while in Manipur the attempt of the government is the effort to silence “The Tragedy of Manipur” that had never happened in the history of India as it was not included in the President’s Address. He had mentioned the real time difference between Delhi and Manipur making one realise that Manipur is watching his address even past midnight.

His statement that the non-inclusion of Manipur in the President’s Address is not a simple matter but “rashtra chetna”; an attempt to silence the tragedy where more than 60,000 people are living in wretched conditions in relief camps for more than a year hits the bull’s eye. He claimed that the situation in Manipur is no less than the situation that prevailed during the partition period, which is a part of modern Indian history.

And that civilians were armed to the teeth fighting each other to defend their villages resulting in a civil war like situation, with the Indian state a mute spectator. And this is happening in a state which is the most militarised state in the country, where the central forces outnumber the state police and how this is allowed to happened was questioned and he hinted that the PM is keeping silent and was also not mentioned in the Address, hinting that the whole tragedy is orchestrated. His claim that the silence is due to the colonial mindset despite India attaining independence and colonialism is the state of the mind will hopefully make thinkers of India revisit the policy towards the north east.

His reference to the contribution of the state through the sacrifices of personnel of the armed forces who had made supreme sacrifices and were awarded Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra and through cultural icons like Ratan Thiyam and Eigya Syam, and youth icons like Mary Kom, Sarita, Kunjarani and Mirabai not only of the state but for the entire country and if these people matter there would not have been silence. 

The continuity of the colonial mindset had led to the “othering” of the people of the north east as even after 75 years of independence the history of the north east is still to be included as a part of Indian history; thereby hinting that the people of the north east were treated step-motherly. If the north east was treated like other states, the silence would not have been there and that the silence of the PM in not opening his mouth on the issue resulted in the non- inclusion of the tragedy in the President’s Address. And in no other state, except in the north east, will such a crisis be allowed to fester for more than a year with any visible sign of containing it.

His snide remark that nobody like him could reach the temple of democracy that is the parliament, defeating a cabinet minister of the ruling party in the state speaks about the anger and anguish felt by the people of Manipur over the non action by the double engine government. His claim that the pain and anger in his voice is a representation of the pain and anger felt by those in the relief camps hits right on the heart. His final remark that he will keep quiet only when the Prime Minister opens his mouth and the nationalist party says that Manipur is a part of India only then he will accept what nationalism is in the part of the country. This is the feeling of most of the people in the state irrespective of caste or creed and he articulated well on the floor of the parliament representing the feelings of the step motherly treatment towards the state and its people.


During our time this is the most powerful speech ever delivered by an MP from Manipur, though in the past MPs like Rishang Keishing spoke against the passing of AFSPA and his concerns then have unfolded before our eyes. Other MPs had also participated in debates with flying colours but this is the first time that one of our MPs had pointed the finger directly at the Union Government on their failures because it treats the north east people differently and there is racism in governance in this great country.

His observation that British looked towards Indian from an anthropological angle is damn right and whether the British officers are trained anthropologists like TC Hudson, most attempted to write monographs of the various tribes of the country that makes them understand their traits making it easier to manipulate one against the other in what we call the “divide and rule” policy. This policy tends to continue towards the north east which is still looked upon as an anthropological paradise without really understanding the complex issues involved playing one community against the other.

An astute statesman can make the system undergo a sea change for the betterment of the north east region, which is unlikely in the current scheme of things. Bimol’s attempt to bring together the entire communities of the north east under a single roof is strategic as almost all the states in this region had had serious dissatisfaction and had experienced insurgency movements at one or the other time.

His speech was generally welcomed by the intelligentsia from the postings in the social media though there were a few sarcastic comments; the latter from die-hard fans of the party in power. And hardly anybody was concerned with such posts as they are in an abject minority.

The question now is what will be the reaction from the general public though preliminary feedback is mostly positive. For an academic who had devoted most of his time teaching and who is yet to be familiar with the political nuances one cannot expect finger pointing and the debate has to be at the cerebral level not the gutter level as most politicians are attuned with applause from their shouting brigades. His maiden speech is meaningful but the hundred million dollar question is will it make the government rethink and make changes in its policy or bury it as done in the past on many occasions?

(The views expressed are personal)


First published:


manipur congressparliament sessionmanipur crisisBimol Akoijammodi's silence

RK Nimai

RK Nimai

The author is a former bureaucrat, Imphal, Manipur


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