59. Current Affairs January First week 2012 Unit one

What is happening in Manipur?

The Meitis, the Kukis and the Nagas

Iron Sharmila Chanu on fast for the past 11 years

Total absence of development in the region.

CM Obibi virtually defunct

Repressive Armed Forces special Powers Act

Drugs and weapons from Myanmar flow in freely

Culture of Manipur

17 thoughts on “59. Current Affairs January First week 2012 Unit one

  1. 1.Blockade of Manipur

    India’s southern most North Eastern state, Manipur was till recently in the midst of a blockade which lasted for more than a hundred days. Life became very difficult since fuel, medicines etc., stopped reaching Manipur (capital: Imphal) and there was intense suffering.

    Government headed by the Chief Minister Ibobi was indifferent or half hearted while black marketers made hay. The Common man suffered.

    1. There is no denying that Manipur is in the state of anarchy and crisis. And worst of all, it is not new. It has been around for years, and now people are getting used to it. All these unfortunate state of affairs stems from weak and corrupted government, disproportionate number of militant groups (more than 30 militant groups in a state of only 25 lakh population), and the step-motherly treatment meted out to Manipur by the Center. Why could not the Center lift the highway blockade imposed for more than 3 months by some students unions when the people in the other state were dying and starving because of the blockade of their lifeline? Couldn’t the Center provide security forces to ensure that the goods-laden trucks reach Manipur safely, or couldn’t they use paramilitary or state force to crush a tiny warring students union? Because of this negligence and step motherly treatment, today Manipur is on the verge of collapse. It is a lawless state today where human rights are found only in the political science book. Today, there are more than 30 insurgent groups in Manipur. Except for the few leaders of these groups, there is no any ideological commitment among the militants. They are just extortion groups running extortion racket to support both their families and activities. In Manipur, every government employee is paying to these insurgent groups for survival. And the mode of payment is very systematic; the contribution is deducted just like income tax deduction. No one is spared, including Chief Minister and DGP. Only the governor and the chief secretariat are exempted from this. The insurgents reach their hand everywhere: politics, administration, recruitment, and so on. They are the real watchdog of the state. It may sound exaggerated but it is true. A schoolteacher who wants to take one-month medical leave writes application to the militant, not to the school principal. Imagine how awkward it sounds. Most students unions, such as AMSU, DESAM, are the overt group of the militants. There is a nexus between militants and ministers. Unlike NSCN(IM), table discussion is not possible with these militants because they don’t have any constitution for sovereign Manipur; they know only how to threaten people and pull trigger. The militants have equal share in any government contracts and recruitments. Monies come from extortion are siphoned to their leaders who stay in foreign countries enjoying foreign locales and luxuries; they are least bothered by what is happening at home.

      Regarding the recent 100-day plus economic blockade, the state government and Center’s inability to suppress the crisis was rather ridiculous than disappointing. Actually the state government was in the state of dilemma, and they did not want to make any decision that will make one side happy and the other side unhappy before the state general election, which is going to be conducted on January 28. The rather funny part of the economic blockade story was that the Kukis blocked both National Highways 39 and 54 demanding a separate district for them. Once the Ibobi Singh government hinted to give green signal of their demand, the Nagas would block both the highways in against of this. So, either way, we the civilians were trapped. Please remember that in 2010 also there was a similar 2-month-long economic blockade in Manipur. Since Manipur is an agrarian society, we can survive all the economic blockades. Muivah, the leader of proscribed NSCN, had orchestrated the 1992 communal riots between Nagas and Kukis in Manipur, in which more than 900 Kukis were killed and above 1 lakh rendered homeless. I was very young then, but I can’t forget the tears-rolling picture of those helpless brothers, sisters, and mothers who went door to door begging for food and clothes with those heartbreaking stories. Muivah should be dragged to court for genocide. Please remember that in 2010, all schools and colleges were closed in Manipur for more than 4 months. Can you imagine this in other Indian states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Punjab?

      Regarding the coming election—Congress will continue its reign and the incompetent Ibobi Singh will remain the chief minister; however, the woes of common people will remain. There is no respite.

      Despite having above 60% educated people, unemployment poses an easy target to desperate and employed youths for these insurgent groups. The Indian government should not delay anymore to revive its erstwhile desperate efforts of bringing Manipur into mainstream India, this time in building economy and maintaining peace before it collapses. Manipuris were and are poor people, but we did not starve. It may be the only state in India where you will not see beggars on streets and markets. But if the government can’t give jobs and infrastructures to meet the requirement of the growing population, youth will not have any other options, but to indulge in criminal activities. The crime rates have increased in the recent times. The government should do something for those jobless graduates in every household. The Center should start by removing the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 first, the mother of all ills, lawlessness, and problems in Manipur, the very Act that killed many innocent people, the very Act that deprives human rights, and the very Act that deprives the family of the deceased to seek justice in the court for the dear departed.

  2. 2.Why Blockade

    The majority of the population of Manipur belong to the Meiti Tribe. The blockade was the result of a dispute over Manipur’s Senapati district. The southern part of this district , known as the Sadar Hills is dominated by the Kuki tribe. The Kukis demanded that the Sadar Hills be given formal status as a revenue district. This was a long pending demand . In August 2011 the Kukis’ blocked Manipur’s 2 arterial routes – National Highway 39 which connects Imphal to Nagaland and NH 53 which connects Imphal to Assam.

  3. 3. The Naga Response

    In protest, the Nagas who inhabit the northern part of Senapati district began their blockade further up on Highway 39. They say that historically Sadar Hills was a Naga area, from which they have been forced out years ago and any decision on its status needs their go ahead.

  4. 4. Government’s response

    After almost 3 months, the government partially agreed to the Kuki demand and the Kukis withdrew their blockade on both highways.

    This has made the Nagas only more determined in their blockade of NH 39 which is the main supply line into the Imphal valley, the most densely populated region of Manipur.

  5. 5. Anger of the people over the AFSPA

    Manipur has long been suffering under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). This Act gives the armed forces draconian powers and was imposed to curb the revolt of the Nagas. There has been agitation in Manipur for the repeal of this Act. The most impressive of these protests has been that of Irom Sharmila Chanu who has been on fast for the past 11 years. She is in prison and is being force fed through her nose. Indeed Manipur is one among those facing the worst World’s Human Rights violations . in 2008, 485 people were killed.

  6. 6. Anarchy in Manipur

    There are 34 militant outfits in the State. Members of these outfts move about with guns and openly extort money and even give receipts!

  7. 7. Manipur a border State

    Manipur has a border with the Kachin and Shan states of Myanmar (Burma) where the law of he jungle prevails. Drugs and weapons ae freely traded.

  8. 8.Need for Development

    With just nine districts, it is high time that Chief Minister Obibi starts governing and gets rid of the goons who plague Manipur. While the rest of he country is on the development road, Manipur is in a regressive road.

  9. 9. Culture of Manipur

    Walled on all sides by ranges of hills with poor infrastructures for development so far as overall development is concerned, this little part of the globe-Manipur has been identifying itself to the people living in India as well as abroad through its rich arts and culture. Love of art and beauty is inherent in the people and it is difficult to find a Manipuri girl who cannot sing or dance. Much has been written on the Manipuri dance, on its lyrical beauty and rhythm.

  10. 10. Dance forms: Manipur is famous for dances. Important forms: Khamba Toibi, Pung Cholom, Maibi dance, Nupa Pala and Ras Lila

    The Ras lila, the epitome of Manipuri classical dance is inter-woven through the celestial and eternal love of Radha and Krishna as has been described in the Hindu scriptures and reveals the sublime and transcendental love of Krishna and Radha and the Gopies’ devotion to the Lord. It is generally performed in an enclosure in front of the temple throughout the night and watched with a deep sense of devotion. Ras performances are seasonal and varied and performed at the temple of Shree Shree Govindajee in Imphal on the nights of Basanta Purnima, Sarada Purnima and Kartik Purnima and at local temples later. As to the composition, the performance is a combination of solo, duet and group dances. This highly stylised form of dance has sublimity, subtlety and grace. The richness of the costumes gives lustre to the beauty of the art.

  11. 11. Manipuri school of Dancing

    Manipur presents a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns. Particularly, it is world famous for the Manipuri style of classical dance, very much distinct from other Indian dance forms. The Manipuri school of dancing whether folk, classical or modern, is devotional in nature.

  12. 12. Tribal dances
    The folk dances of tribal people captivate the beholders with their exotic costumes and simple but graceful rhythm. Their folklore is quite rich in quality. The dances of the tribal people are both ritualistic and recreational, religious and temporal. The ritual dances are performed at a particular rite or ceremony or sacrifice and these dances naturally have a spiritual and religious basis.
    The dances of the tribal people have a high artistic and aesthetic value. The folk dances of tribal people captivate the beholders with their exotic costumes and simple but graceful rhythm. Their folklore is quite rich in quality. The dances of the tribal people are both ritualistic and recreational, religious and temporal. The ritual dances are performed at a particular rite or ceremony or sacrifice and these dances naturally have a spiritual and religious basis. The dances of the tribal people have a high artistic and aesthetic value.

  13. 13. Manipuri fabrics and handicrafts
    The rich culture and tradition of the Manipuris are also depicted in their handloom clothes and handicrafts. The Manipuri handloom and handicraft are world famous for its craftsmanship as well as ingenuity, colourful, colourfulness and usefulness.
    The people are artistic and creative in their thinking and outlook. The creativeness in their habit and tradition has found expression in the designing of handloom and handicrafts products. The handloom products are as varied and colourful as the individual needs and tastes. Bed sheets and covers, colourful tribal shawls curtains and screens, sarees and gowns of Manipur find markets throughout India and abroad. Their handloom and handicraft products sold by ladies in Khwairamband bazar, the largest women’s market in the country, are favourite pieces of souvenirs for the visiting tourists.

  14. 14. The colourful tribesmen are the dwellers of the blue mountains which surround the green and fertile valley in the centre. Each of these tribes has their own distinct culture and tradition which find expression in their dance, music, dress, customary practices and pastimes. A tribesman represents a tradition, a way of life , a cultural heritage and love for life and beauty. The culture of tribesmen, their love and need for leisure and creation find eloquent expression in their various dances and music. Dance and music have been part and parcel of tribal life. They are very simple and their way of life is gay

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