An open appeal to all stakeholders in Manipur
By Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit
Friends, Legislators, Parliamentarians, Religious Leaders, Tribal and Indigenous People’s Leaders, Traders, Business community, Casual Workers, Civil Society Organisations, Youth, Women, Students Organisations, Academicians, Activists of different disciplines and in different fields, those in military, para-military, police and security forces, public and Govt. servants, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, young people, children ....
My heart bleeds for Manipur.
Right from my childhood days, i.e. since the early fifties of the 20th Century, I’ve heard about Manipur and learned about your being hard working and industrious from my maternal grandmother. Later, I’ve read about your struggles, the 1826 Treaty of Yandaboo, the mosaic of ethnicities in the State, your contributions in different fields toward nation building and always pride myself through your adventurism and engagements studiously and painstakingly despite all odds and in the midst of strife, tension, conflict and violence very often resulting in loss of precious human lives, land, livelihood and the future looks bleak.
Most often, I’ve wondered as to when peace will come to Manipur and its peoples. I’ve asked myself many a time, will our concern and engagement in trying to build communities of peace in Manipur and elsewhere, bear fruit now and always ? Still, we have hope in the midst of turmoil. And it should be hope for all, peace for all, justice for all.
As one who comes to Manipur off and on and who had organised three peace building trainings here in Shillong for representatives of different ethnic groups and communities of Manipur, my appeal to you all is why don’t all of you sit together, exchange notes on differences that accentuate the prevailing situation and list out the commonalities which we have tried to bury under the carpet. Instead, please find solutions by first concretising on the commonalities and sort out the differences but to also learn to understand and respect the inherent differences which could be in the areas of belief, culture, customs, ethnicity, traditions and so on.
In the Indian canvas and polity, we are very microscopic and if we go on creating hurdles against each other and one another, to the extent of extermination, others will reap and enjoy the negative outcome of our not being able to reconcile with each other and with one another and which I need not spell out in detail this, my appeal to each one of you and to all of you. Most probably, you would know better.
As a first step, wouldn’t it be wise to reconsider lifting the bandh/ economic blockade that has been imposed already three weeks ? Then the next but most vital steps should be followed through.
Thank you for listening to me a non-Manipuri but 100 % tribal/indigenous person from the North East region and a friend of Manipur.
(Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)