The CSOs in Manipur and the ghost behind them
By Kh. Ibomcha
More than clear that there exist sharp divisions among CSOs claiming to be representing the voice of Kanglei people communicating their yearnings for a more just society. The root of this very crisis that eventually precipitates fragmentation of public confidence in their own future can be traced back to the dissimilar and mutually exclusive views of spectral power players standing behind the CSOs, now mushrooming in Kangleipak.
This not only fragments the people of Kangleipak, particularly the valley dwellers, into disjoint parts, but also eroded their purpose of life and the role they’d play to ensure their continued existence as a people.
Historical experiences inform me to reason people’s fractured confidence in brighter future as a product of not only the dissimilar views, but also conflicting positions taken by the CSOs backed or not backed by shadow organizations as have been acknowledged by every Tom, Harry and Dick as commonplace knowledge.
What one can see here is how they turn the people away from the real point at issue making sarcastic conclusions disconnected to the premise often letting people take other issues for core issue. That’s why they’re busy selling mutually contradictory idea to the people signposting a number of wrong ways leading to nowhere, although they keep on making promises to the people for a better society to be brought about. It thus mutilates the meaning and purpose of life, or rather the Meitei collective purpose.
So we need to continue investing our time, efforts and resources to repair the mutilated Kanglei purpose of existence so that we can give an objective answer to the question, why we as a people are not moving anywhere despite huge efforts made to cross the wall standing before us beyond which lies the society we are longing for. In other words, we, the meiteis, are critically in need of thinking and acting as a people united in purpose to make a political wind of change blowing across the land.
This line of thought will certainly inform one an another aspect of reality that campaigning the idea of a Kangleipak accommodating aspirations of every group living there cannot be fructified until and unless Meitei as a people reconstructs a singular purpose of life as demanded by the time and space wherein they abide.
If the so-called CSOs and the shadow organizations behind them continue to think and act along the same old line tearing people’s consciousness about the purpose of being alive as perceived now, there is no good reason not for reading them as the key cause of the ever growing atrophy of the Meiteis as a group of people.
If you look a little closer around you, you will see how people’s confidence on these CSOs has been eroded. Day by day the erosion is getting worse and at a certain point people begin to take them as a clique clothed in false promises misleading people to serve their vested interest. As a result, we see a culture of hopelessness in Meitei society, as such, they are maintaining loud silence against injustices.
With the power behind the throne, these CSOs go all out to feed the people mutually contradictory ideas, making people’s already broken consciousness stranded on the cross road. Allegorically it is like a game where a number of power players in the avatar of CSOs try to grasp the people on their side to legitimize the knowledge they preach making precedence over other players.
It is between these forces that Meitei gets their consciousness about themselves fragmented, leading to losing confidence on a better Meitei destiny, progressive and more just, as promised by them. But the real tragedy is when they—the CSOs of conflicting ideological camp— in their civic space stealing war bifurcate the valley people into two opposing groups. One group, for instance, thinks and acts towards Nagas as brothers while the other group sees them as their enemy making the real enemy riding over both of them unseen.
Just take a look around you, the symptom of this condition within Meitei society manifests in multifaceted forms. This does not augur well for the emergence of a new society as wished by all. So the Kanglei CSOs and the unseen power behind them must stop being at each other’s throat and begin a new politics to refill people’s mind with unity of purpose, different from the one they're doing now.
What they need now is to live as a people united in purpose to make themselves able to be reborn as a group that can go transcending all limits stonewalling them. They must also be allowed to create a space to start dreaming again to rediscover the reality that they are the shapers of their destiny. Here Kanglei CSOs must play the role of being a signpost that shows people the road leading to their long cherished destiny, the Kanglei destiny.
Hope, the Kanglei CSOs or for that matter the shadow organizations behind them, see how their politics fragments people’s unity of purpose instead of giving new hopes to the people unlike the CSOs from the past, the Pan Manipuri Youth League for instance, did in the early part of 1970s. Therefore, in defining moment such as the present, there is a need to change our path, the path moving on which will lead to nowhere, but to our doomsday.
The most vital thing we need now is reconstruction of people’s confidence in their future so that they can dream of a better future. Once this is done, we can grow confidently and find a way that is leading to a united Kangleipak where both the hill people and valley people coexist peacefully. So, for a while, let’s stop worrying about what we call hill-valley dichotomy, but think about the rift now fragmenting the valley settlers.