Argument for the need of a separate Kuki state

Published on January 30, 2013

By Zalaithang Kuki

Introduction: Readers may find this article very childish. But innocent children always speak the truth.

There is famine of truth in Manipur and justice is far from us. Truth has become a scarce commodity in our state. The true history of the Kukis has been distorted, and their contributions to defend the territory of Manipur in the past days have been ignored and are christened with many undesirable names by some half-baked self-style writers.

It is a well-known historical fact that the kukis have bravely fought the mighty British empire during 1917-1919, which is famously known as “The Kuki Rebellion” or “The Great Kuki War of Independence” in many historical books of Manipur. Now the question is how foreigners can fight the mighty British empire? I am citing only one of many historical truths. There is ample evidence which can be quoted in support of Kukis past glorious history.

If Kukis are termed as foreigners in Manipur, then the entire communities residing in Manipur are also foreigners. Because nobody sprang up from the soil like mushrooms or like a fish from Loktak lake. Every community has originated from somewhere and settled here in Manipur.

This article will focus on contemporary attitude of the valley brethren towards the Kukis during the past 40 years since the attainment of statehood. In short, 40 years of negligence towards the Kukis in Manipur, which necessitates the demand for a separate state.

1. In our state, since the attainment of statehood in 1972, we hardly find any chief minister intentionally visiting the hill sub-divisions to freely mingle with the people and feel their grievances as leader of the state: except on some inauguration programs of big projects. But we all know that all subdivisions do not have mega projects.

Early this year, we came across an article in one daily newspaper using the term like “ZERO Ibobi, ZERO Kilometer” meaning the state chief minister and his cabinet ministers’ influence and development activities confine within the radius of 1 kilometre. This is unacceptable in many ways. Because any chief minister is chief minister of the whole state and should think for the whole state.

Majority of big projects meant for the whole development of Manipur are confined in Imphal area only. We need not mention it here. Everybody knows it.

So, if the prominent leaders of our state do not bother about what is happening in the hill areas, the question of having separate state or alternative arrangement is the only way for self-advancement.

Manipur will become a developed state when all the districts and sub-divisions are developed. But for our leaders development of Imphal area is development of Manipur. Since our leaders are not concerned about the development of hill areas, we need to look for a separate state for more development funds, for new leaders who can feel the pulse of the hill people.

2. We often use a term like “All Manipur” while forming student unions or any kind of social organizations when our operational and area of influence are confined to one specific area only; i.e valley.

Let us take the case of student union with the prefix or suffix All Manipur. As far as my understanding is concerned since its inception till date, we never came across any such student leaders visiting schools in hill area. As a student body of “All Manipur” the student leaders should not confine its activities within valley districts only but should conduct block level education campaign (both in hills and valley) for motivating students and conduct career counseling, etc. at least once in a year or once in two to three years.

Though we often use prefix word like “All Manipur” we never work for what our name stands for. We confine our activities only upto Lamlai in Ukhrul road, upto Sekmai in Senapati line, upto Pangei only in Saikhul road, upto Pallel in Moreh/Chandel line, upto New Keithelmanbi & Kangchup area in Tamenglong road and upto Moirang in Churandpur line. We do not want to go the extra mile.

Since a big student organization with ‘All Manipur’ prefix or suffix do not care for the hill people and work only for a particular community, the neglected group of people need to find alternative means for their own development and empowerment. Hence, the need for a separate state.

Same case with other social organizations and Meira Paibis etc.

If the valley brethren do not bother for the less developed community/hill people of Manipur and do not want to play the role of big brother, automatically the small brother will have to find other survival methods.

When you care only for your own development for the last 40 years, why the hue and cry when the neglected people constitutionally approach the central government for their grievances.

3. Many roads in hill areas have potholes but all the good roads in Imphal are repaired again and again. So, if our leaders do not think outside the box for grass-root development; if our leaders think locally and act locally; when the far-flung areas are neglected; then the questions of having self-governance within a separate state are bound to arise.

4. Whenever any hill people come to Imphal with shabby clothes for festival shopping, instead of guiding them properly, everyone (from the rickshaw puller to shop keepers) take advantage of their simplicity and befool them by charging double price of their normal rates.

This is a very common scene/drama that is taking place daily at the very nose of our honourable Khakhi wallas.

If justice is far from us and if we are cheated in our own capital by our own brothers, then it is not debatable for us to have separate state where we may be able to live a dignified life regardless of our status, dress, and behavior.

5. The root cause of hill tension in the early 1990’s was the imposition and collection taxes by some misguided Naga marauders led by NSCN-IM on the Kukis. When it was opposed by the Kukis saying “we have already paid house tax” to the government of Manipur, it led to the massacre of more than 900 innocent lives, uprooting of 367 villages rendering more than 50,000 people homeless. The government of Manipur and the valley people remained silent spectators. Some of our Meitei brethren, instead of playing the role of peace mediator, clapped their hands by saying “Ching da Yaosang Meithare.”

So, inspite of our loyalty to the government of Manipur, we are left defenseless. When the parents fail to protect, their children are bound to look for other options and this necessitates the need for a separate Kuki state.

6. In many of our Manipuri digital films, in order to tie the gaps between the hill-valley people, some of our prominent film producers and directors have made films focusing on our relationships. But the roles depicting Kukis are always presented in such a way that the audience may view the Kukis negatively. To cite some examples: the mad man in “Churanthaba” who play with his own dung, the CSW lady in MAMI film wearing Kuki’s traditional phanek. But CSW are found in every community.

These are some of my personal (in child’s perspective) view of the attitude of our valley brethren on the Kukis, who are less advanced than other communities in Manipur.

Though we often shout slogans like “CHING-TAM AMATANI” in our mouth but within our heart, it is just like a sounding brass. Shouting slogans at Imphal area only will not protect Manipur’s integrity.

Courtesy: Sangai Express (January 30, 2013) .

Note: There is minor editing from the original piece.

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