Leadership in contemporary Kuki society

Published on October 31, 2014

By Manglal Chongloi

There are innumerable instances and situational circumstances where leadership is being exercised in this contemporary world of Kuki society. A few of them which are prevalent in our society are discussed here. A society, in any way, cannot simply go without leaders. And it is because of leaders and proper exercise of leadership norms, any social setup could reach its predestined objectives. The Kuki society is also being run by many leaders under different names of civil, social, student, political and also underground organizations under different leaders and leadership norms with its own objectives.

Leadership, for many, to say in the present context of our society, is something from which honor, power and wealth is achieved, forgetting the cause of people’s development, unity and the tasks to be borne as a leader. In some organizations, leadership becomes a bond of contention, and thus becomes the causes of many problems. If I am not mistaken, the Kukis have too many leaders – social organizations, politics, undergrounds, religions, civils, students, chiefs, some of which at the same time are in frequent conflicts. It is one of the serious afflictions inflicting our society.

Concerning such unwanted afflictions, it is acceptably rational and imperative to have a united and strong organization with a unanimous single leadership in each area of social setup: education, economics, politics as well as underground and the more. It is worth wondering – the Kukis, speaking one language, having common history, culture, beliefs, and same political objective, being reigned and led by so many leaders and ideologies. With such differences, the Kuki leaders do things right on their own eyes alone, not heeding the counsels of their elders. It is extremely hard to survive within such confusing situation.

To quote one such instance of leadership autocracy in the Kuki society: on October 4, an article written by J Haokip entitled “Stubborn KSO-GHQ needs to stop justifying unjustifiable and wake up” which appeared in Eimi Times (a local newspaper in Manipur) strongly lambasted the KSO-GHQ for alleged “Manipur Government sponsored Seminar on Identity as agent of Social Integration.” The seminar was held on 25 September 2014 at Kuki Inn Imphal, which was opposed by many in the Kuki society as per Eimi Times editorial dated 27 September 2014. The KSO leaders may be right in their own eyes but were completely wrong as a representative of a larger community. As per general belief and opinion, leaders should act according to the wish of the people whom they represent, and not at their whims and fantasy.

The writing of J Haokip reveals the obstinacy and the supremacy of our leaders that despite opposition from many right thinking Kuki denizens, the KSO leaders went on hand in hand with the communal government (as per J Haokip) which systematically attempts to destroy the Kuki identity by holding the seminar. But leaders are not elected just to do anything they want to do; rather to protect, safeguard and strengthen the interest of the people for whom they are chosen. That is called good leadership.

Moving on to the next, we have leadership exercises in other fields of social, political and underground organizations. They are generally termed as the sailors of the nation boat on a wide ocean voyage, and amidst strong resistance and dangerous waves, where there is a possibility of sinking. However, many of our contemporary leaders are not as expected. They are rather money-minded and power-hungry instead of having a genuine concern for the Kuki nation. It is an open secret that most of the Kuki social, student, political, and underground leaders are becoming more than first class officers enjoying a luxurious life-style. Is this the norms of Kuki leadership?

Besides, the Kuki chiefs also do the same way, with little or no care for their subjects (villagers). The village/villagers development funds go in their pockets. They are no true leaders, having true spirit of leadership quality. Recently, the Manipur government was made to retreat from its stance of implementing the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) and Village Development Committee (VDC) system under the initiative of Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM). But those good works done for the protection of the Kuki society, the heartless will not stop their odd ways of selfishness. These types of newly borne leadership style, prevailing in our society rots the old-age spirit of good relationship between the chiefs and the villagers. These days, we see many villagers not happy with their chiefs/leaders.

Coming to our two giant underground organizations – KNO and UPF, with regard to the mode of organizational strength/weakness through which political demands are made, the divided weak spot leadership exercises undertaken by the two leaderships fervently need certain revisions and retrospections for regeneration and reformation of the Kuki nation in light of the few and disunited Kuki population which occupies a tiny geographical landscape with special reference to the urgent necessity of unity through which only the Kukis will attain their goal.

Same demand, same need and same destiny with so many leadership differences will not bring any meaningful result. These many ideological differences give birth to many types of underground organizations with many leaders and leadership exercises which is not good in the long run. We may be strong and powerful in our own eyes, but we are contemptuously mocked by outsiders, including the government of India. So, time has come to undo our weak leadership exercises and adopt and follow a single and strong leadership system so as to march towards achieving our political goal.

Our problem is not only a question of disunity but more importantly of a good and systematic single leadership norms of administration. Improper and multi-leadership exercises always led us down. The general public are also confused due to the existence of too many leaders. On seeing the nature and attitudes of our society, even if we are granted a state or independence, would we not be killing among ourselves in quest for leadership?

We know this contemporary world is a world of political race in which every nation has its own leaders to lead them where some have already reached afar off, but we the Kukis are still struggling halfway on issues, including the controversy surrounding Kuki and Thadou, tribes and clans; elders and youngers, etc.

What are we going to do? How far do we expect to go?

The writer is a lecturer at KT College, Kangpokpi, Manipur and can be reached at chongloimanglal@gmail.com.

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