After Irom Sharmila’s humiliating defeat in the recently concluded Manipur Assembly Elections, where she got only 90 votes, social media was filled with concerned citizens and activists going berserk, talking about how poorly this defeat reflected upon the new political culture of India. The idealism and politics of Irom Sharmila was put on a pedestal to an extent that people sitting far away from the rough and tumble of Manipur’s politics saw themselves as capable of pronouncing judgement upon the morality of the people of Manipur.
What promise does this election have for the tribals of Manipur? Will there be a break to the current political impasse post-election? What does this election hold for the future of Manipur? These are pertinent question that remain to be ask in the light of the upcoming election in the state.
The current imbroglio in Manipur reflects the tension between conflicting ideas of various communities settling in Manipur. Some valley based civil societies as well as sections of the hill population have welcomed the government’s decision and reasserted their faith in the idea of Manipur. While sections of Naga civil societies have not minced their words regarding their commitment to the idea of Manipur…
In 1963, Kanhailal Heisnam had been expelled from the National School of Drama on for having taken leave without official permission. The real problem, according to scholars like Rustom Bharucha was Kanhailal’s inability to cope with the pressure of being expected to speak, write and work in English and especially in Hindi. These were languages that were unfamiliar and alien to him, just as he was alien in the space where he had arrived, albeit with much hope and optimism, as a student of theatre. Having been expelled, after a period of aimlessness, Kanhailal returned to Imphal finally in 1969 to begin his own work and established his theatre group Kalakshetra Manipur. However, unlike the far-more spectacular Ratan Thiyam, who even went on briefly to become the director of NSD in 1987-1988, Kanhailal remained for a long time on the margins of what was accepted and celebrated as ‘Manipuri ‘theatre practice at the nation’s centre.
The day was September 27, Tourism Day was to be observed at Mapao Zingsho village. The villagers were enthusiastic as the Chief Minister along with the Deputy Chief minister were to arrive at the village for the first time for the state level festival. Organizers had told that a crowd of at least 5000 could be expected.
Nobody would have any doubt whatsoever now that Sharmila is extraordinary. She has that madness in her that few are gifted with. By madness we of course do not mean insanity. Instead we mean in the sense that Zorba the Greek meant it when he said, “In life we need some madness, otherwise we will never have the courage to cut the rope and be free.” Sharmila’s decision to go on an indefinite hunger strike, her perseverance despite persuasions by many to end it, and now her decision to call it off and join politics, all say this loudly. This madness notwithstanding, let everybody be reminded nobody is infallible.
AFSPA, why don’t you go fuck yourself?
Don’t you have brothers?
Don’t you have commanders?
Don’t you have captain?
Why don’t you go fuck them all?
Why don’t you go Kill them all?
” Are you from Imphal?”
” Still you run for Irom Sharmila?”
The pictures speak of the brutality of the Delhi Police and Manipur Police. The scenes I saw at the hospitals were heart-rending. About 60 people are detained at Chanakyapuri Police Station. I was not allowed to meet the officials or arrested people, many of whom are injured.
Today the fertile valley of Manipur, home to the Meiteis, has been under a tremendous demographic changes wherein Meiteis face the ‘existential’ crisis. A fear-psychosis has been shared among the populace that Meiteis will become a minority in their own land as there is no regulatory mechanism to regulate the unabated migration from other parts of India. Thus to defend the population, there have been popular movements to monitor and regulate demographic changes and land tenure. The recent move to introduce Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) initiated in the valley spearheaded by Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) is one such assertion urging to protect the ‘indigenous’ people of Manipur, which ended up facing an unprecedented opposition from the highlanders. It was perceived as another move by the majority Meiteis to ‘encroach’ upon territory of the highlands which the Meiteis does not traditionally own, and are owned in a different manner by the highlanders, and delegitimising the citizenship of the highlanders. Till today nine dead bodies remain unburied in Churachandpur signifying the opposition and resistance.
“With which gun will you shoot me then? Made in India, or made in another
While state seems in no mood to repeal bloody AFSPA and continue oppression on people by killing dissident voices with impunity, people are bound to revolt. A continuous humiliation and torture of people living under AFSPA is just unbearable. This colonial rule and bloody thrust of power and resources must end.
Inner Line Permit – a line which produced the border between hill and valley of Manipur in the colonial times might result in reinforcing the already existing fissures. Deepak Naorem on ILP demand in Manipur