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20 May 2013


The triangulation of communal politics in Manipur will always bring any two communities opposing any one community or vice versa creating a vicious circle with no permanent relationship in the process. Any issue, political or petty, significant or silly, will set this vicious circle of communal intolerance in motion but ironically, at one point in time or the other one among the communities would be found sleeping with the "enemy", much too often for comfort. As long as this triangular equation exists with opposing communal aspirations, nothing can be done without harming the interest of the other community. As in a geometrical triangle, change in the degree of one angle will always affect the degree of the remaining angles of the triangle. There is no room for any external agency to solve the dilemma. Not even the best political mind in Delhi can be of help. The aspiration of any single community resulting in the perceived favor or against the other community is an absolute truth that can be stated with mathematical accuracy.

How long will these major communities remain purposefully blind to the hopeless situation and continue to insist on the path to gain political mileages at the cost of their fellow communities? The solution to the enigmatic plight, if at all desired, lies largely in the hands of the communities themselves. Contrary to the popular believe, no external agent is going to fix this equation even if we raze the state down to ashes as the Taliban did to Afghanistan. Such realization did not materialize because the triangulation is not a perfect one. The imperfection in the triangulation is seen in the form of several associated advantages like geographical, population, administrative or even brute forces. The advantages associated with each community are exploited to the fullest and used as the bargaining chip to gain out of any given issue. This is how might comes to play leading to the emergence of the communal forces.

Slogans, bans, strikes and the likes in favor or against one community or the other are not doing us any good. While readily accepting India's democratic form of governance, it is amazing how soon we ignore the fact that in a democratic state our voices will be heard only through the election process. This legitimate form of protest is realized, probably, by one community who failed to gain much out of it mainly because of the intention to benefit in isolation. The truth is no community in isolation is going anywhere as long as the opposing pulls are not compromised. High time the people of Manipur irrespective of conflicting communal interests rise to the occasion and serve the interest of all. Unless of course we are hell bent on dooming our future, our children's future and their children's future for the sake of the preset mindless communal competition.

For so many years, governance is found wanting in many parts of the state. Be it law and order or development or administration, the presence or absence of a government does not make much difference leading to the general perceptions, suppose to be in favor of the government, shifting steadily towards social organizations and pressure groups championing the cause of a particular community. In a triangulated community, such trend is bound to result in impossible consequences. In due course of time the situation gets murkier and uglier. The pace further gets accentuated with the only external agent, the central government, interested only in playing carrot and stick in its effort to put a particular brand of government in power at any cost.

To dissipate the imbroglios, certain things should be undone. To begin with, a firm political will free of communal prejudices ensuring an equally advantaged society is of paramount necessity. The exploitation of communal strength can only be checked by balancing the strength of the communities, in other words empowering the weaker community. The establishment of equally capable communities automatically neutralized communal forces which tend to show up in its pursuit to exploit the weaknesses of the other. The associated advantages tilted towards a particular community should not be allowed to remain disadvantageous to the other communities. Introduction of alternative infrastructure equally accessible to all the communities should be used to eliminate the biased advantages. While introducing checks and balances, the mass must not be ignored. No matter how far flung or scatter the mass may be, they should be educated in the nitty-gritty of voicing their concerns in a democratic way while ensuring their rights to participate in the democratic process. Beside these indicative pointers, the presence of governance can be ensured in so many other ways. The only hiccup to bring in such positive changes is the political will to bring governance even to the remotest part of the state and end the imperfect communal triangle.
The author is Dr. P. Hangsing, Assistant Professor, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong – 703022.
Featured in the english daily "The Sangai Express" on the 28th May 2013

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