Why Manipur Is In The News?
Nowadays if you open any news channel or youtube chances are you will see something about Manipur and it is all bad news violence death arson ethnic violence Manipur is one of the eight states in Northeast India beautiful place but since May this year the scenes have been ugly two communities are locked in a conflict one is the Mayte Community the second is the Cookie now remember these two names because their history and their culture is key to understanding this conflicted.
A simple question first how old is Manipur the first record is from 3380 from a source called Baba it is not 100 reliable thought because this is a court Chronicle you could call it a mix between myths and History either way this Chronicle talks about Amethyst Kingdom in Manipur its ancestry goes back to this King Pakumba he is often called the dragon or serpent King his symbol is quite famous even today a snake with its tail its mouth
History Of Manipur
Every methane ruler descebded from pakumba or at that is the belief their religion was polytheistic meaning they worhiped more than one God but it was not Himduism most methods today are Hindus though but bak then they followed Sanam the Mathis were not alone during this time anoter Community shared the land the nagas now this community lived up in the hills of Manipur they were tribals and every now and then they would raid the meteor Kingdom this is where history becomes a bit fuzzy the Mathis claimed their kingdom was all encompassing the valley the hills all of it but the Nags disagree many of them say the hill tribes were always independent you can imagine how complex this question was Hills valley rulers and tribals but this equation was about to get a lot more complicated around the late 18th century the British arrived as usual they got down to business in 1762 Raja Jay Singh of Manipur signed a deal with them he needed British help to defend against Burma or as we call it today Myanmar the British has a Brain Wave what if they could bring new people into Manipur seetle them along the foothills this would have two objectives one it would defend against the Burmese invasion and two it would protect against the Naga so Manipur King did just that he resettled tribals from the Cooke Chin hills of Burma in Manipur and that completes the state’s demography the methes and the nagas and the cookies but the Burmese continued to invade Manipur and the cookies kept on coming in fact Burma occupied Manipur from 1819 to 1862 it is called the seven years of Devastation the ocupation ended after the first anglo-burmese war the British won decisively this meant both good news and bad the good news was the end of the Burmese occupation the bad news was the British replaced Burma Manipur became the British protectorate yes there was a king on the throne but everyone knew who was in charge nd years passed like this but in 1890 there was a palace School in Manipur so once again the British got their hands dirty the Anglo Manipur wasr broke out in 1891 the British won they installed Churachan the five year old is king now this was a very important moment in Manipur’s history the British Drew an imaginary line in the state the methe valley would be under the colonial government and the hills Beyond well they could not care less by this time the cookies had begun raids of their own to prevent this the British did what they do best they cracked down and this animosity reached a Tipping Point
In 1917 World War I had broken out the five-year-old boy King was now a Maharaja the British asked him for soldiers the nagas agreed but the cookies did not they launched a rebellion against the British they continued to fight for almost two years, in the end, the British Indian Army had to be called in the cookies were driven further into the forest and those events still influence Manipur’s demography the cookies make up around 28 of the state population but they live in the Hills which make up 90 percent of the State Area the Methi is formed 53 percent of the population but they live in the valley which is just 10 percent of the area and despite this relations were largely smooth like I said the cookies are brought in as protectors for the methane they hated the British but no the methe Royals take the last king bother Chandra Singh he traveled around with four kooky bodyguards independence should have made things better but successive governments failed to do very much in 1947.
Manipur acceded to India two years later it became a union territory around this time the Naga insurgency began Naga tribes in India were demanding a separate country the methods also took up arms they were already dreaming of the good old Royal days of reclaiming the Lost glory of the Manipur kingdom so now the methods were fighting o two fronts against the Indian government and against the naga insurgents soon the cookie set up their own insurgent groups they wanted cookie land now this is not supposed to be a separate county it is a new state within India that is what they want so you have three communities and three insurgencies and their loyalties well all of them hate each other even the tribal nagas and cookies in 1993 there was Major violence hundreds of people were killed and thousands uprooted it was insurgency versus insurgency unfortunately those wounds had not healed today the methes have two maor grievances one they feel thier culture and language is unde threat and two they feel their state demography is changing how because of illegal cookie migration from Mynamar the methodists say they feel besieged.
Solutions To The Manipur Crisis
So what is their solution they want to be declared a scheduled tribe the cookie are already scheduled tribed st way they want the same designation now which would give them quotas and colleges and government jobs the cookies say do not even think about it as he saw the methods were rulers they enjoyed political power so the cookies ask why and all of this brings us to the present day situation a state in crisis you can not blame one factor for the situation is is a combination of many medieval geopolitics colonialism geography all of it has contributed but so did our leadership successive governments have failed to mainstream the Northeast thus Insurgency is festered they also failed in long term ethnic reconciliation hence the repeated flare-ups so what can be done now?
The first order of business is to control the violence and then to build trust the central government has already convened an all-party meeting it is important because this issue needs broad consensus the ethnic rifts may appear too wide but it is moments like these that test our democracy and our Union.
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