Delhi, Oct. 18 2016 : People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur marked its 5th anniversary today by various chapters of the Campaign including at Delhi and Hyderabad. The occasion at Delhi was marked with a seminar on “Re-envisioning Politics: Interrogating the Idea of Manipur” in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The speakers were Dr. Jangkhomang Guite, Assistant Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Mr. Bidhan S Laishram, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Zakir Husain Delhi College, Delhi University.
The function was attended by students and professionals working in Delhi from Manipur and elsewhere. Dr. A. Bimol Akoijam, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU chaired the session.
Dr. Guite began by recalling the way in which history has always been used and appropriated to justify any present situation. Stating the need to critically evaluate any historical source, Dr. Guite warned against any attempt to project present entities or conditions onto the past. Talking about existing problems in Manipur as taking on the form of ‘madness’, he called for a need to introspect and find faults within ourselves first before blaming others.
Mr. Laishram began by recalling his personal memories which pointed at an organic relationship which had always existed between what is misleadingly termed as the ‘hill’ and ‘valley’ today. These two terms have gone beyond just being geographical divisions but evolved into being markers of identities, he said.
Mr. Laishram maintains that these terms have become hegemonic in the sense of being identified with one particular community, which is not the case. These become easy categories which are utilized for narrow political gains. He calls for a need to position the idea of ‘justice’ as the sovereign and work towards fulfilling the idea of “We” as a collective subject working for the common good.
Earlier, Babina Chabungbam welcoming the delegates gave a brief introduction to the Campaign, which started in 2011 as the ‘People’s Campaign for Assembly Election’ and renamed as ‘People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur’ in its first anniversary (2011).
The Campaign was started, she said, to bring about a change in the political culture and ethos in Manipur, particularly emphasizing the need for issue based elections. She noted that the Campaign was committed to bring about informed discourses on issues of public importance and to make public institutions and offices transparent and accountable, including the electoral processes.
Dr. Akoijam shared the action plans of the Campaign in the days to come, including setting up chapters of the Campaign amongst alumni of various educational institutions and localities. He also said that the Campaign has been seeking to involve people, particularly younger generation those who are between 18-35 years, in the Campaign and also to make people who are outside Manipur to have the facility of postal voting during election.