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PCRM Journal

PCRM Over the Years

Let us quickly look back at some of the things that the People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur has done in the last decade.

When we look back, there were two memorable things when the People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur was started: one, we kicked off as the People’s Campaign for Assembly Election 2012: Deciding Our Destiny and; two, we took an oath that we will intervene in three assembly elections. That was was 2012 and we have come a long way.

We are still committed and our aims remain the same. Among other things, our objectives are to fight against the private and vested interests that seek to undermine the basic fabric of a collective life in Manipur and bring about a new political culture wherein public morality and issues of public importance play significant role in our society and polity.

Let us quickly look back at some of the things that we have done in the last decade.

2012

The first thing we did was to form volunteers and chalk out our activities.

Two sets of Volunteers

  • Students and professionals from Manipur who are located outside the state (those who are 18 years and above)
  • Primarily the students and youths, and anybody who is willing to spare some time and energy for the campaign) in Manipur (anybody who is 18 years age and above)

    Activities
  • For the first set of volunteers (Students and professionals from Manipur who are located outside the state)
    Anybody who will be going home during the winter-break before the Elections (which is expected around February-March, 2012)
    (a) To contact a minimum of five (5) households in their own constituency and talk to the members of those households about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (b) To contact a minimum of (2) households related to her or him and talk to the members of those households about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (c) To contact at least 10 friends and talk to them about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (d) To call up and talk to a minimum of 20 people — friends and relatives not covered under the above (a), (b) and (c) — about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community
  • For the second set of volunteers (Primarily the students and youths, and anybody who is willing to spare some time and energy for the campaign in Manipur; anybody who is 18 years age and above)
    (a) To contact a minimum of five (5) households in their own constituency and talk to the members of those households about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (b) To contact a minimum of (2) households related to her or him and talk to the members of those households about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (c) To contact at least 10 friends and talk to them about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)
    (d) To call up and talk to a minimum of 20 people — friends and relatives not covered under the above (a), (b) and (c) — about the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community
    (e) Organize group meetings in their locality or local association/club and educational institutions on the issues in line with the Aims and Objective of this Facebook Community (campaign materials will be provided and distributed)

PCRM

2013

Resurgent Manipur Observes Second Anniversary

New Delhi: 18th October 2013: A round table “Towards a Resurgent Manipur: Reflections on the Challenges and Prospects” was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi to commemorate the second anniversary of the People’s Campaign for a Resurgent Manipur. A new website (resurgentmanipur.org) was also launched in the anniversary.

Noted journalist Kishalay Bhatacharjee chaired the event. In his opening remark, he stressed on the importance of technology and citizen participation in forming a healthy civil society. The new website, he said, will play a major role in creating a space for discussion and dissemination. He explained, “New social order and the internet are playing a major role in it, more than the stringent traditional media”.

Speaking on the anniversary, Dr G Amarjit Sharma of the Northeast India Studies Programme, JNU, spoke on the idea of Manipur, particularly on cultural and political ideas as one area that we must address for a resurgent Manipur. He questions the popular belief that arrival of Hinduism is a major factor which is driving a wedge between the hills and the valley. He argues that a rethinking on such issues as a part of idea of the Manipuri is needed to put in perspective some of the critical existing sociopolitical condition in the state.

Dr L Lam Khan Piang of JNU in his observation emphasized the need to address ‘common issues’ across different communities as a crucial starting point for imagining a new Manipur, besides addressing competing demands from different sections of the society. He also reminded the gathering that the issues and problems that we confront must be looked upon primarily as our own creation and we must look for the answers within ourselves rather than looking ‘outside’ for solution. He further reminded us of the abysmal infrastructure and the lack of governance beyond the towns.

The other speaker Dr Kamei Aphun, who teaches Sociology in Delhi University expressed the need for “conflict resolution should come through capacity building”. He also draws the attention of the gathering to the need to look at the way ‘history’ has been read or interpreted as one site which contributes to the conflicting situation in the state. He points out the dangers of ‘colonial writers’ take on the history and situation of the state which some tend to accept uncritically. He further insisted on the need for a “inter-community’ forums or exchanges to deal with some of the issues that confront the state. He also brings out the gaps in development issues between Manipur and other states, including from the Northeast as well as within Manipur. One critical issue that we fail is, according to him, the inability to accept the increasing social differentiation within the state and its impacts on the very nature of ‘solidarity’ in Manipur.

Earlier the programme started with a welcome address by Davison Kumam and a brief introduction to the history of the campaign that started on 18th October, 2011.

After the round table, Dr A Bimol Akoijam laid out the following aims and objectives of the Campaign as (i) fight against the private and vested interests that seek to undermine the basic fabric of a collective life in Manipur and (ii) bring about a new political culture wherein public morality and issues of public importance play significant role in our society and polity.

Correspondingly, he noted, the Campaign seeks to:
(i) cultivate a culture of dialogue and debates in order to generate informed opinions and choices on public issues and
(ii) make the political class, public institutions and leaders accountable to the citizens as individuals and as a collective.

And In pursuance of the above aims, the Campaign seeks to (i) encourage and cultivate the involvement of private citizens in the affairs of the collective, and (ii) engage and monitor the functioning of public offices and institutions as well as the ways in which public officials and elected representatives of the people respond to or address the issues of public importance.

He also shares that although the Campaign has been initiated by a group of citizens—mainly, professionals, students, youths — of and from Manipur who are concerned with the prevailing state of affairs in our beloved state and thereby seeking a change towards a new and better Manipur wherein the people—as collective and individuals—can live with dignity and well-being, those who have initiated the Campaign are only the facilitators and co-participants of a process for a resurgent Manipur. The Campaign is fundamentally all about self initiative and involvement of each and every citizen of Manipur to bring about a change in the affairs of our beloved state and thus, it is, and has to be, a Campaign of the citizens, for the citizens and by the citizens, he added.

He also explained the purpose of the new website is to encourage and cultivate the involvement of private citizens in creating informed public opinions of public issues as well to monitor public institutions and leaders. The hallmark of the site will be its attempt to provide a platform for the general public to share and monitor the government departments and activities of the assembly constituencies and MLAs

Later, Dr A Bimol Akoijam along with the president of the function, Kishalay Bhatacharjee, officially launch the website, resurgentmanipur.org. The anniversary was also marked in Imphal by members of the Campaign along with other civil society groups and concerned citizens.

2014

Third anniversary observation of People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur

October 18, 2014: The third anniversary of the People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur (PCRM) was observed on 18 October 2014. It may be recalled that the Campaign, then known as People’s Campaign for Assembly Election 2012’, was launched by concerned citizens of and from the state of Manipur in different parts of the world with a vow to bring about a positive change in the state of affairs in Manipur, starting with an effort to change the political culture and efforts to bring about an issue based electoral politics in the state.

The campaign, which was later on renamed in its first anniversary as ‘People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur’, was simultaneously launched in different parts of the country, amongst others, in Imphal, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Chennai on 18th October, 2011 by resolving to work for a new Manipur.

To shape a new political culture and bring about issue based electoral politics in the state, the Campaign marks 15 years as its timeline. Beginning with the Assembly Election of 2012, the Campaign seeks to intervene through public meetings, media and posters. In today’s observation, it has also endorsed the aims and objectives of the Campaign as well as those resolutions taken during the second anniversary and to further strengthen its network and monitoring of the events and developments in the state and offices, especially the elected representatives.

Keeping its twin objectives of shaping informed discourses on critical issues that confront Manipur and make the democratic process legitimate and vibrant, the decisions to upgrade and strengthen the website of the Campaign was also taken. It was also resolved that the Campaign would carry out its activities in a larger scale in the run up to the next Assembly Election than what was done at the time of 2012 Assembly Elections.

The third anniversary observation today was also marked by a Round Table on ‘Youth for a Resurgent Manipur’. Attended by old and new members of the Campaign, students and professionals based in Delhi, the deliberation was moderated by Dr. G. Amarjit Sharma and Dr. Kh. Bijoykumar, faculty members of JNU and three speakers representing the student community, Sunil Gangmei, Azad Babu and Usham Rojio, initiated the discussion.

The speakers put forward the issues of unemployment, deteriorating education system, ethnocentric conception of Manipur and consumerist, self-centered and individualist ethos amongst youths as some of the key concerns. Taking part in the deliberations, other members also expressed concern over the shrinking of arable land and tendency to seek private solution, one member citing the culture of private tuition as an example of that tendency.

Moderators of the deliberation, Dr. G. Amarjit Sharma raises the issue of what and who constitutes public voice while Dr. Kh. Bijoykumar talks about the movement of youths from rural to urban areas in search of government job by leaving aside the agrarian sector as issues that we must reflect.

2015

4th anniversary : People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur

New Delhi, 18 October 2015: People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur marked its 4th anniversary today with a talk on “Differentiated Group Rights/Aspirations: Problems and Prospects in Manipur” delivered by Prof. Samir Kumar Das of the University of Calcutta at New Delhi. The function was attended by students and professionals working in Delhi from Manipur and was chaired by Prof. Bhagat Oinam of the Centre for Philosophy, JNU.

Delivering his lecture, Prof. Das started with the idea of difference being a special form of diversity and how a right to cultural difference presupposes a ‘right to difference’ in the first place. Difference, he continued, is supposed to be negotiated and reconciled within civil society without the mediation of the state. Speaking for the need of a free and open atmosphere where civil society can exist and deliberate, Prof. Das identified certain pitfalls which afflicts civil society in a state like Manipur today.

Although supposed to transcend the fault lines of community, Prof. Das said civil societies today are afflicted and aligned along ethnic ties. There is also, he continued, a tendency to conflate ‘strategic alliances’ between different groups as ‘civil societies’ which may not last. Further, he highlighted the need to guard against civil societies turning into ‘para-states’ and enforcing a particular morality over the entire society.

Referring to the issue of federal polity and group differentiated rights, he insisted that ‘sovereignty’ is ‘indestructible’ and ‘cannot be shared’. Elaborating on the issue and referring to the multitude of ‘homeland demands’ and different forms of autonomy, Prof. Das says that the hitherto solutions to continuing problems are premised upon a notion of ‘partition’, which may not necessarily work or which may not be in the best interests of the people. Rather, he insists, a condition for dialogue must be created by removing ‘hegemonic’ control conditions such as represented by the imposition of AFSPA.

Prof. Bhagat Oinam, in his presidential remark, endorses the idea that ‘civil society’ must be questioned for the lack of its ‘civic’ or ‘civility’ in Manipur and cited some troubling aspects of recent acts by ‘civil society’ in Manipur that forces some decisions to be taken without adequate deliberations.

Earlier, Mr Th. Wangam welcomed the delegates and Dr. Shanta Laishram gave a brief introduction to the Campaign, which started in 2011 as the ‘People’s Campaign for Assembly Election’ to bring about a change in the political culture and ethos in the state of Manipur, particularly emphasizing the need for ‘issue based elections’.

He noted that the Campaign was renamed as ‘People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur’ in its first anniversary (2012) and committed to carry out a Campaign 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. A. Bimol Akoijam, a key member who started the Campaign, shared the action plans of the Campaign in the days to come, including preparing ‘report card’ of elected representatives and different views on issues of public importance so that people can form their informed opinions on those issues.

He also siad 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 the state of Manipur to have the facility of postal voting during election.

2016

5th anniversary of People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur

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.

2017

Use NOTA if not satisfied : PCRM

Imphal, March 02 2017 (Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur has appealed to the public to cast their vote and opt for NOTA if they are not satisfied with any of the candidates.

A press release issued by PCRM today stated that change cannot be brought by remaining silent and the people need to exercise their voting rights to eliminate the risk of opportunistic candidates or parties getting elected to power.

It further appealed to the people to cast their votes for NOTA if they think that the candidate or the political parties are insincere and unworthy of their vote.

The electorate should choose candidates based on their views regarding public importance and what they did or intend to do for those issues.

Not raising the voice of rejection against unworthy candidates and political parties would encourage decadence in the society and let the self seeking individuals into public offices, it added urging the people exercise their right to reject.

2018

‘Community life shouldn’t be compromised for development sake’
— PCRM observes eighth anniversary


IMPHAL | Oct 18 (Courtesy: Imphal Free Press) In connection with the eighth anniversary of People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur (PCRM), a panel discussion on ‘Forms of Belonging and Solidarity: Reflection on Community Life of Leikai/ Khun’ was held today at Sinam Shyama Town hall, Chingmeirong here today.

The panel deliberated upon the downgrading of community life – the sense of belonging, sharing and solidarity at local and village levels in Manipur as fallout of rapid urbanisation and development.

During the discussion, Irina Ningthoujam, assistant professor of Miozoram university said that existence of local level organisation like ‘Singlup’ not only has the potential of preserving the locality as collective and generate social capital, but can also be a crucial agent of better urban service delivery in a transparent and accountable manner.

Bringing out the role of globalisation and modern economic life in the downgrading of community based traditional institutions, Chinglen Meisnam of Manipur university emphasised on the need to strengthen institutions like ‘Singlup’ by aligning it with state cultural policy.

Moderator of the session, cultural activist Ningthoujam Lancha stressed that community life should not be compromised for developmental pace. He observed that reciprocity among people in a locality cease to exist in the modern Manipuri society.

“Here lies the responsibility of traditional institutions like ‘Singlup’ to bring the people together. We should also deliberate on whether we can start a new system by combining modern concept and traditional values so that our community life is not lost in development”, he said.

Lancha, in his concluding remarks, suggested that a new form of joint help as in the case of ‘Singlup’ may be started where dying, bed ridden or hospitalised people are given assistance, instead of the help extended by locals only in performing rituals of the dead.

While pointing out that Chingmeirong locality has been putting efforts to sustain its community life through ‘Singlup’, environmentalist Ramanand Wangkheirakpam elaborated the ways in which traditional institutions like ‘Singlup’ can be re-invented to serve various interests of our community life.

In the meantime, a PCRM release informed that it has decided to pursue the issue as a part of its larger campaign for a resurgent Manipur.

Its aims to fight against the private and vested interests that seek to undermine the basic fabric of a collective life in Manipur and bring about a new political culture wherein public morality and issues of public importance play significant role in the society and polity, said the release.

Correspondingly, the campaign seeks to cultivate a culture of dialogue and debate in order to generate informed opinions and choices on public issues and make the political class, public institutions and leaders accountable to the citizens as individuals and as a collective, it added.

Today’s panellists included assistant professor, Mizoram University, Irina Ningthoujam senior assistant professor, Manipur University, Chinglen Meisnam and founder of Indigenous Perspectives and secretary of Chingmeirong Singlup, Ramanand Wangkheirakpam, while filmmaker and cultural activist, Lancha Ningthouja moderated the session.

PCRM was launched on October 18, 2011 by a group of citizens concerned with the prevailing state of affairs in the state and seeking a change towards a new and better Manipur.

2020

PCRM commemorates 9th anniversary with discussion on “Indo-Naga Peace Talks and India’s Northeast: Identities, Aspirations and Way Forward”

People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur-9th Edition
A screenshot of the online panel discussion

The People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur (PCRM) commemorated its 9th anniversary today with an online panel discussion on “Indo-Naga Peace Talks and India’s Northeast: Identities, Aspirations and Way Forward.”

The panellists include Sanjoy Hazarika, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), New Delhi); Vikas Kumar, Faculty, AzimPremji University, Bengaluru; Subir Bhaumik, Editorial Director, The Eastern Link; and Pradip Phanjoubam, Editor, FPSJ Review, Imphal. They were joined by Bano Haralu, journalist and Xavier P Mao, professor, NEHU as commentators. Rupachandra Yumnam, the editor-in-chief of Impact TV moderated the discussion.

As in the previous occasions, in pursuance of its aims and objectives, PCRM marked its 9th Anniversary by looking at a critical issue that we confront: Identity based aspirations in India’s Northeast. Since its inception in mid-twentieth century, the postcolonial Indian State has been facing the challenge of dealing with the aspirations of its variegated population. By adopting multicultural political ethos and other institutional mechanisms, the Indian State seeks to address some of these aspirations. To some extent, such an attempt has been successful in addressing the aspirations. However, those associated with nationalist varieties have remained unresolved. This is particularly true in the case of those nationalist assertions in India’s Northeast.

Undoubtedly, the Naga nationalist assertion is a salient one amongst those aspirations. In fact, it is a phenomenon that predates the birth of the republic itself. The issue has led to one of the bloodiest armed confrontations for decades since mid-twentieth century. Many attempts in the past to resolve the issue have not succeeded so far. The latest attempt to bring an amicable solution to the Naga issue is the ongoing negotiation between the Government of India and the Naga nationalist representatives since 1997 to date. This effort has been marked by contentious issues, particularly those which come from the competing aspirations of peoples in India’s Northeast and those emanating from the imperatives of the Indian State as well as the political interests of its ruling class.

An e-clipping of the press release published by The Sangai Express

The programme started with Babina Chabungbam welcoming the participants and Dr. Shanta Laishram gave an overview of the People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur.

Sanjoy Hazarika noted that as far as Indian state is concerned, the peace-talks are part of the nation building process. But there is a need for dialogue and to take people on board. Dr. Vikash talks of the general orientation towards the region of the Indian State and how it has changed from the Congress dominated period to BJP/RSS dispensation. Subir Bhaumik asserted the need for looking into the Naga issue as a political problem rather than a military or socio-economic issue. He also pointed out the need to be transparent while talking about peace.While deliberating on the issue, Pradip Phanjoubam emphasised on the evolution of the idea of nation-state and how it is important to locate the problem in the present-day India. He also noted the need for valley people/CSO to rethink their positions on the aspirations of the people in the hills.

As commentators, Bano Haralu spoke on the need for a space for dialogue and how certain political facts are detrimental to the entire conflict-resolution process, while Prof Xavier P Mao spoke on, among others, the dangers of being in a religious and monolithic state.

After the moderator Rupachandra gave his concluding remark, the programme ended with vote of thanks by Kapil Arambam.

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