The story started with, “in the time of Lord Krishna, there was no separate Arunachal Pradesh or Assam or Manipur. The entire Northeast was one entity. Now, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland are on the border of China. But Lord Krishna made them part of India during his time.”
On 28th of this month during the Madhavpur Fair held at Porbandar, Gujarat, the Chief Minister of Manipur, Nongthombam Biren unabashedly accepted the distorted lies about Manipur, its people and its history which has been long propagated by the Indian colonial discourse of dissolving Manipur in the Caste-Hindu fold forcefully. In an act of repeating the signing off of Manipur in 1949, Nongthombam Biren gave the above statements on the said day conflating facts with fiction, myths with history and thereby paving the way for Manipur’s fall and the loss of its identity. In 1949, Manipur lost its freedom and today we are on the brink of losing our identity. Nongthombam Biren sold our history to his seasonal mainland political party BJP and its allies for his political mileage, and there can be no less shameful and disdainful act than this.
It has been debunked time and again by eminent scholars that the Meiteis of Manipur are the sons and daughters of Arjuna, a fictional character from Hindu mythology, and has anything to do with the Aryan culture, language and literature as has been professed by some self-styled Sanskrit scholars during the last decades of 20th century.
On top it, CM Nongthombam Biren also said that despite the series of struggle against oppressive forces in Manipur in various platforms by the students, NGO’s and the Civil societies, Nongthombam Biren unmindfully ignored the sensibilities of the people of Manipur by claiming as such.
On 29th March 2018, during the Impact TV’s discussion programme of Manung Hutna, Bharatya Janata Party’s (BJP) spokesperson Chongtham Bijoy insisted that Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren might have said those things out of ‘courtesy’ and laughed the matter off. He responded that Biren was not stating facts but merely repeating the myths. Here, we would like to ask why should a Chief Minister repeat such lies which dissolve the history of the people of Manipur in a web of lies? Why should such lies be perpetrated that sinks our history while levitating the already dominant Hindu mythology? BJP’s spokesperson Chongtham Bijoy further said that what Nongthombam Biren said was in ‘good humour’ and that he was not presenting facts. He also mocked the people of Manipur for criticising the Chief Minister’s speech terming it as merely ‘fagi’ (Joke) and that those who are in shock are those who don’t understand the ‘fagi’, that what the Chief Minister expressed was said in a ‘lighter vein’. We would like to ask if our Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren is some sort of clown which was elected by the people for the amusement of the BJP masters in Delhi?
In another recent development, Good Friday, the Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary is being cancelled on the pretext of facilitating ‘the encashment of salaries for employees and for the financial year’s rush’ while a hurried corrigendum is being made on the CM’s Facebook account that it excludes all other officials except the ones in ‘treasury linked banks’. Out of all the public holidays, targeting a particular section of the community who follows the Christian faith by cancelling such a holiday is another ploy to show their power and submerge all the identities to the imagined ‘Hindu Nation’ of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
All these must be seen as a deliberate attempt from the part of the BJP government to do away the history and culture of the people of Manipur in the name of whatsoever the Chief Minister and the government deem appropriate. The Chief Minister must also remember that the people of Manipur are not some foolish stock of population that can be played and fooled with anytime by using the history, interest and aspiration of the people as a springboard to his political career. Here, it is with deep angst that we express our thoughts and feelings as to what the CM has come up with in his cheap political stunt.
We, the students from Manipur studying in various colleges and universities, in and outside Manipur, take the CM’s statement as an insult to the people of Manipur. The time and effort that we, the student community, take up in fulfilling our responsibility towards learning and serving our motherland and humanity at large is rendered useless if a responsible citizen like the Nongthongbam Biren could recklessly endorse such Hindu myths and lies at the cost of our own histories and identities to ‘humour’ the BJP and the people of India.
It is a serious demand to one of the most responsible senior citizens of Manipur from the youths of the next generation that you do leave us in a position where we have to explain ourselves to the coming generations why you compromised our identity and our history in a moment of obliviousness in the fashion of 1949.
The CM, for what his statement made in the aforementioned Fair, must apologize to the people of Manipur or else he should take the sole responsibility of jeopardizing Manipur and the future of all the indigenous communities of Manipur.
We stand united and we stand for Manipur!
Voice from the youths and students of:
1. University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
2. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
3. Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi
4. Ambedkar University, Delhi
5. University of Delhi, Delhi
6. Dhanamanjuri College of Arts, Imphal
7. Manipur University, Manipur
8. Santosh University, Ghaziabad
9. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
10. Punjab University, Punjab
11. Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
12. Lovely Professional University, Punjab
13. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
14. The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
15. West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu
16. IIT, Bombay.
17. Pondicherry University, Pondicherry.