ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Manipur and Mainstream Media

The clashes in Manipur over three controversial bills passed by the Manipur assembly last year extending the Inner Line Permit System have exposed not just the divisions within Manipuri society between the hill people and those living in the valley, but also the attitude of mainstream Indian media towards such conflicts in the North East. Instead of bringing out the historical underpinnings of the current conflict, the media has preferred to reduce the problem to a binary of two conflicting views.

Patterns of Ethnic Conflict in the North-East

Manipur in India's north-east has long been riven by conflicts among ethnic groups on issues of exclusivity, dominance and integration. Identities that shape conflict are not necessarily primordial but are a creation of political necessity and administrative convenience. In recent decades, as the Naga-Kuki conflicts and later between the Kukis and Paites demonstrate identity conflicts have been waged not merely on questions of land, immigration and settlement but also on the overweening fear of loss of identity itself.

Manipur: Assembly Election: Manifestation of Growing Crisis

The ambiguous election verdict is largely due to the lack of a proper political space which offers options in the exercise of adult franchise. Frequent changes of party loyalties, the near complete breakdown of governance and the mishandling of macro issues such as the ceasefire, the insurgency, the merger agreement and the creation of greater Nagaland have all prompted a growing cynicism in the political system.

Manipur : Assembly Election:Trends and Issues

Election-based adult franchise was introduced in Manipur as early as 1948. Yet political instability has been a persistent feature giving rise to increasing interference from the centre. This in turn has led, at least partly, to the politics of survival overwhelming all other relevant local issues today.

Ethnicity and Socio-Political Assertion

Assertion of ethnic identity and the accompanying political unrest is rooted often in fears among minority groups of losing their historical and culturally acquired identities. But such assertions may have several dimensions as seen in Manipur where for long several groups have agitated against the centre and state government's perceived neglect of their needs.

Manipur : How History Repeats Itself

As identities are mobilised to serve the political designs of vested interests, it seems obvious that the idea of a Naga 'nation' and a Manipuri 'nation' behind the 'national liberation'/ 'secessionist' movements in the region is seemingly at least, incompatible with the idea of the Indian 'nation state'. However there is a need to resolve whether the two conceptions, are themselves incompatible with one another. And it is the Indian 'nation state' will have to play the role, not of an enemy but of a powerful and probably benevolent mediator. Manipur, probably the last vestige of a real composite cultural and political character in the Indian subcontinent, should not in the interim become a sacrificial lamb for establishing the political legitimacy of the Indian 'nation state'.

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