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The Anatomy of Manipur

By EMN Updated: Oct 13, 2015 10:02 pm

Complicated Manipur is getting even more complicated with the rising tempo of climate of intolerance. The possibilities of tranquility in Manipur seem far away now. The social divide is so wide. This fragile balance between the tribal people and the valley community has become a matter of great concern. Even the die-hard crusaders of Manipur territorial integrity are started talking now for the ‘peaceful parting’ of the hills and the valley.
The sketch of Manipur anatomy
In the top layer we find the Naga interest, the Meitei interest, the Kuki interest and the games of politicians. These four major interests are sandwiched by confused lots such as the Meitei Pangal (Manipuri Muslims), Nepalese, non-locals and tribal groups (who are neither clustered in the Naga group nor in the Kuki side).
Lower next, we have two strong opposing groups—valley interest and hill interest. Meitei Muslims, Nepalese in the valley, non-locals such as Biharis, Punjabis and Marwaris due to situation compulsion outwardly endorse the valley interest spearheaded by the majority Meitei community. Again, wthin this Meitei headed ‘alliance’ of the valley it is the Meitei verses non Meitei communities.
Regarding the hills, it is always the traditional rivals—Nagas and the Kukis—who are still engaging in the age-old ethnic rivalry. But we cannot see more unity between the Nagas and the Kukis when they have issues with the valley Meiteis.Meanwhile, for the Nagas, if the United Naga Council (UNC) declares its stand on certain issue we have certain Naga groups waiting to defy the directives of the former. Down to district level we have Naga militant outfits such as the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) and Manipur Naga Peoples Front (MNPF) with their diktats on the people.
For the Kukis, it’s the two umbrella underground organizations—Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples’ Front (UPF)—control ling the tribes under Chin-Kuki-Mizo banner, also known as CHIKIM. Over two dozen militant outfits are under the two umbrella bodies of KNO and UPF. Of the two, UPF has more understanding with the Nagas. Here, we are not mentioning the inter-tribal conflicts within the Chin-Kuki-Mizo or within the Nagas. The Meiteis are no better. The schedule caste Meiteis who confine in the fringes of the valley and the central Meiteis have difficult terms for over a century now.
It is all the more complicated in the times of elections. Political parties analyse the weakest joints of the ethnic communities and their politics for the political harvests.
It is also worth mentioning here that three ethnic groups—the Meiteis, the Nagas and the Kukis dominate Manipur. Of the three groups the last two belong to tribal community whose total area of territory (reserved) is 90%. The rest 10% of the area (valley) is dominated by the Meitei community.
In the 60-member Manipur legislative assembly 40 are non-tribals representing 10% of Manipur area and the remaining 20 MLAs are from the Naga and the Kuki communities representing 90% of the Manipur total area.
Meanwhile, the people feel that they can no longer walk in the labyrinth of this complexity.

By EMN Updated: Oct 13, 2015 10:02:33 pm