When PM Modi mentioned Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan from the Red Fort of Delhi on 15 August 2016; I was amused since I knew Pakistani media and intelligentsia would go berserk. Indeed they were.
A thought strike my mind to enquire about the state Manipur. Frankly speaking Manipur is not of any interest to me. Like any other Indian, Manipur reminds me for all wrong reasons!
A quick cursory analysis between Pakistan and Manipur, I find that they are not only similar but exactly the same. As an Indian Bishnupriya Manipuri, the histories of both Pakistan and Manipur started rolling in front of my eyes. Like anyone, I can relate very well with both the blocks.
To my understanding and knowledge I see Manipur would suffer a lot in the coming decades, and the Meitei Hindu community would be at receiving end.
Let’s begin the comparison taking few of the factors.
What Punjabis muslims are for Pakistan, Meitei community is for Manipur. Pakistani Punjabis are dominant community in Pakistan. They hold the Army, institutionalized infrastructures, and they are part and parcel of Pakistani discourse. What we hear about Pakistan, it is actually from the Pakistani Punjabis. And the same thing is about Manipur, what we listen about the state, it is actually from the dominant, powerful, resourceful Meitei community. There is no doubt that the key of power is with them. The brilliance of this dominant community factor in both Pakistan and Manipur is that, the other communities are not in good terms. They hate the dominant community.
In Pakistan, the Sindhi, the Pashto, the Baluchi and other lesser-known communities hate the Punjabis for making Pakistan what it is today (they are demanding nation of their own). Same could be said about 30-odd hill tribes in Manipur. The Kuki, Nagas , Zomi and other hill tribes are asserting their demands effectively. The century-old relationship is falling apart. There is trust deficit. And here, we the lesser known community Bishnupriya Manipuri were sidelined long back by the unalloyed race of ‘Manipuri’. Here they have distanced us politically, socially, emotionally, psychologically and at every front that we both would have created the grand narrative of ‘Manipuri’.
Here comes another bone of contention, the land. With this land parameter, Manipur is congruent to Pakistan. The state of affair between the two geographies completely matches. The land sentiments in Balochistan is very deep, it is Pakistan’s largest province by area (44 %). The Balochi people don’t want their land be available to Pakistanis. A case in point, they are resisting CPEC. One can very well associate with their sentiments. Please recall, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about Balochistan in his speech on 15 August 2016. I support the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan. The Balochi people don’t have a narrative (read say) of their own in Pakistan.
Coming to Manipur, what we see, the same land sentiments: plains versus hills.
The role of religion is important to consider between these two land mass.
There are many exciting stories that we all know about the emergence of Pakistan as a country. Here is one of the strands of thought that is very different and not run-of-the-mill theories. And it came from none other than Senior Justice Javed Iqbal of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He said, ‘Hindus made Pakistan. We didn’t make it, we were incapable of doing it ’!
Still Pakistanis are struggling with the ‘idea of Pakistan’. Note it, Pakistan was the first country in the history of mankind formed on the basis of religion. The relationship between Islam and Pakistan is still that the Pakistanis have failed to come to terms yet. The ‘idea of Manipur’ will open a Pandora’s box!
What we see in Manipur, according to 2011 census, the population following Hinduism and Christianity are equal (almost). To give a blind eye towards the desert-based Christianity would be futile and dangerous. Christianity and Islam originated in desert and came to India, whereas Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism originated in the jungles of India. (I will discuss some other time the core difference between the jungle-based religion and desert-based religion. Please don’t say all religions are same. They are different with mutual respect.)
If one compare, in the race of population, the population following Christianity would supersedes those following Hinduism, the Meitei, in a decade or so. This will bring enormous change in the state Manipur that we see today. The situation would be similar to what Christianity brought to South Korea in the recent times! Lately, it has started showing. Korean entertainment has got a space in the state.
I don’t want to proceed further taking religion as a parameter in Manipur. The state is sitting on a silent bomb.
I would say, what is Islam for Pakistan, Christianity is for Manipur (one could observe this in the near future).
The terrorism business in both Pakistan and Manipur is open to everyone. The whole environment is perfect for terrorism Start-Up. It is a cottage industry.
Well, here I stop, there are many, I really mean many similarities between Pakistan and Manipur. I see the Manipur picture gloomy and sad.
An idea can change. And a wrong idea can bring devastation. And this is what happened to Pakistan. I feel sorry for those so-called Meitei intellectuals when I read them, they have more ‘intellect’. They sound similar to so-called Pakistani intelligentsia/ thought leaders. They know many stuff, but understand too little. The million dollar question is: what is the idea that would bring peace and prosperity in Manipur. Guess!
(I have a different take on Pakistan.)
A quick Google, I find nobody has opted this angle that the article tries to dissect Manipur’s similarity with Pakistan.