A SELF-RELIANT ECONOMY
Hunters and gatherers society is marked by a subsistence economy; it doesn’t have surplus. But even these proud people; they don’t beg. Manipur was an independent kingdom for centuries. A Kingdom is formed through economic surplus; its economy is marked by self-sufficiency. How did Manipur, a kingdom, slide from an economically self-sufficient civilisation to a “special category state” in the so-called federation of India?
“Development is Freedom,” and Freedom is economic self-sufficiency, its economic sovereignty, at the individual level as well as at the societal level. There is nothing “special” about a political economy that perpetuates a narrative of dependency. It’s time that Manipur finds its rightful footings. It’s time that we destroy this myth that Manipur should beg New Delhi for its survival.
We will strive to formulate ecologically sustainable agricultural initiatives for mass production, and commercial export. Build solar-powered cold storages in strategic locations, all across the state, to preserve agricultural products for a self-sufficient primary food supply chain. Infrastructure construction and maintenance currently being exclusively outsourced from Public Work Department (PWD) to private contractors (Thikadars) and private companies will be minimized in phases. Mobilizing civil armed forces (part of the current 28,000 state armed forces) to engage in civilian infrastructure constructions. Formalize in-land trade and commerce with Myanmar, Thailand, and other South East Asian countries. Enact laws/policies to promote industrial production and export of Manipur’s indigenous products.
A corrupt ecosystem will do a natural selection of corrupt leaders. By the time they rise to the top, “leaders” had already navigated through a web of unethical maneuverings. The top players who survived are, thus, experts in gamesmanship and twisted trading. The foundation of power is an alliance of corruption. Without corruption, the pyramid crumbles. Without a network of corrupt proppings, the floors collapse.
Enduring change is possible only by awakening and empowering individual units of society, the peoples, and creating fresh alliances. Without such basic infrastructure as the critical mass, any movement that challenges the institutions too much too soon will face stiff resistance, even from within. The real source of power lies with the people not with the institutions or the formal authorities. So, we believe in speaking to the people!
We will create a powerful Anti-Corruption Instruments and give more powers to local bodies such leikai clubs, youth club, women’s groups, and other hereditary or elected institutions such as Chieftainship and Autonomous District Councils among tribals, rural Panchayati Raj, municipality Councils, Ward Development Committees, etc. to implement and monitor Local Area Development Funds (LADFs). As well as we will create an oversight non-partisan watchdogs to monitor all government employment recruitment. Allowing all citizens will have direct access to all govt. expenditures without going through the Right To Information (RTI) route.
When “education” becomes a mere ticket to privilege, we see a programmed privileged class that barely understands the very concept of “privilege.” As they climb the ladder, they spit down and expect the ones at the bottom to be collateral damages. In their clueless bhakti, they unwittingly follow distorted logic and sing sagas of “for the greater good.” They don’t understand that their “inconvenience” means “life and death” for some; their “temporary” means the “here and now” for many.
Privilege, my friend, should come with a pledge to pave the road wider for those behind you. What kind of education, what sort of erroneous dharmashastra, falsely teaches to slam the door behind once you’re through it? Such distorted Bhakti, and regressive thinking threatens to destroy our community; and that’s precisely why the times compel one to break the silence and do something.
Education is a privilege, and it means service to those less privileged, and repaying the debt of gratitude one owes to society at large, especially the ones at the bottom who prop up the pyramid. Universities and schools exist precisely to serve those who couldn’t attend it. The endeavors of politics, strictly speaking, also are one and the same. We will urgently introduction of mobile literacy centres for destitute children in locations where there is no learning opportunity in the form of formal schools. We will introduce vocational and skill development training as mandatory at secondary learning. Initiate Student volunteering program. Incentivize government employees to enroll their children or wards in government educational institutions.
Renovate and extend health infrastructure. Implement strict monitoring mechanism to improve health access in all districts. Government doctors will be strictly barred from working in private clinics. Private hospitals or clinics indulging in malpractices will be shut down.
JUSTICE & PEACE BUILDING
Our Manipur has enough patriots in silence, or silenced. What we need is an explosion of a revolutionary spirit. A non-violent revolution of moral courage, that is. The spine to stand tall and cower not. An awakened political consciousness.
Manipur, where silence can be bought, dissents can be cheaply appeased, oppressive agents can be fostered, resistance can be corrupted, cynicism and apathy can be manufactured, fear can be inspired, and life extinguished.
When everything comes with a price tag, even patriots can be pawned. Division and hatred injected, history appropriated, and blood amputated from blood. Brothers pitted against brothers. Welcome to the jungle. Slavishness can be erected, and strengthened. Trickle down beggary propping this pyramid of vice. Livelihood, and “middle-class dreams” can force these patriots to discard, condemn, and abandon legacies; breaking one into adaptation, leaving nothing but empty excuses of survivalism. The loss is big, but the result is a triumphant domestication of self-hatred. Patriots who sing songs of “territorial integrity” are often seen pawning their own sovereign possessions to feed the wolves who promise to leave the bones, after they devour their fill of the meat. Licking those bones, one gets used to a world of debauchery, and fictitious love of the land.
What then? A revolutionary spirit; an intense love for freedom and Justice; an intentional orientation of the mind that protects hope. What we need is our pride, our collective memory, we have been asked to abandon and despise. What we need is a drop of dignity.
Disturbed area status (DAS) imposed in any part of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act will be revoked by the Manipur State Assembly. All military and paramilitary forces will either leave Manipur or they will relocate their camps at at-least 10 kilometers radius away from all residential areas, market places, educational compounds and cultural heritage sites.
Pass a State law to reserve 33% seats for women in all elected office, including the State Legislative Assembly. This reservation norm shall also be applied within the categories of Scheduled Tribes, Schedule Castes and Other Backward Classes.
Pass a State legislation to formally adopt a Manipur State flag through public discussion and consensus building among all ethnic groups. Amend the “Manipuri Official Language Act 1979” to replace “Bengali Script” with an indigenous script as an official script through public consultation and consensus building among all ethnic groups. Review and initiate conflict resolution and transformation approaches to the multi-facet conflicts prevalent in Manipur. Take up “Confidence Building Measures” (CBM), collaborative engagement, dialogue and deliverance of governance by identifying needs, interests, and positions of all stakeholders. Review all land allotments (to civilians, legal entities, Govt. of India) that happened in the last 20 years to check their validity.