The Origin of the Meiteis of Manipur and why they resist disintegration of Manipur
Muivah’s claim that ‘let the Meiteis keep what belongs to them and we will keep what is rightly ours’ is misreading history. The historical fact is that a composite Manipur belongs to the Meiteis and whosoever wants to live in it. The history of Manipur is definitely 2.000 years old, which is something everybody agrees. Some erudite Meitei decoders of the Puyas, now date the origin of the Meiteis to 2,000 years before the Christian era.
The Meiteis are indigenous to Manipur ie they inhabit Manipur with which they have the earliest known historical connection alongside more recent immigrants, the CHIKIMZ tribal groups, who have populated it. The forefathers of the Meiteis had been living in the surrounding mountain ranges in prehistoric times. These mountain peaks are very holy to them. They will fight tooth and nail to keep the integrity of Manipur.
The Meiteis have no problem with Christianity and Islam
The Meiteis have no difficulty living with Christians and Muslims. They are people like them with different ways of life. Unity in diversity is a motto for co-operating between different
groups of people and people of different religions in a single socio-economic philosophy.
The present Meitei-Pangals are the children of Meitei women married to these men. They have been living in villages adjoining Meitei villages, in perfect harmony from about 600 CE.
Why Unity in Diversity in Manipur
We need unity in Manipur to keep the defined borders of Manipur intact. Manipur is diversified into 36 tribes, some big and some small. There is also a sizeable community of Meitei-Pangals (7.7% of 2.3 million in 2001 Census). We need unity to survive and prosper.
How to foster Unity in Diversity in Manipur
The attainment of unity in diversity in Manipur can only be made possible by a passionate concern for a choice of living together in an atmosphere of social trust. We need to have a commonly stated objective ie to live as Manipuris, sharing a unity of intent with an ecological understanding. We have been living in Manipur together from pre-historic times. We need an integrative approach to transcend the fragmented understanding on the parts of different tribal communities, rising above the religious dogmas and self-centred political ideologies.
‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is a phrase that has been used as mottos from nations and states to songs. It was a political phrase that has been used by the Indian freedom fighters to garner support within India during its struggle for independence from the British Empire. It is a phrase, which the non-Naga tribes of Manipur should now adopt. Unless we are united as one people, it is easy to destroy our communities one by one by the Mayang GOI. This is the opposite of Divide and Rule.
What should the Meiteis and Non-Naga communities do now?
While the Nagas of Nagaland are wrangling for a Greater Nagaland we are fighting for our survival. We should not blame the Nagas of Manipur. They are simply following some of their leaders. But we must fight the GOI to change its nefarious ethnic cleansing policy in Manipur. A fight it must be. A stitch in time saves nine.