Monday, December 21, 2015

The Wizard


He wanted to get the top job,
Plays the part in the biggest scandal,
Oblivious of how brilliant they are,
Thought he'd fly like a real one,
As he signed the document.

But days gone by and people wondered,
How on earth he held a constituency,
In a state that he secured with a defence force
Through beedy eyes they looked in awe,
When they woke up to the sound of bad music.

video

Rainbow – Stargazer Lyrics

High noon, oh I'd sell my soul for water
Nine years worth of breakin' my back
There's no sun in the shadow of the wizard
See how he glides, why he's lighter than air
Oh I see his face!

Where is your star?
Is it far, is it far, is it far?
When do we leave?
I believe, yes, I believe

In the heat and the rain
With whips and chains
To see him fly
So many die
We build a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
Just to see him fly
But don't know why
Now where do we go?

Hot wind, moving fast across the desert
We feel that our time has arrived
The world spins, while we put his dream together
A tower of stone to take him straight to the sky
Oh I see his face!

Where is your star?
Is it far, is it far, is it far?
When do we leave?
Hey, I believe, I believe

In the heat and the rain
With whips and chains
Just to see him fly
Too many die
We build a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
To see him fly
But we don't know why
Ooh, now where do we go

All eyes see the figure of the wizard
As he climbs to the top of the world
No sound, as he falls instead of rising
Time standing still, then there's blood on the sand
Oh I see his face!

Where was your star?
Was it far, was it far
When did we leave?
We believed, we believed, we believed

In heat and rain
With the whips and chains
To see him fly
So many died
We built a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
To see him fly

But why
In all the rain
With all the chains
Did so many die
Just to see him fly

Look at my flesh and bone
Now, look, look, look, look,
Look at his tower of stone
I see a rainbow rising
Look there, on the horizon
And I'm coming home, I'm coming home, I'm coming home

Time is standing still
He gave back my will
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Going home
I'm going home

My eyes are bleeding
And my heart is leaving here
But it's not home
But it's not home
Ooh

Take me back
He gave me back my will
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Going home
I'm going home

My eyes are bleeding
And my heart is leaving here
But it's not home
But it's not home
Ooh

Take me back, take me back
Back to my home ooh, ooh, ooh
Songwriters: WOLF, LENNY / STAG, DANNY / FRANK, JOHN BURT / STEIER, RICK J.
Stargazer lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

20 players, 2 in the Morgue


Not long back I remember seeing a banner that says something like '20/22 players, 2 in the morgue'. And when some sections of the people insisted on joining the tamchon tourney, and when muvanlai and the sspp fc were slated to meet in the finals my vision became clearer and clearer. That only 20 players would be fielded at the beginning of the match and the banner displayed for the media to take notice of.
the sspp fc belongs to the paite speaking tribe while the muvanlai fc consists mainly of the thadou speaking people.
In this regard mention may be made of the fact that among the nine young men who lost their lives in the turmoil in the wake of the passage of the 3 anti-tribal bills on August 31, 2015 in the Manipur Assembly, Paulianmang (23) a Paite speaking boy, is a fervent football player. Similarly Khaijamang (11) an eleven year old boy speaking thadou too is no doubt, a lover of football.
I imagined that these are the boys who the youngsters who put up the banner had in mind while drafting it. My imaginative mine went to the extent of wondering whether the semi-final matches were fixed. Under normal circumstances an 11 year old boy is not expected to be in the first lineup of a football match, let alone sit in the bench. When Messi played with the senior side of fc barcelona against espanyol on october 16, 2004, he was about 17 years old. But imagination and a little bit of fact may work to show the world that the Manipur tribals have a deep grievance against the state Government.
Tears began to well up the inside of my ENT. What if both teams send 10 players each into the pitch at the start of the match and the crowd holding out a banner saying, "22 players, 2 in the morgue" !! The priority should be to telecast the banner to the world and not the match necessarily. The winner be it sspp or muvanlai, hardly matters. I didn't make any suggestions. Coz I trusted the boys more than I trust myself.
If materialized/implemented the match might even set the trend for a new kind of game in the world of football, say like 'the 3 bills game'.




Overstaying Foreign Nationals

Top of Form
DR. THOKCHOM MEINYA (INNER MANIPUR): I rise to participate in the discussion and consideration of the Illegal Immigration and Overstaying Foreign Nationals (Identification and Deportation) Bill, 2009 introduced by our hon. Colleague Shri Baijayant Panda.
          Sir, we can look at this particular Bill in two parts – one is about illegal immigrants with no proper documents for travel and other things, and another one is overstaying foreign nationals who perhaps have the travel documents to come into our country. This particular Bill rather has given us a chance to discuss some very important illegal and migration issues. I being a man from one of the North Eastern States, I wish to say the following things.
          In this era of globalization and liberalization, to speak about one’s identity and culture may sound conservative and retrogressive. It is not merely a matter of identity and culture, it also is a question of political and economic survival of the natives. Even in a global village or a cosmopolitan environment, everyone must have the right to preserve and promote his or her identity and culture, but exactly not at the cost of others. As a matter of fact, huge influx of illegal immigrants affects not only the culture and identity of the natives, but also greatly affects the economics and politics of the country.
          There is no dearth of problems in the border States of the country – be it Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat, Orissa, for that matter in all coastal areas, and particularly in Bengal and North Eastern States. Our focus is always on terrorism, insurgency, under-development and, of course, corruption.
          Let us see the situation in the North Eastern Region from where I come. Apart from the above-mentioned major issues of insurgency and the under-development, there is another problem looming large in the entire Region, that is, the problem of demographic infiltration across the border. In fact, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar have been a major issue in States like Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. Floods of migrants have come and settled in various parts of these States.
Tripuris in Tripura are now a minority community in their homeland because of the ever-increasing influx of population from Bangladesh.  Earlier, Tripuris were the majority community in Tripura. But now they are reduced to a minority community in their own homeland. Moreover, their cultural identity has been greatly influenced by the aliens and foreign intruders.
          Please take the example of Assam. Foreigners’ issue has been a vexed issue in the State for the last many years. Assam Gana Parishad is the product of the anti-foreigners movement of Assam students. Despite the Assam Accord and the Immigration Law, the problem of foreigners in Assam still continues. Thousands of migrants are still pouring into this State from Bangladesh. The most difficult duty of the State Government is to identify the foreigners and deport them. These migrants do speak the same language. They have the same religion. They can very easily mix with the natives. Thus their population increases alarmingly and there is a big change in the demographics.
          Manipuris in the State of Manipur are under a constant threat from the waves of foreigners coming in from Myanmar. Floods of people from the neighbouring countries have entered Manipur and settled there. Such influx is going on every now and then because the border is porous. Still the intrusion is continuing. Here also the major problem is that the intruders have similar physical appearance and speak the same language. They have their arable lands on either side of the borders. Their children are married to one another. They go farming from this side to that side. So, this is a real human problem. They also speak, very interestingly, Kuki, Mejo, the same dialects. This is one problem. Consequently, a dramatic metamorphosis takes place and the identity of their culture is threatened. One day, the position of natives of Manipur may become like that of Tripuris in the State of Tripura. In order to check infiltration from the neighbouring countries, proper border fencing must be done.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Meinyaji, please wait.
          Since the time allotted for consideration of this Bill is over, if the House agrees, we can extend the time till the completion of discussion on the Bill.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: We agree.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Meinyaji, please continue.
DR. THOKCHOM MEINYA : In order to check infiltration from the neighbouring countries, proper border fencing and regular full guard is necessary. It is learnt that some fencing work has been started at the Indo-Myanmar border. I know border fencing at the Indo-Bangladesh border is taken up in full swing. It is very good. Fencing our border will definitely check illegal migration in the North-East. Fencing plus strict and proper security patrolling will certainly solve the menace of illegal migration.
          We do understand many things about other border States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and others. But I strongly feel that proper border fencing and vigilant border patrolling by our security personnel will definitely and drastically curb the problem of illegal migration across the border.
          As I have said in the beginning, we can take up this particular Bill in two parts, one exclusively for illegal immigrants and another exclusively for overstaying foreign nationals.
          With these words, I thank you for having allowed me to participate in the debate.


          I have been listening with rapt attention to the views expressed by Mr. Baijayant Panda and other Members. The Bill is to provide for identification of illegal immigrants and those foreign nationals who are overstaying in the country or have gone missing after the expiry of their visas, and for their deportation to the countries of their origin.
          Sir, by this Bill, the hon. Member seeks to establish a National Commission and State Commissions for identification and deportation of illegal immigrants and foreign nationals. The functions of the Commission, according to the mover are, to identify illegal immigrants or foreign nationals and determine their nationality, to prescribe the guidelines for State Commissions for identifying the illegal immigrants or foreign nationals and their nationality, to hear any complaint or appeal against the findings of any State Commission, to recommend to appropriate Government for deportation of illegal immigrants and foreign nationals, to facilitate speedy hearing of cases against illegal immigrants, and to take such measures as may be necessary for this purpose.
          It is a fact that there are innumerable illegal immigrants in our country, as stated by the hon. Member, as is there in the Statement of Objects and Reasons. It is also a fact that the presence of the illegal immigrants creates a variety of problems in our country. They are mostly coming from neighbouring countries and the figures will show that the influx is mainly from Bangladesh.
          Considering the large influx of illegal immigration from Bangladesh through the long porous border and further, in view of the geographical proximity, family ties and ethnic similarities, coupled with better economic opportunities in India, a special procedure has been laid under the existing Act for identification and deportation of Bangladeshi immigrants.
          This provides for verification of claims of alleged illegal Bangladeshis to be persons of India, from the concerned State, within a period of 30 days and if it is not done, then deportation is effected through BSF, using ‘push back’ mode. These instructions are being reviewed and modified under delegated powers.
          As far as illegal immigration from other countries is concerned, the State Government, after nationality verification is done by the Ministry of External Affairs, issues appropriate travel documents, and thereafter, deports the person. I would like to mention that we have adequate and appropriate legislation by way of Foreigners Act, 1946 to deal with such illegal immigrants and other related issues.
          The 1946 Act defines ‘foreigners’ as persons who are not citizens of India. It gives wide powers to the Government of India to make orders relating to every aspect of illegal immigration and overstay of foreigners. The Foreigners Act, 1946 provides for detection, identification and deportation of illegal immigrants and foreigners overstaying in India. The authority under the Act of 1946 Act is given to the District Magistrate and Commissioner or Superintendent of Police.
          Besides, it also stipulates certain obligations on the masters of vessels, pilots of aircrafts, owners of hotels, and premises frequented by foreigners to furnish information about foreign nationals. The effectiveness of the procedure laid down in the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order of 1964 passed under the said Act is also worth mentioning. I reiterate the fact that illegal immigration is a serious issue which needs to be addressed very effectively; and it is to be tackled in a pragmatic manner. But I must also state that the existing Acts, rules, orders made thereunder, especially the Foreigners Act, 1946 are adequate to deal with the problem of detection, identification and deportation of illegal immigrants.
          The Private Member’s Bill proposes to set up a National and State Commissions, without providing for ground level mechanism for detection and identification of illegal immigrants. If the exercise is to be carried out by the District Police, there will be no change from the existing arrangement. Currently, the SP of the District has been made responsible for detection, identification and deportation of such persons.
18.00 hrs.
Adding additional layer of State Commission through Civil Court process will only delay the final identification and thereafter deportation.
















Monday, December 7, 2015

Tension Brewing


THE ASSURANCE
Against an assurance of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India on November 8, 2015 which is liable to be interpreted in ways that favour either the majority community or the minority community, the process of talks was started between the Government of Manipur and the Joint Action Committee (JAC) against (i) The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015; (ii) The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015; and (iii) The Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015 controversially passed in the Manipur Assembly on Monday, the 31st August, 2015. The Bills, officially meant to bring about an inner line permit system in Manipur to prevent non manipur people from possessing land or setting up business establishment in the state, were seen by the tribals especially those from Churachandpur district as an attempt to dispossess them of their ancestral land.
The Bills drafted without much pre-legislative consultation, were introduced on the previous working day, i.e., August 28, 2015 (Friday).
As a fall out of the Bills and the ensuing violence, houses of the tribal legislators were burned down and 9 young men shot dead.
Tension was brewing as families of the dead refused to claim the dead bodies which are laying in make shift morgue in Churachandpur district hospital. It's about 98 days already.
V. Paukhansiam, a veteran musician and composer of country/patriotic songs, thanked God for the time he had positively prophesied in ages for, according to him, for political union of all tribal brothers, had come.
Haokip, who hails from Churachandpur district, had rightly pointed out, in a facebook comment, the inherent problem of the 40 is to 20 ratio between the valley and the hills respectively, in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. Even the cabinet is dominated by the dominant community. Statistics has it that the tribals consist of atleast 50% of the state population.
Sadly so many tribals are residing in the valley area, all of which come under one valley constituency or another. The issue has not been taken up. Untill lately the Manipur Tribals Forum, Delhi (MTFD) had reportedly approached the Election Commission.

BURIAL OF DEAD BODIES: THE AGENDA 

Lately the JAC had decided that (i) burial would be conducted; and (ii) conducted in some suburb of the south district headquarters of Churachandpur town. Should one go by the agreement, that could be the last chapter in the first phase of the movement triggered by the passage of the controversial bills and the ensuing violence.

The MHA which wanted the dead be buried since day one vaguely assured simply that in matters relating to the three anti-tribal Bills, 'all stakeholders including the Manipur Government, the hill and valley people and other interested parties' would be consulted before arriving at any decision. 

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DIVIDE

When the JAC suddenly agreed to bury the martyrs within the month of November and when some of the thadou speaking people were supportive of the decision, the age old psychological divide between some of the thadous speaking people and paites came to a boiling point once over again. 

Even the tears of emotion had hardly dried up yet.

Among the dead an 11 year boy named Khaijamang Touthang was from the Thadou speaking community. Most other victims are from the Paite speaking community

SIGNIFICANT SOLIDARITY

On the night of the 17th November, 2015, representatives from Jhankhand and Meghalaya and Zomi Re-unification Organization (ZORO) joined the coffin relay rally in Jantar Mantar held every day from 4 pm to 8 pm. The ZORO representative coming from Mizoram, thanked the representatives from Jharkhand and Meghalaya. 

It may be recalled that the Manipur Government had manipulated the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act (MLR&LR), 1960 by making inroads for the valley people into the tribal lands by issue of gazette notifications from time to time.  89 villages from Churandpur district; 92 villages from Jiribam subdivision; 14 villages from Sadar hills of Mao subdivision; Makhao Tampak of Churachandpur subdivision; and 809 hectares of land from Tamenglong district of the hill areas had already been annexed illegally in the valley area under the MLR&LR Act, 1960. That has been heavy in the hearts of the hill people especially people from Churachandpur district. Rectification of the manipulation of the act provisions may or may not take place. That would be at the mercy of the people in power.

I would be happy to see the chiefs back in their lands. But whether they would be interested in returning or not is a big question. And if they are in possession again of the plots of land they/their ancestors once sold, will there be a safeguard against the land slipping back into possession of the valley people? Is anyone interested in empowering the existing district councils with legislative and executive power? Why the lands got converted into valley at the first place? Are the existing laws safe enough for tribals of Manipur? So many questions are staring one in the face. Someone  need to gather the courage to find pieces to all the puzzles. If one is committed to the future and the future of his children.

Brothers in Mizoram have grand designs. Of uniting all ethnic tribes in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Brothers in Manipur could have capitalized the situation for the cause. When they sacrificed so much for tribal unity.

THE HEART OF THE PUBLIC SERVANT

Common surname makes me a nephew of Phungzathang Tonsing, the Health Minister of the Congress ruled Government of Manipur. Likewise Vungzagin Valte, the Parliamentary Secretary, was a neighbour. I wish the best for the two politicians who committed their lives for the cause of the people. And of late, they have become the butt of joke. As servants of the public, they would be fine by the forging of unity under the banner of the 3 bills, even at the cost of the people's goodwill to them? If at all people can have a better destiny through cursing you, you would be having no problem whatsoever. Even Tonsing and Valte should be fine. They are good at heart.
Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. All Manipuri tribals are His disciples. As the Marathis emulate Shivaji, it's imperative that even Manipuri tribals emulate Jesus Christ, their hero and role model.

OPPORTUNITY SQUANDERED

As the controversy had turned all sitting tribal MLAs into devils, and as  BJP MP from Uttarakhand, Tarun Vijay had raised the issue on December 3, 2015 with Jaya Bachan (UP), Aviary Rai Khanna (Punjab), Majeed Memon (Maharashtra), D Raja (Tamil Nadu), PL Punia (UP), MD Nadimul Haque (WB), Satyanarayan Jatiya (MP) and Tapan Kumar Sen (WB) seeking to associate themselves with the issue, Pu Thangso Baite, the Congress representative from outer manipur parliamentary constituency, has a chance to make it big in politics. Instead of grabbing the opportunity at making history, Baite chose the go with the status quo and refused to raise any voice in the BJP dominated Lok Sabha.  He said that none of the innpis (households of the Thadous, Paites or any innpi) had approached him.

In fact it was him who supported the case for having inner line permit system in Manipur when Dr. Thokchom Meinya, the representative of inner manipur parliamentary constituency (also from the congress party) advocated the case in lok sabha.

It was not clear if Baite had the consent of the innpis for the same.    

Come December 9, the MTFD has a plan to organize a march to Parliament in culmination of the coffin rally regularly held at Jantar Mantar, from 4 to 8 pm. Whether that would change history of the tribals or of some individuals will depend on how the case is handled. In fact the MTFD is a motley crue of young, innocent and disconnected individuals, who doesn't seem to have political ambitions, but work purely with emotional backing.