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KYKL Chairman sees Manipur’s ‘grants-in-aid economy’ as roots of hill-valley conflicts


In his message on the 30th Raising Day of KYKL, the chairman highlighted a significant shift in Manipur’s economic landscape, noting that prior to its merger into India, there existed a sense of economic unity and interdependence among the inhabitants of the hills and valleys

TFM Desk

On 30th Raising Day of the proscribed Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) on April 25, its chairman N Oken extended greetings to the populace of Kangleipak and the WESEA region on behalf of the organisation. He shared his reflections on the current state of Kangleipak and the WESEA region, intending to foster discussion and deliberation among the public and intellectuals.

The KYKL chairman echoed the words of the renowned Russian revolutionary leader, theoretician, philosopher, and prominent figure in the global Marxist movement, Lenin, who famously stated, “…politics is the most concentrated expression of economics, its generalizations and its culmination.” He underscored that politics merely represents the outer facade of deeper societal structures, which include culture, morality, law, religion, philosophy, arts, literature, and the economy—each serving as foundational elements that intricately intertwine and shape political dynamics.

The KYKL chairman emphasized the interconnectedness of various societal processes, including economic, political, cultural, social, and natural dynamics, highlighting their interdependence. He noted that these processes cannot exist in isolation and are deeply intertwined. Among them, economic forces wield significant influence and often exert a driving effect on other facets of society.

Furthermore, he pointed out that Lenin’s assertions are rooted in Marxist theory, which has evolved through an analysis of macro-history and the laws governing societal change. This Marxist perspective offers insights into how economic structures shape and influence broader societal phenomena, providing a framework for understanding the dynamics of social transformation and revolution.

The KYKL chairman acknowledged that applying the analytical methodology rooted in Marxist theory to understand the micro-history of a specific locale can be a subject of debate. He emphasized the importance of recognizing that even seemingly small events can have profound implications and ignite significant change within a society.

In light of this understanding, the chairman suggested that delving into the economic roots of the ongoing Meitei-Kuki conflict using Lenin’s theory could provide valuable insights. By examining how economic factors contribute to and exacerbate the conflict, these insights could be presented to the public for discussion and deliberation.

The chairman highlighted a significant shift in Manipur’s economic landscape, noting that prior to its merger into India, there existed a sense of economic unity and interdependence among the inhabitants of the hills and valleys. During this pre-merger era, Manipur boasted a degree of self-sufficiency in both its economy and food production.

However, following the merger, Manipur’s economic self-sufficiency began to erode, giving way to a more dependent grant-in-aid economy. This transition has exacerbated economic challenges within the region, contributing to a sense of crisis. The chairman pointed out that this economic dependency has served as a catalyst for the political conflicts currently afflicting Manipur.

By linking economic changes to the political turmoil, the chairman underscores the complex interplay between economic factors and political dynamics, highlighting the need for a holistic understanding of the root causes of conflict in Manipur.

The chairman of KYKL reflected on the underlying dynamics of the conflict between the two communities, noting that it stems from the exposure of Manipur’s dependent economy. He suggested that this type of divisive politics will diminish as the dependent economy subsides, implying that economic stability could help alleviate tensions and foster unity among communities.

He noted a recent emotional remark by a JNU professor questioning the effectiveness of the movement to safeguard Manipur’s territorial integrity over the past two decades. He opined that any significant change is unlikely in the next 22/23 years. Instead, he warned of a potential worsening situation, emphasizing the urgency of addressing underlying issues to prevent further escalation of conflict and instability in Manipur.

N Oken suggested a bleak outlook for Manipur’s future, cautioning that by the time India celebrates its 100 years of independence in 2047, Manipur’s socioeconomic fabric may be severely strained, possibly to the point of collapse. He underscored the urgent need for addressing the underlying economic and political challenges facing Manipur to prevent such dire consequences.

The chairman stressed that the foremost objective of political efforts should be the restoration of unity in Manipur, emphasizing the importance of aligning this goal with the ‘idea of Manipur’. He lamented the senseless violence and division currently plaguing communities in Manipur, urging them to seek resolution through mutual understanding and dialogue.

Highlighting the urgent need for reconciliation, the chairman emphasized that warring communities must come together to address the crisis comprehensively. By fostering understanding and cooperation, they can work towards mitigating the bleak future that looms.

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