It is pertinent that heterogeneity has to be accepted in social thinking, articulation, practice and cross-interactions. But heterogeneity and consequential complexity have not entered into the social perception, functioning and interactions in the case of Manipur.
By Amar Yumnam
Very recently we heard such a wonderful news of Manipur’s pineapples making waves in the Middle East. In fact, from our very childhood we have been hearing of our parents telling us of how different Manipur’s pineapples are from the ones available outside in yielding satisfactory happiness. After we grew up and started moving outside the State, we could experience reconfirmation of the comparatively more satisfying flavour. We could only verbally inform our outside-friends and at most share very limited pineapple with them what the little we had brought from home. Now it is such a pleasantly surprise news that the world can now experience the satisfactory goodness exquisitely provided by the pineapples from Manipur. This also is being achieved through a formal market process. Hats off to the Manipur Organic Mission for this evolutionary dynamism. The other good news emanating from outside but relaying about Manipur relate to our boys and girls performing so well in both team and individual variants of sports wherever in the world.
Now the issue to be attentive to and needing shared collective response is the limitation of these good news to sources of events outside the State. These good news, as good as they are, have not reached a scale that the socio-economy of Manipur could be significantly impacted upon within. Further, in a more serious way, these good news emanating from outside are not being coupled by another set of good news stemming from the happenings within the boundaries of the State.
So the collective challenge to the land and people of Manipur is ensuring the coupling of our people generating good news from around the world by good news originating from within the State. In other words, the question before us is: How can we generalise the emergence of good news within the boundaries of the State such that we socially elevate ourselves to a situation of good news dominating over the little unwanted ones, which inevitably would be there?
This is where we need to have a rethink on how the people and the governance in Manipur have been perceiving about things, on how they have been acting on these perceptions and the consequences thereon. Before we come to this, it may be of relevance to refer to examination of technology-related issues. First, we know that level, nature, dimensionality and dissemination of knowledge are different across individuals. Secondly, ipso facto, innovation, structure, intensity, direction and cross-fertilisation of technologies would differ depending upon the agent of innovation and that of adoption. In other words, heterogeneity is the fundamental framework for perception and analysis when it comes to technology; complexity is necessarily taken for granted. Further, cross-fertilisation dimensions are being looked into imply the adoption of multi-dimensionality in perception and application.
Similarly it is pertinent that heterogeneity has to be accepted in social thinking, articulation, practice and cross-interactions when it comes to Manipur. But heterogeneity and consequential complexity have not entered into the social perception, functioning and interactions in the case of Manipur. While the reality is that the land is characterised by geographic heterogeneity, the behavioural implications of these have not entered into the fabric of social articulations and cross-interactions. Further, there is ethnic heterogeneity, but the behavioural implications of these have been made to feel predominantly in strategic manoeuvrings instead of applying social endeavours towards enhancement in the nature, intensity and direction of cross-interactions. The inter-ethnic behavioural relationship is almost like what Bentley Little describes in the novel The Policy: “A semi flew past on the left, blasting its horn at him for some imagined slight. Feeling reckless, feeling brave, he flipped on his brights and leaned on his own horn, but the speeding truck was already far ahead and his attempted defiance fell flat, his high beams shining impotently on quickly retreating tires, his honk small and ignored.” It is an atmosphere of one ethnicity cares for two straws for the other.
But can we end like Little’s novel looking at others for the safety, security and transformation of Manipur: “Maybe all of the insurance companies on earth were part of the same corporate family, maybe they were all synergistically connected, subsidiaries of the same parent company. Maybe The Insurance Group owned everything, was the ultimate source for every type of insurance all over the world since the beginning of time forever and ever amen.”
Manipur can in way afford to submerge into a kind of world Michel Foucault mentioned in his The Order of Things: An archaeology of the human sciences: “among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words – in short, in the midst of all the episodes of that profound history of the Same – only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible for the figure of man to appear. And that appearance was not the liberation of an old anxiety, the transition into luminous consciousness of an age-old concern, the entry into objectivity of something that had long remained trapped within beliefs and philosophies: it was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end..If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility – without knowing either what its form will be or what it promises – were to cause them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.”
When the heterogeneity in social and physical dimensions failed to be incorporated spontaneously into the individual and interactional behaviour of the heterogenous people, how do we go about to address the situation? This is where the significance of governance comes in. The governance has to accept the reality of this heterogeneity and give up the stand alone approaches to policy-making. As John Adams said: “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” The governance of the day should immediately address the worry of Voltaire that “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Second, the imperative of Manipur is a Social Policy alive to the multi-dimensional heterogeneity of Manipur; there is need to move beyond single-dimensional policy. This is the only way to generate a momentum to evolve a social in Manipur at the domestic level to couple the good news emanating from outside. Is the Governance of the day ready to rise to the challenge?
(Amar Yumnam is Visiting Professor, CESS: Hyderabad)