The former Vice Chancellor of Manipur University, who was co-supervisor of controversial PHD thesis authored by Brig SK Sharma, had rubbed Manipur CSOs the wrong way after he refused to apologise and initiate necessary steps to delete the contentious assertions in thesis that that Merger of Manipur to the Dominion of India was only 700 Square miles and the Maharaja of Manipur had no Suzerainty over Tribal Chiefs of hill areas in Manipur.
Taking a break from social activities, former Vice Chancellor of Manipur University Professor Amar Yumnam has moved to Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad. He has joined the CESS as visiting professor “for a period of two years to support teaching as well as research activities of the Centre”.
Sharing the development, the former V-C has posted some photographs of the campus as his new address. Since his retirement as V-C of Manipur University, Professor Amar Yumnam has been active with social activities by associating with NGOs and CSOs and participating in talks shows in local cable TV news channels.
However, he was embroiled in a controversy over the contentious assertions in the PHD thesis entitled, “Socio-economic roots of insurgency in North East India” authored by Brig Sushil Kumar Sharma that Merger of Manipur to the Dominion of India was only 700 Square miles and the Maharaja of Manipur had no Suzerainty over Tribal Chiefs of hill areas in Manipur.
Prof Amar Yumnam of MU and Dr Sadananda Sahoo of IGNOU were the supervisors of the thesis, which allegedly “distorts the history of Manipur thereby misleading and poisoning the minds of people so as to create schism in the symbiotic harmonious relationships amongst various communities living together in the state”.
On his part, Prof Amar issued a clarification following demands by various civil society and students’ organisations for an apology and necessary steps to delete the contentious portions. “As far as the Thesis written by Brig Sharma, I have given the printed copies of relevant portions contained in the Thesis and in which the issue being raised is not there; I have shown the whole Thesis in my computer to the six Maheiroi Lups (students’ organisations),” he posted on his Facebook page.
He also issued a statement maintaining that “In any case, I have nothing to do with the number 700 in whose reference my name is being dragged.”
The former VC said he was only a co-supervisor of the research done by Brig S K Sharma, at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) with a Leading Supervisor from the same university. In the University system, the co-supervisor is by no means the key deciding teacher and his role is very limited, if any, he contended.
“Many groups have mentioned my name in connection with the thesis…In all these references there are invariably tones of unwanted consequences to my life and property if I don’t apologise socially within certain specified periods,” said Prof Amar.
Indigenous People’s Alliance (IPA) banned Prof Amar from participating in any public platform including discussion sessions. It also appealed to people to remain vigilant from hired agents like Amar Yumnam who are trying to destroy the culture, tradition and identity of the people of Manipur.
It may be noted that posting the contentious portion of Brig SK Sharma’s thesis on a social media platform has landed 37-year-old Mark T Haokip in trouble. The controversial April 17, 2021 post by Mark T Haokip on his facebook page in connection with the merger agreement of Manipur with Indian Union is an exact extract from the thesis.
However, the parody of justice is that while Brig SK Sharma has walked away with a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree, Mark T Haokip has landed in jail after multiple FRIs were lodged for the post.
Mark T Hoakip is facing charges of false information, deliberate and malicious act, cheating by personation, defamation, insult with to provoke breach of peace, statement conducing public mischief, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy and Promoting enmity between different group on grounds, Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace and conducing to public tranquillity under various sections of IPC.
Though Youth for Peace and Progress Manipur (YPPM) has sought legal action against Sushil Kumar Sharma and his two supervisors Prof Amar and Dr Sadananda “for their attempt to distort the history thereby misleading and poisoning the minds of people so as to create schism in the symbiotic harmonious relationships amongst various communities living together in the state”, no legal proceedings have been initiated against them.
Though Prof Amar has claimed that contention portions in which the issue being raised is not there in the thesis, the full thesis of Brig Sharma available on Shodhganga, INFLIBNET Centre (http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in:8080/jspui/handle/10603/226349#) tells otherwise. Contentious assertions raised by the various CSOs do figure in Chapter III under the title GENESIS AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC ROOTS OF INSURGENCY IN NORTH EAST INDIA: MANIPUR on Page 57-58.
In his clarification, Prof Amar maintained, “In so far as the statements given in the Thesis, the scholar has given references aplenty and all these are mostly published books which have been in the market for more than a decade. In such cases, I strongly feel that the challenge should rather be addressed to the already published source materials and referred to by the scholar.”
However, no references were given in the thesis regarding the contentious portions.
In a press statement, the YPPM stated that the controversial Ph.D thesis has attempted to nullify all the efforts and sacrifices of our forefathers to build such a great Kingdom. As against all evident historical facts, the author tried to distort by claiming that the Merger of Manipur to Dominion of India was only 700 Square miles, and the Maharaja of Manipur had no Suzerainty over Tribal Chiefs of hill areas in Manipur, it added.
Listing long historical evidence and facts of Manipur negating the claims made in the thesis, YPPM maintained that Sushil Kumar Sharma has committed a crime against the people of Manipur for distorting the history using half-baked truth. “Prof Amar Yumnam and Dr Sadananda Sahoo are accessories to the crime as being guides. They owe a public apology for their crime. Unfortunately, it is leant that Sushil Kumar Sharma expired. So, the onus for undoing the mistake lies with Prof Amar Yumnam and Dr Sadananda Sahoo,” it said.
YPPM demanded the Government of Manipur take up legal action against such individuals for their attempt to distort the history thereby misleading and poisoning the minds of people so as to create schism in the symbiotic harmonious relationships amongst various communities living together in the state.