The Sanskriti Anveshak forum of Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture, Guwahati organized a talk cum interactive session on - Diversified Unity : Focus Northeast India- The Manipur Perspective on Saturday, 15 June, 2013 in the VKIC premises at Uzan Bazar, Guwahati. The talk was delivered by Prof.W. Nabakumar, Head, Department of Anthropology, Manipur University, Manipur. The lecture was the fifth of the on-going lecture-series on Diversified Unity: Focus Northeast India.
In his talk, Prof. Nabakumar effectively presented the ethnic profile of Manipur with its complicated socio-economic and political standing coupled with the challenges faced by society as a whole and some possible solution by learning from our cultural history prior to its pollution by the colonial interventions.
He said though Manipur is a small state it is rich in its ethnic profile and cultural diversity. Following the advent of colonialism, a divisive ethnographic narrative was designed where it divided people and forced artificial identities on communities for various reasons, which still we carry through. Categorization like Kuki and Naga leads to the polarization of tribal identities. Other smaller communities were forced to reorient their ethnic identities in these lines irrespective of their original identities, a clear victim of circumstances.
In the post-colonial period, even though Govt. Of India, in good intention brought out policies for the betterment of the societies, because of following the colonial narratives, ended up in encouraging more divisiveness. This coupled with the lack of vision among leadership resulted in a society of constant strife leading to a situation where everyone becomes unhappy and feels a sense of injustice among them.
He pointed out that only by deconstruction of colonial ethnographic narratives which was purposely designed to sow discontent among the communities; we can find some solution for this situation. He emphasized the need to go back to our history and roots to find the symbiotic relations that we followed earlier and learning from that past to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Manipur.
The lecture was followed by interesting and informative interaction with the audience to get more clarity in the various aspects presented by the lecturer. Prof. A C Bhagabati, Tagore National Fellow, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India and Member, Research Advisory Council, VKIC congratulated the lecturer for pin pointing the causes of the conflict and the possible solutions available to us such as learning from our history sans the colonial narratives.
In his summing up, the Moderator Dr. Kishore Bhattacharjee, Associate Professor, Department of Folklore, Gauhati University appreciated Prof. Nabakumar’s presentation of the issues in its length and breadth. He agreed with the lecturer that it is important to understand the causes of ethnic conflict and polarization haunting the Manipur society and need for bringing back the symbiotic relationship among the different communities without affecting their distinct characteristics.
Earlier in the evening, Dipok Kumar Barthakur, Chairman, VKIC presided over the session and delivered the Welcome Address. Shri Subhobrata Mukherjee, Member, Executive Council, VKIC introduced the guests to the gathering while Kumari Pallavi Kashyap gave the Vote of Thanks.