Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Classic Group of Hotels
Googlemap of Northeast region. The only boundaries are artificial ones. Rest are integral.

Bridging divides in Northeast India: Rethinking Nationalism and Democratic Communication to pave the way to a common cause.


Northeast India, an important territorial space of India’s Act East policy, is conflict ridden. While the Government of India colludes with international finance institutes to enforce militarization and controversial policies, there are recalcitrant insurgent groups and ethnic forces that resort to insurgency and other forms of democratic movements to assert exclusive rights. The insurgent groups and ethic forces also indulge in a vicious cycle of clashes and tensions due to sectarianism and exclusive ‘ethno-nationalism.’ The paper is a critique of the concurrent nationalisms that have been the dividing factor in the context of the borderland state of Manipur and its surrounding areas. The paper explores if there can be democratic communication to bridge the divides among the ‘indigenous’ peoples. What are the common issues that the people are phasing with? The paper responded to some of these questions.


Northeast India is an important space of India’s Act East policy. The Government of India has heavily militarized this region to suppress insurgency, maintain law and order, and defend from any external intervention or aggression. It promotes Indian nationalism above all forms of loyalty. In the name of ‘national’ development, it facilitates various International Financial Institutions in allowing investment in this region to extract profit and resources. The policy has been supported by subordinate state governments formed by members of legislative assemblies elected through periodically held adult franchise. But the governance has breed resistance that is revealing in the growth of insurgency. The demands of insurgency are diverse, ranging from complete sovereignty from India to shared sovereignty and autonomy. The insurgents may be broadly categorized based on their goal of ‘territorial’ nationalism’ or exclusive ‘ethno nationalism.’ These two forms always clashed one another. At the same time, either of the categories is not freed from factionalism and clash of interests, thereby dividing peoples along party lines. This is particularly revealing in the context of borderland state of Manipur and its surrounding areas where ethnic tensions have been the order of the day. Anyone from this region will say that he/ she wants peace, development, and democracy. But he/ she finds no practical methods to achieve it. The paper studies the context, chronology, and nature of these tensions. It also studies the missing link among peoples. Why and how the link is still missing? Who is responsible for it? Can’t there be democratic communication to bridge the divides? What are the common issues that the people are phasing with? My paper will attempt to respond to some of these questions.

The Indian Context

India, a political concept embodying an expanding geographical expression, is a UN recognised ‘nation-state’ and plays important roles in the South Asian geopolitics. It is projected a politically sovereign and militarily powerful country in South Asia and the world’s largest democracy. It enjoys an effective diplomatic relation with the advanced capitalist countries to the extent that its entry in the United Nations Security Council is a near possibility. Its neo-liberal economic policy has far-reaching impacts on economic co-ordination with and capitalist expansionism to the immediate neighbours and Southeast Asia. This trend is shown as a linear progression following the lapse of British rule in 1947. Perhaps the British colonial system was replaced by the Indian big bourgeoisie’s agenda to inherit British colonial territorial assets and install a regime control over the territories that subsequently became known under a geo-administrative rubric call India.

On 15th August 1947, the Indian ‘national leader,’ who became the first Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru jubilated millions of Indian patriots with his famous mid-night political speech Tryst with Destiny. The political rhetoric of Indian nationhood that was embodied in the speech and the ecstatic panorama of the Independence Day ritual raised the epitome of an imagined India among millions of consumers who were inclined to Nehru’s national agenda. Perhaps, on the eve of the ‘independence’, there was widespread imagining, “…there has arisen in Indian, an Indian nation, an Indian nation with Indian culture and an Indian civilisation. …”[1] On 26 January 1950 Indian Republic was formally declared. The Indian Constitution was adopted with a spectacular effect. It created the resonance of a mechanised perception called unity in diversity. All these constituted effective visual and audio ingredients for promoting the Indian nationalist trope, influencing a large bulk of the consumers.

However, the politics of defiance, resilience, and rebellions refuted the polemics of national independence, democracy, integration, development, and progression. Years before the Indian independence was achieved, the course of the ‘independence movement’ pursued by the Indian National Congress and some other left-wing leaders was criticized by those who upheld different ideologies, revolutionary goals, and strategies. In 1931 the international coalition such as the League Against Imperialism and for National Independence was critical about the leadership of the independence movement. The League “warns the Indian national-revolutionaries to be on their guard against the deceitful and confusing manoevres which will undoubtedly be carried out by Nehru, Bose, Roy and the other left-wing nationalists who have now become agents of British imperialism.”[2]

When British paramountcy lapsed and the Indian Nation Congress virtually ruled the Dominion Government of India, which involved the simultaneous process of the maintenance of law and order, drafting of the Constitution and ‘territorial integration,’ the Communist Party of India expressed strong contention. In January 1948 the CPI argued that “the establishment of the Central Government headed by Pandit Nehru has not solved a single problem of the democratic revolution. Its establishment does not symbolize that the Indian people have won either freedom or independence.”[3] The Political Thesis of the Second Congress of the CPI, adopted in 1948, discussed the multiple facets and factors of the general economic, political, social, cultural, and communal crises prevalent in India. The polemic argued that India was a semi-feudal and semi-colonial territory ruled by an oppressive and exploitative feudal-capitalist State that collaborated with the foreign monopoly finance capitalists [sic.  Anglo-American Imperialism]. The interests of the feudal-capitalist State were fulfilled by capturing political power through diabolic means and the suppression of the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural interests and rights of the workers, peasants, agriculture labour, artisans, progressive national bourgeoisie, middle and lower-income professionals or employees or educated unemployed youths, religious minorities, smaller nationalities or linguistic groups, tribes, lower castes, economically backward regions, women, etc. [4] The general crisis illustrated in the Political Thesis was reaffirmed when the CPI adopted the programme for a democratic revolution in 1951, some months after the Indian Constitution was announced on 26th January 1950.[5]

More than 70 years have passed since the Indian Independence was declared. Lots of changes have occurred within India and in India’s relation with the immediate neighbours and beyond. The Constitution has been amended at least 104 times as of January 2020. The State has enforced lots of policies, rules, and programs. Many contentious issues have phased out, and new ones emerged. These changes are seen as transformation showcasing the State’s ability to keep pace with the changing circumstances towards progressions. But these changes do not bring a qualitative shift towards a people’s democratic revolution. The changes are structural adjustments by innovating new jargon of the contents within the neo-liberal system’s broader framework. The changes in the jargon of contents do not actually upset the basic premise, structure and form of the neo-liberal path that perpetually keeps India under semi-feudal semi-colonial conditions. The territory is continued to be ruled by a feudal-capitalist State; though there have been changes of guards under cliques of the regime from time to time through the parliamentary elections, no alternative has emerged in terms of overthrowing crony capitalism and bureaucratic capitalist authoritarianism. As a result, the general crisis highlighted in the 1951 program remains persistent throughout the decades.

In 1996, few years after adopting India’s structural adjustment program (or neo-liberal open door policy) that promoted the imperialist slogan of Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation, a Marxist Leninist group of the journal Revolutionary Democracy, highlighted that the problems that India was suffering from. According to the polemics, India was suffering from combined onslaughts of; (a) domination by world imperialism headed by U.S. imperialism; (b) lack of democratisation of the political structure; (c) failure to recognition of the rights of the nations; (d) suppression of the rights of the minorities, backward castes, dalits, and tribes; (e) domination by landlordism, impoverishment of peasant and agricultural debts; (f) increasing privatization of the main branches of industry, lack of the protection of the dignity of labour, unemployment crisis, and lack of adequate social insurances, etc.[6] The crisis became a regular feature as manifested in the frequent assertions of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights from different circles. The State resorted to enforcing repressive laws, police brutality, paramilitary assault, and military occupation (selectively to suppress national liberation movement) to suppress freedom of conscience, speech, press, assembly, strike and protests, and democratic movements. The overall designs had far reaching and peculiar effects on the Northeast borderland region.

Expansionist course and Northeast question

The making of Indian territory after 1947 and the subsequent capitalist path followed an aggressive and expansionist course regarding the smaller nations, backward regions, and weaker tribes that were forcibly taken over by military power, financial arrangements, and political maneuvering. Territorial annexation was an important agenda seriously considered by the Constituent Assembly from 1946 to 1949. The territory was a prerequisite to making India since Capital, which is both a pre-condition and outcome of capitalism, requires a sovereign territorial base to thrive. In the immediate period after the lapse of British rule, the successor Indian rulers had an opportunity to expand their territory. Though territorial expansion could be obstructed due to competition and rivalry among the advanced capitalist countries, the Indian bourgeoisie took advantage of ‘western’ imperial interregnum[7] in South Asia in the immediate years after the end of the Second World War. They capitalise resources to expand as India had reached the stage of a middle-level developed colony during the British rule. As a result, they expanded the territorial base wherever possible. They used several tactics such as blackmailing or bribery[8] of feudal princes and powerful landlords or intimidation or military tactics to annex territory. The latent agenda of territorial expansionism, to date, is constitutionally recognised,[9] the latest example being the annexation of Sikkim in 1975.

The territorial obsession of the Indian national bourgeoisie is logical. In the years after 1947, they were eager to compete with the rising Chinese, Burmese, and Pakistani counterparts in expanding domination. Nehru carried forward the ambition to create a super-national state stretching from the Middle East to South-East Asia and to exercise an important influence in the Pacific region.[10] They continued with British expansionism,[11] decided to create a ‘Curzonic Scientific Frontier’[12] comprising Himalayan kingdoms of Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Tibet,”[13] and Northeast. The Indian national leader Patel had presumed that “our Northern or North-eastern approaches consist of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and the tribal areas in Assam.”[14] In Tibet, the British Mission in Lhasa became officially Indian Mission on 15 August 1947.[15] Furthermore, when a Tibetan Trade Mission headed by Tsepon Shakabpa visited Delhi in January 1948, the Indian State refused to talk about trade matters unless the Tibetans had recognized that the Indian State was “the legal inheritor of the treaties, rights and obligations of British India.”[16] In 1949 India signed a treaty with Bhutan to guide the latter’s foreign affair. In the same year, India seized the opportunity of a local uprising against the Sikkim ruler to send in troops and bring the state into closer dependence as a protectorate than it had formally been under the British.[17] “Nepal, too, according to Nehru, was certainly a part of India.”[18] The Treaties of Peace and Friendship, and Trade and Commerce (1950) subjected Nepal to compelling Nepal to consult the Indian State before buying war material from any other country.[19]

According to the bureaucratic technocrat of expansionism Nari Rustomjit, it was the advanced economies that for the purposes of industrial development, strategic necessity or other considerations of self-interest that they had initiated contacts to expand.[20] The Northeast, which was inhabited by economically backward tribal and peasant communities, apart from strategic calculation[21] was important for; (a) exploitation labour, resources (water, uranium, oil, coal, precious stones, minerals, plantation, flora and fauna, tourism, carbon credits, and forest products), and market, (b) creation of a buffer vis-à-vis the presumed Chinese social-imperialism, and (c) development of a military stockpile and commodity stocked to carry out commercial interest in Bangladesh (East Pakistan till 1971), Bhutan, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. They, therefore, annexed the Northeast; forced integrated it into inter-territorial division of neo-colonial relation, and subjected to the restructured economic order as the primary supplier of labour, raw material, market, and military stockpile for the Indian capitalist expansionism. They believed that the Northeast constituted the ‘weak spots’ that must not go away in the hands of potential competitors such as China and erstwhile East Pakistan. “The State of Sikkim and the District of Darjeeling connect Tibet with the Indian Union, and Assam, the eastern-most frontier of the Indian Union, is linked with the rest of India by a narrow strip of land consisting of portions of Darjeeling district and Jalpaiguri. These areas in view of their strategic importance need to be strengthened and consolidated.”[22]

Capitalist expansionism is aggressive and militarily brutal to suppress potential resistances. This policy arose from the fact that in the Northeast, the sudden forced annexation of the tribal and ‘political communities’ that had been established under respective ‘polity’ parallel to the Indian State had created the objective conditions of disloyalty and resistance.[23] The resistances ranged from communist armed resistance,[24] tribal resistance, national liberation movements, and democratic assertion. As a result, the Northeast’s loyalty was suspected, and it was governed through governors and military officials for several years until reliable local regimes have been installed through sham democratic elections. The Assam Disturbed Areas Act 1955 and the Armed Forces (Assam & Manipur) Special Powers Act, 1958 were imposed. To date the AFSPA interplayed with other repressive legislations such as the Land Acquisition Act 1894, Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911, Indian Penal Code and Criminal Laws, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, National Security Act, 1980, Prevention of Terrorism Activities Act, 2002[25], and etc. Interwoven deceptive jargons such as ‘national security,’ ‘counter terrorism’, and ‘law and order problem’ were circulated widely to cover up the national subjugation, exploitation, and oppression.

Militarisation has a toll on civil and political liberties. It has severe ramifications on economic, social, and cultural rights. For instance, the army and paramilitary forces operate with impunity under AFSPA. They occupied and converted several strategically important hilltops, tourist centres, grazing grounds, communal lands, institutional and religious campuses, etc. into barracks (including those in the residential areas). War hysteria in the operational zones had severe repercussions on the social mobility for economic livelihood. Militarisation undermined the role of civil administration. At the same time, it has different facets. There are hordes of police, rifles, and underpaid auxiliary forces recruited on a contract basis that operate under the unified command structures of the Indian army and enjoy a certain amount of impunity in actions. There are also batches of gangsters operated either from jail or under the command of the rulers. They included funded ‘counter’ groups and ‘surrendered’ groups who used the cloak of revolutionary and indulged in rampant extortion, looting, killing, harassment, and terrorism. There are also communal warmongers and conservative reactionaries who enjoy stakes in crony capitalism. They misappropriated public funds, displaced peoples on the pretext of development, exploited labour, drained the wealth of the people, and perpetuated misrule. They carried out communal campaigns to cover up class exploitation and diverted away from the attention of genuine democratic issues.

The intertwined tactics of militarisation and collaboration with loyal puppets, backed by propaganda, divisive tactics, and cosmetic packages achieved some successes in keeping the Northeast under perpetual rule. The grant of statehood to the Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland states are the classic examples of the intertwined tactics.

(i) First, Manipur was never a part of British India. It had a democratic constitution and a responsible government in 1948. The Dominion of India annexed Manipur and abolished the government on 15 October 1949 and relegated her to the position of Part C State status in 1950. Those who either opposed the annexation or Part C status were silenced. But changes in the status were introduced from time to time as a policy to raise democratic hopes within the system and to win away from the armed insurgency. For instance, many in the late 1940s had opposed integration with any other entities. But they were silenced. Communist armed resistance was suppressed in 1951, and repressive steps were taken up against Revolutionary Nationalist Party in 1950s. In the meanwhile, Manipur’s status was upgraded to a 32-Member Territorial Council in 1950, further to Union Territory with 32-Member Legislative Assembly on 16 August 1957. It was upgraded to a 32 members Territorial Legislative Assembly in June 1963 and furthermore to statehood on 21 January 1972. The status change is considered a lineal and constitutes a success story of the Indian integration trajectory.  But resistance conveys a different history. A new wave of insurgency for the national independence of Manipur resurfaced from the early 1960s. Since then the military approach of counter-insurgency steps began to suppress Meetei State Committee, Revolutionary Government of Manipur, United National Liberation Front (1964); Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (1977); Revolutionary Peoples’ Front (1979); Kangleipak Communist Party since (1980), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup since (1994), and others that emerged after 2000.

(ii) Second, the Indian State successfully kowtowed Mizo National Front. To recall, the British had created Lushai Hills (Mizoram) as a separate district in Assam in 1898. It was declared a ‘Backward Tract’ and an ‘Excluded Areas’ under the Government of India Acts 1919 and 1935. The Indian State constituted it into a Union Territory on 21 January 1972 and granted statehood on 20 February 1987. Before statehood, the Mizo National Front (MNF), under the leadership of Laldenga carried out an insurgency to integrate Mizo people and liberate from India. The MNF, formed on 22 October 1961, declared its objective on 21 December 1961, rose in widespread in February 1966, and declared independence on 1 March 1966. The Indian State suppressed it brutally using aerial bombings. MNF regained and became active particularly from 1975. However, the Indian State succeeded militarily in bringing MNF to a negotiating table in 1984. According to the Mizo Accord of 30 June 1986, MNF laid down arms. Similar carrot and stick policy were carried out in dealing with parties that were demanding for the integration of Mizos under a single administration such as the Hmar People’s Convention since 1986, Zomi Reunification Organisation since 1993, Hmar People’s Convention-Democracy since 1995), Bru National Liberation Front (formed in 1997) and others. However, while insurgency in Mizoram became a standstill, an extension in certain deviation forms of nationalism was gradually spread in Manipur’s certain pockets.

(iii) Third, regarding the Nagaland state, the British in 1866 constituted Naga Hills District in the then Assam province. By 1940s, a large section of the Nagas living in the Naga Hills and Tuensang Areas openly rose in asserting Naga identity. About a decade back, in 1929, a Naga Club was formed, and it submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission asking for protection of their rights. In 1945, Naga Hills District Council was formed. It was converted into Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946. NNC rejected integration with the Dominion of India. However, in June 1947, an agreement known as Nine Point Agreement was signed between Sir Akbar Hydari, the then Governor of Assam and NNC. NCC however, was dissatisfied with the outcome and held a referendum in May 1951. The Indian State did not recognise the referendum. As a result, NNC continued to struggle. On 18 September 1954, it declared sovereign Naga republic.[26] On 22 March 1956, NNC formed Naga Federal Government (NFG) and Naga Federal Army (NFA). In the meanwhile, the Indian State could influence a moderate section. Accordingly, the Naga Peoples Convention (NPC) comprising representatives of various tribes was held in August 1957. In response to the recommendation of NPC, the Indian State created the Naga Hills – Tuensang Area (NHTA) on 1 December 1957. Furthermore, a Sixteen Point Agreement was signed between NPC and the Indian State in July 1960. Accordingly, the State of Nagaland Act was passed in September 1962 and Nagaland state was inaugurated on 1 December 1963. However, those dissatisfied with the outcome continued insurgency under various party banners spreading in areas outside the Nagaland, including Manipur.

Problems of national question in Manipur.

During the 70 years of the post-annexation holocaust, the Northeast border state Manipur has been inflicted with the crisis of antagonistic nationalisms. Perhaps, Manipur has a long history. Manipur’s genesis is generally traced to the Meetei kingdom that is considered more than two thousand years old. Meetei is a stabled linguistic nation evolved in Manipur’s valley as a result of amalgamation and assimilation of people from the surrounding communities and beyond. From a Marxist perspective, Manipur in the 1940s was inhabited by self-sustaining, sparsely inhabited, small tribal dialectical groups, semi-feudal village communities, and certain sparsely dotted urban settlements that were yet to be collectively evolved into a stable community of the nation. It was not economically recovered from the ravages of the Second World. However, a political process towards a democratic system had emerged since the early 1930s. Between 1934 and 1948, there were anti-feudal assertions for a responsible government. There was a certain degree of elite coordination across communities, which culminated in the constitution of a stipulated federation of communities for five-year experimentation. Accordingly, the Manipur Constitution was finally adopted on 26 July 1947. The monarchical Durbar (court) was abolished. The administration was entrusted to an Interim Council, headed by a Chief Minister and six ministers. Election to the Assembly took place in June-July 1948, and a coalition government was inaugurated on 18 October 1948. What was created was a ‘political community’ forging into a confederation of the federation of tribes (in the loose sense of the term) and Meetei nation, which may evolve into a stable nation in the course of history. However, the annexation was a watershed as it reversed to a colonial condition. After annexation, the Indian capitalist path obstructed the linear progression towards a proportionate economic development necessary for the peoples’ gradual evolution into a nation. On the contrary, the feudal-capitalist State with bureaucratic authoritarianism created the puppet elites’ favourable conditions to perpetuate non-productive pre-capitalist forms of accumulation of wealth, individual opportunism, sectarianism, and communalism in their scramble for political power and wealth.

Industrial capitalism had not evolved in Manipur. The local elites did not directly create surplus value through investment in constant and variable Capitals. The phase of crony capitalism has entered. The local elites collaborated with the Indian rulers to accumulate wealth through misappropriation of public fund or expansionist rent (in the form of central grants) allocated by the Indian State as responsible for keeping Manipur within the Indian’s ambit empire. It created contradiction or polarization within the Manipur ruling elites or the upstart aspirants. But these are reconcilable contradictions as the local ruling elites indulged in two-way strategies to retain their opportunist political and economic grips.

On the one hand, they carried out sectarian and communal propaganda to cover up their nefarious roles in the neo-colonial system’s inherent crisis. On the other hand, they arose as social champions by mobilising people to curve out exclusive revenue blocks for unrestraint control over land, labour, fund, and resources. All these are interwoven into one with a communal interpretation of economic grievances and misrule. The situation had the side-effect of creating several layers of unsuccessful counter-elites over generations who strived to equally use communal propaganda as the easiest route to create for themselves communal revenue blocks and ‘alternative administration arrangements.’ Therefore, while some took a sectarian parliamentary course to assert claims, some took up a non-parliamentary militant course of extortions and exploitation. Communal politics became lucrative for those who adopted sectarian and opportunist lines, often creating confusion between revolutionary and reactionary. The overall picture is, there are several parallel community organisations under different nomenclatures, cultural assertion or revivalism, sense of loss of freedom and ‘national’ identity, and spread of democratic ideas. Therefore, insurgent groups range from those who raised armed revolution to liberate from India to those who sought for ethnic / tribal / communal autonomy. While some are pro-Manipur, there are others that had a different agenda. All of these had a commonality in regards to the articulation of; (a) one nation theory to consolidate respectively projected ‘nation,’ (b) anti-colonial discourse against the projected national enemy, and (c) divisive discourse as responsible for internal contradiction.

It is against this backdrop that diametrically counterpoising nationalisms became operative, causing some serious and unprecedented ramifications. Those are the nationalisms of India or Bharat or Hindustan, Manipur or Kangleipak, Nagalim, and Zale’ngam or Zogam or Zoram.

(1) India or Bharat or Hindustan

While Manipur was in the making, the Indian rulers could penetrate and co-opt a section of the elites, who became instrumental in ‘annexation’ by India. Certain initiatives towards the co-option had been gaining momentum since around the 1930s. Among the loyal elites was a section of the Durbar members composed of the landowning aristocrats. Accordingly, the king signed the Stand Still Agreement on 2 July 1947 and the Instrument of Accession on 11 August 1947. Among the political parties, the Manipur State Congress was eager to speed up the ‘annexation.’ It was against this background that the King of Manipur and the Dominion of India’s representative entered into a secret agreement that came to be known as the merger agreement and controversial. In other words, Indian rulers were successful in schematising the Merger Agreement and bringing Manipur under its capitalist regimes. In the subsequent period, it could co-opt with and create a subordinate class of ‘rentier bourgeoisie’ composed of chiefs and landlords, usurers, contractors, commission agents, corrupt officials, petty merchants, and elite NGO sectors and others that are dependent on the former for political and economic power. Certain service sectors have been opened up, which subsequently generated employment, and it helped create various layers of loyal middle classes. They became the direct or indirect agents of promoting India nationalism and counter-insurgency. India has been successful in keeping Manipur within the ambit of its overarching empire.

(2) Kangleipak

Kangleipak (sic. Manipur) protagonists construed the colonial image of the Indian State. They refuted the Sanskritised history on the ground that Manipur had no long historical and cultural ties with Hinduism or India in the past. They traced Manipur’s origin in the primordial past, comparable to both British and Indian ‘national’ histories. According to Sanajaoba, Manipur “… had her defined territory, population, successive governments, external relations with neighbours, economic centralisation, common official language, common ancestry for two millennia and above all, a full-fledged constitutional system, equipped with judicial mechanisms.”[27] In order to fit into national ‘criterion’ within the framework of international instruments prescribed by the UN and other international conventions, Revolutionary People’s Front asserted that “the basic parameters of an independent state, as stipulated by the Montevido Convention, 1933, viz., (a) territory, (b) population, (c) government and (d) capacity to maintain external relations, had been found in the state of Manipur.”[28] They concentrate on; (a) continuous reproduction of anti-colonial discourse challenging the Indian national history, (b) articulation of one nation theory for Manipur positing against the divisive discourses of Nagalim and Zalen’ngam histories. Firstly, the peoples of Manipur are being depicted as having common racial and genealogical origin; different from the Indians (Mayangs). They rely on mythology, legends, and traditions to substantiate the claim. Secondly, there is constant effort to identify citizenship with Manipuri language to substantiate that a common language that binds the people.[29] Thirdly, there is a constant articulation of cultural similarities and assimilation among the people[30] based on common ritual and customary practices.[31] Fourthly, Manipur is being shown as a historically evolved stable community possessing a common territory.[32] This is based on historical documents such as agreements, negotiation, procedures, maps, survey reports, chronicles, and the existing political, economic, social, and cultural conditions, etc.[33]  Fifthly, the people of Manipur are being shown as playing important collective role in state formation throughout the history as they had lived under “federation evolved out of the autochthonous groups.”[34] Territorially, the status quo of Kangleipak withstands challenges of disintegration, though the demand for political sovereignty and social emancipation has not been achieved.

(3) Nagalim

According to Nagalim protagonists, the Nagas had always been a sovereign nation occupying an area of 120,000 sq. km of Patkai Range in between longitude 93º E and 97º E and latitude 23.5º N and 28.3º N. Nagalim is located at the tri-junction of China, India, and Burma;[35] bounded in North by China, in West by Assam, in South by Manipur Valley and Mizoram and Chin Hills (Burma), and in East beyond Chindwin River and along its tributary Uyu River (Burma).[36] In order to claim the aboriginal title and claim for exclusive territorial rights, Nagalim is being romanticised as the only land first settled and continued to be settled by Nagas alone.[37] The Nagalim agenda refute the existing territorial boundaries as arbitrary and mechanical. For instance, “to the Nagas, the very creation and existence of the state of Manipur has been perceived as an instrument of suppression of their rights and insult to their dignity.”[38] Manipur is identified with Meetei and they argue, “the Nagas have nowhere at any point of time given their allegiance to the Meeteis or their Maharajas to decide their future, orally or through an agreement.”[39] They articulate that Nagas and Meeteis were two different peoples since “Naga people have their own culture and history, which they all wish to appreciate and learn.”[40] They condemn one nation theory for Manipur since it is “nothing but lies … there is no reason for the Meeteis to be overlording the Nagas.”[41] Therefore they would not allow Manipur officials to visit the disputed Dzuko valley where Manipur had an official stake.[42] They would never tolerate what they termed “Kuki homeland (Zale’n –gam) to be carved out of the Naga areas of the four hill districts of Manipur (Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul), parts of present Nagaland and Assam where the Kukis inhabit.”[43] The demand continues though serious setbacks have crept in due to sectarianism among Naga organisations.

(4) Zalen’ngam

Secondly, Zale’n-gam or land of freedom or Kukiland “is the ancestral land of the Kuki people”[44] where they “originated, on which they were raised, developed, excelled and fought valiant battles (for survival)”[45]. The imagined Zale’n-gam inhabited by Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups comprises ‘contiguous’ regions in Northeast India, Northwest Burma, and Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh.[46] In Manipur, Zale’n-gam comprises half of the geographical area of Manipur, i.e., Chandel and Churachandpur districts, Sadar Hills (in Senapati District), and vast tracts in Ukhrul, Tamenglong, and Senapati Districts.[47] Their sovereignty is traced in the past, “prior to the advent of British colonialists, there was complete self-rule and independence in Zale’n-gam.”[48] Their forebears had lived exclusively and gloriously in Zal’e-gam possessing ‘unique’ custom, culture and tradition.[49] Their territorial claim refuted Naga exclusive territorial claims over Chandel, Tamenglong, Senapati, and Ukhrul Districts. They issued a caution against the threat by potential migration of Meeteis and others in Zalen’ngam. They perceived immediate threat from what they termed Naga “design of territorial expansionism”[50] and Meetei ‘chauvinists’ who used Zale’n-gam as launch-pad to carry out activities against the Kukis and the Indian army.[51] In addition to the threat, they are apprehensive about community defections. The “Anal, Moyon and Monshang, Chiru, Chothe, Lamkang, and Maring people, who belong to the Old Kuki categorisation were manipulated to adopt Naga as a political identity by the NSCN-IM operating in Manipur[52] They considered that statehood for Zale’n-gam would bring a solution to all these.[53] To achieve it, they would go to the extent of forging an alliance with the State and, at the same time bidding a “farewell party to the Meeteis (Manipur) in the same way the Manipur Nagas are doing.”[54] There is a change in the demand of KNO and others, as they now demand a communal territorial council without immediately breaking the existing territory of Manipur.

The above nationalisms are diametrical. These are the results of polemics defending the respectively projected nationhood. From a theoretical point of view, these polemics and projected nationhood suffer from paradoxes. However, the organisational or political and armed efforts centred on any of these nationhood had real implications in one way or the other. There are nationalist fronts behind each of them. They are involved in consolidating peoples into respective imagined nationhood by attempting to make national ideology as above all other loyalties. These are carried out to constitute a strong central national authority, develop economic rationality, and rapid material development of the ‘national’ citizens. In this scenario, India or Bharat or Hindustan, Manipur or Kangleipak, Nagalim, and Zale’n-gam were status quo and with diametrical objectives.

There are coordination and conflict among these fronts. These are largely strategic and tactical to accomplish respectively subscribed nationalism. India will attempt to wipe out the rest. Indian State’s objective of suppressing insurgency and political dissent has been very clear. In pursuing the objectives, the Indian State military confronted the insurgents or entered into tactical negotiations and ceasefire with some insurgent parties. It will negotiate with anyone who would fall into its trap and wipe out the one that challenges its sovereignty. Similarly, Kangleipak will fight the rest. It suspects but wants to unite a section of Nagalim and Zalen’gam to defend the territorial unity and defeat India. Nagalim and Zalen’ngam protagonists posited against one another over territorial assertion. At the same time, they will temporarily unite and posited against the India and Kangleipak agenda. The two theories are interwoven in constructing divisive discourses between a tribe and non-tribal. It described the Nagas and Kuki-Chin-Mizos as tribes and claimed for exclusive rights over the hills that comprise 90% of the entire geographical area of Manipur. The Meeteis are being cited as exploiters leading to deprivation and marginalisation of the tribes. The two forwarded respective one nation theory for Nagalim and Zalen’gam. Coordination and conflict among these fronts were largely strategic and tactical to accomplish respectively subscribed nationalism. At the same time, there are also dynamics of exigency. For instances, when parties of Nagalim suffered from party split and sectarian wars, a splinter may look for the support of either India or Kangleipak for survival. The same rule applies to others who are facing internal party conflicts and factional clash. In the case of party fissures within fronts, there were ‘internal’ party conflicts and perplexing situation of tactical party coordination across fronts to defend party interest. Firstly, parties may enter into a tactical alliance to outlive others that were perceived to be an immediate party enemy. Secondly, in tactical co-ordination, nationalism affiliation alone is not the determining factor as during factional war, immediate party survival was more important than national loyalty.

It is beyond this chapter’s scope to dwell on the minute details of the coordination and conflicts among the armed insurgent parties. However, the activities of the insurgent parties can be broadly grouped into three; (a) Restorative, (b) Chauvinistic and, (c) Integrative. Firstly, it could be restorative as in the case of demand for restoration of perceived lost territory. Secondly, it could be ‘national chauvinistic’ in the sense that communal hatred and ethnic cleansing are being perpetrated to assert an exclusive territorial claim. Thirdly, it could be ‘integrative’ to consolidate and prevent ‘nation’ from being divided into segments. In the course of action defections or desertion to other party, factional clash within parties, conflict and coordination among parties were reported from time to time. Overall, many are caught in the vicious cycle of conflict generated by diametrical nationalisms towards making Indian, Kangleipak or Manipur, Nagalim, Zale’n-gam, Zogam nations. However, in the above context, official nationalism precedes ‘nation,’ and the national claims remained paradoxical. Different individuals affiliated to different nationalisms were intermixing and the borders bases on nationalisms are overlapping across communities. The paradox is exemplified as peoples are mechanically encapsulated in one nation theory, which merely articulates superficial nationhood cloak but fails to diffuse psychological cohesion towards any officially imagined nation. But the powerful dominates, as exemplifies by the Indian State’s continuous rule for more than 70 years.

To sum up, at present Manipur is conflict-ridden, also compounded by different national ‘imagining’ and projection of respectively designed nationhood. These conflicts are being modelled and perpetuated under an overarching neoliberal political economy. First, while India has been suffering from semi-feudal and semi-colonial constraints, Indian expansionism in the Northeast had the other aspect of militarisation, subjugation, exploitation, and oppression. The colonial conditions have created liberation movements of various trends. The solution sought by the Indian State is bent on the Indian integration trajectory without rooting out the system responsible for creating a colonial situation. The colonial system is manifested in unrestrained militarization to facilitate the penetration by the powerful monopoly finance capitalists and its satellite agencies, to control over the territory, resources, markets, service sectors and labour. They collaborate with the local puppet regimes and sectarian collusive forces. Secondly, it is also apparent that powerful communal forces are organized under the leadership of middle-class capitalism aspirants who are bent on the neo-liberal solutions. They either confront or collude with different local ruling groups depending on issues, but they all have a commonality in communal orientation and sectarianism in specific forms or the other.

Threat of finance imperialism

The turn of the 21st century is remarkable in terms of increasing collaboration of the Indian big bourgeoisie with the finance imperialism under the leadership of the US imperialism and other International Financial Institutions. Many considered that India’s rise as an important power block is the corollary of qualitative and structural changes after the end of the cold war between the American and Soviet blocks. In fact, in 1991, India adopted an economic policy that is being popularly known as the Structural Adjustment Programme (liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation). In terms of foreign policy, these collaborators could penetrate deep in the Southeast Asian countries for market and resource. They had directly or indirectly played a role in serving US imperialist interest in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. They indulged in collaborative cum competitive relations with Chinese social Capitalists in post-LTTE Sri-Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. Since then, India’s foreign policy’s focus has been more or less on the development of bilateral and multilateral relations with Southeast Asian Countries. This shift is exemplified by adopting ‘Act East Policy’ (earlier known as Look East Policy) — for strategic or security, economic, political, and institutional linkages, which has now covered a vast geographical horizon to encapsulate Australia and East Asia as well. There has been a ‘national euphoria’ about the prospects of this Policy.

Within India, the Act East Policy has a special focus on the ‘insurgency ridden’ North-eastern region. The predominant perception is that Southeast Asia would begin from the Northeast region because of the abundant resources, geostrategic viability, and development necessities. Accordingly, in 2008 the Government of India published a voluminous policy framework known as the Northeast Regional Vision 2020, which emphasized the Act East Policy’s prospects towards addressing problems of ‘underdevelopment’ and insurgency in the region. Therefore, at the policy level, Act East Policy is not about foreign policy alone, as generally perceived by many. The Act East Policy is a vast and integrated neo-liberal project sponsored by the powerful monopoly financial capitalist countries, that has to do a lot with the Northeast region to strengthen India’s foreign relations with the Southeast Asian countries. Before the lapse of the Northeast Regional Vision 2020, in 2016, India’s Government released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast India, which highlighted the steps to leverage extraction of hydrocarbon resources from the Northeast region by MNCs.[55] Currently, this profit-driven policy is militarily backed by the Indian State and financed in the form of Foreign Direct Investment by a collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other allied monopoly finance capitalist cartels such as the Asian Development Bank, Agence Francais De Development (AFD) of France, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), etc. This is revealed by the draft policy of the Public-private Partnership (PPP) circulated in 2011 and the latest Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy Circular of 2017 “to attract and promote foreign direct investment to supplement domestic capital, technology, and skills, for accelerated economic growth.”

In the overall, the Act East Policy, brings in drastic ‘changes’ include: (a) infusion of FDI by the monopoly financial capitalists in the forms of loans or debt services or obligatory interest payments with conditionalities; (b) construction of Trans-Asian Highways and railways, international airports, and trade related infrastructural components; (c) militarisation and military establishments to ensure security and safety of the commercial interests; (d) establishment of extractive industries such as oil explorations, drilling and extraction and hydro-electric power projects in order to ensure adequate supply of energy, which are required for the ‘commercial growth;’ (e) corporatisation and privatisation of key economic and service sectors such as power, water, supply provisions, health and medical, monoculture, agribusiness, etc. in order to promote and maximise the super-profits of the MNCs; (f) amendment and de-regularisation of the existing safeguard laws relating to environment, mining, land, water, natural resources, and democratic rights (civil, political, economic, social, and cultural); (g) demographic invasion by migrant monopolists, skilled and unskilled labour, and other powerful market forces.

The Act East Policy generates mixed responses from different sections in the Northeast. The decisive section of the creamy layer crony capitalists, corrupt bureaucrats, and comprador bourgeoisie find in the project a lucrative opportunity to extract personal commissions from the infrastructure construction sectors and trade. They are the dominant local support base of the Policy. It is also believed that many insurgent groups who wanted quick fundraising through exhortation from ‘projects’ do not oppose the Policy. Most of their mass organisations are either the silent observer or have co-opted with the project mongers. There is also general subscription to the policy, as the trickle-down effect benefitted many at various layers— passing down from big contractors to the levels of project dealers, medium and small scale construction entrepreneurs, labour contractors, skilled and semi-skilled labours. The larger bulk of the so called influential ‘intellectuals,’ journalists, politicians, and bureaucrats who uncritically subscribe to the deceptive neo-liberal concepts such as development, liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation private-public partnership’ and etc. have not critically assessed the Policy.

Reaction to the policy comes from certain minority ‘organic’ sections and the immediate victims of displacement and inadequate rehabilitation arrangements. The immediate victims’ reactions are generally localised and confined to specific demands about their livelihood, compensation, and rehabilitation. The organic sections, who are sceptical about the policy’s long-term impact, play some supportive role in educating and organising the victims to raise their legitimate concerns at a higher and coordinated level. The organic sections are mainly environmentalists and progressive community protagonists who had different development and sustainable goals. Many of them operate at local, state, national, regional, and international levels. The majority of them are associated with either what is being called the NGO sector or Civil Voluntary Organisations. They critically evaluate the Policies and raised apprehension about destructive tendencies related to landscape, ecology, ownership of land and resources, demographic invasion, cultural extinction, political subordination, income disparity and underdevelopment. They incorporated the idea of ‘indigenous rights’ pitting against the invasive foreign capital and projects, the influx of outsiders, and market forces. They spearheaded a series of seminars, conventions, talks, advocacy, demonstrations, petitions, protests, blockades, and agitations to arouse popular consciousness to address some of their concerns.

While the open reactions are casual, localised, and sporadic, the monopoly finance capitalism’s onslaught is rapid and powerful. The projects’ mechanised dramatic thrust could not be completely obstructed other than obtaining certain degrees of compensation to certain sections of the victims. In the overall Act East Policy cannot be reversed for lack of effective resistance. As a result, the Policy has begun to cause an enormous amount of forced displacement of population, land and resource alienation, destruction of the environment and ‘traditional’ economic livelihood, policing, militarisation and violation of ‘human rights,’ and obstructions to civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The scramble for a share of wealth from the projects has sharpened income disparity, the growth of parasitic classes whose diabolic individual opportunisms are camouflaged by carrying out emotive propaganda of sectarian communal rights and community identity. The temporary economic or beneficiary boon at various levels — which are the immediate results of funding in the name of ‘shared incentives’ under the Constitutional provision of the Concurrent List, infrastructural constructions, and job opportunity; which had created a face value of attraction to many, but legitimises massive misappropriation of wealth out of which a microscopic section of the exploiters accrues unequal share of the tricked down benefit in descending order — has strengthened the grips of the foreign monopoly financial imperialists and their agents at the cost of oppressed nations. Practically, the Policy has undermined the international standards such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), UN Sustainable Development Goals (2015).

Bridging the divides through democratic communication

The Spectre of conflicts looms on the Northeast, particularly in Manipur. The conflicts are manifold. First, on the one hand, the Indian State adopts neo-colonialism. It facilitates economic onslaught by monopoly financial imperialists, therefore creating an antagonistic confrontation with the armed insurgents who strife for national liberation. Second, the Indian State collaborates with the local agents who pose themselves as local champions but practically suppress local aspirations. They rely on military, paramilitary, and police forces to defend the neoliberal agenda. Therefore, latent antagonism between the two camps of the State and its agents on one side and those who opposed it leads to sporadic unrest from time to time against the State’s specific policies. Third, there are communal forces, directly or indirectly backed by armed communal insurgent parties, who raised contentious national imagining and adopted chauvinistic reactions, leading to cold-blooded tensions and open clashes from time to time. Some of them operate in collaboration with the State and the MNCs. Fourth, conflicts persist between the ‘indigene’ and the huge number of unregulated ‘migrants’ whose numerical size creates ramifications on demographic balance, political bargaining, land and resource ownership, market monopoly, employment, cultural identity, and social unity. Fifth, individual opportunism and organized sectarianism have added to rampant subjugation, oppression, exploitation, oppression, deprivation, inequality, and marginalization of various sections at varying degrees. Therefore, mistrust reigns both at interpersonal and organizational levels. There is a lack of ideological cohesion, systematic organization, and consistent initiatives for a common popular cause. The powerful dominates by hook and crook. Many fail to foresee that neo-colonialism and finance imperialism pose the threats that would negatively affect everyone in some ways to others.

Many fail to conceptualise and feel the pangs of the aggressive neo-liberal assaults. Instead, many looked upon the tactical short term relief measures and deceptive promises of the neo-liberal regimes as the only option to fulfill their immediate individual opportunism. They do not question the system, policies, forms of wealth accumulation, and the corresponding disastrous impacts. Many questions could have been raised: (1) Do the people own their ancestral territory, natural resources, and markets? (2) Do the people enjoy the right to national self-determination in political and economic decision making? Can they recall unpopular elected representatives? (3) Why have people become economically dependent on imports? Why is the State reluctant to invest in the primary and secondary economic sectors? Why economic discrepancies and sharp inequalities among people, corruption, bribery, unemployment, etc. have become the permanent features? (4) Why is the State not investing in creating an adequate amount of the forces of production and means of production to improve the economy? (5) Why is the State reluctant to invest in the essential service sectors such as health and medicine, water, electricity, roads, transport, education, cold storage and granaries, housing for the poor, etc.? Why is the State more interested in facilitating extractive industries financed and run by the foreign monopoly capitalists? (6) Why is the State investing money in militarisation and the culture of impunity under various draconian and repressive laws? (7) Why is the State unable to bring a halt to the unrestrained population invasion by migrants? (8) Why is the State unable to end the widespread illicit business in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances? Why poppy monoculture flourishes at the cost of the environment, stable foods, health, community, and society? (9) Why is there a restriction on the freedom of conscience, expression, opinions, and political dissent? There can be many more questions. But all the questions can be clubbed into those related to civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. What should be efforts to dissect the perplexing problems to study and arrive at practical some answers?

Individual opportunism, career obsession, and absence of progressive ideology and vision have pushed many into selfish sectarian goals and reactionary approaches. But the question is, can an individual or a section or a community single-handedly address the issue that affected all without taking on board the confidence, trusts, and roles of the affected others. Those who want a progressive and qualitative change must come out of the parochial mindset’s cocoon and conservative worldviews. It needs to be understood that as conflicts have been prolonged and taking tolls across sections, durable mechanisms to initiate transformations or reforms or changes towards creating a common agenda for collective welfare would be welcomed. But on what principle would the durable mechanism emerge? It would have to be based on the ideal of democratic communication. The agenda should be to look for common interest to strive for a system, laws, and policies that would be best suitable as common wealth. In other words, democratic communication has to be a viable mechanism to establish durable peace, order, and development. Ideally, democratic communication would mean a communication system marked by a fair exchange of information and opinions among peoples who also participate in a collaborative network of participation in the decision-making process. Practically, finding a common agenda and democratic push to insert that agenda have to be the result of a progressive organizational effort.

But democratic communication cannot evolve automatically as a free gift from an enlightened or divine power. In the context when the fair exchange of correct information and opinions has been obstructed because of lack of transparency and accountability by those who are in authority, attack on “Right to Information” activists, an attack on freedom of expression and conscience; to create a favourable premise of democratic communication requires lots of courage, resource, and efforts. It has to be achieved through organised efforts. But then, a practical democratic communication either between or with whom? We have seen that some armed insurgent groups on the Indian side of the Indo-Myanmar border region have entered into either ceasefire or memorandum of understanding or suspension of operation with the Indian State. Following these, armed hostilities among them have almost come to an abrupt halt. However, some issues have emerged out of this process. First, it has proven that the negotiation between a militarily aggressive powerful Indian State and the weaker forces always favoured the interest of the powerful. There is no respite from the State’s neo-liberal aggressive policies. Second, although armed hostility has come to a halt, the militant groups continue to enjoy extortion of money from project and essential supplies that directly affect the general consumers. Many of them continued to operate as the fifth column of the imperial forces to incite mutually genocidal communal politics among the people. Third, these militant organisations do not pose a check and balance against the neo-liberal onslaughts. Instead, they directly or indirectly work in collaboration with the MNCs. On some occasions, some of them have obstructed popular demands for the right to adequate compensation and rehabilitation against displacement caused by projects. Therefore, while the temporary halt of armed hostility may be welcomed, the procedure and fallout of the negotiation cannot be considered a democratic communication from the perspective of those who aspire to combat the domination of imperialism and neo-liberal assaults. Democratic communication, therefore, must be based on a clear cut ideological perception and functional holistic approaches to involve many to achieve the higher goal of democratic rights.

In the historical context where the voice of guns and voice of popular democratic militancy alone have reverberating effects on the State to agree to have some effective dialogue, the conditions are not fertile enough to have absolute trust in sporadic academic discourses, episodic political mendicancy, and whimsical display of idealism as the effective means of democratic communication with the State. The point is democratic communication has to be the agenda of the popular organisation or party that must concentrate on organising people to build up an adequate popular strength to initiate dialogue with others and the State in a phased manner. The concern popular organisation or party must have a visionary political thesis. It must have a political programme and tactical lines based on the thesis. It must build up cadres and mass bases by organising people along the political programme lines and finding fraternal alliances and supporters along its tactical lines. Therefore, democratic communication must begin in a phased manner to build itself into a powerful block that may have the capacity to lead a democratic movement to bargain with the State. Without powerful popular support and effective bargaining tactics, the State cannot be humbled down to affirm and promote democratic communication in the strict sense of its principled meaning. In short, the need for democratic communication has to be guided by a higher revolutionary goal to combat the domination of imperialism and the Indian State dependent upon it, which is engaged in an intensified offensive under the slogans of liberalisation and structural readjustment programmes. The strategic collective demand must incorporate tactical specific needs of specific sections pertaining to immediate threats to either or combination of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. In the Northeast context, there is a need to strive for the first stage of the People’s Democratic Revolution.



——– Part I, Article 1: Constitution of India.

Ghosh., Suniti Kumar. (1996). India’s Nationality Problem and Ruling Classes. Calcutta.

Ghosh., Suniti Kumar. (2002). The Himalayan Adventure: India-China War of 1962- Causes and Consequences. Mumbai: Research Unit for Political Economy.

Gupta., Karunakar. (1983). Spotlight on Sino- Indian Frontiers. Calcutta: Friendship Publications.

Khanna., V. N. (2001). Foreign Policy of India, 4th Edn. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Maxwell., Neville. (1970). India’s China War. Bombay: Jaico Publishing House.

Rustomji., Nari. (1983). Imperilled Frontiers: India’s North-eastern Borderlands. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Singh., L. Muhindro. (2013). Ed. Conflict Transformation Peace and Ethnic Divide in India’s Northeast: The Context of Recent Trends. Guwahati: Kamakhya Publishing House.

The Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India. Vol. VIII 1951-1956. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

Article, Journal, and Booklet

——– ‘Brief History of Kuki.’ (accessed on 24 December 2006.)

——– (1996) ‘On the Stage of the Indian Revolution.’ Revolutionary Democracy. II(1). April.

——– (2000). Tibetan Bulletin. Official Journal of the Tibetan administration, May-June.

——– (2002). People of Manipur rises to save unity and territorial integrity. Imphal: United Committee Manipur.

——– Concise Background information on Nagaland (Nagalim)., accessed in April 2002 (dead link now).

Haokip., P.S. ‘Ideological Aspects of Zale’n-gam’.

(2006). ‘Greetings from Zale’n-gam, the Kuki nation!,’ 10 April.

Luntinsat. ‘Kuki-Meiteis: Not Border Fencing but Farewell will.’ KSDF.

Naorem., Sanajaoba. (2001). ‘Why India cannot disturb Manipur boundary of 1947? uti possidetis juris.’

Ramsan., Achan. (n.d.) ‘The basis of territorial integrity and history: a quest for justice in retrospection’

Singh., P. Lalitkumar. (2001) ‘The people of Manipur.’


——– Manifesto of the Kuki National Organisation.

——– (1931). Resolutions adopted by the Executive Committee of the League Against Imperialism and for National Independence, Berlin, June 2.

——– (1948). On the Present Policy and Tasks of the Communist Party of India, January.

——– (1948). Political Thesis of the Second Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta, 28th-February-March 6.

——– (1999). ‘Criticism and constructive submission regarding the study on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between states and indigenous populations’, Report submitted by Centre for Organisation and Research Education, Manipur to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights, UN. March.

——– (1999). Memorandum submitted to the secretary general United Nations and the chairman of the Decolonisation Committee (committee of 24) for de-colonisation of Manipur from Indian colonialism and alien racist regime, enlisting Manipur in the list of the non-self-governing-territories of the United Nations and, restoration of independence and sovereignty of Manipur, Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF), Manipur. 2nd Ed..

——– (2001). Naga Peoples Convention, Senapati Declaration, 28 June.

——– (2003). Memorandum on the protection of the Territorial Integrity of Manipur submitted to the Prime Minister of India, by All Political Party Delegation from Manipur, 20 January.

Press release, texts, and Statements

——– (1907) Text of the 1907 Romanes Lecture on the subject of Frontier by Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy of India (1898-1905) and British Foreign Secretary (1919-24).

——– (1946) Statement of hon’ble Mr. Shri Krishna Sinha (Bihar: General) on Monday, 16 December, in the Constituent Assembly of India; Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume I.

——– (1949) Statement by Shri Ari Bahadur Gurung and Rev. J.J.M. Nichols Roy in the Constituent Assembly of India, respectively on Wednesday, 23 November and Saturday, 19 November in 1949. Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume XI.

——– (1949) Statement by Shri Ari Bahadur Gurung on Wednesday, 23 November 1949 in the Constituent Assembly of India. Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume XI.

——– (1993). Press statement of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, 17 September 1993.

——– (2006). ‘Naga tribe not to allow Manipuris to enter Dzuko.’ Imphal Free Press. 17 February.

——– (2006). KNO’s letter to Gen Than Shwe, Chairman, State Peace and Development Council, Burma.

——– (2006). KNO’s Memorandum to the Prime Minister of India.

——– (2006). Statement of Support by Gloria Kim, President & Mughali Achumi, General Secretary, Naga People’s Friends Network Korea, 18 August.

——– (2007). An introductory statement concerning the Kukis on the occasion of the United Old Kuki Army joining the Kuki National Organisation; Ref No. ZG/IS 02-06/07, 4 December.

[1] Statement of Hon’ble Mr. Shri Krishna Sinha (Bihar: General) on Monday, 16 December 1946; Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume I.

[2] Resolutions adopted by the Executive Committee of the League Against Imperialism and for National Independence, Berlin, June 2, 1931.

[3] (1948). On the Present Policy and Tasks of the Communist Party of India, January.

[4] (1948). Political Thesis of the Second Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta, 28th-February-March 6.

[5] 1951 Program Document of Communist Party of India; Mohit Sen. Ed. (1977). The Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India. Vol. VIII (1951-1956). New Delhi: People’s Publishing House. pp 1 to 18.

[6] (1996). ‘On the Stage of the Indian Revolution.’ Revolutionary Democracy. II(1). April.

[7] Japanese, French, British powers were considerably weakened in Northeast and the adjoining Southeast Asian regions.

[8] Privy purse and other royal prerogatives for submissive princes / kings

[9] Constitution of India: Part I, Article 1

[10] Suniti Kumar Ghosh. (1996). India’s Nationality Problem and Ruling Classes. Calcutta. p.31.

[11] ‘… from 1911, Government of India embarked on a deliberate advance of the northeastern boundary, which looked not only to bringing the tribal territory under ‘loose political control’ but also to annexing a salient of territory which the British had recognized to be China’s ever since they reached Assam nearby ninety years before’; Neville Maxwell. (1970). India’s China War. Bombay: Jaico Publishing House. p. 45.

[12] (1907). Text of the 1907 Romanes Lecture on the subject of Frontier by Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy of India (1898-1905) and British Foreign Secretary (1919-24).

[13] Suniti Kumar Ghosh. (2002). The Himalayan Adventure: India-China War of 1962- Causes and Consequences. Mumbai: Research Unit for Political Economy.

[14] Sardar Patel’s Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, Dated 7 November, 1950: Karunakar Gupta. (1983). Spotlight on Sino- Indian Frontiers. Calcutta: Friendship Publications.

[15] Hugh Richardson, the last British Representative was nominated the first Indian Head of Mission.

[16] ‘The Evolution of Nehru’s Policy on Tibet: 1947-1954.’ In Tibetan Bulletin. (2000). Official Journal of the Tibetan administration, May-June.

[17] Maxwell, India’s China War, pp. 67-68.

[18] Ghosh, The Himalayan Adventure …

[19] V. N. Khanna. (2001). Foreign Policy of India, 4th Edn. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. pp 141-142.

[20] Nari Rustomji. (1983). Imperilled Frontiers: India’s North-eastern Borderlands. Delhi: Oxford University Press. p.20-21.

[21] (1949). Statement by Shri Ari Bahadur Gurung and Rev. J.J.M. Nichols Roy in the Constituent Assembly of India, respectively on Wednesday, 23 November and Saturday, 19 November. Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume XI.

[22] (1949). Statement by Shri Ari Bahadur Gurung on Wednesday, 23 November in the Constituent Assembly of India. Constituent Assembly Debate, Volume XI.

[23] There were submissions by several landlocked tribes and communities that had lacked unity, consciousness, political leadership, and means of resistance.

[24] Communist armed revolutionary movement in Manipur (1949 – 1951).

[25] Repealed on Thursday, 9 December 2004.

[26] Moamenla Amer, ‘Identity and Autonomy Issues in Nagaland’ in L. Muhindro Singh (2013). Ed. Conflict Transformation Peace and Ethnic Divide in India’s Northeast: The Context of Recent Trends. Guwahati: Kamakhya Publishing House. p. 92.

[27] Sanajaoba Naorem. (2001). ‘Why India cannot disturb Manipur boundary of 1947? uti possidetis juris.’

[28] (1999). Memorandum submitted to the Secretary General United Nations and the chairman of the Decolonisation Committee (committee of 24) for de-colonisation of Manipur from Indian colonialism and alien racist regime, enlisting Manipur in the list of the non-self-governing-territories of the United Nations and, restoration of independence and sovereignty of Manipur, Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF), Manipur. 2nd Ed.

[29] P. Lalitkumar Singh. (2001) ‘The people of Manipur.’

[30] (2002). People of Manipur rises to save unity and territorial integrity. Imphal: United Committee Manipur.

[31]  Ibid.

[32] (2003). Memorandum on the protection of the Territorial Integrity of Manipur submitted to the Prime Minister of India, by All Political Party Delegation from Manipur, 20 January.

[33] “As one can easily verify from Henry Yule’s map of Manipur in 1500 A.D., down to James Johnstone’s Map in 19th century and to Surveyor General of India’s map of Manipur, 1984 A.D. They have been corroborated and recognized by other countries in their official maps and records,” “People of Manipur rises…”

[34]  (1999) ‘Criticism and constructive submission regarding the study on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between states and indigenous populations’, Report submitted by Centre for Organisation and Research Education, Manipur to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights, UN. March.

[35] Concise Background information on Nagaland (Nagalim)., accessed in April 2002 (dead link now).

[36] Achan Ramsan. ‘The basis of territorial integrity and history: a quest for justice in retrospection’

[37] (2001). Naga Peoples Convention, Senapati Declaration, 28 June.

[38] “The basis of territorial integrity and history: a quest for justice in retrospection.”

[39] (Naga Peoples Convention…).

[40] (2006). Statement of Support by Gloria Kim, President & Mughali Achumi, General Secretary, Naga People’s Friends Network Korea, 18 August.

[41] (Statement of Support by Gloria Kim…)

[42] (2006). ‘Naga tribe not to allow Manipuris to enter Dzuko.’ Imphal Free Press. 17 February.

[43] (1993). Press statement of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, 17 September.

[44] P.S. Haokip. ‘Ideological Aspects of Zale’n-gam.’

[45] Manifesto of the Kuki National Organisation.

[46] Ibid.

[47] P.S. Haokip. (2006). ‘Greetings from Zale’n-gam, the Kuki nation!,’ 10 April.

[48] ‘Ideological Aspects of Zale’n-gam’

[49] ‘Brief History of Kuki.’; accessed on 24 December 2006

[50] (2006). KNO’s Memorandum to the Prime Minister of India.

[51] (2006). KNO’s letter to Gen Than Shwe, Chairman, State Peace and Development Council, Burma.

[52].” (2007). An introductory statement concerning the Kukis on the occasion of the United Old Kuki Army joining the Kuki National Organisation; Ref No. ZG/IS 02-06/07, 4 December.

[53] (2006). KNO’s Memorandum to the Prime Minister of India.

[54] Luntinsat. ‘Kuki-Meiteis: Not Border Fencing but Farewell will.’ KSDF.

[55] Under the New Exploration Licensing Policy, Petroleum Exploration License, Petroleum Mining Lease (PML), and Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)/Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), The National Mineral Policy of 2019, and Mineral Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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