Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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The revolution to humanize can often become dehumanising

From a layman’s viewpoint, the main objective of a revolutionary movement is to restore the lost freedom of a human group from another group which had stolen the same.  Philosophically speaking, without what we call freedom, no man is complete. From this standpoint, the revolutionary movements that we have seen in Manipur over the past few decades, also set out with the declared objective of making their people more fully human. Here the term “people” cannot omit the revolutionary class leading the movements, in other words, the leadership.

Therefore, from axiological perspectives an armed revolutionary movement is purely a fight against the acts of dehumanization. So, the veridical objective of an armed national movement is to humanize the people barbarized in the processes of colonization. This also importantly implies that if a group of people has chosen to fulfil this task, they must first humanize themselves.  For, arguably, violence by any group of people will never be able to bring such a big change as revolution.

As we have already said, we need to make people fully human. And this is the historical vocation of the revolutionary class of the society. Unfortunately, our leaders seem to have neglected the significance of this work without which no revolution can come about. It appears that even even those who swear by the revolution do not care to reflect and consider how their own brutal acts barbarize the people as well as themselves.

Looking back at the history of the armed revolutionary movement of Manipur, you’ll see a series of bloody factional fights between the armed opposition groups themselves. These groups are the ones that promised peace and freedom to the people, sans which man cannot be fully human. I wonder if they even count the number of people killed in that clash or if they care about this outcome or not, and the prospect that they will never be forgiven by history if they have no acceptable explanation for their acts.

Obviously, it all happened within our history, yet it is not our historic vocation. Rather it’s an act of dehumanization. If you kill your enemy, you can justify it by saying that he is your enemy even though killing is unacceptable to humanity and definitely not a historical task for the human race. On the contrary, if you kill your comrade because he has a different point of view than you, you can’t justify the act so easily by saying ‘I killed him for having that point of view’. In human terms, nothing could be worse than this act of dehumanization. And one can only do this when his/her humanity has died inside him/her.

Our society, during that factional clash, didn’t look like human society. It was more like a killing field. The entire society had lived in fear during the 1990s. If you are old enough to assess socio-political issues of the time, you will see no difference between the fear generated by AFSPA and the fear generated by the factional clashes. There was absolutely no difference between the two; in both scenarios, one could see only fear and heinousness.

When you murder someone you have taken as your enemy in front of his wife or family, the act will dehumanize not only you but also those people witnessing the brutal act. Indeed, Manipur’s people then lived with a deeply entrenched psychosis of fear. In terms of magnitude, it was no less than the fear infused by the military act of 1958 into the Kanglei psychic structure.

Those people who were at the helm of the brutal clashes are now at the helm of the ongoing armed movement for national liberation. This could be one of the many reasons why the word liberation or revolution has in many senses become dreadful to the society by an large. In fact, what the people fear is not the revolutionary movement itself, but the acts of violence these movements have brought to their lives. This has to be taken off people’s minds. For this, it is necessary to humanize both the revolutionary class and the people.

If they adhered strictly to the vocation of making the people more fully human by a genuine humanization process, that is, by taking the path of revolution, then people would follow them. Most people continue to perceive them as a group of people that can intimidate and harass them, to the extent of even killing them for charges slapped on them in their kangaroo courts, therefore are scared of them. This is how these movements have degraded human values that led the people to hating both the word revolution and the revolutionary. So it’s necessary to stop the politics of dehumanizing the people if they are to bring changes for the better.

We have seen that all of the revolutionary parties in the state are trying to prove that their respective parties are better and more powerful than others’. But this fight is a distortion of their epochal task, and it cannot be considered an act of revolution. They take on non-revolutionary actions, each charging the others as reactionaries. This will not only destroy their inner being but will also make people incapable of becoming a whole man.

As we all know, the whole life of Karl Marx was motivated by the dream of a ‘whole man’ that he saw missing in the working people’s physical and inner being. Thus, the basic goal of a revolutionary movement is to make a man a whole man, not alienated beings, to make the society to be composed of integrated individuals. In other words, the aim of social change is to realize one’s humanity — the self — that resides within each individual.

Manipur’s insurgent organizations had spent many years wittingly or unwittingly partaking in factional killings that hurt the inner selves of the people. In fact, one’s inner self needs to be nourished psychologically to become more human. Murdering the humanity of the people cannot be seen as having no impact on their own inner self — the murderer’s inner core. Their idea of being heroic has been defined as related to their act of killing their own comrades. This is nothing short of suffocating their own set goals — to make the people an entire man by appreciating dehumanizing acts.

Now the time has come to realize that fact. They need to become integrated men, capable of nourishing the dehumanized people with their revolutionary principles so that the latter can become fully human. If they have failed in this too, there will be anarchy of the people, by the people, for the people in the society.  We can see only dehumanizing actions therein, that is, the distortion of the ontological vocation of man. In such a situation, our continued existence as a people will become all the more remote and threatened. In the course of time, we will become less and less human leading to what we most fear — the national death.

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