KReF and KIG Responds to Federation of Haomee
The 14th December 2020
The Kuki Reformation Forum (KReF) and the Kuki Intellectual Group KIG) jointly condemned in the strongest term the dastardly and unmandated organisation, the Federation of Haomee (FoH) and other Anti- Kuki writers for their continuous vilification campaign against the Kuki people. These concerted efforts to tarnish the image of the Kukis by; a) cheaply branding them as refugees in their own land where their ancestrals have settled since time immemorial and fought even the mighty Britishers, b) violating their basic constitutional rights, c) belittling and forgetting their contribution to the nation and Manipur state through their active participations in the Azad Hind Fauz/ Indian National Army (INA) of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, is totally unacceptable.
List of Kuki Freedom Fighters can be seen clearly inscripted with Golden Ink on the Marble Slab Monolith at INA Memorial Complex Moirang, Manipur. The Kukis do not need to prove that they are the true sons of the soil, unlike the Kaccha Nagas who only willingly served as porters and spies when the Kukis were busy waging war in their independent Kuki Hill Country against the mighty British in the Anglo-Kuki War of 1917-19, in defence of their ancestral land and freedom 30 years prior to India’s Independence of 1947 and 55 Years prior to Manipur statehood of 1972. It seems that brethren Meiteis too have completely forgotten the role of Kukis for Kangleipak. To refresh our memories mention maybe made of a few incidents in the pre-independence period. When King Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh on 21 September 1949, surrendered Kangleipak princely state into Indian Union, 250 Kuki warrior chiefs protested at the Palace gate, demanding the King not to sign the Merger Pact with Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the then Home Minister of Indian Union. More over it was the Kukis who protected the Meitei Kings during repeated Burmese invasions of Kangleipak in 1758, 1765 and 1775 respectively (William Shaw, 1921).
Notably, the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 has so far been amended 5 times; 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, 2015 and in 2019. And the latest amendment (CAA) has been passed by the Indian parliament in December 11, 2019. Under the new amendment, even illegal migrants who had entered India by 31st December 2014 were made eligible for citizenship. In this amendment, the mandatory requirement of 12 years stay in India was even reduced to 7 years to be eligible for citizenship even if they do not possess any document. In the light of such an emerging scenario, when even the Indian Parliament has given much relaxation even for illegal migrants to gain citizenship, the continuous branding of the Kukis who fought against the Britishers in the great Anglo-Kuki War of 1917-19, when all the inhabitants of the then Manipur willingly obeyed them, is sacrilegious and synonymous to mistaking the wood for the trees. Terming the Kukis as foreigner and illegal immigrants is also treading on dangerous waters and is the height of naivety and credulity. And questioning their indigeneity is also tantamount to an indirect declaration of war upon Kukis.
And these sort of communal terming of the Kukis as refugees, venomous lies of branding them as illegal immigrants and foreigner, and the various hate speech and misinformation campaign dissipating from the FoH every now and then in various state dailies is only to mislead the uninformed general public of Manipur with their divisive policy. It will only served to extirpate the intercommunity peace and harmony of the state and must be condemned by all by banning the FoH and their leaders booked under relevant law at the earliest. When a mere Facebook post criticising the government could land few individuals in jail and lock-up, why is there no proper investigation on the FoH one wonders. To trace out the patronage and source of funding of this illegitimate organisation formed only for devilish work that hinders the prevalence of peace and tranquillity in the state should be the no.1 priority of the government. These continual indifference by the government wouldn’t be tolerated, as a day will arise when we would need to take the law into our own hands, and nobody should blame us in such a situation. The ball is now in the court of the government to dispense justice keeping in mind Justice delayed is justice denied.
No government of the world, in their right mind except the present dispensation, could turn a blind eye and continue to tolerate such childish and blatant lies and fake utterings of the FoH, without an iota of conscience and concern that such undue tolerance and concession had potential to ultimately and untimely led to chaos and civil disturbance, especially in an environment which is brewing and brimming with insurgency, unrest and in a vitiated atmosphere of trust deficit among the different ethnic communities residing in the state.
Interestingly, the main Protagonist of the so called FoH Mr Ramthing Hungyo who accused the Kukis as foreigner and refugees is himself from Somra tract of Burma. So, FoH under the leadership of Mr Ramthing Hungyo, a Burmese national and Kaccha Nagas who never had a history of fighting any kind of war to protect their land, accusing the Kukis as illegal migrants is totally absurd and ridiculous.
The Kukis always strived for peaceful co-existence with all the neighbouring communities of the state, but this shouldn’t in any way be construed as a sign of weakness.
This vile campaign and despicable acts of punching them below the waist should henceforth be stopped altogether. The sooner the government reins in these unruly and unscrupulous elements, the better it will be for restoration of trust and normalcy. When push comes to shove the Kukis will be compelled to retaliate with all their might as that would meant there is no more room for compromised. When the very existence of a community is on the line nothing will be predictable and everyone should be prepared for the worst possible outcome, and we believed nobody wants that kind of chaotic and anarchic situation to prevail unless it is to their advantage. So we can rationalise who will possibly benefit from such a horrible scenario. Our patience is tested umpteenth number of times with the never ending spiteful press release by- the evil axis of Sapamcha-Jadumani-Hungyo continuing unabated.
The Kuki people respect and regard all the community living in the state equally but when the same thing is not being reciprocated and others continue to taunt them as minorities, foreigner and question their very indigeneity we cannot blame them for any misfortunes and calamity that will surely follow. Our patience is tested to the limit, hence hateful PRs, forced land grabbing and war mongering etc against our community would no longer be tolerated and we are not prepared to cede even an inch of our land to anyone. If the FoH, IMF and others think that they could do as they please with the Kukis, they will be extremely mistaken. Our silence is not a sign of our weakness. Our desire for peace should not be misinterpreted. We will continue to work for peace but peace cannot be desired and pursue by one party alone.
The Kaccha Nagas have immensely benefited from their early association with the Scottish Missionary, Rev. William Pettigrew and his wife Alice Pettigrew who had first ushered Christianity in 1869 in Manipur. But unfortunately, though they were the first people whose eyes were opened to the love of Christ, all they did was to use this influence to target their brethrens in Christ- the Kukis in the name of ‘Nagaland for Christ’ and through decades they have committed untold pogroms and unheard of crimes, Ethnic Cleansing on the Kukis from 1993-97. This kind of extreme hatred and animosity against a neighbour is totally uncalled for and unacceptable in this modern century. And this goes against all the accepted tenets and norms of civilised society for peaceful co-existence.
The unity in diversity that has long been deemed to be the boon of the state and which acts as the social fabric of cohesion continues to fall apart with the indifferent attitude of the present BJP Govt. towards the perpetrators and perpetuators of this naked aggression on the Kukis’ right to existence. This total disregard, apathy and indifference to the plight (because they refused to be drawn into the useless and meaningless argument) of the Kukis in the face of such childish and baseless allegations and verbal onslaught is further accentuated by the CM’s callousness, partiality and high handedness in handling the Chassad incident, Haraothel imbroglio and the undue interferences in the Anglo-Kuki War Centenary Celebration, to name a few. The recent Facebook post fiasco where in the CM allegedly called the Kukis as refugees and cited them as the reason for the problem and turmoil with the Nagas, is also a cause for concern, especially as the culprits who allegedly hacked his accounts, if any has not been traced or steps to find them has not been initiated in the first place. We cannot rule out the involvement of the CM until his innocence is proven otherwise. How long the appeasement and partiality towards the Naga and meitei community and the complete bias against the Kukis would continue, one really wonders. It is bemusing to see that such visible and open discrimination has become the order of the day today in our state.
Let us remember the Aryan theory of supremacy and superior race has already been debunked. That very dangerous theory has led Hitler to commit countless and umpteen number of crimes leading to the 2nd world war. It would be best to recall that the so called Final solution of his generals, the SS boss Himmler and his deputy Reinhard Heydrich not only failed to exterminate the Jewish people but has eventually led to the birth of the great nation of Israel. Persecutions, false accusations, war mongering, land grabbing and ethnic cleansing has no more place in this modern society.
The KReF-KIG would also like to remind the FoH and the other writers of hate-crimes against the Kukis that when it comes to the question of defending their land and existence, it will be the sacred duty of every Kuki to willingly give their life to that cause, and it will be worthwhile to note that the Kukis are a Community who are not used to bending their knees and subjugated easily, not even by the mighty British Empire.They may have mellowed down a bit to suit the age they are living in, but it would be fool-hardy to forget they are the same people who stood against the might of the British even when their opponents stoop so low as to wage war against them using the scorched earth policy.
We also appeal to the general brethen Meitei populace to think rationally and rein in the few misguided individuals who are used as a stooge by the NSCN-IM and the Tangkhul people. Their continued allegiance to the IM’s cause would definitely be regretted at a later stage as it will be surely damaging for all in the future. Nobody should be allowed to be blinded to realities. It may also be useful to probe the reasons why they are allowed to be used by the IM’s could be financial gain, marital alliance, to build up their political careers etc. But the question some brethen Meiteis should ask themselves is why the people who stood with them to defend the land of Manipur has been continuously allowed to be targeted by this unscrupulous and shady organisation. If they have chosen them as their alliance they should ponder twice before it’s too late. Propping up an organization like the FoH or for that matter building a relationship and alliance is not a difficult proposition in this age and time. If you would still chose to side with this organisation in these trying times, when the Naga solution is due anytime soon, it would be unparalleled in history and we could be forced to look elsewhere to salvage our pride and political aspirations. Let us not forget the Mizos and Chins are our blood brothers. We could also forge an understanding with even the Nagaland Nagas who are amenable, reasonable and understand our cause much better. We could even do better and supped with the devil incarnate (Th Muivah) himself if the need arises, in the dire-most situation. If some brethen Meiteis could do it, we can also do the unthinkable too. We are not clamouring for protection and we don’t need to be shielded, but at least we’re hoping that the law of the land will take its proper course. Continuous indifference on the part of the government would not be taken too kindly hence. We would go to any length to drag this satanic and belligerent organisation, even upto the Supreme Court of India, if required, and continuous averments on the part of the government to our genuine concerns is certainly going to backfire as underestimating them and their trouble making potential will be disastrous.
According to Tony Joseph, the famous author and journalist who is also the former Editor of the Business World Magazine, in his bestselling book, ‘Early Indians’ wrote that even the mighty Aryans have migrated to the Indian peninsula or the Indian subcontinent only 3000-4000 years ago. They are believed to have arrived in India between 2000 BCE and 1000 BCE from the Central Asian steppe region that would most likely be modern Kazakhstan. Although originally believed to be the original settlers in India, the Aryans are now proved by historians that they migrated here much much later than the first settlers now believed to be from Africa who came here 65,000 years ago and even later than the Harappans, the West and East Asian migrants who have reached India 9000 years ago or even earlier.
Nobody really knows who actually constitute the people of India. They are believed to be a mix race of Africans, Harappans, Aryans and Austro-Asiatic language speakers. The bulk of the population of India is made up of this prominent 4 types of people. He also stressed that everyone is a migrant; no matter the number of years and that we’re all mixed. Even in India these first four migrants have essentially formed the bulk and core of the Indian population. So throughout history and civilization migration happens with everyone and nobody really falls from the sky and truly professes to claim that they are born with that part of the land itself. So there is no room for accusing someone as a migrant and claiming that one is from an inferior or superior race. Genetics tells us that there was significant mixing of all these population groups and around 100 CE this mixing of different people came to an end and endogamy started with people marrying within their own groups which is a distinguishing feature of the Caste system. And there is no such thing as a ‘pure race’ in India. The idea that a nation or for that matter a state has to have one religion, one faith and culture etc to survive as a nation is a kind of nationalistic ideology which was popular in Europe in the 1930’s. Also in India around the same time the right wing ideology took shape as well. It is a very outdated idea that needs to be discarded completely.
The origin of the Meiteis too cannot be precisely determined from the literature available. Horam observed that the origin of the Meiteis is obscured (Horam 1990, 4) .Kumar states that great controversies still persist regarding the origin of the Meiteis (Kumar 2001, 3). This has become a subject of endless debate (Tarapot 1993, 62). This is because most of their written records were composed after they became Hindus and therefore are not very reliable.(Bhattarcharya 1963, 180; Dun 1992, 15). Scholars differ sharply in their opinion on whether the Meiteis are Aryans or Mongoloids. There are those who claim that the Meiteis are descendants of Arjuna of Mahabharata and are therefore Aryan in origin. Others believe that they, like the tribal people belong to the Mongoloid race. This difference is seen within the Meitei scholars themselves. The first opinion that they belong to the Aryan origin is advocated by the Brahmins, royals, and nobles of the eighteenth century (Kumar 2001, 4). Scholars such as Iboongohal Singh, RK Jhalajit Singh, Atombapu Sharma and many others believe that the Meiteis are Aryan in origin. But this is sharply objected and challenged by many modern scholars and historians such as Horam, Kabui, Thumra, Bhattarcharya and Roy etc.
Another tradition, which is widely accepted by scholars and writers, is that the Meiteis originated from the Mongoloid race. Roy, Thumra, Horam, Hodson, N Tombi Singh and Parratt support this tradition. N Tombi Singh, a Meitei scholar states, “many….. think that there is a basic difference between the valley people of Manipur (Meiteis) and those who are in hill areas. In fact it is not so. The entire people of Manipur belong to the same ethnic group and trace their origin more or less to the Sino-Tibetan group of human species. “(Singh 1972, 17). Saroj Parratt comments, “Physically, the Meiteis are Mongoloid in appearance, which suggests that their origin should be sought further east”.( Parratt 1980, 2). Based on the Manipuri legends and historical records, V. Chakravarthy (1986) concludes that the Meiteis had their ultimate origin in the hill areas of Manipur. Elwin’s description is similar when he says, “By the casual observer the so called Manipuris (Meiteis) would be pronounced a mixed race between the Kukis and the Nagas(Elwin 1969, 451). The Linguistic Survey of India 1904 categorised Meiteis into Kuki-Chin fold.
The theory that the Meiteis originated from the Mongoloid race is the most widely accepted theory by modern scholars and writers. The younger generation among the Meiteis agree to this theory rather than the Aryan origin. Although many of the higher Caste Meiteis refute this and claimed to have descended from the Indo-Aryan race, this theory is also dismissed by the lack of evidence and there is more proof of them being of the Mongoloid stock. Even if they claim to being a direct descendant of Arjuna or of the Aryan race, it has already been proven beyond doubt before on the passages before, that the Aryans too are migrants and not original settlers of India.
The history of the origin of the Tangkhuls has also been traced back to the history of Nomadic ages. There is not much written records of their origin too in the early days but still then much has been make out through oral conversation, songs and culture of the people. And this has been accepted by their people too. The Tangkhuls along with other hill tribes came to Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from China through Myanmar and have entered their present habitats in successive waves of migration in the 9th-11th Century. They belong to the Mongoloid tribe and came from the East that is unmistakable. It is pertinent to recall that many of their population still traced their origin from the Somra tract of Myanmar is also an undeniable fact.
History is a witness that even the mighty Vikings have also migrated to greener pastures in north England and have settled there in great numbers. Likewise the mighty British have used varied methods to subjugate and control their subjects in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland etc. They even tried to populate this places with their own population by the inhumanely and unpopular “prima nocta” that is right to the first night for their knights with the new newly married Scottish couples as can be inferred from the movie Braveheart. The British and the Frenchs have fought 100 years of war. There was the American Civil War among the American people between the north and the south on the question of Slavery. The Americans and British too have their own battles and war against each other. But now they are the closest of allies and all weather friends.
It is an inexorable conclusion that throughout the ages, people migrated here and there as they wished, have fought countless wars and claimed that might certainly is right and have also employed different means to persecute and subjugate each other, but at the dawn of civilization and modernization, everyone have now realized their folly, short sightedness and the sheer impossibility to control and manipulate others. So this attempt to create the feeling of racial superiority and undue attention and attempt to dig out the past mistakes if any, of our forefathers by the FoH and others, can only lead to bitter memories and unforgiveness, as nobody really is unblemished and perfect. The Tangkhuls even had the practiced of head hunting and since they spoke more than 100 local dialects frequent misunderstandings and village to villages skirmishes and raids would have been common in those days. The smaller villages would have requested for protection from their neighbours that could have been the trend in those uncivilized period.Instead of harping on our past glory or alleged misdeeds of our forefathers, we can also learned to live together as one, peacefully and without stepping into each other’s shoes. That should be the ultimate desire, and everyone should strive to that dream alone in our rather inconsequential tiny state of Manipur.
The enmity caused by the theory of Aryan Supremacy and Aryan-Dravidian divide used to cause much animosity in mainland India and has led to the north- south divide. But that has not prevented them from co-existing peacefully. When we’re all labelled as Nepali, chinkish and Chinese etc outside the state we still chose to perpetuate the same mistake in our own state. So it will be in the interest of not only the inhabitants of the state of Manipur but the entire Northeast people to stand together, put an end to mindless persecution and accusations, love and understand one another and remain united as one before it’s too late. Let us learn from the developed cultures and countries. We’re all just like a small frog in a big Pond called India.
The Meitei populace would do well not to be misled and misguided by the parochial policy of the Tangkhul Naga led Haomee federation who are just trying to be in the good book of the Meiteis before the final gong of the Naga Framework Agreement is sounded. The more chaos and disorder prevailed the more the reason for them to merry as that will denote their reach and influence in fomenting trouble in the region.
It is time to rise above the minor and petty issues like Haraothel, Mt. Koubru and Mt. Thangting etc and instead channelized our energy and vision for the challenges that lies ahead. The main objective of the so called FoH is to dispossess us of our God given claim and rights in the hills of Manipur. So let us not allow ourselves to be side-tracked and lose sight of the ulterior motives of this illegitimate organisations. Protection of the Kuki inhabited areas and the hills are protection of Manipur and mutual respect and regard for each other’s rights and land should be the primary objective of all right minded people irrespective of their community. Under the given circumstances forging a lasting alliance, peace, understanding and friendship with the Kuki people is not only the right choice but the only viable alternative to protect the territorial integrity and survival of the state.