The Lived Reality of Koms (Komrem) in Manipur: An Emerging Political Perspective

By Alex Akhup

This paper attempts to situate the socio political context of Manipur state as viewed from the experience of Koms (Komrem) in Manipur. Northeast region in general and Manipur state in particular is described by cultural diversity. It is duly classified in the emerging literature as multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-tribe. The ethnic social structure and polity is intrinsically shaped by the ecological context of the region falling within a larger part of the South East Asia. The state building processes in such context has had a unique impact on the embedded social reality often not seen in other parts of the country. Among other things, ethnic identity politics usually defined within the theoretical constructs of self determination has emerged as a prominent state generated socio political process producing shared and contested boundaries of social interaction. In such a context, historiography, theorization and political ideology, in particular, find convergence largely within the domain of colonial constructs and western concept of state politics fanned by dominant ethnic groups: Meitei, Nagas and Kukis. This paper positions a political perspective of co-existence and mutual respect based on the experience of Koms (Komrem); a case for a lived perspective.

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