S03E45 FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, Inner Line Permit System in Manipur.

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, Inner Line Permit System in Manipur. (Part 5)
Guest Speaker : Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Interview in English
Location: Imphal, Manipur, India

Mr. Yambem Laba, the chronicler of events of Manipur, has been involved in a whirlwind of social and political junctures at the state level. In this episode, we discuss about the senior journalist’s stand on the Scheduled Tribe reservation issue of the Meitei community and the demand of the Inner Line Permit System in Manipur. He says that the Meitei community is very much threatened and has the possibility of ‘dying out’ because of the influx of outsiders into the state of Manipur. The ILP movement was essentially started to save the Meitei race from potential extinction. However, he fears that perhaps the agitators of the movement have failed to understand the dynamics of the Governance system at work at the Centre. He says that the demand of granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community is the only manner by which the Meiteis can save themselves and prevent getting close to being wiped out like the Tripuris in Tripura, Bhutias and Lepchas in Sikkim and the Kacharis in Cachar. These mentioned communities have become negligible, marginalized and almost close to extinction in their own land of birth.

The humble reporter feels that the mindset of the Meitei community is stuck with the ‘Meitrabak’ concept; extending from the Surma valley to the Kabaw valley. He says that this kind of thinking needs to be changed and people need to realize that the Meiteis are now confined to only four districts of Manipur, having no say in the other districts. Our guest also reveals that he is now contemplating on starting a Meitei people’s front, uniting the Meiteis belonging to different faiths; a platform where the Meiteis can at least come and meet, irrespective of religion, with the underlying motto of ‘Live and Let Live’.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E44 FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, sharing about the ground reality of Manipur.

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, sharing about the ground reality of Manipur. (Part 4)
Guest Speaker : Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Interview in English
Location: Imphal, Manipur, India

Senior journalist and social entrepreneur Mr. Yambem Laba shares his experience during his times as a member of the State Human Rights Commission in this episode. He recalls about the controversial incident where a man was shot dead by the 17th Assam Rifles division acting beyond jurisdiction where the information was kept hidden from the public and from the wife of the victim. It was only after the intervention of the Human Rights Commission that the authorities started investigation and the whereabouts of the victim. These kinds of cases had been happening in certain parts of India where AFSPA was imposed. Owing to the intervention of the Human Rights Commission, it was the last time a man arrested by the army disappeared in Manipur. During his tenure at the commission, Mr. Yambem Laba has helped solve a number of problems faced by the people and bring justice by using the power of the media as a force multiplier.
He says that although the Human Rights Commission might not have been able to send the perpetrators of the crime behind bars in every case, the issues of the victims was brought to notice to the public at large and the
perpetrators were identified as a human rights violator. By this account, he was able to turn the commission into a “Poor Man’s Court”. The senior journalist also says that he was the person who came up with the idea of nose-feeding Irom Sharmila after she took up her resolution to fast unto death “Sharmila, Don’t die for Manipur. Stay alive for Manipur”, were the words he said to the iron lady in order to persuade her to stay alive and keep fighting.
And the ground reality is Manipur doesn’t have a Human Rights commission.

About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E43 FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, writing against corruption, exposing high profile personalities of Manipur

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, writing against corruption, exposing high profile personalities of Manipur. (Part 3)
Guest Speaker : Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Interview in English
Location: Imphal, Manipur, India

Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist, Ashoka fellow and a social entrepreneur is indeed a walking knowledge bank of Manipur.
He has been contributing his share in a number of social events and undertakings and interviewing people from all segments including insurgents and such groups. The senior journalist has been around for quite a long time in this field and has heard stories from both sides. We ask our guest how he manages to balance and if they affect him personally in any way in his life. He has written a number of columns against corruption, exposing a series of high profile personalities of Manipur, and has received a fair share of threats as counter effect. Every week while writing for a column called Acute Angle published in the English daily, Imphal Free Press, he used to expose a minister or a bureaucrat or somebody who was involved in nefarious activities, giving a very stringent view of what was happening in the state. As a matter of fact, his first article in the column was entitled “Portrait of a Minister as a Con-Man”.
In this episode, Mr. Yambem Laba tells a short story of his acquaintance with the then Governor, Lt. General V.K. Nayar, during the time when President’s Rule was enforced in Manipur in 1994. He also shares about the time he got arrested by the Burmese army in 1988. He also talks briefly about the first time he was selected as a member of the State Human Rights Commission.

About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E42 FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, Journalism and Manipur.

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, Journalism and Manipur. (Part 2)
Guest Speaker : Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Interview in English
Location: Imphal, Manipur, India

Mr. Yambem Laba is the founder of the movement of Human Rights in Manipur and was instrumental in filing the first ever petition at the Supreme Court of India challenging the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Assam-Manipur), 1958 in the year 1980.
Mr. Yambem Laba was honoured with the Ashoka fellowship in 1988 for his
role as a social entrepreneur mobilizing the youths of poor and neglected Manipur for community and environmental projects. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London; President of Kanjenglei, a centre for Manipur Art and Culture, Bangalore; member of India International Centre and Indian Mountaineering Foundation; former chairperson in charge of State Human Rights Commission, Manipur; and a former director of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy. As of today, he is currently working as a senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.

When we arrived at the residence of veteran journalist Mr. Yambem Laba, we were greeted by a very friendly and handsome German shepherd named Kaiser, who was a little vocal during certain moments of the interview. So dear viewers, please excuse the energetic chap for being so curious and exploring! In this episode, we talk about how Mr. Yambem Laba started off with his journalism career from the early days. The senior journalist says that although he learnt economics in the Delhi School of Economics, he learnt all about journalism in the streets of Kolkata. He talks about how journalism used to be just a hobby before it became a passion for him. In 1982, he left his teaching job at his alma mater and later went to Lachen, Sikkim in 1983. There, he worked on his first ever story and published it under the title “Sikkim – The Lost Shangri-la”. His second storyentitled “New Wave of Insurgency in Manipur” was published in The Week, a magazine published in South India. After this, he had a short stint in Leh district and Sopore town in Jammu & Kashmir.

He came back to Imphal in September, 1983 and joined the English weekly called Resistance, published by the Pan Manipuri Youth League as Chief Reporter-cum-Asst. Editor.During this period, Mr. Yambem Laba began realizing that the future of the state of Manipur was evidently shaped by the youth of today. Thus began the movement for Social Entrepreneurship mobilizing the youths of Manipur. His main objective was to impart four attributes into each of the youths – endurance, courage, sense of fraternity and personal excellence. Watch this episode to learn more and find out how our fearless journalist’s question might have saved the life of a teenaged girl from a vigilant act of an insurgent group.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E41 FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, the walking knowledge bank of Manipur.

FindingTheVoices with Mr. Yambem Laba, the walking knowledge bank of Manipur. (Part 1)
Guest Speaker : Mr. Yambem Laba, senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Interview in English
Location: Imphal, Manipur, India

After numerous requests from intent viewers of our favorite talk show of Manipur, FindingTheVoices has finally managed to land an interview session with senior journalist and profound personality of Manipur, Mr. Yambem Laba.
He is the founder of the movement of Human Rights in Manipur and was
instrumental in filing the first ever petition at the Supreme Court of India challenging the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Assam-Manipur), 1958 in the year 1980.
He is the fourth of five sons to parents whom he describes as pioneer professionals of Manipur; his father being the first engineering graduate of Manipur and his mother being the first lady doctor of Manipur. He studied in Little Flower School and Don Bosco School in Imphal before shifting to St. Joseph’s College, North Point, Darjeeling at the age of 14. There, he was exposed to art and literature of the finest and was imparted the sense of dedication, sacrifice, sense of care and also to be stern when required. He did his bachelors in Economics (honours) and then pursued for Master’s degree at the Delhi School of Economics.
The humble and fearless journalist recounts that the idea to challenge the AFSPA (1958) was born while he and two other friends were hanging out at a cafeteria in Delhi University. It was during this moment that they decided the platform for the challenge should be Human Rights. He felt the need to expose the ruthless situations of Manipur to the world, to show what was happening in the state.
Mr. Yambem Laba was honoured with the Ashoka fellowship in 1988 for his
role as a social entrepreneur mobilizing the youths of poor and neglected Manipur for community and environmental projects. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London; President of Kanjenglei, a centre for Manipur Art and Culture, Bangalore; member of India International Centre and Indian Mountaineering Foundation; former chairperson in charge of State Human Rights Commission, Manipur; and a former director of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy. As of today, he is currently working as a senior journalist at The Statesman Pvt. Ltd.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E40 FindingTheVoices with Ms. Anubha Bhonsle: Manipur and Irom Sharmila

FindingTheVoices with Ms. Anubha Bhonsle: Manipur and Irom Sharmila (Part 2)
Guest Speaker : Ms. Anubha Bhonsle, Executive editor of CNN IBN, Journalist and author of “Mother, Where is My Country?”
Language: Interview in English
Location: Washington DC
Catch up the 1st part of the interview at  Manipur through the eyes of Ms. Anubha Bhonsle. (Part 1)

Our guest today is Anubha Bhonsle, recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award, 2009 and the author of the extensively researched book on one of the most ignored state of India titled “Mother, Where is My Country?”. She also received the Chameli Devi Award for Outstanding Woman Media Person in the year 2014 for her body of work. Anubha Bhonsle has been a founding member of CNN-IBN (now CNN-News18). In her role as Executive Editor, she led the channels’ coverage of major news events reporting from the ground and has anchored several flagship news, prime time discussions and documentaries.
In the first part of her interview, she shared her story about how she began her career in journalism. This is the second part of her interview.

Anubha Bhonsle’s book “Mother, Where is my Country?” published in January, 2016 is a result of 10 years of research in Manipur. It covers stories of injustice suffered by the people and violation of human rights amongst others.

The book is centered around Irom Sharmila and covers her life, goals and her struggle against the draconian law, Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The iron lady ended her 16 years long hunger strike on 9th August, 2016 to take up the fight from another angle. Anubha Bhonsle expresses her views about this new turn of events in this episode. There has been wide media coverage about the people of Manipur shunning Irom Sharmila’s decision to end her fast, but very little has been covered about the people who have come out in support of her. Anubha Bhonsle says that it took Irom Sharmila more courage to take up the decision to end her fast than she did when she started the hunger strike. She says that although this is not a positive situation, it can be taken as an opportunity for the people in other parts of the country to know more about the ignored state of Manipur and also be a turning point for anyone interested in the anti-AFSPA campaign. Anubha Bhonsle also shares about the experience of her time in Manipur from the perspective of mingling with the people, food and places she has visited. We talk about some of the challenges she faced when she came to Manipur doing her research going from one place to the other.


About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E39 FindingTheVoices with Ms. Anubha Bhonsle: Mother, Where is My Country?

FindingTheVoices with Ms. Anubha Bhonsle: Manipur through the eyes of Ms. Anubha Bhonsle. Mother, Where is My Country? (Part 1)
Guest Speaker : Ms. Anubha Bhonsle, Executive editor of CNN IBN, Journalist and author of “Mother, Where is My Country?”
Language: Interview in English
Location: Washington DC

Our guest today is Anubha Bhonsle, recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award, 2009 and the author of the extensively researched book on one of the most ignored state of India titled “Mother, Where is My Country?”. She also received the Chameli Devi Award for Outstanding Woman Media Person in the year 2014 for her body of work. Anubha Bhonsle has been a founding member of CNN-IBN (now CNN-News18). In her role as Executive Editor, she led the channels’ coverage of major news events reporting from the ground and has anchored several flagship news, prime time discussions and documentaries.
In this episode, she shares her story about how she began her career in journalism. She says that she was one of those who didn’t know what they wanted to do and found her calling very late in life. Her first prolonged assignment was to cover Irom Sharmila when she was in Delhi in 2006. She says that she had to go “undercover” for the assignment and spent many days and nights in the hospital where Irom Sharmila was kept confined.
We also talk about her book which is a result of 10 years of hard work and research. The book covers heartbreaking stories not only of Irom Sharmila, but also of all citizens of Manipur. It has reports about the people’s protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, National Highway blockades in the North Eastern states, Human Rights violations, underground groups and political turmoil in the Manipur. She also talks about the reaction and feedback she has received so far from the readers.

About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

S03E20 FindingTheVoices with RK Ranendrajit: How are you going to define peace in Manipur?

S03E20 FindingTheVoices with RK Ranendrajit: How are you going to define peace in Manipur?(Part 4)
Guest Speaker :RK Ranendrajit, Social Activist, a former fighter pilot of the IAF and former editor of Freedom in Manipur.
Language: Interview in Meteilon
Location: Bir Tikendrajit Memorial complex, Manipur, India

Presenting the 4th part of RK Ranendrajit ’s interview.
In this episode, former fighter pilot and social activist, RK Ranendrajit talks about the conflict situations in Manipur, the notorious Armed Forces Special Powers Act prevalent in the state that has left the people getting alienated from the rest of the country. He says that even though there have been a few positive changes in the last few decades, the Right to Life for the people of Manipur has always been debatable.
Although there have been numerous protests by the citizens, the Government still remains to ignore the plea and cry of the people. As a result of these situations, the resistance from the people started as they began to worry about what kind of future their children are destined for in the state. He says that the Government of India has plans to exploit the resources and talents of the state as part of Indianzation and assimilation but they have failed in getting the people’s support and serving their needs.
When we asked RK Ranendrajit about our show and requested him for a little feedback and some advice, he responded by saying that the show has been doing a very good thing by bringing out the thoughts, ideas and views of the people and the ground reality. He says that the show brings out the notable personalities of Manipur and spread their knowledge. He also stressed the importance of documentation and archiving.
Lastly, he expressed his views on the peaceful forms of protests in Manipur against AFSPA and other conflicts citing Irom Sharmila Chanu as an example. He also mentioned about the fake encounters in Manipur that the armed forces carry out whenever they feel that the people are gaining momentum in the struggle against AFSPA. This is somehow similar to what senior journalist Kishalay Bhattacharjee mentioned during his interview with us while speaking about his book on confessions of army officers.

About FindingTheVoices:Monica Ingudam, Founder of FindingTheVoices

Born and raised in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur, I have a vision to promote and spread inspiring, empowering, educative & entertaining stories. I believe that we can create contents bringing the positive side of Manipur. I believe we can do this together by finding the voices, voices which needs to be heard and shared, voices of our own people, people of Manipur and well-wishers of Manipur. I believe that these voices will bring a change and connect all of us.

I welcome you to join me in my journey to finding the voices at Http://FindingTheVoices.com/

 

Low ebb of humanity in Manipur? #IromSharmila

Portrayed Low ebb of humanity in Manipur?

It was supposed to be a day of celebration, a day of freedom for Irom Sharmila Chanu when she broke her 16 years of fast. I watched the news coverage with her smiling coyly as she expressed that she would prefer to break her fast with honey rather than the water people suggested. Media from all over the world flew to Manipur to cover this important moment, a date which will be marked in the history.

With her newfound freedom, she must have expected a very different experience moving around freely after 16 years. I cannot imagine her level of excitement at that moment. Growing up in Manipur my freedom was very limited within the walls of my parents house, my school and books. My parents accompanied me everywhere in the name of the conflicts and the situations. I experienced a simple rickshaw ride alone very recently and I felt free and was very excited. So I can only imagine how excited she must have felt to move freely after being confined for such a long time.

But the reaction and harsh unwelcoming words from some small section of people that evening broke her heart leaving a very very bad taste. It’s hard to watch her break down. This video (Courtesy:newslaundry) stuck with me and it’s in my head. She doesn’t deserve to cry like this specially on her day, a day which should have been filled with celebrations. And yes, I stand in shame for such treatment and humiliation she had to go through on the day she set herself free, a day she could walk around freely after 16 very long years.

Yes, there may be a difference of opinion. Yes some of her comments and the way she said or did, might have hurt many because you truly supported her from your perspective. But your immediate action of rejection and outrage makes everyone question your kind of support. She must have her reasons for what she said or did. Can’t we all put everything aside, be the bigger one for a bit and see her as a human? Did it need to be resolved or dissolve at her moment leaving such a bitter taste, hurting even more? Where has our empathy gone? Where has our patience gone?

And the words that followed. Such mockery belittling her honest and genuine effort making many question the existence of humanity in Manipur. And the discussions comparing her with Martyr with an open disapproving note of her decision clearing inferring the preference to die? What kind of example and precedence are we setting for the youth where we glorify and elevate the dead over the living? Does one have to die for the glory and elevation?

Such intolerance drives me to seek out my quest to feature kind, strong voices and gestures to get her strength and smile. Words can make or break a person. Kind encouraging words and gestures can be very powerful elevating the strength of a human soul. I hold to many words I received giving me the strength to go through trying times.

Also the wide-spread coverage of a blanket statement that Manipur has shunned Irom Sharmila have challenged me to seek out for her well wishers and change that narrative and prove them wrong. I don’t agree with the Media reporting that the whole of #Manipur is shunning Irom Sharmila .

We come from a society where we aren’t comfortable or encouraged to speaking out our feelings but now is the time to speak out. Eche Sharmila needs us and we need to change the narrative for Manipur.

Calling out to one and all to join me in Waakhal, The people speaks up!

“You are not alone” a series of FindingTheVoices dedicated to Irom Sharmila Chanu of Manipur. #ISupportIromSharmila

I want to believe in the strong presence of humanity in the people of Manipur, let’s change the portrayed low ebb of humanity in Manipur!


MI_S03_withlogoMonica Ingudam, founder of FindingTheVoices, a talk show presenting voices from different parts of the globe with the vision to promote and spread Inspiring, Educative, Empowering and Entertaining stories in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur.