Emergent Micro-National Communities: The Logic of Kuki-Chin Armed Struggle in Manipur

S. Thangboi Zou is pursuing his PhD in the Department of Geography at the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya.
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  • March 2012

    The granting of scheduled tribe status to the Kuki-Chin people eroded their allegiance to clan and linguistic/dialectal identities. While they do not have any problem with a pan-ethnic identity, their primary loyalty is to their own clans and communities. Invocation of kinship ties by different groups does not necessarily translate into a common political agenda. There are at least 15 armed groups among them that have combined into two larger groups—the United People's Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO)—and signed a peace agreement with the state and central governments. Whereas the militant groups deviated from the macro-nationalist project of the Indian state, their micro-nationalist struggle is not informed by any coherent ideology. The root motivation of their armed struggle clearly originated in their fear of being marginalised by ethnic competition among various peoples of Northeast India in general and of Manipur in particular.