Unraveling Communalism in Manipur: The Significance of Anto Akkara’s Perspective as a Thomas Christian in Assessing Religious Conflicts and Economic Inequalities

Abstract

This paper explores journalist Anto Akkara’s findings on the politics of Religion in India, with a focus on his reports from Manipur. As a Thomas Christian, Akkara belongs to a community of precolonial Christians in India, which brings a unique perspective to his analysis. The paper highlights the significance of Akkara’s perspective in understanding religious conflicts in Manipur as it pertains to the recent violence between the Meitei community and the Kuki tribe. The European Parliament’s resolution, passed on July 11, 2023, condemning the violence in Manipur and advocating for restraint and mediation among religious communities, sets the backdrop for this study. Akkara’s reports reveal alarming instances, such as the destruction of 247 churches within 36 hours during the recent violence in Manipur. The paper critically examines the implications of reporting communalism, an ideology based on religious identities leading to tensions and conflicts among religious communities. It argues that framing the issue solely as communalism or tribalism obscures underlying long-term economic inequalities and human rights issues in the region. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of Akkara’s reports, giving insight into the complexities of religious conflicts in Manipur. Moreover, it evaluates the European Parliament’s resolution and proposes alternative approaches to address the conflicts more effectively. Overall, this paper underscores the significance of Akkara’s Thomas Christian background in shedding light on the intricacies of religious conflicts and emphasizes the importance of considering broader socio-economic and human rights perspectives for a nuanced understanding and resolution of the challenges faced in Manipur.

Presenters

Clara A.B. Joseph
Professor, English and Religious Studies, Professor, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Details

Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Theme

The Politics of Religion

KEYWORDS

Thomas Christian, Manipur, European Parliament Resolution, Violence, Economic Inequalities, Akkara

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