Demographic Imbalance, Conflict and its Impact

The global wave of human population growth has no untouched place around the world. No one can deny the fact that there is population explosion. The population is taken into consideration by birth, death, migration and immigration. In the recent years, there is a clear indication of unprecedented alarming rate of population increase in our land, too.

The immigration from neighbouring countries and inter-states mobility are stark factors of population growth in Manipur. The intake capacity of population, not by birth, is already saturated as the population growth should correspond with the availability of resources for its people. The human population has to maintain equilibrity with ecology for sustainability of life for many generations. Likewise, if the population is too low, there will be ecological imbalance. Therefore, the state shall make restraint on alarming population growth and promote child birth if the population is too low.

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If the size of population is beyond optimum level, it will pose a series of serious consequences. Increase in population has to increase in educational, housing, public health, transport and other facilities. This will increase the cost of social overheads and unproductive expenses. Most of the increasing population does not bring profit or add to the economy, rather it infests on the limited resource, inevitably leading to heavy pressure on land. It is not the density of population but the occupation which people follow that has immense effect on environment

The occupational distribution of our land is primary occupation other than secondary or tertiary occupations. People mainly follow agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry as their means of livelihood. As the land is limited and fixed, there will be sociological struggle, a struggle of competition for insufficient supply of land and others that human desire. 

According to Charles Darwin, “The principles for existence and survival of the fittest are the main causes of conflict.” And, according to Malthus, “Reduced supply of the means of subsistence is the cause of conflict.” Citing the above definitions, struggle for existence and trying to acquire insufficient things are the causes of conflict.

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Unmanageable size of population may contribute to unrest of the masses. In due course of time, certain sections of people can become rebellious, revolutionary, irrational, tumultuous and undisciplined. When such stage is reached, the slightest incitement can spark to such extend of irreparable destruction of lives and properties. It is over population which threaten social order, halting economic progress and posing innumerable challenges to the social system. Population has become a socio- economic problem in the society, today. It is a problem in relation to the availability of resources. The population pressure leads to find new territory for the increasing population.  

It is already the time that people should realise the need to control the size of their population. 

The large size of population may lead to state instability. When the governing authority could not provide certain facilities, people consider that whatever is done is prejudice. People use different modes or approaches to demand their wants that which can shake even the integrity and security of the state. When the culmination is ripen, the latent state of conflict becoming overt conflict at the little provocation. Conflict in hostile form causes great damage and destruction of lives and properties, psychological and moral damage of the people. 

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In today’s society, including the North East Region, the so-called civil society organisations attribute the destiny of its own people. Whether people rely on or not, it has become a culture that students’ organisations and non student organisations are the deciding bodies in every matter and issue. A good social leader can bring great and positive revolution in the society and the nation at large. On contrary, some leaders lead people without vast knowledge or absence of expert knowledge but with superficial knowledge which is dangerous for the society.  Many conflicts are caused by intellegentsia, rich people, politicians and chauvinists  who have a motive to subdue with aggressive instinct in them.

There are elites behind the curtain who instigate others or stir up trouble by using common populace to attain their ends. There are highly skilled group in motivating and coaxing the common people including women and even children to involve in an expression of disapproval to something and in deviant mode of communicating their discontentment to attain their targets. Inappropriate exposure of  women and children in conflict striken situation is not acceptable by the norm of human rights. The best surrounding should be created for them during crisis. 

There is no win- win for both the confronting parties and in waging war. It creates a broad chasm and imaginary boundary between, which is difficult to blot out again for ages. The effects of present conflict which is happening today in Manipur is profound that it causes fear psyche and sadness of innocent people and children. The relationship of people becomes strange towards one another. The running economy is being disrupted. It is not only halting the economic progress but poses innumerable challenges to the social system. The low economic status households are facing great miseries due to this ongoing conflict. 

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Many innocent children and women, aged, sick and disabled individuals are in relief camps without proper basic needs leaving their own home. Of all the negative impacts, the worse is, affecting the students’ education for many days since the onset of the current strife. The young and tender children require conducive environment to attain the best education. The parents, institutions, societies and its surrounding environment should provide peace, free from psychological disturbances and all form of distractions for the best outcome of the learners. The behavioural formation period of children may result deviation from the desired norms if there is laxity in the course of their studies. Of all the resources, human resource is the most important resource. Failing in producing good citizen  is  a  national loss.

If they become delinquent in this crisis, who is accountable for these children! And, the aspirants of top level examinations conducted by UPSC, National Testing Agency (NTA) and other national level exams, SSC from our state have faced  awkward situation, changing their examination centres  incurring  unplanned budget to appear their exams. In such juncture, can the candidates give their best performance? 

There are direct and indirect numerous intrinsic and extrinsic effects not only for confronting parties but for all the communities. Now, school and colleges, religious institutions of all faiths become subordinate to state.

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The internet facility is being snapped, curtailing the rights of every individual and disrupting students’ community for more than a month. Crime against the state by few vested interest groups and unleashing the unbridled power of state to control the public has immense impact. There is lawlessness in the state. Snatching of arms from the police institution both in the valleys and hills is the clear indication of lawlessness due to this conflict. This created a bad impression to the world. Taking the toll of precious lives including non combatants – innocent children, women and hapless old people is very, very unfortunate. Conflict expenditure is high! It is very desruptive! Deployment of thousands of military personnel is incurring huge economical resources.

And, the socio-economic compensation for the loss of lives and properties of this volitional conflict is high. The parties developed their own model of this conflict knowing its fruition.

In order to stop this ongoing conflict and to thwart such conflict in future, the central government should give very important to Indian Foreign Policy of the North Eastern Regions bordering with foreign countries. If both the state and central governments were aware of human infiltration a decade and half or two decades ago, today, there may not be major problem. No political party can blame one another for this conflict. As influx, which has been taking place for quite long years itself, is the imminent reason of conflict of today. Demographic changes are not only a state problem but a national problem. High level surveillance team should look into the matter. The Union budget for developing border infrastructures should be increased. 

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Conflict dynamism is same. But, people react differently to conflict. Many civilized and innocent people want to avoid conflict. Partly, the roots and consequences of the current conflict are already identified. More indepth study of root causes should be carried out by forming high level committee of this crises so as to avoid such recurrence and occurrence of such conflict  in future. If there is a cause, there is a solution. 

Negotiation is the only process of peace. Conflict is present in human society in all the ages. The longer we engage in feud, it is a societal loss. There may be many hurdles in peace process between the parties but it is a time to  realise and  accept that conflict has mammoth negative results.

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Let all the social sociologists, social think tanks, intellectuals, right thinking persons of all the communities who can comprehend the future of our land be united in solving the current conflict. All experts in conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation, may be  advocating different  approaches be united and bring out the best scientific solution of long lasting peace accordingly for both the confronting parties.

All forms of violence and emotional driven mob culture of our land have little or no positive impact other than emotional attachment of people within the group. Let us, from today, initiate a good-will and  peaceful co-existence of varied communities. Let, ‘Unity in Diversity’ be prevailed in our land, Manipur. 

Ch. Priscilla Thiumai is a social activist who studied sociology, public relations and B.Ed. Views are personal.

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