Working Paper No. 79. Explaining Manipur's Breakdown and Mizoram's Peace: the state and identities in North East India
Material from North East India provides clues to explain both state breakdown and its avoidance. They point to the particular historical trajectory of the interaction of state-making leaders and other social forces, and the divergent authority structures that took shape, as underpinning this difference. In Manipur, where social forces retained their authority, the state's autonomy was compromised. This affected its capacity, including that to resolve group conflicts. Here, powerful social forces politicised their narrow identities to capture state power, leading to competitive mobilisation and conflicts. The state's poor capacity has facilitated frequent breakdown in Manipur.
By contrast in Mizoram, where state-making leaders managed to incorporate other social forces within their authority structure, state autonomy was enhanced. This has helped to enhance state capacity and its ability to resolve conflicts. Crucial to this dynamic in Mizoram was the role of state-making leaders who invented and mobilised an overarching and inclusive identity to counter entrenched social forces. This has helped with social cohesion in the state.
Hassam, M. S., Explaining Manipur’s Breakdown and Mizoram’s Peace: the state and identities in North East India, Working Paper No. 79 (series I), 2006, 34 pp.