★It's not uncommon, guys!★
|Image: The Imphal Free Press|
The resilience of the Manipuri people is really incredible. Perhaps we are used to the perennial difficulties of life, when it has become a ritual for the state to be mired in a couple of consequential controversies, political dissension and ultimately, violent conflicts every year. Such is the tragedy we have been relentlessly compel to endure.
In the latest spectacle, Manipur is reeling under a crisis after Thunaleng Muivah's impending visit to his hometown in Ukhrul and the vexed ADC elections, not necessarily in that order. Can we compare the present calamity to any disaster that had struck the state in recent past?
With a showdown in the name of us versus them, highways are hold at ransom and essential commodities are running scarce. It has created a situation of life and death, literally, with hospitals running out of oxygen and life-saving drugs. Nobody wins in this hostility.
But so ironic is the situation that one's freedom is becoming another's bondage. Precisely, the Nagas* have decided they are pulling together for a greater Lim, which would pave the way for their self-determination. Their leaders have convinced them that the movement will be more successful, if their clans (imagined or real) come under a single administration, based on ethnicity.
On the other hand is the dominant, valley-based Meiteis. We feel Th Muivah (75) is singing his swan song and is a sacrificial goat from the Indian government. Of late, we have been at the receiving end. The Nagas and other people from the hills look down on us, alleging we have neglected them from long. We are also an obstacle to their dream, is their persuasion. We pay Rs 200 for a mere litre of petrol and Rs 2000 for a gas cylinder. What a defect we are!
However, what is more unfortunate is the overt apathy of the Indian government in dealing with the complex issue – just because the peripheral states are infinitesimal in the national politico-economical setting. What do we need to do to empower ourselves? I used to think it's a matter of a pen or a gun, yet the thought appears to be too superficial now**.
In any case, the sole resemblance of the recurring issues is that we push ourselves down in each extremity to the next level of bestiality, from the previous low. For the record, office buildings are gutted down; sit-in demonstrations are persistent, so are the rallies and protest marches; animosity is brewing; MoUs are being submitted to the unconcerned authorities; and you never know when the society would explode.
As mentioned earlier, there is an acute shortage of daily commodities in the capital city. Imagine the arduous life the people in remote areas might be facing. It is a torture. It might be paradoxical but there are also people (mostly in the hills, far from the capital) who think these are the passing days, which will ultimately lead them to their salvation. We sing the song of fraternity, but it is dubious in reality. And reasonably so.
We have already redefined several expressions, such as, strike, curfew – and now, economic blockade, wakat-meepham, mainland Indian indifference are some of the common parlance.
Even a person suffering from dementia would come out with a list of insane records, which evidences the wretched state-of-affairs in contemporary times. Last year, for instance, Manipur burst into flames when an righteous SDO officer was murdered along with two of his subordinates in cold blood. When the matter subsided, the July 23 incident banged; and, the untold miseries it fostered had been concealed shamelessly, whilst we mark our time for the next fiasco.
We are seemingly too honest-to-goodness. We live through everything, anything on earth, or hell for that matter. There is little chance we would get the better of adversity. The most significant factor in marching ahead is to fine-tune our consciousness. Starting from the individual to the common people, the administrators, the government, the region and the states, there must be a voluntary appreciation of our existence and recognition in us as capable, trustworthy human beings.
* The Nagas are a diversified group of tribes, who are bound together mainly by Christianity. The Wikipedia states: "The dawn of a spirit of nationalism and a common identity (however) are relatively new concepts among the Nagas. This is because, to the Nagas, every village is a republic, free from all outside domination and their desire had been to preserve the status quo." But it must be noted that there are several other Naga groups, who are nonpartisan and don't sing a chorus to Muivah's song.
** I'm in a dilemma these days. Earlier I used to sympathise with the people, who are leading the separatist movement, but I have changed my stand – mainly because of the unholy, commercial path that these people have taken in the name of the land. Whom do I stand for is an inconclusive issue, though my inner voice says I can never take interest in mainstream politics.
Now my propensity is in finding a cognitive retreat – a level field inside me that equates all these heart-rendering, irksome issues, but not without some hope. The essence of life lies in its abstraction; what we live through are merely events and observation. In this regard, a Manipuri life is a ruination, where everything or anything is possible. This must be halted. But how – how we pull the plug on this manifestation is going to define our existence. When we are in a vicious cycle of violence and underdevelopment, what we need is human thinking, as contrast to animalistic conduct.
|Image: Neerun Thongbam|
Dickheads of the land, unite! You have nothing to lose but your weaknesses