To Live Is to Kill; to Kill, Live
So the news is no news in its real sense. No man has bit a dog. Kill people. Murder people. Explode the bombs any time anywhere. It's a way of life.
The Indian summer has brought some respite. Even the sultriest days has an end. However, life is so far away from such natural consolation. The heat’s on in Manipur, as usual.
And the news is in the rising accusation and condemnation of selectivity. The charge, from certain quarters, is that civil organisations and defenders of human rights have unabashedly had an eye only for the natives. Yet they are deaf and dumb when the gunmen kill the outsiders, mainly the labourers from Assam and Bihar and other parts of the country. The human rights bodies are at the receiving end, though it is no surprising the activists have nothing to comment on this issue. All of us belong to the silent generation. But the activists are strong—they are putting up with the nth number of craps in buckets hurled at them from all the direction.
When have human rights issues become an issue for selective people? What has happened to the universality of such a mundane idealism of equality? The answers are blowing in the wind.
I have a hunch here. Possibly, we are silent because we are fine with the mindless killing. There have been so many killing, and hence there is nothing significant in the death of a few people who do not even look like us. After all, we have been suffering from the onslaught of racism in mainland India day in and day out. Besides, migrants from across the mountains have been posing a threat to the very existence of the fragile ethnic groups in the region.
Any commentator would cite Tripura. The biggest living example indeed is the Tripuris, who have become a minority in their own land comprising merely 15 percent of the population, while outnumbered by the Bengalis and other communities.
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On the other hand, the hypocrisy is glaring; yes, it cuts our conscience sharply as well. We have been a people of a volatile region, ever ready to take to the streets if anything goes wrong in our collective life. The gravity does not matter as we can see in the root cause. The sneers are audible when we make a list from the problems of domestic violence to the hardened defiance against the primitive 21st century system. See the timeline of the events across the state. We can easily see the chain of protests and demonstrations against the establishment and the non-state actors alike. And now, on Sep 13 the Friday last week, half a score of people have been killed in an act of mindless violence and nobody bats an eyelid. It's like, you know, as usual.
We have another reason. Most of the frontal organisations are pro-Manipur, not necessarily meaning anti-national in the context of Indian politics—probably many of them are, but that's not the point. These organisations have an open secret: what is, that is a secret! But that's not enough to stop the derision and contempt for suffering from selective amnesia. Nothing is clear in this part of the world, which has been bogged down by the issues of identity crisis, a long drawn-out armed movement for the right to self-determination, disregard for life and dignity from all the multiple authorities and other countless socio-economical and political stumbling blocks.
Everything is possible and nothing is possible as well. We live and die in this existential dilemma. So, what's the big deal about just a single normal incident of killing in broad daylight?! We can hide in this cloak of resignation, with an obvious defeatist outlook. It is still envious to see our neighbourhood optimists. And the activists. A few people opine that fund crunch has been stopping the rights activists from raising their voices. Like we know how money talks. We talk when there is money regardless of our voicelessness.
A popular weekly magazine declared a couple of years ago, we are lucky if we are alive in Manipur! So where is the solution? It has to be admitted—the conclusion lies not in the satisfaction of awareness. Sixty years of armed rebellion has produced no significant results either. An informed voice of our conviction and aspiration looks promising.