Psephologists and supporters of the elected MLAs in the recently concluded Manipur Assembly Election would want to kick my ass, but at the cost of this threat I’d like to make a few statements.
This election tells so many things about us, but so little about anything positive.
Let me start with a fact: Political reform is a myth; and electoral politics mere hokum. This statement might be quixotic if we consider the facts and figures of the largest democracy called India but apparently arithmetic does not dictate our lives and thus the idea of a myth. Besides, we have had so many elections but nothing change. For that matter, we have one of the first democratic elections in Asia as a sovereign state even before the union of India but, as we can see, that amounts to zero change.
Some of the people, who are close to or follow the elected MLAs and who worship the elected representatives, might see fault in this argument but against all of them combined together, let’s prove they have som…
The other day, two Imphal-based civil society organisations, the United Committee Manipur and the Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak have taken a remarkable initiative to make the political class accountable to the people of Manipur with reference to the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN IM faction.
But quite contrary to the motives, the mention of candidates has given some food for thought not necessarily healthy; so, here’s a brief recollection on the event that was held on 24 February 2017.
83 candidates pledge to seek FA details Source: The Sangai Express (25 February 2017)
Imphal, February 24 2017: As many as 83 candidates belonging to different political parties including seven independent candidates have pledged to urge the Government of India to bring out a white paper on the Framework Agreement it signed with NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015. At a swearing ceremony held today at GM Hall here under the aegis of UCM and CCSK, the candidates …
GUWAHATI, Jan 12: Independent filmmaker Sonia Nepram from Imphal has won the prestigious Young Achiever’s Award, which is sponsored by the Dalmia Bharat Group at a grand function held this evening at the Radisson Blu Hotel. This annual award is given to emerging stars from Northeast India in the field of dance, journalism, football, music, arts, acting and documentary film direction.
In recognition of her exceptional achievement in the field of documentary film direction, Sonia received the award from the group’s senior executive director and head, corporate brands & marketing, Mr BK Singh. The Dalmia Bharat Group, established in 1939, is a leading multi-spectrum cement company with a double digit market share and a pioneer in super specialty cements used for oil wells, railway sleepers and air strips across India.
A post-graduate in mass communication from the AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Sonia Nepram has been working on various media and audio-visual projects and…
one i’d declare i’m no phantom albeit two, what i got today are phantoms all the phantoms, in fact, in different spirits: phantom: the delusion of peace and happiness phantom: the illusion of you and i in sweet madness phantom: the hallucination of mad prophets, we never know phantoms can be so over-explicit
it’s like we can see but which also cannot be seen as in our faces if not in reflection or an image, as in peace we can imagine in spring while our lives are stuck in those heavy showers of june, ceaselessly but we can see in other people the spring while we surrender lifelessly to our bloody destiny
as if it has been etched on stone we don’t live but survive we don’t celebrate but mourn we don’t reach but arrive in this corner of the world, in nothingness in this society of animals so listless, the horizon is consumed in darkness
The assembly election is due tomorrow and then on the next Wedneday, 8 March. It is significant on two counts: one, electoral politics is the sole factor that reminds us of our lives in a democracy; and two, it is going to decide a part of the fate of the people living in Manipur for the following five years. Over the years, however, the sole consequence of this regular circus is farcical to say the least.
For the lack of a better term, the best that can describe our political life is jungle, where the authority has paradoxically no power except in flexing muscles around the public exchequer; while the establishment is perforated with people poking their fingers into; and any group who care a tad can take the power into its hands; and there is no sight of solution to the eternal problems of armed conflict, social decadence and underdevelopment in a neocolonial state called India. This is the tragedy of our times and the following is a concise typographical reflection on it.
It was funny when I heard his name for the first time. In my mother tongue Manu Chao means big penis, and the name fitted only somewhere between Brazzers and some random XXX sites, but never in the world of popular music that endorses art as a form of political engagement or resistance. Then I got Bongo-bong while listening to his music. Truth be told, we prefer a good lie to a simple truth, more so when we talk about politics. In my hometown, we have bands like Taptaand Imphal Talkies & the Howlers that sing daringly about our short and brutish lives in a conflict zone.
Here we have a graphic collection based on one of Manu Chao’s terrific songs, Rainin’ in Paradize that was first released in 2001.
If I win the election
I won’t give a rat’s ass,
I might give you what you will ever need
A bridge over the Loktak
A dozen fancy locations to build hotels over there
An affordable whorehouse at the city centre
A connection between the rivers Imphal and Ningthi
A black-topped road all the way to Kabo Valley
A platform to merge the hills and valley
And half a dozen homes closer to Babupura
And for namesake, a college or a university
And another road that leads to nowhere,
Ask not what I can do for you
Ask what you can do for me
And be a free human — just be free.
What are promises for, if not those are not broken
What are we for, if not we are ‘not’ chosen
If I win the election
I’ll get you more jobs in the police
More security forces than people would want security
I’ll build the longest and largest gate at Mao
Maybe longer than the chronic queues
Those around petrol pumps in the town
But take my word for it, peasants and plebeians
I’ll never form an alliance with India
Then it was the green And the yellow and all the colour bright Now it has been the gloomiest sight When the night eats into the last candlelight When i do know what legs i have But when i know not what legs i don’t have And when i know not what legs i do have And when i know what legs i don’t have And that it’s the others’ hands that walk Walk for themselves, and walk for me at times Now i will say the green is the saffron The burgundy is the blueberry If only, if only i’m told, i’m made aware —only tell me the universe is an illusion i’ll be an outcast to the bloody Nation i’ll be anything, if only, if only i’m told But my masters have sold my soul.
In a world of sexual objectification and gender discrimination, the phenomenon of ‘Meira Paibi’ is remarkable on many counts. It literally means a woman torch bearer, who belongs particularly to the deeply conservative Meitei society of Manipur where the issues relating to objectification are out of the question. Yet discrimination and violence, those exist though we claim to be a relatively free society for women. In fact, we are a patriarchal society in which the men only have to understand—but not listen to—the matters concerning women and children, or those of nupi-angaang like we have in our lexicon.
Meira Paibi is a kind of social movement. It is a sort of traditional institution or an informal group in each locality, which emerged on the scene to fight against the social ills of alcoholism, drug addiction and sexual violence in the Manipur valley. That was in the 1970s. However, some observers assert that historically the foundation of Meira Paibi movement can be traced back …