Masters & Slaves
The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Suppose that you have been a software engineer for the last ten years; and suddenly an economic crisis hits the market that costs you your job. Now you are trying to find a new ‘platform’ to get work with some luck or without. Again, say, the market is adverse and you have been sitting like an immobile desktop at home for the last six months. So you turn to a job placement service provider for help. How would you feel when a job consultant, instead of lending a hand, starts questioning not only your professional credentials but also your very existence? Worse, s/he doubts your experience and does not even believe you were ever a software engineer. What then?
Let us come to the main point. Manipur existed as an independent kingdom for more than two thousand years in black and white. Its recorded history shows it. So, when the British decided to return to its cold storage compartment, finally, Manipur retained its sovereignty with its own constitution and elected representatives. Now we know how India learnt a lesson on colonialism from the British for several centuries and took the latter’s place and subsequently we became a part of the country albeit it has been only 66 years. Now, from two directions, we are constantly hearing that it is impossible for Manipur to stand on its own; though to repeat, it’s been only 66 years with India. Slavery has no standard at all.
From two directions, first of all, one of the two impossibilists include, the loyal mainland Indian Samaritans, who are very concern for the state of affairs of the nation, and many of whom are also very cautious about China; and second, a group of natives who have redefined the meaning of slavery. Let’s see one by one.
For the sake of clarification, the issue is NOT about secession. It is not about the liberation movement. It is not about the parochial politics of nationalism. It is not about India and China. I’d say it is not even about the armed conflict that has been ravaging the frontier state of Manipur and neighbouring areas for the last many decades. Rather the issue IS about some masterminds, their universe-shattering logic and stupidity. The issue is about neocolonialism, servile mentality and dependency syndrome, and again stupidity.
Why would the stupid people matter? The answer is simple: our two impossibilists occupy a huge space in our personal and political lives. In the existing system of greatest and largest democracy, in which ‘number’ is the main determinant of power, the sparsely populated region has no say. This is only for an idea.
In our case, the mainland Indian impossibilists comprises politicians big and small, army officials, ‘military’ bureaucrats, nationalists, patriots and their ilk. It is no surprise that many of these people, who have not an iota of idea about AFSPA, support the repressive act because the army says it is essential to fight ‘terrorists’. If the military tells them to kiss their own asses they would do it, and if not, try it because the military occupies the top position of flag-wavers safeguarding India and because the military is the epitome of nationalism. But this blind faith can be disastrous, so are all kinds of blind faith, and the impossibilists must understand The Menace of Overt Military Occupation in Northeast India.
The other concern is the fear of Chinese incursion. To begin with, China is claiming for a piece of territory in Arunachal Pradesh, where India is keeping up well in the territorial-pissing department. Significantly, it has nothing to do with Manipur in particular and the Northeast in general. The fear is reasonable though as history is witness to the fact that China can bite India’s ass deep and painful. The country is still haunted with The Ghosts of 1962.
When these impossibilists are talking about China vis-à-vis the so-called Northeast, most of the time it is just about a part of Indian territory in this region. There is not even a sense of Andersonian ‘imagined community’ as evident from sheer arrogance and ignorance of the mainland masses when they are articulating their hopeless ideas of nationalism.
They simply do not understand that normal people live in these lands, where lives have been made abnormal relentlessly. They simply do not understand that nationalism is xenophobic and isolationist. It was funny when a literal foot soldier called me an isolationist recently because of my views against the Indian military establishment. Mr Chest-thumping Gunman, thank you; we would have been extinct if Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhai Patel had not had the homo-threesome with Ningthou Bodhachandra in the Switzerlands and Scotlands of India in 1949.
At the end of the day it is just our historical and political sojourn as a people. For a sigh of relief, even our identities national or ethnic are not permanent. A national identity would be just a bloody disgrace in our condition.
The second group of impossibilists, who live in our neighbourhoods, are cute, just like babies, because of their blissful ignorance. Most of them are rich people and their slow yet loving children—because nobody from their families has been killed in fake encounters till today. Besides, local gunmen—who the Indian gunmen slog to kill—are extorting ‘hard-stolen’ money from them because they have beautiful houses and the local gunmen has a weakness for sending demand letters to anyone they perceive as well to do.
Tailing close-by to the respected families are the I-hate-politics kind of people. But all of them are the first to cry about racism and they are the first to play victim whenever there is a grievance. Their biggest defence is waxing eloquence on ‘objects’ like Ras Lila and Mary Kom by which we supposedly help embellish the concept of Indian nationhood.
We would love to believe that slavery was a historical phenomenon, which we read in our high school history classes. But apparently it still exists in different forms. How true slavery is natural as written by Aristotle. The Greek philosopher believed that ‘slaves have no reasoning power even if they can despite the ability to recognise and follow their intellect’. He also mentioned: ‘Natural slaves were slaves because their souls weren’t complete—they lacked certain qualities, such as the ability to think properly, and so they needed to have masters to tell them what to do.’ [Source: BBC]
Slavery is disgusting but those amongst us have emphasised that it is necessary in practical way of life regardless of one’s protest.
Years ago, the Milgram Experiment had also shown that ‘the appearance of the authority person and his rank can increase or decrease the obedience’ and our environment has become a sort of a real-life lab for such an experiment. Like elsewhere, our society also tells us it is our moral obligation to be obedient and conforming to live in today’s world. Our local impossibilists aka zombies have altogether taken the meaning of obedience and conformity to a new level. When logic reeking of servility and dependency flies out from their cute and fancy lips, well yeah, we can ascertain everything is alright in the town.
Master, everything is alright. But our perceived well-being also echoes the views of Frantz Fanon who wrote in The Wretched of the Earth that: ‘Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonists.’
Trivia of the Day
Global ranking on the basis of population percentage
On another entirely concept of modern slavery, the Walk Free Foundation that provides ‘real time intelligence which will enable countries to act to end slavery’ found that India is home to 14 million slaves. Slavery, in essence, is ‘working for another person without an ability on the worker’s part to unilaterally terminate the arrangement’.