Band-Aids, Bandages and Bastards

A reflection on the recent decision of the Manipuri government to create seven new districts amidst a beastly protest against the creation of two districts that the Nagas have been finding them as a pain in their ass

A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices.
George Orwell
The Manipur map with the new seven districts

Exactly one month after the announcement of the demonetisation policy on 8 November, the Manipur government under the leadership of Okram Ibobi has conducted a similar shock therapy by declaring the creation of seven new districts in the state. This comes when the Assembly Election is due in February next.

This creation has many implications. Officially, of course, it is for the administrative convenience and if we would love to believe in this template-rationale, it will bring more growth and development. This might as well be the most appropriate thing the government has taken up as it does away with the creation of region/district on the basis of ethnicity. Just imagine the plight of the the Burmese Muslims in Rakhine State who are suffering just by the virtue of their belonging ‘inside’ an artificial national boundary.

For the naysayers, this creation implies appointment of more civil servants, construction of district headquarters and a huge load of contract works. Briefly it is going to be one grand celebration of the timeless threesome between government agents, bureaucrats and contractors.

What is the most amazing are the responses from the Meiteis, one of the most vocal groups against the ongoing economic blockade sponsored by a frontal organisation of NSCN IM. Ibobi has suddenly turned into hero from zero in no time while the people who are singing the paeans for Ibobi have seemingly forgotten how the government has been taking us for a ride all along. Maybe this is the fancy world of post-truth where emotion prevails over reason.

Nevertheless, today’s problem is the response from the public. Let’s ignore street protests and violent demonstrations for now as those are more of a reaction than a response. Forget about the first two terms of the Ibobi government, but how many issues have been bogging us down in his third term? Nada. Nothing matters now as we have got seven new districts.

Okram Ibobi entered politics quite early. He was 36 in 1984 when he was first elected as an independent candidate in the Assembly election. He has been the undefeated chief minister since 2002. But does it mean he is the ultimate leader? The answer seems to be in the negative. It is mainly because of the fact that there has been no alternative. No wonder, as an experienced legislator, he can win the confidence of the people at one stroke—and in this process, we have made it public our pathetic mindset though it must be a blessing for a manipulative politician like O Ibobi.

As we are too stupid to see the writings on the wall, we the sheeple have started viewing, and believing, that it is a ‘master stroke’—on the level of Indian nationalists worshipping Narendra Modi—which have bought our vote in the upcoming election. No matter what we have this faux-democracy and we have one reason in the entire term of five years to assess a government.

On the other hand, as always, the refined and civilised people including ‘honourable’ professors, social scientists and community leaders have remained dumbfuck as they ever do on days of collective importance. If this does not exemplify the intellectual dishonesty and bankruptcy, nothing will. The issue has also brought out the primary problem of Manipur politics. There has not been a single response from the enemies of the Congress though they are busy making promises and blaming the incumbent government. In a mature society we could have expect at least deliberations to and debate against a government’s move but apparently we belong to a society of ‘khongbaan’.

Our society is suffering from a chronic illness. Short-term remedies like using band-aids and bandages as in creating districts out of defiance against a civil society while the collective bastardry is only adding insult to the literal injury. In such a condition, political reform is a myth. One of the long-term medicines is social revolution, based on reason and not on a corny shock therapy or a surgical strike of the bastards obsessed with band-aids and bandages and the other is to right these wrongs.



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