On Demand: The Corruption of Revolution

When revolution starts rhyming with extortion and corruption, there is hardly any positive effect on the ‘leaders’ and the led

Last year in New Delhi, a honey-trap racket was busted after an airline pilot could not handle it anymore and had to resort to legal help. Scamsters were repeatedly demanding money from him who had fallen into their trap through a dating site. More than 9 lakh INR had been extorted from him yet it came to an end. This was just one of the hundreds of tales that ended well in the unenviable world of easy money.

First Shot

On the other side of the fence, in Manipur, extortion is a thriving business and those who are into the ‘business’ are seemingly having a field day— with the main proponents belonging to the two powerful groups of gunmen: the so-called non-state actors who are by all accounts fighting for the land and  its antagonists, the state force.

First of all it might be obvious but there is a rule of law in New Delhi. If you are a victim and even if you have committed a grave mistake, there is a space: a legal route, or whichever is possible and that you can take and through which you can look forward to a solution. But in a land of disasters like Manipur, the view is bleak and any hope bleaker. I can start with a brief about two of my uncles.

One of them is a retired chief engineer and I can only imagine how much he must have gone through for holding such an envious position in a region where any government job opportunity is considered a gold mine. Before retirement he was kidnapped multiple times and more than once, gunmen had fired several rounds of shots at his gate that he had to get police protection until retirement.

The other uncle, once a director of another ‘wealthy’ government department, was blamed for sheltering members of an outlawed organisation. It was only militants who attacked Uncle # 1 but it was the state police armed with a search warrant who robbed Uncle # 2.

Second Shot

Today’s story is here: it is about militants, rebels, scamsters, criminals and the universe of extortion. When we were kids, it appeared that those people who had gone to the other side of the law in the name of fighting for the motherland had some kind of respect from the common people. We also heard a lot of tales of good’ol days from the older folks. Fast forward to 2017, respect must be the last thing these people will be getting.

Before going further, there is a suggestion. The ‘real’ rebels can spread the propaganda that it is the state and its agencies which are messing up all the ‘revolutionary’ things. Even riflemen and foot soldiers of the state had been caught for extortion while an army colonel was nabbed for smuggling and highway robbery, which the rebels always get the blame for.

However, the issue is about trust and accountability. For around three decades after its origin, the armed movement in the region survived on the staple of ideologies and principles but today, these are the elements that have been overshadowed by the absence of any direction and all sorts of corruption. Occasional press releases published in media on raising days and rhetoric on Indian ‘national’ days are too little and unconvincing. Funding might be crucial, in any case, but not so much that its sources become an object of revulsion; though it is the reality today.

If we elaborate it, it is a given that those who ‘truly’ believe in social revolution and work for its goals will object to the statement yet if we go by the facts, it is not false how a group of diverse people have been making a living out of this poverty of thoughts and action. In fact, though clean they may be and as ‘subsidiaries’, career activists are also prospering from this drought by legitimising the sheer decadence or by walking on the lines that are set by the powers that be.

Third Shot

Picture this. In mainland India, a huge number of politicians have cases against them for extortion—ignoring the other criminal issues. The beauty of Indian democracy is that it allows all kinds of goons and criminals to stand for election. Closer home, last week, we had seen a democracy-fan, who is a drug smuggler with a pending case and also a nephew of the current chief minister, had already got an election ticket.  

It might be a sin if we live by the truth but in the pathetic ghetto where our collective life is set now, self-styled revolutionaries are redefining the meaning of election through the sheer power of extortion. If there is a record number of cases against police, fake police and elected representatives and equally those against politicians, these revolutionaries have been indulging in monkey business and validating the existence of this system that they are purportedly fighting against.

One, their action is no different from the apolitical masses that take side for either Manipur or India as the situation demands. Two, many of them are waist-deep involved in daylight robbery led by the threesome group of politicians, contractors and bureaucrats. If so desperate, they might as well conform to the provisions on extortion that are listed in the Indian Penal Code—besides as everybody knows, being a ‘pragmatic’ fan of the Indian electoral politics, as evident from the CorCom’s banning of the Congress in the last general election.

The Last Shot

Revolution is an end in itself. Self-determination is also an end in itself. These factors cannot be compromised with anything in the universe. With no political objective, no vision and no ideology, the armed movement is dying a slow painful death. If it perishes, the onus is on the people for we are still living in such a hellhole for as long as we can remember and we have to right the wrong.  

Above all when groups that are fighting for political causes are becoming popular for all reasons but political, something is rotten in the collective; and you cannot simply deny it by citing it as the case of a rotten apple destroying all the apples in a basket. In Meiteilon, we also have the proverb of ‘chak-chagring’ instead of the apple.

In other words, it can be considered as remarkable if it is a case of exception but when it is the order of the day, any demand of revolution will be reduced to ashes for two reasons. First, as we know, there is no sense of direction besides suffering from the paucity of ideologies and objectives. Second, the death is much closer, when there is already a substantial number of people who believe that we need not only India for our survival but also its freebies and privileges. And here, we have not even included the current burning issues out of the Indo-Naga revelry. Our long march is going to be very long.




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