Compounding tragedy: Warped priorities

The Sangai Express
July 22 2011

The degree of tragedy becomes acute when a corrupt and an inefficient Government is teamed up with a people who have got all their priorities mixed up and their focus goes haywire, just like the rooster which has got it all wrong and starts crowing in the dead of the night. A case of the biological clock turned upside down and creating a system in which the two sides feed off each other ! “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours” situation. A near perfect case of the Government and the public demonstrating “co-operation”. According to the text book definition of the system of governance under democracy, this may be just what the doctor ordered for the health of all. However definitions found in text books may not always fit into the larger canvass on which reality rests and the appearance of co-operation may just be a well crafted model to deceive the people into some sense of a lull or a false sense of satisfaction. Complacency can be dangerous to the health of all and the longer such a false sense of well being is allowed to linger, the more confusing will the reality become. And once the reality is reduced to something hazy and unclear then it means that reality can be twisted, manipulated and defiled by those who have the power and the ability to do it. Manipur is today alarmingly perched on the precipice of slipping into such a well set pattern and the signals emanating from each level of society rings out loud with the message that the people are slowly descending to the pit of the system which has assumed gargantuan proportions. Aiding the descent into this pitfall are the numerous socially prominent personalities, who make it a point to have their presence felt in each and every possible social fora. These class of people come in different shapes and sizes and under different nomenclature. One day they may be at the head of a JAC, which has suddenly decided to impose a 48 hours bandh to protest the running over of a duck or a cockerel by a truck speeding on NH-39 ! On another day they may come across as leaders of some groups which have come up along ethnic lines and on some other day one may see them lining up at Leimakhong or Mantripukhri to surrender their arms after killing a number of people for selling out to the “enemy.” Apart from Government patronage, it is not uncommon to see some of these elements emerging as elected leaders of the people and parking themselves in the august hall of the Assembly. With such elements now occupying positions from where they can speak loftily on issues in which they have no understanding at all, it is not surprising to see the emergence of a whole set of people who aptly fit the description of the zombies. Herd mentality is the natural offshoot of such a culture taking deep roots and gaining social legitimacy.

When was the last time that the people took to the streets for reasons which genuinely concerned the interests and welfare of the public ? On what reason was the latest bandh called or for what reasons are the impending bandhs or blockades called ? With no one raising questions of these nature, it is therefore not surprising to see a JAC formed at the drop of the hat, which then goes ahead and imposes a bandh, crippling normal life and trade and commerce activities. On the other hand we may question whether there has been one instance in the last four or five years when the people had come out on the street to protest the undue power cuts or against the filthy and contaminated water that is supplied through the pipes by the Government agencies. Is it the innate ability of the people to soak in the hard times of life that not even a whimper was raised when a kilogram of potatoes or rice went over the ceiling ? No one would advocate bandhs or general strikes, much less economic blockades, but given the fact that these mode of protests have come to identify Manipur, the least one would expect was some of these issues featuring in some of the bandhs and blockades imposed in the State in the last few years. With their priorities screwed up, it is therefore not surprising to see no organised voice being raised against the sinister design of JNIMS authority to set aside two seats for the faculty members. This is a case of “You scratch my back, I will scratch yours” phenomena coming out in all its full bloom. A case of the two set of characteristics, a confused people and a corrupt and inefficient Government feeding off each other. However we may expect bandhs and blockades on the highways, if some JAC formed on issues which at best may have a “Leikai Interest,” decide to exercise their lung power. Vehicles may be torched, burning tyres may be expected on the middle of the busy highway for one reason or the other but not a single muscle will stir when some private internet providers decide that taking fifteen minutes to open an email is okay for the people of Manipur. Why is there such an acute lack of sound judgement on the part of the public ? One answer could be the years of being brow beaten into quiet submission by the different power players thriving in the State.

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