VIRTUES OF BOREDOM

This editorial was published by the Imphal Free Press (http://ifp.co.in) on December 6 2011 at http://ifp.co.in/imphal-free-press-full-story.php?newsid=3487&catid=5

Manipur's hope horizon seems to be ever fading. As it stands today, there aren’t many reasons to be optimistic about the place’s future. Something just did not click in the shift of our economy from the largely agrarian setup to urbanised world of professionals of today’s modern world. Perhaps it is because the shift was planted and not a result of inner pressures and needs, that the growth of our society, physical as well spiritual, has ceased to be organic. In fact, it has resulted in the death, or at least dwarfing, of the spirit of enterprise and adventure that have compulsively driven the engine of civilizations through human history. There seems to be an atrocious lack of compulsion in our society today to push the frontiers of knowledge and skill any further. This is true metaphorically as well as literally. The basic need to prove to oneself one’s own vitality at every point of time seems to be on the receding path. Why do people climb Mount Everest when they might well be lazing around in the comfort of their drawing rooms watching TV? Why do people voluntarily put themselves into life threatening situation and waste immense amount of energy and adrenaline to come out of them in the name of adventure sports? Why do people need to walk uncharted territory even when there are paved and tested roads they can comfortably cruise on? Existentialist writers have a nice way of explaining things. According to them, one of the greatest and perennial battles that man has necessarily to fight is against life’s essential boredom. But this battle has also been the source of much of his enlightenment, in the material as well as intellectual spheres of his activities. Possibilities have in this way have always opened up where there seemed none and remained unlimited.
 In Manipur, it is this spirit of enterprise that has suffered a sad demise. The result is an almost total stagnation and an all pervasive ennui. But the consequence does not end at just this claustrophobic state of stagnation. It also means the circumspection of the limits of expanding our horizon of mental and physical growth. This consequence is already being felt today. Because it has remained without growth all the while, our job market today has become totally saturated. This no matter the government’s skill in creating jobs where there are no need for them at all. According to the records in the employment exchange, there are nearly four lakh educated unemployed in the state today, and with our colleges and university churning out more degree holders every year, the number can only multiply. We repeat, degree holders, and often nothing more. If the condition is this today, we can well imagine the problem before the next generation of job seekers, and degree holders. We think it is time our job seekers really started seeking jobs instead of waiting for them to land on their courtyards. Meanwhile, it is also time our leaders started getting bored with what they have been doing for the past many decades. For once they ought to start thinking of ways to be innovative. Instead of just power, chairs, portfolios and more power.... they ought to consider the attractiveness of adjectives like creative, farsighted, visionary etc., used to qualify them and their work. We for one think they ought to consider these as the most primary values and qualities to aspire for. If they are able to use the power in their hands to inject some vim back into our education system, enterprise into our job market, and most of all confidence in our youth that diligence always pays and that only this can bring back the vision of a brighter future into our horizon, they would have etched their names in the hearts of everyone in the land and its history. They would have also ceased to be such big bores.

On a more positive note, let us take note that the Assembly elections are approaching. Let this refreshed mandate be the flagging off point for a new approach to politics on the part of our political leadership, and also that of a new attitude of the general public as well. Let this attitude be the characteristic new intent with which the electorate as well as those contesting the elections approach the new challenge.

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