HYPE ON PATRIOTISM VERSUS ANTITHESIS

by JC Sanasam
This article was published by Hueiyen Lanpao, and webcast at e-pao.net on 26 March 2012

...Manipur needs to metamorphose itself into such a visage to take the first step towards positive progress. And perhaps, it has to start from home and family values; not from the ongoing chamcha-giri trend. 
It is, more or less, an instinct in everybody that one nurtures a love for or some devotion to one's country or homeland. Regardless of the ramshackle condition of its physical structure in terms of the decay of electricity, water supply, roads and communication systems etc., added upon it, the atmosphere of corruption, murder and crimes, rape and abduction flurries, slaughters of the innocent, the negative spills-over of militancy, bursting and hurling of bombs and LED explosives and death of people, we the inhabitants here never fail to love and be proud of Manipur as our homeland or home state.

However, sometimes, activities of many a citizen turn out in different forms, many resulting into antithesis. More than three or four decades now the hype on patriotism has become so high strung in Manipur.
On March 23 last, the Shajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba Day, the Manipuri Students' Federation organized a very aesthetic program named 'Eeramdam Sheitha Ishei - 2012'.

Everybody thought the nomenclature of the theme envisaged much more than just what the term, patriotic songs do. Those who assembled there, I am sure, came with a sense of elation for the New Year at the same time with some pride imbued upon by the kind of the theme-designate of the musical program.

During the short formal inaugural function too the speakers talked well about the impact of such songs sung in loyal love and praise of one's homeland and nativity; and how such programs must act as the foundation for good character among the future younger generation and for building up nationality.

However, except for a few that rolled out from the senior artists' mouths, many of the songs presented, specifically by the younger group, gyrated out in a spin of antithesis. Majority of the songs were of the kind that could not be branded as songs of praise or honour or glory or exaltation or devotion to or tribute to the land or to the homeland or to the nativity.

Rather the numbers were more flooded with western type of lyrics, music and orchestral accompaniment. It is not that western music is to be extolled as stale or dried up; but imitation, if not in genuine vein, does not sound natural or acceptable to the listeners; more so to the ears of those above forty. Where had the vision and essence of the concept or the purpose of Eeramdam Sheitha Eeshei gone?

That is what is going on and eating away Manipur. Talks and speeches in the line of morality, patriotism and high ideals are many from the innumerable civil societies. The disgusting thing is that those who talked of high philosophy and wisdom are, in the long run, often found to be in the rat race of all sorts, indulgence in corruption, nepotism, usage of arm-twisting with money power and muscle power when matters of appointment and of seeking favours for being a beneficiary or the like come.

On the other hand those in the higher up too are the chamcha-giri-role-model; hypocrites of the highest kind. They talk of humbleness, nobleness and service to people; but they wait for people to come, fall on their knees with offers of money on gold platters. On the roads they dash down escorted with gun toting security guards.

I remember what our friend Ibochouba narrated about his experience. About seven years back he was in Shillong working as a teacher for some time. He stayed in a rented house at Nongshilliang, an adjoining neighbourhood of Pohkseh near the Rynjah Market. By the side of the AIR staff residential complex, nearby where he stayed, there was the residence of the Cabinet Minister of Home, Meghalaya. This Minister continued to stay at his own house even after becoming a Cabinet Minister.

My friend said he was so surprised that there was not a single visitor from morning till night at the Minister's residence nor were security personnel around his house. More astonishing was that the Minister used to go for his work alone in his car, driving the car himself.

One evening when my friend was doing some shopping at the Rynjah market he saw the Minister coming to the same vendor where he was collecting some vegetables; and he saw the people around including the vending Kong just greeting the Minister addressing him as Bah Lyngdoh; nothing more than that. The Minister too acknowledged people's greetings at the most cordial way.

One teacher colleague of Ibochouba happened to be a relative of the Minister; later, one day, they went and visited the Minister casually. The Minister did not forget him; in the following days he always greeted him when they came across each other on their way to their respective morning-walk. Such is the situation and atmosphere in the neighbouring state of Meghalaya.

In this same city of Shillong, one Patricia Mukhim wrote in the paper about the arrogant, pompous and overbearing nature of some military officers who daily used to rush out with their motorcade on their way to a tennis ground which used to prove to be obstacles to the heavy traffic at the Rhino crossing point at the height of school going time. Next day the military officers allowed the school children to move before their vehicles romped into the traffic.

Perhaps, Manipur needs to metamorphose itself into such a visage to take the first step towards positive progress. And perhaps, it has to start from home and family values; not from the ongoing chamcha-giri trend.

* JC Sanasam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on March 26, 2012.

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