Bogus student leaders - A menace to the society

Ceety Khongsai *

The concept of student as we perceive in Manipur today has completely contravene the true meaning of student as universally understood in academic circles. The Oxford Dictionary defines the term student as "person who is studying for a degree, diploma, etc. at a University or some other place of higher education or technical training or a boy or girl at school." In precision, student is a person pursuing an academic career in any institution of learning, professional or technical, with stipulated time-framed programme or course.

However, in the context of Manipur, many of the student leaders are pseudo students with bogus identities. In fact, the veracity and authenticity of student I.D.s issued by business-oriented educational institutions need to be verified and a more stringent regulations pertaining to issuance of student I.D.s becomes imperative to prevent infiltration of politically motivated, leader-centric and contract work loafers into the students' unions.

The 'Politics of quota' being permeated in every sinew of our society, it has become a general practice to slice off organisational portfolios into rotational quotas to represent all sections in the society inclusive of government servants. Precisely, much to the chagrin of professional ethics and service rules even government employees also took active part in student activities through 'in-service quota' and become leaders of different students' organisations! This merits the Guinness World Record.

Suspicions about the government-student nexus ran high due to leniency and inactivity of the government towards those sycophant leaders. In a way, student has literally been made a continuous process until a person voluntarily retires from active student politics in his/her own volition.

Meanwhile, the society also seems to have no objection to these proxy student leaders rather generously extended physical, moral and financial supports in all their nefarious activities. And, whereas the society trust in the infallible power of students in bringing social change, these moral bankrupt and mercenary leaders discreetly exploited the society by wearing the cloak of students to accumulate material wealth.

Clothed with the acumen of sophisms these leaders can easily hoodwink whosoever they met with their sticky web to make easy money. It may not be an exaggeration to say that major portion of hill-valley emotional divide, politicization of trifle issues on ethnic lines and indoctrination of the innocent public on divisive and antagonistic politics originate from these ambitious leaders.

The pride of student as future pillars of the nation and its inherent power to put pressure on government policy-programmes has egoistically been exploited by the bogus student leaders to accrue huge financial gains in the form of contract works, silencer money, blockade money etc.

Off-and-on, the people of our state have been put at ransom by these student leaders through imposition of disdainful economic blockades, Chaka bandh, general strikes etc on the two lifeline National Highways on one pretext or the other to support their sophisticated lifestyles.

It is prudent to know that these hypocrite leaders, shrewd as Shakespeare's 'Shylock' in the Merchant of Venice and as investigative as the Tehelka's anti-corruption sleuths, connive with government department insiders to get inputs about fund embezzlement and tangible proof of financial irregularities of the high profile VVIPs, also called public leaders or designated officially as Peoples' Representatives in parliamentary democracy.

And now, concrete evidence of financial mismanagement at their hands, these bogus leaders would send emissaries (department insiders) to the concerned ministers with two compelling options:
(1). Percentage cut- If the percentage amount is concurred, the minister saves his dignity and honour because the percentage money serves as silencer to his financial misdeed from being expose to the public. This practice is called 'Silencer Money'.
(2). Blockade cut- if the minister does not know the arithmetic of division (percentage cut) as he was good in multiplication (fund swindler) then, the economic blockade will make him spineless; economic blockade is the most effective means to veto the power of the ministers.

In a comical parlance, the villainous act of courage exhibited by hired Imphal river bank quarry workers (proxy students) in smashing vehicles along the D.M. road; the expertise of thick jungle charcoal traders (surrogate students) in setting boulder traps along the serpentine Imphal-Jiri road and the killer instinct of drug consumers (hired students) as bandh supporters in Imphal- Tipaimukh road mismatch the mob control-oriented trained security forces who manned the two national highways.

The scale of economic loss and degree of misery suffered by the public due to economic blockade obligated the government to entice the bandh sponsors with lump sum money to call off the blockade. This is called Blockade money.

On the other hand, the bandh sponsors perceive this as 'mission accomplished' because (i) it is an opportunity to strike their demands (percentage cut) more forcefully. (ii) It is a double profit for the bandh sponsors because they get blockade money and also benefited through percentage deals. However, to conceal their commercial intention these bogus leaders would put forward certain 'unattainable demands' as charter of demands relating to students rights principally to corner to the government on percentage cut!

It may be conscientiously stated that while the true and bonafide students engross themselves in their studies to cope with the stiff competitive world, some former students or drop-out students acted as copycat students to train themselves for future politicians. As a result, academic atmosphere of our state dwindles and the quality of education is at low ebb. The academic life of the students has greatly been affected to the extent that the normal three years TDC course took four to five years.

Furthermore, rehearsing the nursery students in the art of dharna in front of school gates or drawing out High School and College students from class rooms and tutoring them on protests- street march, strikes, dharnas etc. have far reaching negative impact in their academic career. Our lovely state has been reduced to a status of Multiple Strike factory. It's high time that we realise the menace of these parasitic leaders.

* Ceety Khongsai wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 09, 2013.

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