TODAY -

Wake Up Calls To The People Of Manipur
- Part 2 -

Vision Manipur 2030 *



ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT: Once I was passing through Chandigarh where I happen to read an article in the Times of India, Chandigarh edition. Capt Amarinder Singh, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, announcing of organising state funded coaching for NDA and CDS aspirants looking at the dwindling number of army officers from Punjab. Politician in our state should have a certain sense of professionalism in running the government. I wonder when the time will come, when our politician would be liked the characters in the novel, 'First Among Equals', by Jeffrey Archer.

In sports, we identify our potential rival states and prepare accordingly. The state government organises coaching camp through respective associations before going to a National championships. Today, Manipur is a dominant force in Indian sports. It is time for the government to look at education in similar fashion. One should realise that education is the most important factor to ensure socio-economic well being of the society. It is the surest way to bring peace to the state.

In the present scenario, it is only the family that is forming the support base of an individual who is preparing for a competitive exam. In terms of facilities like coaching centres, availability of books and related materials, teaching faculties including the question setters, we are in an unfavourable position when it comes to a National level competitive exam. The government could have an in depth study and analysis and formulate ways and means to make the students of the state more competitive in the National arena. Education should and must be the most important agenda of the state government.

There may be families who can't buy books. The government could strengthen its provision to provide books through the government schools at a subsidised rate. Good Samaritans can donate used books to NGOs who can distribute it to the poor and needy. The provision of giving stipend to brilliant student could be strengthened with certain categories as per the socio-economic status of the families (at present, the amount of stipend is very less. It does not matter much to an individual from a well to do family but, to a poor family, a realistic amount of stipend will help them in a significant way).

CENTRAL FUNDED PROJECTS: Every central government project should be welcomed. It is should be our collective effort as a whole to create a conducive environment for such projects. We should not provide any opportunity to other state in the region to take away such projects from us citing law and order problem. Some years back I heard rumours of RIMS to be shifted from Manipur because other states have complained of the law and order problem in Manipur.

RIMS, however bad it may be, have become an asset of the state and an identity of Manipur. I felt bad for the employee starting from grade IV to the nurses who were all from Manipur. We should realise that, by creating an uncertain atmosphere, we are only helping the other states in the region to snatch the opportunity away from the people of Manipur. It seems that we are losing out even in the central government's LOOK EAST POLICY where, we are in a traditionally and geographically favourable location.

Let us be selfless if we think of ourselves as a patriot. If you ask me who a patriot is? My answer is simple. If somebody does something selflessly and a fellow Manipuri is benefitted, I will call that person a patriot (I may sound unpatriotic to someone from outside the state but Sir, let me first start my charity at home). Please, let us not kill the hen that lays the golden egg. Let us think of the future generations also. Enough harm has been done because of our short sightedness.

HOW ABOUT OUR IDENTITY, OUR VOICE, OUR POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS: Once I was watching a public seminar on IS TV, a well known human right activist said, the problem in Manipur is not only about economic wellbeing. It is about our identity, our voice and our political aspirations. How right he was. I couldn't think of a Manipuri who is known nationally in the political arena, one who can voice our concern at the topmost level.

SOLUTION:

We know that politics is a number game. With only two MP (Lok Sabha) from the state, the number is too insignificant for an impact in the national arena. How do we go about it? What are the options?

1st option: I was wondering how, Shri P. A. Sangma, who is from Meghalaya, a small state like Manipur, rose to the position of a speaker in the National Assembly. How, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, who is from West Bengal, where Congress has only a lukewarm presence rose to such a position in the party. The answer I got was so simple. I wonder how generations of our politician missed it. If I join a department today, I will be the most junior officer. With time I will rise in rank. If everything goes well, and, my age permits me, I might retire as the head of the department.

Politics is also the same. First, choose a party with a strong national presence with likely chance for forming the government. To represent the state, select a well educated, honest, intelligent, diplomatic person with good oratory skill and a command over English language, one who is young enough to lead an active political life for at least 25 years. We then have to elect him again and again without a gap (these should not be a problem for the people of the state as MP does not have a direct relationship with the running of the state government.

We are only electing someone who is fit enough to represent us outside of the state). With each election he will rise in position and seniority within the party. May be 20 years from now, he will become a political heavy weight and might be holding an important portfolio in the central Government. He will become our voice. With that authority and power, people will listen to him. If we can't agree on this and remain divided because of our selfish outlook and inter party politics, then, we deserve what we are in right now.

2nd option: I was reading one of the forums in a social networking site. Someone has written about some politicians from our neighbouring state coming to Chennai to meet Karunanidhi of DMK, who is regarded as the face of a successful regional party. Here we need to realise that Tamil Nadu has about 39 MPs (Lok Sabha). If DMK manage to win 15-20 seats, which is a sizeable number in a coalition government in the centre, he can dictate his term and conditions. If politicians from a state with only 1 or 2 MPs join DMK, they will still be a minority within that party.

An impact with a significant number of MPs is only possible only when the entire Northeast is united under a single political roof, however, with the communal nature of each and every community in the region with an armed group each to protect from one another, it will be a Herculean task to convince one another for such a collective vision. This option is unlikely till the time, we realise that, our aspirations are not different from one another and, shed our selfish interest and microscopic views.

MINIMISING CORRUPTION BY THOSE RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT:-

The people who are running the government are only drawn from the general population. They will only be as good as the general population. The habit of taking money from the candidate during election should stop. Imagine how much a candidate must be spending during an election. No one chooses to be a politician to become a pauper. He will definitely try to recover the amount he spent during election. From where will he recover his money? From us, directly while giving us employment and indirectly from government contract works which were meant for the welfare of the general public by compromising on the quality of such works or by inflating the cost of such works and sharing the profit thereafter.

Besides, businessman and people with vested interest from within and outside the state will identify a potential candidate and invest money during election. When such a candidate becomes a minister, he will definitely favour those who help him. We will be spending more, as compare to other states on every kg of onion, potato, rice, dal etc which is imported from outside. Imagine how much we are losing just for that Rs.500 taken during election.

Even a 5 year old will understand the foolishness of such a bargain (let us also try to understand how certain things affect us monetarily indirectly, for example, if I buy a motorcycle today which is suppose to last 10 years, but because the road are so bad and dusty, my motorcycle lasted only 7 years. Over and above that, a number of visits to the servicing centre in between. Imagine how much I will be spending unnecessarily. I will be buying another motorcycle 3 years prematurely because of my necessities).

On the other hand, by taking money, we, the general public have absolved our candidate from his/her moral obligations to do the right things. The candidate has bought from us, the right to do whatever he wants within his power and authority for 5 years. What rights do we have to question their integrity, what happen to our moral values while taking money during election?

How do we spend that Rs.500 taken from a candidate? I don't think we will be buying a book to further our knowledge. What we have seen is, most of us will be buying liquor and meat and party away to glory during the election holiday.

Once an MLA becomes a minister in the state cabinet, the people of his constituency expect him to use his influence in getting a government job. If the minister does not oblige, there is a likely chance that he is not elected in the next election. In a way, we are forcing him to become corrupt.

REMEDIES:

First, identify the candidate of your choice. Instead of taking money, contribute even if it is as small as Rs.10 because that's Rs.50000, if 5000 of us contributes. When he becomes a minister, at least he will have some moral bindings due to the love and affection shown to him by the voters and the expectations out of him to do the right thing.

We should also realise that when an MLA becomes a minister, he is responsible to the state as a whole, not only to his constituency. We should work hard to be the best for any job offered. If we are fit enough, our MLA does not have to use his influence. This way, we will not be pushing an honest MLA to go against his conscience.

ECONOMY:

The economy of Manipur depends mostly on the yearly sanction from the central government. Our state does not have much other means to generate revenue. Basic amenities are mostly imported from outside the state, so a sizeable amount of what is sanction by the central government goes to other states. Then, how are we going to make our state rich?

The answer is by invading the central government jobs inside and outside the state and the Multi National Companies (MNCs) (until recently, most of the brilliant minds in the country were attracted by the MNCs with its lucrative pay package, competition for a central government job were less , however because of the global economic slow down and with the introduction of sixth pay commission, the competition for a central government job have gone up a bit but, the trend will return and, by that time, we should be ready). Imagine a situation where 2/3rd of the educated youth is holding a central govt job or holding an important position in MNCs and they are investing their money back in the state. They will like to spend their money. This will create employment and business opportunities for those not educated enough to get a government job.

CONCLUSION:-

We have seen the odds against us while competing with the rest of the country. Imagine how satisfying it will be to defy all the odds and comes out victorious, beating the rest of the country in their own game with their own rules.

India is a country with one of the fastest growing economy. The world is watching us. We are constantly compared with China. India is trying to prove to the world that we are better than the Han dominated China. A democracy; where everyone gets equal opportunity regardless of his ethnicity. We should be capitalising on this. Now is the time for us to become a force to reckon with in the country in the field of education (we have already done it in sports. In the last National games, most of the other state had a Manipuri in their contingent). Let the rest of country says, 'Manipur has colonised India'.

In this pursuit, don't expect everything will be given to us in a platter. Don't expect the world to be fair to us. We will be pushed to the limit at every nook and corner. Every opportunity, every facilities will be against us. Being an underdog, if we want to be ahead in such a competition, we need to share our experiences so that we can analyse and formulate the most effective way in our preparation. We need to shed our selfish attitude of keeping things to ourselves. At the same time hard work is a must, we need to sleep an hour later, wake up an hour earlier, study an hour more, practiced an hour more than the rest of the world. When we start to feel the pressure, when we feel that, we can't go any further; let us think of our fathers, forefathers and brothers who lay down their life for a much difficult cause. Think of the supreme sacrifice they made. We are not as brave as them but, we can at least try to create a Manipur that simulates the Manipur they dreamt of. That will be our legacy.

We are nobody, just normal civilians, with no authority or power but, if you are the best in the world in your own chosen field, we can guarantee you freedom, the freedom to dictate your terms and conditions, a freedom to live a life of your choosing. We can give you immortality, a place in history for all to remember till the end of time.

Lastly we would like to conclude with a quote from Rudyard Kipling,

"NATIONS HAVE PASSED AWAY AND LEFT NO TRACES AND HISTORY GIVES THE NAKED CAUSE OF IT - ONE SINGLE SIMPLE REASON IN ALL CASES, THEY FELL BECAUSE THEIR PEOPLE WERE NOT FIT".

Are we fit enough?



Concluded...

PS: We are a group of medical and engineering graduates in our 20s and early 30s. At present, we are struggling to further our career outside of our state. This gave us a chance to compare ourselves with the rest of the country. It is our confession that, we are not very talented or gifted. We asked ourselves, what would have happened if those among us, who are gifted and much more talented than us, could have achieved with proper guidance and support. At the rate at which other states are progressing, there is a sense of desperation and the urgencies inside us that make us write and share our views with the general public. Our article is long as we tried to encompass so many subjects with suggested solutions. As newspaper is the only means of connecting us with the general public en masse, we pray that you will help us in conveying our views through your esteem newspaper.

We would like you to hide our identities if you publish our article because of the following reasons:
1. Our effort is not for any form of personal gain.
2. We consider ourselves still not good enough to be role models for others.
3. We are still very young and have not yet earn that much of respect nor have we done anything extraordinary that people of our state may start listening to us. So, it is better in a way to remain anonymous.

Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely,
A Group of Struggling Medical and Engineering Graduates




* Vision Manipur 2030 contributes to e-pao.net regularly. They are a Group of Struggling Medical and Engineering Graduates and can be contacted at visionmanipur2030(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted at e-pao.net on 20th April 2010.


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