TODAY -

2010 : Beyond the Years of the Centipede

By Angomcha Bimol Akoijam *

Celebrating New Year is an act of reaffirmation of the reflexive consciousness of human beings that enables them to engage with the past and visualize futures while still being in touch with the immediate experiences.

No wonder then that as the New Year approaches, reflections on what had happened in the preceding year and the likely trajectories of events in the days to come are visible in many societies, particularly in their media, a crucial site of what is called the "public sphere".

This sphere of our modern life is where the civil society airs its views and discourses are generated (beyond what is being dictated by the state). Absence or lack of such a reflection can then be regarded as an indication of a society that is incapable of a reflexive consciousness, and perhaps a defunct, if not, non-existent, "public sphere".

Another New Year : Drifting flawlessly

A glance at the media in Manipur would reveal that, over the years, there has hardly been any display of such New Year reflections. Incidentally, such absence complements the typical reportages in Manipur's media that usually describe the events, as it were, without a narrative structure or analysis that contextualises the same.

That this absence points to reasons beyond the issues of space or economic imperatives of the production of media in the state need not be reiterated. The question here is not so much on the media practice per se as it is on whether this aspect of the media reveals something about the nature of 'civil society' and 'public sphere' in Manipur.

It makes one wonder as to whether these expressions are modern concepts and institutions that exist in form-without-substance in the state or that the people in general in Manipur are not given to reflexive consciousness.

Surely, the people of Manipur are aware of their lived experiences, and there is nothing inauthentic about that consciousness or that their responses to their situation are informed by the same. But then, direct consciousness of a lived experience is something and being (reflexively) conscious of that consciousness is quite another.

Incidentally, for the taken-for-granted worldviews and a concomitant lack of reflexive awareness amongst the scientists, it is said that scientists know about what they do as much as a centipede knows how it walks. And people's understanding of their situation in Manipur, notwithstanding the authenticity and certitude of the consciousness of their immediate experiences, could be as good (or bad) as that of such scientists.

Indeed, come 2010, the people of Manipur with the immediate consciousness of their myriads of issues are likely to walk, like the centipede with its segmented parts and legs, as they drift flawlessly into the trajectory of yet another year.

Given the ways people have acted in response to some of the critical events during the first decade of the present century, such a prospect is not an unfounded conjecture.

Self-deception : Its ways of thinking

Take for instance, the upheaval of 2004 over the murder of Monorama and the notorious Armed Forces Special Power Act; it was a "people's movement", marked by an unprecedented self-immolation that took the life of a student leader and women baring their naked bodies in protest in public, that had brought Manipur to a state of siege for months.

Demanding the punishment of the culprits and repeal of the notorious Act, the leaders of that movement had sought to make the political leadership accountable on the matter by seeking to make AFSPA an election issue. But ultimately, a party with an election manifesto sans AFSPA came back to power with an unprecedented victory in that election!

It doesn't require a genius of a Michel Foucault to tell people the truth that "the way people act or react is linked to a way of thinking". People's ways of thinking about their situation — insurgency, AFSPA, elections, development etc — have lots to do with that electoral response.

And, explaining away that response with "people do not understand" or "people were bought during the elections" (while simultaneously blaming the election procedure with a paradoxical refrain that majority of the electorates who had voted the winners were less than those who voted for the losers) only reaffirmed the disconnect or depravity of the same ways of thinking that had produced that amazing electoral response.

After all, if people could understand the issues by themselves, what was the need for mobilization or leaders to be there in the first place? Besides, issues do and can influence electoral outcomes and under the same electoral scheme, despite its shortcomings, people did change discredited regimes through elections.

Unfortunately, a self-deception continues to obscure failures and issues of responsibility, and a lack of reflexive consciousness ensures that there is no deepening of people's understanding of their lived experiences and changes do not come about while tragedy can repeat amidst episodic reactions.

That the AFSPA could not become an election issue probably due to a failure to fully expose the subversive political premise of the Act has hardly been acknowledged. And significantly, despite the all pervasive legal discourses on human rights, a basic sensibility of rule of law remains a far cry amongst the people.

Consequently, a tendency to determine the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a murder in terms of the victim's "guilt" or "innocence" based on her/his membership of a proscribed organization continues to obscure a critical legal fact that it is an illegitimate act to execute anyone, including a person who has allegedly committed a crime under the law or a prisoner of war, after taking her/him under custody.

Thus, in 2004, the Chief Minister and the military officials, responding to the custodial murder of Monorama, had insisted that the victim was a member of a proscribed organization. Those protestors responded by saying that she was an "innocent weaver".

Five years later, déjà-vu returns; while addressing a press conference in Imphal, just after returning from the Chief Ministers' Conference at New Delhi, Shrijut Okram Ibobi insisted that Sanjit (the victim of an alleged custodial murder at BT Road) was a member of a proscribed organization "at the time of his death".

Of course, from day one of the carnage at BT Road, the family members of the victim have asserted Sanjit's "innocence" by maintaining that he was no longer associated with any proscribed organization.

And revealingly, during that press conference (or its reports thereafter) held after the Tehelka exposé on the manslaughter of 23rd July, none seemed to have asked the Chief Minister as to whether the issue at hand was Sanjit's (alleged) membership of a proscribed organization or that of a serious allegation of a cold-blooded custodial murder by a lawful agency of the state.

Presumably, such responses and ways of thinking also indicate a general understanding of the situation in Manipur. It is quite apparent that the people in general understand the situation as primarily that of under-development, petty crimes, extortions, kidnappings and murders rather than as a situation which has been critically shaped by a dynamics of armed insurgencies (striving for, amongst other, a "sovereign" Manipur) that affect various aspects of their life in many different ways.

Such is the understanding of their situation based on the consciousness of their immediate experiences that it might have come to many as a weird nonsense when an army general said in a recent press meet in Imphal that "for whatever else insurgency has become, the very fact that it exist(s) is the indication that there was something wrong…(that gave) the reason for insurgency to sprout in the first place. This original problem needs to also be addressed with (sic.) earnest".

One hopes that 2010 brings in some light to a people who have learned to live in darkness with 3/4 hours of electricity in a day for years on, and heralds a new beginning beyond the self-deceptions that have come to characterize every New Year as the Year of the Centipede!




* Angomcha Bimol Akoijam wrote this article for The Sangai Express. The author teaches social and political psychology at School of Social Sciences, JNU, New Delhi. This article was webcasted on January 12th, 2010.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • Wungramphy, Khamgonpou: eMing
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Bamboo for poverty alleviations
  • A costly peace deal
  • The song of the speech-impaired : Poem
  • Opportunity for NE Youth @Delhi/NCR
  • Chief Of Army Staff visits Manipur
  • Waiting for another begining
  • NE: Little change albeit promises galore
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Unsung heroes
  • Wishing a goa in Manipur!
  • Handloom Weaver at Nagaon, Assam
  • Reminder on role of media & political party
  • Hospital death: Deliver justice if delivery ..
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • Handloom Training @Assam : Gallery
  • Ras Leela @Parliment committee: Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • 'Good Governance Day' & Manipur
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • Christmas Carol at Namdulong : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #1 : Gallery
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS