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E-Pao! Opinion - A Poser to The Sane

A Poser to The Sane

By: H Lienzamang Gangte *


The other night a bosom chum stationed at Kolkatta sms-ed me enquiring how's life in Manipur. Straight-lacedly, an uncomplicated close ended question any Manipuri worth his onions can answer. It seemed. A harmless query soliciting an innocuous riposte. But, pray, tell me, what is innocuous or harmful in this beautifully sapping land of ours.

A few weeks before he retired as the headmaster of Kangvai Government High School, my dad's mama send me to deliver the school's quota of Midday Meal. Addressed to the dealing AI, I carried a chit that request the AI to dole out the Midday Meal to the bearer of the chit.

Signed and stamped upon and guided by all the bureaucratic knickknacks, the chit, I believed, would carry me through my mission successfully. Peacefully assured, I handed the authorization letter to the smug AI who tucks it beneath heaps of paper lying upon his table. He did not spend a single glance on the page though.

'Wait for sometime' was all that came out of his paan-reddened crimson mouth. So, there I was kow-towing him as the milieu around me moves and heaves, carrying and loading sacks of paddy into rickshaw after rickshaw. After a quarter of an hour, he majestically summons me to his table.

Asking me if I was for Kangvai High School, to which I nodded, he self-assuredly declares 'the boys have taken it', as if it was a heavenly message and that he was the only prophet found fit to deliver this. Seeing my sense of shock and chagrin, he allows me into a state secret of a bunch of letterheads of the 'boys'.

Midday Meal for insurgents? What a compassionate government, I enlightened myself. Every armed group of the hills was there as if this was the best way to raise their hands and be counted. Holy cow, I said to myself, the ship has indeed sunk. And to what level!

On the fringe of Bishnupur proper, our bus Akongtadabee was halted. As usual. The coach screeched to a halt. Yes, why not? It is Bishnupur where the infamous men in khakhee, commandos diktat when the sun rise and set.

Seeing the assemblage of security personnel, whatever security was there inside the bus amongst the commuters whistle out of the windows. Because it's the commandos and they are the rules.

First to be summoned was the handyman who was told to furnish documents. As he vanishes from the scene to get the documents, it was the turn of the passengers to stand in a row and be sloppily frisked by the personnel. Smelling like an opened alcohol flask, one of them asked me to which tribe I belong.

Even before I could shut my mouth after uttering Gangte, he impressed upon me his not-able IQ by averring 'gangtedi MCgi jaati ni ne'. Thanks to him and his ilk, I became aware from then that my entire fellow tribesmen are UG personnel. Although my belief till then was that we were one of the few tribes who could not afford such a group.

The Home Ministry can, indeed use penetrating brains like this dipsomaniac on state's duty. Maybe they do and it shows. After we were allowed to reclaim our seats, I saw the handyman rushing towards the man in khakhee to verify papers of the coach. The boy was unexpectedly greeted with a couple of slaps across his young face.

His fault? Unnecessarily running. The fact that he was under immense occupational pressure - most of his passengers were office-goers posted at Imphal and could not be late for office, never cross the mind of this brilliant ale-pod. The reason, probably, could have been that one never rushes while on duty. Like, do duty but araam se, look at us and ape us, the commando seem to lecture the handyman.

Yes, good old Manipur has transfigured into a cesspool. The sad part is this still happen inspite of all and sundry caring utmost for the land. Else, how would you show grounds for all those JACs, NGOs, XYZs that stands for peace, unity, progress, development, tolerance, growth, tranquility, rights, justice and all the virtues that this small column would not be able to contain?

Viewed this way, ours have to be the most tenderly look after habitat around globe. So we self-inflict ourselves with bandhs to counter terrorists' bombings, we retort state's apathy with knocking down of public properties; we give communal hue to isolated one-off cases of individual skirmishes. All because of the love of the 'land'.

And the applause is deafening. Our collective conscience is most responsible, its alertness dramatically aloft and thus, a spark gets converted into a full-blown bonfire. Cheekily. Answers are aplenty, more copious than the questions themselves.

Perhaps, we muddle the questions with the answers owing to excess of the latter. Perhaps not. The boat seems to carry too many wise heads, and is sinking under the weight of their brains. Even as we scheme to perish wisely than live not so wisely.

It has been a week now and I still have not answered my friend's question. Living in the land of the sagacious where answers to problems are abundant I might, like I said, disarrange the answer.

And I wish nobody ask me that question again. Ever.


* H. Lienzamang Gangte, a freelancer from Churachandpur , contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer can be contacted at glienza(at)sify(dot)com . This article was webcasted on May 20th, 2007.


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