TODAY -

E-Pao! EI - From Poetry to Prose

From Poetry to Prose
- Academics Vs Bureaucracy -


By: Kshetrimayum Imokanta Singh *


Is society all facts and figures? Or is life only here and seen? Are real and reel; facts and fictions; prose and poetry and for that matter, bureaucracy and academics just binary opposites?

In common parlance people often talk as if they are really binary opposites, so as to give words to their thoughts. These categories are often invoked to differentiate what they think is real from what is unreal.

If we try and delve into little carefully and ponder on what lies beneath the surface, there come out many exciting and not yet seen and known knowledge.

In this endeavour one gives herself or himself the privilege to be 'philosophical' which is violently mocked at in today's Manipur, in particular, and world, in general, so that the mundane world dominates her/his existence. So, let us now do some soul searching.

Poetry generally is replete with metaphors, expressing something with the help of something analogous. What we call 'flowery' language is the basis of most of the poetry, in both oral and written literature.

On the other hand, prose is mostly in mundane language. In this vein it has been discerned, generally, that poetry is above the mundane world. That is, it inhabits in the realm of imagination while prose connects directly with the 'real' day-to-day world.

The dynamics between poetry and prose is also seen in the same wavelength as idealism and praxis. Those who are not practical are often mocked at as being idealistic.

By practical we generally mean when a person is able to mingle around with people, attend social ceremonies, take care of family members, participate in bandhs and strikes, having yu (in some places it is now synonymous with AMADA) with friends even if he is not really willing to do so, etc. The list is eternal, to say the least.

When one is lost in his own world, fumbling with beautiful ideas, constructing a vision for a beautiful society, he is often stigmatised as idealistic and as a result he inhabits in the world of poetry. If we follow this line of thought the world today, mostly, dwell in the domain of prose.

Is the transition from student's life to a government servant a case of transition from poetry to prose? To go little deeper, is the transition from academics to bureaucracy a disjointed journey?

Do they not meet each other? Does joining bureaucracy mean unlearning or complete discarding of what has been learnt in university?

This was the impression shared by some of the serving and retired bureaucrats of the Government of Manipur, when they educate the recently appointed probationers of MCS, MPS, MFS and SDC. They say, whatever we learnt in M.A., M.Sc, M.Phil. etc. will not serve much once we take the duty in Governments offices.

Most amusing was when somebody said that my Ph.D. degree would not be of much help. My contention is just the opposite. But then, today is not tomorrow and I have not seen my tomorrow. On the other hand, they have seen their tomorrows much in advance in their pasts. So, the contrary opinions need to be kept in suspension mode until I see my tomorrow.

It is accepted that there are different subjects and specializations within subjects. In this vein, training to be bureaucrats gives a fresh experience, which is a bit different from what we learnt in universities.

If we follow the aforesaid general argument, it is a transition from poetry to prose. The topics related to office procedures, fundamental rules and regulations of the government service, financial matters etc., which are taught in the training programme, are a means to really feel the working conditions of government office.

The anecdotes, related to their service period, narrated by the trainers are really exciting. They prepare the probationers for their future postings and duties.

But then bureaucracy is not a new term, especially for the sociology students. Though the term is French in origin, it is an old administrative system practiced in Imperial Rome, China and many monarchies.

It is generally characterized by behaviour which are prescribed and controlled through the enforcement of rules, a hierarchy representing a chain of command, promotion based on competence, creation of continuous and full time employment, clearly defined job duties and documentation and record keeping.

A name, which comes to mind, is Max Weber who regarded bureaucracy as a rational legal way of administration. This knowledge about bureaucracy came much before the current training. In other words they were part of what we call academics.

In common usage, especially in Manipur, even within academic circle, when a speaker wants to say something not directly related to day-to-day life, he says, 'academically speaking'. This is the starting point of misinterpretation or misunderstanding or non-understanding of the very word 'academic'.

If we go back to the question of bureaucracy, the different facets of bureaucracy taught in the training are not diametrically opposite ot what we learn in subjects like sociology. So, it is substantiated that theory cannot be established in vacuums.

They have to be based on the empirical world. If there is no connection at all between the two, then why there is much debate on the truth and falsity of a theory? This will alert those who use the word 'academic' very loosely and clumsily.

Bureaucracy today is not that respectable among some who think ideology cannot be connected to practice. For them it is synonymous with red-tapism, chamchagiri, and abuse of power. They think that it is an unnecessary evil.

They are always ready to shout against the system, no matter how good the system does. They think any self-respecting person should not be in bureaucracy. The basic question remains, will only being critical all the time without giving better alternative and shout from outside solve the problems?

Instead of creating an imaginary wall between academics and bureaucracy, there should be a mutual transaction of ideas and actions. After all bureaucracy is not a den of devils, if one is determined to stick to his basic principles.

One more issue in hand is the applicability/non-applicability of the specialized knowledge, studied by the probationers in universities, to the duties they are given according to their cadres. Some subjects might not have direct applicability.

For instance, an engineering graduate may not be able to use her/his technical knowledge in financial dealings when she/he joins Manipur Finance Service cadre. But then life is not all finance and accounts. There is life beyond them.

Again those who are interested in theatre, music, painting etc. may still pursue their passion along with the particular service they join. This depends on how much one is determined and able to take up multi-tasking.

Poetry is as real as prose and academics as practical as bureaucracy. Life is not constituted by matters and mundane dealings alone, there is also much space for fictions, imaginations and irrationality.

The curtain (a metaphor) between them is an osmotic one, if not hollow.

Related Articles:


* Kshetrimayum Imokanta Singh, Manipur Finance Service (MPSC); Submitted Ph.D. Thesis to JNU, contributes regularly to e-pao.net . The writer can be contacted at kimokanta(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on October 17th, 2007.


* 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
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo Tournament : Gallery
  • X-Jam 2018 (Sports) #1 : Gallery
  • Ashok Veilou (Purul) award in Kolkata fest
  • Sanamahism was threat to Hinduism
  • Digital Impact on HR Practice : Review
  • Biodiversity for economic development #1
  • The Visitor :: Poem
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #2 : Gallery
  • Yoilumba, Chiranglen, Chingjaroi :: eMing
  • Pukning Pothasang: Women Mental Health
  • Scaramouche, Fandango, Galileo, Figaro..
  • A cry for survival: an appeal for unity
  • Who will answer our questions ?
  • Seminar : Challenges in Local Self Govt
  • Tourism and Sangai Festival
  • New leader at MSCW
  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Countdown to Manipur Polo International
  • Education for 21st century jobs
  • The corrupt tiger
  • Can you stop falling rain :: Poem
  • Scholars translate celebrated Nepali..
  • Of harassment at Imphal-Moreh Route
  • Need for a strong Opposition
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #2: Gallery
  • National School Games- Fencing: Gallery
  • We want the ring...
  • The Queen's Heart :: Poem
  • Education of heart: Heart of Education
  • Mao - The Revolutionary
  • Discussion on India-Vietnam Relation
  • Sangai of the Sangai festival
  • Jarnail in his element
  • Tough road awaits Sarita in World Boxing
  • ACAUT says NNPGs unable to rein..
  • State has no say in ILP - Conrad
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #2
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Poem
  • World Diabetes Day 2018
  • Bartending as a career option
  • The unintended windfall
  • Issues before the Parliamentary polls
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #3: Gallery
  • Rock Show at X-Jam 2018 : Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek wins at Signs Festival
  • Gender Equality & Development :: Book
  • I am friend of India for life- Japanese PM
  • 2019 Commonwealth Scholarship in UK
  • 55th Nagas' Meet at New Delhi
  • Black money and the dream-merchants
  • What steps to address traffic chaos ?
  • Govt extends ban on seven Meitei groups
  • It won't be easy for Mary Kom - Nieva
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS