TODAY -

Patriotism of 2001

Lucky Sapam *

12th - The Great June Uprising Observation at Kekrupat Martyrs' Memorial complex  :: June 18 2013
12th - The Great June Uprising Observation at Kekrupat Martyrs' Memorial complex :: June 18 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



"Run! Run!" He shouted with an intention of helping others and immediately after that he too started running away with the mob, holding a half-filled kerosene bottle in his hand. At that instant of time, my mind was stuck with the commotion of people shouting, running, pushing and it seemed like everything was moving in a slow-motion mode but when I came back to my sense of reality, I too started running with the crowd through the dusty road. I ran with my heart pounding heavily, breathing fast and with tense sweat dripping down my brow.

I ran with anxiety and tension in my mind thinking that something bad was going to happen to me but when I saw the green-painted iron gate of my house, I felt a sign of relief, comfort, happiness and secured but it was not certain that I was in the safe zone at that particular period of time, anything could have happened. Thank God! It didn't. The depiction of the scene putting in perspective can be imagined as the view of an olden war film where people run for their lives, leaving behind everything. It is not exactly the same but somewhat we can relate to.

Okay, to begin and make a sense out of this, let's rewind 12 hours back. Shall we? In the evening of the previous day 7:30 radio news, the authorities had announced the imposition of curfew in the state which incidentally coincides with my Grandfather's funeral rituals. It's not that we haven't heard of the word 'curfew' but from the start we knew that it was going to be a different one. Preparations were in full swing for both the funeral and for the curfew. We were preparing for the former and the security force preparing for the latter. There was no room for error for both occasions.

The next day (curfew day) arrives; it was not a sunny day. The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds and the sound of silence was a pleasant thing to hear and yes of-course ignoring the once-in-while sound of the police's siren. The sights of the roads were indeed a watchable one as people came out in large number to oppose the imposition of curfew. They were burning rubber tyres, shouting slogans and some even came out with Manipur's map painted on their faces. Looking at the environment at that moment, I came to know that the people were protesting not against the curfew par se but were protesting against the cease-fire agreement.

The true meaning of Patriotism was evident and noticeable right in front of my eyes. This very feeling of patriotism comes naturally without any compulsion or force. I wondered at that moment how our fore-fathers must have felt while fighting for the independence of this country. Leaving aside and not comparing the relevance or the magnitude of the two, I think it's appropriate to at-least group the feeling as 'Patriotic one'.

My generation people did not get a first hand encounter with the freedom struggle nor the partition nor the 1962 war nor the emergency era so we have to assumed the knowledge of these events just by mere reading from some books or through some speakers explaining about it. So in a way this movement of us opposing the curfew was a sign of our struggle for our rights and justice. It was patriotism at its best. (State-level of course!)

Grounds:

The 2001 Extension agreement between the GOI and NSCN-IM was sketchy and poorly lit in the first place itself. It was done in closed doors without taking abroad the views of the majority group. And the amusing thing was that while this serious deal was going on one side, on the other side legislatures of our state were busy playing musical-chairs with the political parties, trying to find the origin of the rainbow and by the time they realized the blunder and slip-up of the agreement, it was already too late and the damage was done. The spark has been ignited.

The more they tried to curtain and pacify it, the more agitated people became. They (legislatures) were fighting a losing battle. They failed miserably to the people of Manipur. The national headline reads "Manipur on Fire" and Manipur was literally on fire with protesters burning down the houses of the legislature. This movement was an important and significant one in the history of modern Manipur moreover it was a necessity though I personally don't support the violence outcome of it. This movement was to send out a message to the world of our unity. When the lawmakers fail, people won't.

If we dive into the root cause of the problem of Manipur, it always leads us to many unknown, unexplored and unsolvable enigma. Nobody wants to take the responsibility. I am not a judgemental person or any kind of that sort but we need to look at things in a more rightful and legitimate way. Reading distorted history is a dangerous precedent. The facts and figures about anything should be available freely and unreservedly without any prejudice.

And the facts about Manipur are crystal clear to everyone. We have nothing to hide in terms of legitimacy and originality. With that as the background, we all should accept the fact that not every leader with mass followers is an ethical leader because now days we see leaders leading a particular block of people into anything they do and the followers keep supporting these leaders even if the leaders are indulging in unlawful activities. So in order to deal with this kind of situation, there are the framed constitutions laws which keeps guiding and directing us to choose the right correct and moral path. We are in a democracy, not in a 'mobocracy'.

I am not an alarmist but this is alarming considering the current situation (Ethnic tension) of Manipur. Unless we solve this, we will be back to square one. My stand on 'integrity' 'Unity' and 'Harmony' is tremendous and overwhelming but if the other-side still hold-on to their stubborn aspirations then the solution is far away. 'My way or the highway' is wrong and not an option. Both parties need to sit down together and come to a consensus. Simply going ahead with one's unilateral ambition is a failure in every aspect. Just imagine the scale of protest and tension that will prevail over the communities in the years to come if a unilateral decision is taken. It will be an utter chaos. This is something we all need to ponder about before taking a big significant decision.

The 2001 curfew reminds me about an afternoon not long ago in the summer of 2007, there was no electric current in the house and it has been that way for the past few days because apparently the electrical transformer of our area has been 'out of service' due to over-loading. I was sitting in a chair adjacent to the wall of my room and waiting for my battery-powered radio to play my favourite song while sipping a cup of red lemon tea. v There was a newspaper lying on the floor and my eyes caught an article on the editorial page articulating about the future and hope of Manipur and since then it only kept me thinking about it, hoping that revival of good ancient days will take place but to my dismay I can desolately say now that the future is indeed bleak and dark, very depressing and complicated. So I ask myself: "Is revolution a necessity"? And I am talking not only about external revolution but also about internal revolution too because the life which we are living now is not the life we ought to live. We deserve better. We can do better.

To complete my story, let me tell you from the beginning of the curfew day. At around 7:26 in the morning I was on my way to our local pond to take a swim with few of my friends, I was swimming, when suddenly I heard that guy shouting "Run! Run!" and I ran towards my gate, latch opened it and sprinted towards my house. You see, during funeral rituals elderly people from the locality sit around in a long jute mat in front of the house wearing white dresses mourning the death in a serious manner.

Then there was me, running half-naked right in front of them in a very ignorant and care-free way, but hey! I do carefully avoided and skipped all the flower arrangements scattered on the ground on my way to the house. I dashed towards my drawing room and sat down in an old chair. I was still panting because of the run; my grandmother came in, consoling me to stay calm and also assuring me that I was in the safe place. I was trembling and still visualizing at that moment, the brutal act of the police towards the mob.

But then I think to myself that it was actually a valid motive to voice our concern towards protecting our state. Be it in a hard way or in an easy way. We are here to protect our motherland. No force can divide us.

Long live Manipur!


* Lucky Sapam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is currently studying B.E II year in Bangalore-Karnataka and can be contacted at sapamlucky(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on March 18, 2014



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