E-Pao! Essay -Is there a future in Manipur?

Is there a future in Manipur?
Kackching, Manipur

"Children" our old Manipuri adage stresses "are like gods". Or, the God Himself. What a lie!

At any given time, there are at least 20 armed conflicts fighting somewhere on this globe. These conflicts have killed more than 20 million children in the past decade. Left a similar number of children orphaned or homeless. 6 more millions are either seriously injured or permanently disabled. This startling fact of the UN again put millions of children all over the world on the road to hopelessness and complete chaos. Why do children suffer when they are not active in such conflicts? We must answer this question. At least try finding a solution. For their future. For the future of the world.


Why do children fall prey to such vicious armed conflicts? How and why they are affected?

Any war is a war against children. Children from these societies do not grow up with the right kind of atmosphere they need in their early childhood days and development. The stages of transition from childhood to responsible adulthood demand a cordial atmosphere. Their mental and physical development depends upon the immediate environment and the society they grow up with. 90% of a child’s brain development depends upon his surrounding. What is more astonishing is that children are imitators of their senior members. We should be concerned about children and the atmosphere we create for them. Because we are their role models.

While the society is at war progress takes the backbench. Economic growth is just a nice sounding word. Good education exists in the good books of the government only. Culture, tradition, heritage, recreation, technological development, etc are not given proper attention. In the process, development becomes a major concern. Growth is actually ignored and neglected. What do our children learn from our society and us?

You are a spectator to the merciless butchering of your children. In front of your eyes, you see their future ruined. Destroyed. How long will it go on? Have you given hope on your children? You are as responsible as those who are at daggers end. Unless you speak up and carve a way for them, they will further go down in hopelessness. Unless you fight for their future, this carnage will continue. Your inability to act will mean a generation of cowards. A generation who cannot protect their own children and women. A generation who cannot even raise a word for their freedom, rights and future. A generation who cannot even defend themselves. Future is very bleak for them and us. Like your future, their futures do not have a thin ray of hope on the other side of the tunnel.


We suffer from perennial fear. Right from our childhood “fear” has remained the most potent weapon to shut up our mouths. Fear has been inflicted in our young minds. In addition, these young minds carry fear all along his growth. Shutting all other doors to right growth. Any children growing up with fear in his conscience will have tremendous psychological problems. It is just the tip of the iceberg. The facts will baffle all of us. It is sad but very true.

Children grow up with the times of the society. What is prevalent today may be outdated tomorrow. It means that any society needs reforms at various stages. Without this change, a society will not be successful. The immediate atmosphere a growing child needs is the present state of the society. It is the culture. It is the future. Society breeds them. Society makes them. Their thinking is shaped by the goings of the present state of the society.

Fear is harmful. It does not do any good to the society. It is not less than hatred. It does not contribute to the making of a responsible adult. This transit stage is very important because this stage is the stage they make their own future course. They choose their careers in this stage. They choose their real future. Therefore, they need to grow up in the best atmosphere. Where growth opportunities in every field of life are a progressive truth.

A sister raped is a sister doomed. A brother killed is a brother armed. A son killed is a mother pained. A father killed is a family doomed.

Life. It was never a choice. A good is not a privilege. We want peace for our children. We demand their rights. If the situation does not permit such growth opportunities, we must find a way out. To put our children aside until they can take their own decisions. However, our children live in extreme conditions. Hardships of life have hardened them. We do not choose to arm our children. We do not profess hatred. The most fundamental rights are to be given and protected. We must recognize that children do have their own rights. Ignoring these rights will cost our society very dear. We cannot be waiting for the bleak future our children will have because of your inability to provide growth opportunities.

Children grow up well within the parameters of the society. They learn what we teach them. Any child who saw his father killed in front of him will suffer from severe psychological problems. His aim in life will be reduced to the taking of revenge. He will be filled with hatred and revenge to the core. It will never go out of his mind. When all our children are either wrapped up in the thick envelop of hatred and fear or thrown open in the wild to take revenge, who will run the future! Who will he fight against when he himself is fighting for his survival? Questions. More questions. Even more questions!

What guides a growing child’s mentality and conscience? What justifies his actions? How capable will he be? Will he be able to lead a generation? Has he thought about his family and future of his children? Will he fight for a cause? More questions.

He who wants peace must prepare for war.

As stated above, a child’s growth demands right atmosphere and opportunities. It does not mean that children of today do not enjoy a healthy atmosphere. Children will need more if they are to excel in every sphere of life. They need more conducive atmosphere if they are to compete against the best breeds. It is a mean street out there. Moreover, existence has been redefine everywhere. People are looking for more ideas. More values. More opportunities. More developments. Others are just exploring abundant opportunities while we are left with a very limited opportunity. This will sadden every responsible Manipuri. Our children just need the right environment. It is for us to find and answer all these issues. We must find a way out. One must not stop asking questions. Because the answer may be hiding somewhere in you. The need of the hour demands your service. You just need to participate actively in every sphere of the society. To save the future of our children.

We despise ourselves. We hate to live a life like this. Yet we do not speak. We do not protest. We are so frightened that the right to life is not even demanded. Do we need to beg to die a natural death? Here, chances are there for you to fall victim to stray bullets. Nevertheless, you are not a stray dog. You can think and raise your voice. You can speak. It takes just a little courage to say, “Yes! I want peace”. How will you say that depends upon you. There are ways to say that. If fear has obstructed your views stay in your home. Never come out of it. See your children go down like maggots in the history of Manipur.

The fight is for your children. And their future. You have suffered a lot. You have been in danger for a long time. It is time you do your own share of service to this society. You are that individual without which the society will be incomplete. You make up the society. Your children are the future. Don’t you want their future to be bright? Speak. Write. Talk. Run. Fight. Crawl. Fly. Do whatever you want. But ensure a better future for your children. They need your service.

When the situation is not right we must take a way to correct it. Situations make leaders. Neta Irabot was born because of the need of the moment. Mahatama Gandhi was born for the want of the people. Nelson Mandela was born for the want of the society. You must be born again to redeem this society in chaos. There is nothing in this society except for fear, hatred and pain. The choice is yours to make.

You and your leadership will pull this society out of chaos. You cannot be waiting to act only when someone is killed in your family. You cannot be waiting it to happen.

The choice is limited. Moreover, it is an extremely tricky one at that. You cannot afford keep quite, however. Hungry thousand homes are burning. There is hatred in everyone’s heart. No one is happy in his or her eyes. No one is content in his or her thoughts. This is the real test of the time. And this decisive test is something you must get through. Otherwise, you will fall like him and her.

Remember, you fail and your children will fail. All will be plunged into the dark. When the tunnel do not show light on both the ends you must not just pray it to break. You must prepare a way out. Because you want to live. And you must live. A good life at that.

When the journey is the destination you do not choose the road, the road chooses you. “To be or not to be” that is the question. This time you must answer this question.

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