Governance In Manipur Needs Lessons From Brazil
Seram Neken *
Picture by Aribam Sanadkumar
"Governance is like a football match. Just as every player of a football team takes care of his own position; every legislator, minister, bureaucrat, police officer, intellectual, engineer or judicial person should be attentive to its works defined under its jurisdiction. They need to be imbibed with the team spirit inherent in spectacular football matches."
All players in a soccer team cannot score goals. Although every player has its indispensable role, the striker is the one who scores goals for the team. The achievement, however, belongs to the team as a whole. In the same spirit, although all legislators cannot be ministers, there is collective responsibility among them.
It is absurd to think that all MLAs should vie for minister-ship. A keen spectacle of team sports reveals the theory that all MLAs belong to a team to undertake legislation for the people whom they represent. Even though you are not the striker, your contribution is indispensible for the win. Such a principle needs to be imbibed in the Legislators of Manipur.
The crushing defeat of Brazil by the Germany team in the semi finals of FIFA world cup 2014 was like the replica of Congress's overwhelming defeat at the BJP hands in India during the last parliament elections. The players in the erstwhile UPA/Congress establishment seemed to be inattentive towards their own defined roles, and they even crossed over the others' works unduly. The supposed relationships between the party leadership and the head of government appeared to have intermingled as against the spirit of governance. In the previous regime, the striker prime minister was too weak to score goals, thereby leading to the humiliating defeat in the hands of the BJP.
Maximum effort, co-operation, sincerity, dedication and discipline reside only in sports. Every aspect in life has a lot to imitate the way sports does. Only one excellent player can do nothing for the team, if there is lack of cooperation, discipline and sincerity. Quick and efficient handling of balls, short passes to the right players can lead to more goals for the team. Likewise, government files lying on tables for long will hamper developments. Office files need to move from one table to another as quick as the ball that passes from one player to the other. Five years of a government is as short as the 90 minutes of a football match.
When each and every player takes care of his own position, the team performs well. Similarly, all government machineries are required to execute intended works in their jurisdiction. As long as a government official intervenes in the works of another official beyond his power and jurisdiction, governance brings forth problems. There are defined powers and jurisdiction of Ministers, bureaucrats, security forces and law courts separately, as defenders, forwards, mid-fielders and goal keepers have their defined roles in a football game.
In Manipur, we have often heard ministers acting on the behest of bureaucrats, while the assumption is that bureaucrats must act on the advice of the ministers. Moreover, a few ministers frequently come down to the level of a mere officer, forgetting their positions. Had it been a football match, such players would have been awarded numerous yellow cards.
All the eleven players of a team are always alert, no one can remain inattentive to the whole game. However, in statecraft we often see legislators napping in the Assembly hall without participating in discussions and interactions. They seem to sideline their roles in the overall development of the state. All legislators are important for the state in the same way all 11 players are vital for the team. All players in a world cup soccer team cannot get the Golden Boot title, but it is the glory of the team when its striker brings the coveted award. Likewise, every commendable development work in the state is a credit for the political leaders. The importance does not lie on who does it, it lies on what has been done.
What we call 'team spirit' in sports is the 'collective responsibility' vested in the council of ministers in Indian democracy. All ministers are collectively responsible to the legislature, meaning that all MLAs are above the government. Subsequently, all legislators are also accountable to the people, as we see during elections.
We have often seen security personnel who are entrusted to protect the lives and properties of citizens disturb the order in the society. It is also worth mentioning that if the security forces are intelligent and alert enough, the so called JACs will not appear on the newspaper headlines. People's movement arises out of a lethargic police in almost all crimes happened in the society. All members of a team need to be alert in their own positions, football matches are the models from which we can learn a lot.
As long as the different organs of the body carry out their functions properly, the body grows and lives well. When every member of a family performs its defined roles, the family will have peace and prosperity. When all citizens, professionals, social bodies, media organizations and the politicians undertake their duties sincerely and efficiently, the society will go forward. When a small component of the government fails to respond to people's needs, the society will suffer the way Brazil did during the FIFA World Cup 2014. Football teaches us the lesson.
* Seram Neken wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at nekenseram(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was posted on July 20, 2014.
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