Response and responsibility
- Imphal Times Editorial :: December 20 2016 -
Ever since the momentous creation of seven new districts by a cabinet decision of the state government bumping up the total revenue districts from nine to sixteen, there has been celebrations and protestations in equal measures and by the looks of it, is set to continue for a while.
On the other hand, the worsening social situation which is unfortunately taking on an increasingly communal hue is threatening to irreparably tear the fragile social fabric of the state.
Amidst the confusing din and the unfortunate developments occupying the collective attention of the public, and thereby into opinions and interpretations from their differing standpoints which is further polarizing the issue, a most basic yet undeniable truth has been swept under the rapidly piling accusations and counter accusations from both sides of the opposing stands.
Manipur is a state inhabited by a number of different communities and ethnic groups, and when any single group starts claiming distinctive rights and irrational privileges over the rest on grounds of ‘unique’ histories and conceited propaganda, there is bound to be nothing but trouble and mistrust.
The irony, however, is the fact that the claim for territory and privileges has been projected as one unanimously endorsed and supported by every single member of the group.
Nothing can be further from the truth, and the general concept of bundling everyone on the basis of one’s ethnicity and to view the entirety of the community with suspicion, derision and even loathe should be the biggest error of judgment anyone can possibly make.
The very concept of bifurcating the state on ethnic lines and communal dominance is one which should not even be accorded the courtesy of existence.
Manipur is the result of the amalgamation of the kaleidoscope of cultures, traditions, customs and faiths, and will always remain so.
The present situation can only be explained as a result of the actions or rather inactions of the state government.
While nobody expects the state government to provide all the answers or address every issue arising in the society, the growing anger and resentment is but a manifestation of a long-simmering discontent on what the public perceives as an abject failure to put things in their place at the outset thereby causing what was initially a minor social irritant to turn into a social threat which the state government has found impossible to contain or handle.
But resentments and anger, while being natural and understandable, should not be allowed to sway our emotions or blur our judgments.
It is times like these that calls for what we believe and try to evolve into- a civilized and rational society as a whole.
The bait set by NSCN-IM to turn the different communities and groups in the society against each other thereby lending legitimacy to their claims of being victimized and marginalized by the state government and the rest of the society should not be allowed to gain credence.
But for that to happen, we need to restrain ourselves and look at things from a fresh perspective- one without prejudice or resentment.
As for the state government, there cannot be a better time to flex its muscle and walk the talk. The scourge needs to be cleansed from the state before the infection spreads.
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