E-Pao! Incident - Plight of the Manipuri People - can we do something?

Plight of the Manipuri People - can we do something?

Amidst the eastern stretch of the extensions of the marvelous Himalayas, among the beautiful hills of the North-Eastern India, beauty abound lies our beloved land "Manipur". Its people - cordial and hospitable (many a known writers have agreed on this known fact), its culture - pristine and civilized, and its language and heritage - a world of glory.

Today, our land is not what it was some years ago. It is now in an utterly grim state. It's in shambles now. It is going the downward slide and there seems to be no brakes to apply to. Our recent past has been a disgraced example, though our distant past is so glorious!!

Who is to be blamed for this ugly change…what actually happened…how did it happen…any remedies to the wounds???

There are and will be so many answers to these questions, even seminars can be held on this. Meetings of the intellectuals will be able to diagnose the cause, and in many cases the solutions will also be discussed…what about implementing those?

There are far too many concerns and many issues. Some very prominent remedial ones and very imperative ones to the growth of our land are the unemployment scenario, the poverty and the economics of the state. As Manipuris, if we can do something about these issues, we will atleast be in a better situation than what we are in today.

I am not an expert, nor do I claim that I know best, but one thing that I wanted to share was the issue of Unemployment scenario.

It's a matter of grave concern that many educated Manipuris are unable to find a job for themselves and they are not in a position to look after themselves, least of all their families.

I am told that this is due to several reasons, and I am not an expert to come to conclusions on the issue. However, from what I have seen, heard and gathered, the following reasons listed below seems to be the most common ones:

  • The Government of Manipur is not in a position to create more jobs. (The Govt. cannot even pay the salary of those who are already employed).
  • Educated Manipuris are outnumbering the availability of jobs in the State.
  • Corruption is rampant, and it is only those who can afford a handsome bribe or those who has connections, who gets the opportunity of landing a Govt. job.
  • There is "NO" or should I say "a very limited" opportunity of Private sector employment.
  • Except for a very few lucky ones, not many can get a job outside the State.
  • Manipuris are generally very attached to their families and friends, and they resist going out of Manipur.

Fair, isn't it?? But at what cost!!

In case of the first reason (listed above), it's a pity that our State has been governed by such Bunches of worth-less and spine-less characters for so many years. They had no moral character, let alone any principles to abide by. All they were concern of was the welfare of the people…oh! I am sorry!!…did I say the welfare of the people!!…pardon me for this, it's a slip of my not so intellectual mind……it should read (edited with a reminder of not making such blunder!! ever again) "the welfare of their OWN people".

"Own People"……you see, family and friends…well, atleast they are also the People of Manipur, isn't it?? (Good deeds for a small group of people!! What a shame!!). That's their own consolation and hey! "Wow!! What a big justification of those so called 'Leaders'…" Oh! What is happening to me, I seem to be using words that are so appropriate to those Bunches!! Leaders of a Bunch of Bananas!!

Isn't it a pity that we are sometimes so criminal towards the few words, which are normally used to describe those People who are of good standing and those who have contributed to the growth of Society? Words like "Leaders" to start off with.

Well, if you ask me, its been loosely used by writers and journalists without knowing much about the implications that will have on the large population. Imagine, a young boy who does not have much intellect to make a good judgment of things around him…to him whenever the word Leader is being used, he will obviously think about those Bunches. (What a crime towards that growing mind!!).

Pray that he will one day grow up and take a good look at the word and it's meaning, in some good Management Books (he will surely find them on the shelves of some library or some bookstores) and hope he changes his idea about the word "Leaders".

The People, who were responsible for the welfare of the public at large, did nothing but filled up their pockets. Hefty bank balances, latest cars, flats/apartments/houses in posh areas of the metropolitan cities, traveling abroad etc., are some of the good things they have done…for whom?? For Themselves!! For the People of Manipur, after all, they are also hard-core Manipuris. Isn't it?? They are also born in Manipur…they are a part of the public at large!! It's just that they were elected to be responsible for the good of the Public at large; instead they became more and more responsible for the good of their own private lives. What a shame!! They surely were not given to understand what Public meant, maybe they were also in the same situation of the young boy!!

Today, due to the good work of these Bunches, we are at the brink of a disaster. Many of these people needs to be tried under the court of the masses and should be held responsible for what they have done to Manipur and its people. Such is the plight of the Manipuri people today, no certainties of salaries for those who are employed, and no jobs for those who are unemployed.

Contrary to our land, is the land of Hyderabad. What was Hyderabad some years ago? What is Hyderabad today? Except for the glories of the past and their cuisine, Hyderabad was not such a known place till recent times. It was just another State of India. Then what actually happened??!! How come, Bill Clinton, the then President of the United States of America, went to visit Hyderabad and shook hands with its Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu? (Will Manipur or a Manipuri ever appear on the itinerary of the President of the United States of America? Doubtful!!) How come there is a change in location of the hub of the IT industry from Bangalore to Hyderabad? Strange!! Really strange!!

To many it is not strange though. To many it is not something that happened overnight. It is the meticulous planning and governance of a man called "Naidu". The Chief Minister with a laptop!! (Bunches are you listening??!! Do you atleast aspire at the very least?? Or is it a big WHAT IS THAT??!!!) The creation of more Private sector jobs, the creation of more Public sector jobs and the development of the State --- it's been a work of patience and dedication…dedication towards the good of the public at large (not private)!

Today, even some Manipuris are working in Hyderabad!!

The second point, regarding educated Manipuris outnumbering the availabilities of jobs in the State, is true and it is vivid. The educated young people are disillusioned and at times frustrated by the scenario they are facing today. It's a sorry state, and they are being victimized by the good work of the Bunches. They have all the right to question those Bunches!!

Manipuris are without doubt one of the most intelligent lot. Manipuris are also very education oriented. They value education and they know the power of literates over the illiterates. They are proud of their siblings doing well in studies and all of them take pride in the achievements of their loved ones. By and large, Manipuris are not ignorant and at times they are very informative. Many of us have proved to others that we are equal if not more, in terms of intelligence, by achieving great educational heights. Isn't it enough that we have amongst us who have topped best known Universities in India? Isn't it enough prove that a Manipuri stood out amongst all the successful UPSC candidates to be ranked among the top 20.

With such a powerhouse of intelligence, which is a very high quality resource, at our hands it is not impossible to bring in a complete switch-over of our present situation. It's my believe!!

The fourth point, Corruption is rampant, and it is only those who can afford a handsome bribe or those who has connections, who gets the opportunity of landing a Govt. job, is the most commonly known fact in Manipur. Every individual, Old and Young, will tell you that it is so true that it has become a part of their lives. No exaggerations there!!

It is now so deep-rooted into the system that it has become a common thing. Some people even pride themselves for being rich with the bribery that they receive. (Yuck!!) They are so blatant about it that they flaunt it whenever they get a chance. There is no such thing as moral character. There is indeed a strong feeling among many that the quickest way of making money is by being the most corrupted Government officer. There is a common saying "Paisa khara pijaraga elai laina yajani da" (Give some money/bribes and it can be easily done). Such negative confidence and such blatant words…but so true. Alarming but being ignored. Eerie!!

There are many who do not even think twice before taking bribes. They do it in the open, broad daylight, and at times they appoint subordinates to collect bribes for them. What has happen to the Government and its employees? Don't they feel ashamed? Do they even have a face or are they all made out of leather?

These people do not even know how anybody who has some intellect can calculate how much their income is and how disproportionate their assets are. It is no rocket science and a mere calculation can show us that their assets are way above their capacities, way above their incomes.

One more thing that they do not realize is the fact that their siblings suffer because of their indulgence in corruption. Many siblings of such people I know would get offended when they are being called "Paisa chabagi Macha" (Son of a Corrupted Person or Son of a Money-taker). It is not always possible to make people shut their mouth. One day or the other they come face to face with such a situation, it hits them hard on their faces, and they suffer, they find it so awkward and shameful, some even become rebellious and take to other means of warding off their shame…alcohol, tablets, drugs etc. Who is responsible for them turning into such rebels? The answer is loud and clear.

These corrupted people are also Bunches…they are Bunches of B*****s because they have no moral character and they are not at all shameful. They are similar to the B*****s because they do such things in the open bright daylight that are supposed to be done behind closed doors. (You know what I mean!). They are worst than the B*****s because they are doing it in the open and they are causing large-scale harm to the society. (B*****s do things in the open, but they do not harm the society!!) Aren't they worst than the B*****s then??

The fifth point that -- There is "NO" or should I say "a very limited" opportunity of Private sector employment, is also a well-known fact. Except only for the very few who are luckily employed as salesmen in the Thangal Bazaar and Paona Bazaar area, in the Shops that lined up both sides of the road, there is hardly any Private Sector employment. Add to it some restaurants, hotels, travel agents, petrol pumps, taxis, and a few small businesses, and there is all that we have as Private sector employment opportunities. There are no big factories or industries to generate employment because our land does not have the much-needed natural resources to generate business opportunities unlike our neighboring Assam, which has plenty reserves of the "Black Gold" (Oil). Also the neglect in terms of development in the past has left us with very little or no infrastructure at all for any big Private investment to come through.

It is a matter of concern and something, which we must urge our fellow brothers/brethrens to come to realize before it is too late. It is the very fact that the ongoing insurgency related activities are also hampering any major developments and any big investment to come to our land. There is no denying that their good work is helping Manipur and its people. Big Applause!! to their recent activities of serving death sentences to some of those Bunches of B*****s. Brothers, we need such good work to teach a lesson to the majority, so that we can get rid of the evil called Corruption.

The sixth point, except for a very few lucky ones, not many can get a job outside the State, is some kind of a disillusionment of the majority. There are many who are working outside Manipur in different parts of India. This is because there are jobs in those parts of India due to their developments and infrastructure, private sector and even Government employment, that requires people to join and work. There are many educated Manipuris working and earning a living in different capacities. They are not just lucky ones to me, it's just that they are the more enterprising ones and they did not hesitate to leave Manipur in search of a future. They endeavored to try and find jobs wherever there was opportunity for them, they struggled in a land not their own, they persevered to compete with the other Indians and they have been successful. My appreciation goes out to those brave ones who instead of being a burden to their family and society opted to be more enterprising. In today's world there is virtually no borders and boundaries in terms of working and earning a living. Millions of Punjabis, Keralites, Hyderabadis are leaving their family and friends in search of job opportunities abroad. Its high time Manipuris also start thinking of it.

Not to say that they don't, there are many who are working abroad as well. Today, there are Manipuris working and living across the globe, but they hardly represent a percentage of the total population. They are in USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Middle East, and even in the Far East. They also endeavored to struggle in a foreign land and worked hard to sustain their jobs and earn a decent living. Such people commands appreciation from all due to their efforts in reaching out to places, which are far-flung and sometimes considered as the most difficult to go. Among them some were lucky ones (from rich families who could afford to travel) but many were normal individuals and common people. They tried and they got the opportunity.

It's not easy, but it is not impossible, to get an opportunity to land a decent job abroad. It depends on the educational qualifications and professional skills. At times, there are opportunities for even Graduates, a salesman's job in the Middle East, are one of them. When many North Indians, South Indians and Maharashtrians can work in the stores across the Gulf region, and earn a decent living and support their families back home, Manipuris can do better than them. It's just that we do not look out and do not try for such opportunities due to some reservations. "Below our dignity" is one such reservation. Another one could be "Maagi macha do Gulf ta Salesman gi thabak touye hai ney. Kanana touyegeda adugumba thabak toh?" ("Heard his son is working as a Salesman in the Gulf. Who wants to do such a job?"). Well, come to think of it, it's better than being a burden on the family and society!!

What is required is to change our attitude and start prophesying and instilling some good values into our lives. Looking at the brighter side of things and being positive is the first step. Acknowledging that there is a value called "Dignity of Labour" and recognizing each job's worth, is vital to bring in such changes in the way of the general thinking.

So why not look out for opportunities abroad if there are no job openings at home and in other parts of India. There are always advertisements in the National newspapers for jobs abroad, applying for them will cause no harm!!

The last point, Manipuris are generally very attached to their families and friends, and they resist going out of Manipur, is both true and false. True because they always tend to return home after their studies outside Manipur. False because, not in all cases but in many cases, it is not their attachments to home and families that make them come back, it's their inability to compete and land a job in the Metros. In many cases it is also because of the Government jobs that they get coming back to Manipur.

For those who have studied outside Manipur, it is not true to say that they resist going out of Manipur, but for those who have not studied outside Manipur it is true. They naturally are unaware of the places and the people outside Manipur, and they tend to develop an apprehension towards other places outside Manipur. It becomes a big step for them to venture into unknown territories in search of work. Understandable, but it should not stop them. Unlike them, there are many South Indians who are less educated and at times not educated at all, venturing out to several places in India and even to the Gulf region.

It is indeed a sad thing for those parents, who had high hopes and invested in the education of their children by sending them outside Manipur to get a higher standard of education, to see that their children could not do well and had to return home as no more than a burden. It's more than a mid-life crisis for them, and that too an irrevocable one.

The most important thing is to change the mindset of the people and change the way of looking at things with a pre-conceived negative stance. High time we start looking at the bigger picture and try to be a part of the ever-changing world.

Another one of the most important things is the "Attitude", it drives success in today's Corporate world of Business. If you are intelligent and educated to a decent level (Graduate), if you are a fast learner, if you are informative and up-to-date with what is happening around you, if you have the confidence, if you can be bold and speak English fluently, if you can communicate (oral and written) without much difficulties, if you work hard with sincerity, if you have no such thing as ego-hassles, if you have the flexible approach and have no resistance to change, and finally if you have the American/European ATTITUDE towards life, work and co-workers, then you have got everything to make it "BIG" in the "World of Today"!! The Right Recipe for the Corporate Business World!!

So, Manipuri Brothers and Sisters, brace yourself for a flight to success in the Corporate World of Today, in India and Abroad, if you have all the above necessary ingredients. The world is yet to see what the Manipuri Men and Women are capable of. The most important of all, i.e., intelligence, is already there with many of the Manipuris. It's only a matter of developing and instilling into our systems and mind-set, the above few things!!

What's stopping us then, lets get out and prove it to the world that there is a huge reserves of Human Resources in a place called "Manipur". The resource that drives everything and every development!!

Home will be a better place to be in, after a few years of working in other parts of India and abroad, as there would have been many developments due to our financial support to our families.

Just a thought, might mean nothing at all to the readers. However, it's my sincere wish that one day we can have a Manipur, which will rise up from the shambles of today!!

I urge all to ask one simple question: "CAN WE DO SOMETHING?"

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