TODAY -

Recent positive and negative developments in Manipur

Khelsoril Wanbe *



More and more of us seem to have come to the realisation that Manipur is a deeply troubled State. Myriad problems are bedevilling this tiny land of diversity. We have difficult problems in almost every area: social, political, economic, education, development, justice, ethnic etc.

Bandhs, blockades, general strikes, curfews, rallies, dharnas have become regular part of the everyday life of this poverty stricken state. Chaos, anarchy, vandalism, nihilism, mobbism etc have become the order of the day. Has our administration completely failed? Who is responsible for the complete breakdown of our super-system called Manipur? It is true that all the people or public are collectively responsible for what are happening in the land?

Our representatives in our government were elected by us: the mandate or the key to rule the land had been handed over to our Mantris and MLAs by us. At the time of every election, do we sell away our democratic voting rights at cheap price? We have often heard on the Medias that we sell our votes for rupees 500 or 1000 notes which irreversibly decide in which direction the administration goes in the five long years that will follow.

And another the difficult question is, how we identify the candidate/s who will be working with sincerity, honesty, integrity for the welfare of us, the poor electorate. If all the candidates are of more or less the same character and philosophy, how can we decide on a good representative, or in other words, if we have several options that are all equally bad, how can we select a good one! A lot of soul searching, perhaps, has to take place before the candidacy of a person is eventually decided.

In this matter, we can take a close look at how ideal people-oriented leaders are elected in other parts of the country or the world. If we give this a serious thought, we may not lag behind other states of India – our electoral or electioneering performance will hopefully improve in this Twenty-first century. Why I’m here trying to lay emphasis on election is that almost everything happening in a land has direct connection with the government.

How justice is being administered, how corruption is being tackled, how law and order situation is being handled, how development activities are being conducted, how rise of crime and violence are being contained, how health, education, road and communication systems are being maintained etc are all supposed to be taken care of by the representatives of the people, both those who are in the ruling and those in the opposition benches.

People cannot and should not try to rule themselves directly. Mobbism or mobocracy should not be allowed to displace and replace democracy. But when the democracy becomes rickety, creaky and faulty, many unwanted and ugly developments crop up. Rule of law should not be allowed to slip into rule of lawlessness. When the rule of law becomes unreliable and untrustworthy, people become frustrated, disgruntled, unruly and violent. It is quite unfortunate and sad that we are witnessing the rise of mob justice and mob lynching.

The rise of this so called mob justice is generally attributed to the failure of law and justice department in executing prompt justice, and ineptitude of law enforcing agencies. Inordinate delay in the execution of justice, and inefficiency in the enforcement of ‘law and order’ are said to be responsible for the spiralling crime rate and subsequent enactments of mob justice every now and then in every nook and cranny of the land. However, what has to be recognised and understood is the fact that there is the real need of proper cooperation and coordination between the people and the law enforcing agencies in tackling the problems of crimes like rape, murder, burglary, smuggling, theft, kidnapping and so on and so forth.

Very often, we have witnessed and seen the destruction and dismantling of dwelling houses for the crime committed by an unruly wayward member of the family to which the committer of a crime belongs. We have also, a number of times, witnessed mob-lynching of crime perpetrators. More often than not, we have seen mobs taking justice in their own hands and enacting execution of prompt ‘justice’.

But the problem is like the phrase we hear in “Dennis the Menace”, ‘kids are kids’, ‘mobs are mobs’— mob justice cannot always be the best justice of the land. Sometimes, mob justice can turn so ugly to be like ‘jungle justice’. There is no proper order in this kind of justice. We do have seen the lynching of rapists, thieves, murderers in the recent time too, but before we continue to indulge in such seemingly very satisfying justice execution, I personally strongly feel that we need to have serious and proper public discussions and debates on the merits and demerits of such crude execution of justice.

Security of life too is in doubtful state as we often witness, hear and experience bomb blasts and firing of guns in public places in the same way as happen in battlefields. These have place the hearts of innocent people in deep fear and insecurity for their lives. CCTV and other kinds of close vigilance will go a long way in ameliorating the dreadful situation.

To continue my random discussion on some of the very troubling developments in our land, the term development that we generally understand here also needs to be given a proper look and consideration. Development of a land, as generally understood, actually means positive development such as development of roads, drainage and sewerage system, water supply, electricity, Education system (which include Elementary, High School, and Higher Education (College and University level), Health or Medical system etc.

We have seen many positive developments in Manipur the kudos for which befittingly go to the present incumbent government of Manipur. One instance of such very bright and positive development has that been of the sudden and rapid improvement of our electric/power supply with the introduction of PREPAID system although after a wait of quite some time; we are now enjoying 20-24 hours of unbroken power supply.

On the front of water supply too, we’re hopeful that there will be good improvement in the near future. There has also been improvement in the health and medical sector such as the considerable development of JNIMS and RIMS in Imphal and district hospitals in the districts. Efforts and endeavours have also been made to improve the government owned schools and colleges in the hills and valleys. There definitely and undeniably have been a number of very positive developments in Manipur during the rule of the present government.

However, there have also been some developments and happenings that haven’t failed to serve as reasons for sadness, dissatisfaction and complaint. Some instances include the unreasonably inordinate delay in the declaration of some exams conducted by government agencies that include even the highly revered MPSC, the seeming total failure of perennial construction of the now almost forgotten Sewerage project the scars of which still remain in the form of protruding metal lids of manholes that punctuate the roads and highways on which our vehicles bump and wobble every now and then.

Another sorry developmental phenomenon that we witness when we travel on the roads is the roads which wear and tear too soon after they have been constructed, renovated and repaired – I mean the roads do not last and most of the roads in Imphal city (I dunno about hill roads cause I haven’t been to them for quite some time) are in bad dusty dilapidated shape again. The edges of roads are more often than not left intact and muddy and dusty churning out dust and mud.

Another very important development that should have happened and seems to have been glossed over is the drainage system. Drainage system in the Manipur valley particularly Imphal is in very bad and alarming plight. We are experiencing the flooding and inundation of Imphal and surrounding valley districts, Thoubal, Bishenpur whenever there is a brief deluge. Proper and systematic drainage system and dredging and cleaning of the major river will help much in reducing and preventing flood in the beautiful valleys of Manipur. They should be taken up in war-footing.


* Khelsoril Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on August 17, 2016.


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