TODAY -

The Sadness Innate in Discussions on Issues in Manipur

Prof JC Sanasam *



I am one who writes a column in the newspaper; but sometimes I cannot help nurturing a lurking fear if what I write might irritate people who happen to read it. This feeling comes from my personal experience. I am an ardent reader of newspapers; but, with all my fervor for it, now I don't know why I always feel very sad to read the pages of local newspapers.

I feel fresh early in the morning and with high spirits I go for the papers, kind of a daily habit; but it hardly takes even a minute for the content to bring an upsetting feeling when I plunge in between the lines. If I call it irritation perhaps it may sound too harsh; but it definitely gives an agony, the gloom of which would last till the end of the day spoiling my mood for the whole day. It happened yesterday; it happened today. Nevertheless next morning the first thing I do will be 'go for the papers'.

Perhaps it is best to stay far from public issues and controversies in Manipur and perhaps it would be still better to remain happy with the brunch (combined breakfast and lunch), go to the work place, do something for the day not to fall into the junk of public issues or grievances or controversies, come back home, then have dinner and finally settle for a good sleep. Maybe I am not up to the mark to be a democratic man in the modern trend of things in Manipur.

It is of course well known that Manipur is a place of Aneethokpee, split-duplication into factions. Perhaps it is in our blood, infected since the time a religion was splashed on our faces about three hundred years ago. However, a matter of disappointment is the beastly exchange of libels, actions and interactions with intended harm, damage and destruction between the two caucuses.

And our people are so fond of forming cohorts and becoming so dauntless to fight for their respective coteries even to death. Bravery, with some degree of inclination towards foolhardiness, with a little sauce of narcissism and chauvinism seems to be the inborn trait of all ethnical groups in Manipur.

Should any question arise about the civility of people in general: in matters of consciousness about individual and collective human rights, acceptance of the existence of other living souls, tolerance of somebody's traits so long it does not mar the constitutional laws, world and international understanding, maintenance of privacy and non-transgression over others' affairs, so on and so forth?

Aware of all these modern intellectualities, when it comes to realities and subsequent actions, the resultant scenario is always so different from what is expected. Men still have never stopped being hypocrites. Words spoken are so very nice and winning hearts. But when it comes to the matters of actions it goes to the barbaric heartlessness, head hunting sprees, 'it is we who are to live, it does not matter if you die or not', 'what we say and do is right, what you say and do is wrong; you got to die if you stick to what you say or do'. This is the mind-set. Where is forgiveness, where is fraternity, where is humanity?

Everybody wants to be the Supreme Authority sending out proclamations of bans, warning and intimidation for punishments, collection of random taxes and fines. They are the law-makers, legislators, executioners; anything to do with law is in their hands; maybe Chaoba, Tomba, anybody. Intellectualism is shrouded by jingoism. So it is best to remain inert and neutral in Manipur.

It took 50 years for the Nat Sankirtan gurus to be able to sing in Meiteilon at long last during rituals at Manipur courtyards. Now the decree that Lonyan should not appear in any Meiteilon writing to be effective the next day itself is a bit too much hasty, overenthusiastic and jingoistic. The Manipuri Language Day was recently observed with ardent fervor and enthusiasm. Now a language directorate of the Govt of Manipur has opened; it will be well to take up issues of priorities in a steady, positive, progressive manner.

Again the war between the activists for sustenance of the Nat Sankirtan rituals and supporters of the new trend of Phamshak Sankirtan has gone a bit far too much. We are all humans of the 21st century; let us keep some room for decency and humanity. When a popular trend comes barging in it will be difficult to ignore its impact so easily. It will be good to come to common solutions, make reciprocating policies and carry the cultural society to a positive and constructive direction.

The issues are too many, there will be no end, each posing like a vicious demon to swallow the civility of Manipur.

People of Manipur have become so engrossed in wisdom; they do not bother essential materials. Nobody cares whether there is power energy available in their houses or whether water, the nectar of life, is within reach around their kitchen. Time and energy wasting long queues at the fuel stations are the familiar scenes of Imphal, and arrays of trucks one km long somewhere at the Assam-Nagaland border or northern or western frontiers of Manipur are the regular features of this land.

It can be taken this way; the Govt of Manipur is very kind and benevolent to some group of poor traders: the dealers of water tanker, inverter, kerosene, candle, battery, solar plate, petrol-bottle, so on, so forth. They seem to care for these groups of people; and perhaps they are considering how these people will sustain life if petrol, electricity and water to drink are plenty available in our land.

This is the height or the downright fall at the bottom of man's civilisation.


* Prof JC Sanasam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of "JCB Digs"
This article was posted on August 27, 2013.


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