TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinions - US, THE PEOPLE

Us, The People
Thathang Lunghang *



Many things about my land and people annoy me. The most irritating thing about it is the capacity for self-deception. As a state, Manipur is less concerned with reality than with vanity. It is a most vain and self righteous thing, be it from hill or valley. Dozens die senselessly in periodic bouts of madness that regularly grip the land. Hundreds more live in abject fear and uncertainty for no logical reason.

Hundreds of crores of rupees are siphoned off into private coffers because local ingenuity is more potent than national law. Yet, comes along a car rally, and it hurries to cover up its shabby tracks, and expects the road to the East to be a smooth one. Comes along the good Doctor, and it echoes the "long live", or the "down with" recording, and awaits further reassurance that it is indeed the land of the Sangai and the sanguine. Publicly, Manipur personifies - or imagines it does - grace and countenance amidst suffering. Privately and collectively, it is the incredible sulk.

Manipur loves being different. It must surely count as the state most given to infuriating fits of sanctimony. It sneers at outsiders for their indifference. It sneers at insiders for more or less the same thing. It is the nation's largest self-styled militarist; the bandit kings of the sub-Himalayan; the eccentric revolutionary genius of the North East.

Like the self-obsessed Middle Kingdom that looked disdainfully at the foreign devils, we just know we are different. The economy takes a nosedive, our development is pathetic, we are at the top of the corruption charts, and we regularly take a beating - literally or otherwise. But different we remain, different we are.

It is a uniqueness that borders on the obsessive and rests on very fragile foundations. Manipur, we say grandly, is more than a state. It is a civilization. An ancient civilization. So ancient that we can't offer or take modern answers to our long-standing questions. So civilized that we can allow ourselves to recede deeper towards the Stone Age. We question India and ban Hindi, but still take up the latest Sunny-Rani masala jhatka-patka.

Heaven forbid we should ever meet them. They don't speak pukka angreji either. We flay western values and morality, but still die of AIDS. If the rest of the world were to question or analyze us, the results would not be too flattering. We continue to kill, abduct, and maim each other, loot and extort every other, spit our red bile anywhere, empty our garbage everywhere, bribe, cheat, corrupt, and swindle above and below all others. In short, we are inconsiderate towards everyone but ourselves. Them is a four-letter word. It's all about us. Usss.

Manipur, or so the myth goes, is not naturally individualistic. It thinks of family, community, and territory, in that order. But it's not very much in evidence in everyday life. It is very much a house divided on convenient individual insecurities. The geographical unity is at best an accident. Pieces of different brick compelled to stick to the same wall.

Different blood, same body, many deformities, and hence the many- headed Hecatoncheires and one-eyed Cyclopes. A healthy body it certainly is not. Especially with so many of its inbred monsters on the loose. All itching to tear itself apart in suspicious ritual purgation. The Japanese call it Hara-Kiri. We call it Hill-valley, Local-non-local, or whatever other term we can pronounce.

That was the famed eccentric North East genius. But how have we managed our house? On the credit side, it has barely got by. On the debit side, the list is more awesome than all the sub-plots of the Bold and the Beautiful. The already long list of public holidays is supplemented by at least fifty annual bandhs. To show that it counts, an organization must call a bandh. It is a ritual, beginning with the call and culminating in the inevitable shortage of essentials. Then, after the Human Rights and Enquiry teams have done their rounds, and resignations and suspensions have been demanded, another side has a go. Then it's a truce till the next unclaimed dead body. The morgue is the happening place for political preservation.

Even democracy has been savagely ritualized. Come election time, and the goon squads are out in action. Not merely to win, but to prevent the other side from even taking part. Voting is a luxury reserved for the overpriviledged. The rest of us needn't bother getting smudged in line. Someone with a gun is there to vote for us and the entire neighborhood. Might is twice better than right. Ask the happy legislator if you can find him in town. Neither the Election Commission nor successive ministries have succeeded in preventing thousands of deceased citizens from being resurrected as voters. How can they? Voters are not people. They are banks.

Education, it was believed, would be the great leveler. We are promised free education, decent education for all. They are all good ideas, just as School Chalo was a good idea, and Central University is a better idea. Noble intentions, however, sink in the quicksand of the Manipur reality. There are no figures to categorize the neo-literates, pseudo-literates, the badly educated, and those who graduated by deceit.

But there are figures for the educated unemployed. There are no figures to determine the number of school and college dropouts. But there are figures for part-time teachers on the way out. Never mind if most Govt. schools and classrooms remain empty most of the year. Most Indians wouldn't be able to place Manipur on a map. Most of us wouldn't be able to place any other place.

That is the awkward Manipur reality. That is why we give shortcuts to standards. Our vision of glory is fulfilled with the idol of our cherished progress - the cushy Govt. job. All pay and no work. It is glorious to be rich the Manipur way. Unemployment and mediocrity aren't points to ponder. They constitute the state agenda. And capping it all is politics - whether in religious bodies, youth clubs, or hill councils.

We need to intrigue, machinate, and plot. Native cunning is our state hobby. Even science and technology isn't spared. That's why we can't build individuals or institutions of excellence. That's also why we don't need holidays. Indian rule, self rule, President's rule, private sector, govt. sector, NGO sector, what's the difference? Life is one great relaxation, one great exercise in running each other down.

To understand Manipur, don't look at the Surf Excel politician or the Kalashnikov addict. Or even at the Olympic torch bearer or the SK petrol vendor. Don't look at the masked rickshaw puller or the masked midnight killer. Just look in the mirror to find the one thing in common. The common thing that we all think and say. The common word on all our different mouths. Us. Or to be precise, "Usss".


* Thathang Lunghang writes for the first time to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at thathang_kpi@rediffmail.com
This article was webcasted on 1st December 2004


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Mova Cave, Hungpung, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Expanding Economy Beckons :: Speech
  • Before trains arrive, must read
  • Impact of the Shirui Lily festival
  • Securing Wi-Fi: Negating doorstep threat
  • Blood donation drive in North East
  • Expecting changes in dealing SoO
  • Scourge of drug trafficking
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Let's talk about our children today
  • A blow to image boosting
  • Fear and Superstition
  • Latrine :: Poem
  • Letter to JS-MHRD from MUTA
  • JS-MHRD did not meet with MUTA
  • Drawing on Energy Efficiency
  • MU impasse: Attention Mr. Prime Minister
  • Admission time : Sky high cut off
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Yoga Day: Celebrating Your Health
  • Chak-hao - black gold of Manipur
  • In response to the culture of shaming
  • 3rd Documentor Imphal
  • 4th International Day of Yoga by AR
  • Appeals for Resolution of MU Crisis
  • Recommendation to control Flood damages
  • International Yoga Day at Loktak PS
  • After Flood : Introspection about the future
  • MUSU & JAC : Hot issues before the Govt
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS