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
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Protest in Kangpokpi District :: Gallery
  • Cirrhosis: Basics & laboratory diagnosis
  • Impact of television in rural development
  • The Echoing Hills :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Nagaland CM respond to Dr. SL's bureau
  • Unauthorized CEC meeting
  • Student leaders detained for mobilizing ILPS
  • Earning our keeps
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #2 :: Gallery
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #2 :: Gallery
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #1 :: 360 ° View
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs
  • Traffic jam and 13th August
  • Manipur District Demand :: Articles / Photos
  • The Law is Mightier Than The Pen
  • Let the law decide
  • ...health insurance scheme for scribes
  • Absurd 1 Village, 1 Denomination decree
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #3:: Gallery
  • Sunday Cup Football @Lamshang :: Gallery
  • Gurmayum Robert wins gold at World Event
  • Loktak Project & corporate unaccountability
  • Supremacy Of The Party :: NPF
  • Binding the wound: The district row
  • Admission Notice - AiTC, Imphal
  • 'Sexuality & Internet' at Digital Summit
  • Zeliang welcomed support from NPF Minority
  • NSU site and undue communal overtones
  • Tripartite Talk: GOI/GOM/UNC :: Gallery
  • Governor's Cup Fencing :: Gallery
  • 13 Aug @Kangla & BT Park :: Gallery
  • Bruce Dickinson: "son-rise" of Iron Maiden
  • Biren should learn from Mamata Banerjee
  • The globe is in your fist
  • AR I-Day festivities with Myanmar army
  • AR celebrates 71st Independence day
  • Unconstitutionality of TR Government
  • Stadium upgrade for I-League
  • NE film festival in Delhi from Aug 18
  • Myanmarese advised to follow traffic rules
  • The human torch and AFSPA
  • The real taste of Independence Day
  • Mission XI football @ Andro :: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @ Mahabali :: Gallery
  • Blood Donation for 13 August:: Gallery
  • Mahabali Temple , Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • Graphic & plastic arts of Zeliangrong #3
  • Silence :: Poem
  • Sport Univ: Promises kept but corruption?
  • Job requirements at SKY Hospital
  • Jobs @ National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • I-Day Celebration at BJP State Office
  • Celebrations amid militant boycott call
  • 3 Manipur terrorists arrested in Delhi
  • NSCN/GPRN condemns raid
  • NSCN-K signing hinges on cross-border..
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata :: Gallery
  • 26th NAMA Convention Report, Houston, TX
  • Forming Plurals in Manipuri Language
  • Mammography and frequently ask question
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • NPF Office Bearers reaffirm support
  • DAN Co-ordination Meeting Resolutions
  • India and China: From rivalry to enmity
  • For better tomorrows
  • Security forces round up NSCN (IM) cadres
  • 13 August @Hicham Yaichampat :: Gallery
  • Achingliu, Haokhulan, Hiyaichenbi: eMing
  • Patriots' Day @ Hojai, Assam :: Gallery
  • Protest: malpractices of MPSC :: Gallery
  • On MPSC scam & people defending it
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Delhi
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Hojai
  • Lajong U-12 to represent India in BRICS
  • Learn something from 2015 experience
  • The district creation headache
  • State Thang-Ta Competition :: Gallery
  • Search operation [Aug 12] :: Gallery
  • 13 August Patriots' Day : Read all about it
  • Thangal General : The Patriot
  • Proxy examination and Wrong politics
  • Women should not live in fear ....
  • Summer Thoughts :: Poem
  • NPF Youth serve Ultimatum to Rio
  • A slap on the face of Christianity
  • U-Morok @ Shirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Dangers of 'Trial by Media' & the MPSC
  • Is Culture of insensible activism taking root
  • Meiteilon never been Tibeto-Burman
  • Mechanized threshing of foodgrains #2
  • ZSUB Foundation Day, Fresher's Meeting
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Natural Body Building #3 :: Gallery
  • National Handloom Day @ GHY :: Gallery
  • Chirom Indira shine in hearts of NE Weavers
  • Investigate killings as ordered by SC
  • MSTC CMD met with CM of Manipur
  • Conspiracy behind the toppling game
  • Armed groups attack..a human right abuse
  • Drawing Competition at Khengjoi, Chandel
  • Save the indigenous people cry : Valley..
  • A matter need to ponder
  • Earthen wares of Ningthemcha Karong
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #2 :: Gallery
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #3 :: 360 ° View
  • XXVIII State Thang-Ta Competition 2017
  • India's HLPF review of SDGs & Manipur
  • Robotics as career options
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Rejoinder Issued By Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Hard facts of political crisis (Nagaland)
  • Viewing through one's community
  • Darkening shadows of doubt
  • Ziumi village, Maram Landscape:: Gallery
  • Inter School Handball Tournament :: Gallery
  • The Proud Bamboo Tree :: Folk Tale
  • Populated Attitudes :: Poem
  • Marijuana, Mahadev and Maneka
  • Notice for MSc Biochemistry Admissions
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Assam edition of NE India Fashion Week
  • Being different from Cong Govt
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Hanuba-hanubi paan thaba :: Funga Wari
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #1 :: Gallery
  • Need to bust racket running inside MPSC
  • Will PM Modi betray Assam in No ST, no rest
  • State Level Essay Writing Competition
  • RIST Condolence Function at MU
  • When we stumble and fall
  • Customer Care Executive @ basicP, Imphal
  • Petition for Disqualification of 10 MLAs
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Rape of small newspaper
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Jhulon Nupi Pala Phamsak :: Gallery
  • TR is CM by technicality sans Legality
  • One Day in Heaven :: Poem
  • Libraries Vs Google: Are we heading there
  • ..for electrical distribution rearrangement
  • Lessons to learn from CCpur: public hygiene
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The dawn of cricket in Manipur
  • Lumbini Leikolda Shat-houba Leirang
  • Workshop on MU Reservations held
  • Job posting at C-DAC Silchar
  • Lafikul murdered to stir communal tension
  • Wayward rules of law
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #1 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #4 :: 360 °
  • Admission for B.Ed at Manipur University
  • The Evening Blues :: Poem
  • A village called Nbena :: Book Review
  • Employment Generating Hands on Skill
  • Unnatural death of Sainik School student
  • Condemns killing of KNO/KNLF leader
  • AR conducts Pre Recruitment Training
  • Makeshift sheds at Lamphel
  • For a clean future generation
  • Mr Maipak Body Building #2:: Gallery
  • CM referring to ST Comm is ultra vires
  • VIP culture out, VVVIP culture in
  • Be an unchained raindrop :: Poem
  • Holistic education : Trends & challenges
  • Jobs - Going Officers Pamjei
  • Providing Various Health Benefit Plans
  • larification to Tokheho's recollections
  • SoO groups in the news for wrong reasons
  • Confession
  • Nongbrang, bank of Thoubal River :: Gallery
  • Pukpha Fest @Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at UN, NYC : 1 Aug
  • Free Computer Course by KEN @ Imphal
  • Where is the justice in mob justice
  • Ishu : Feature Film in Assamese :: Review
  • Flood: State efforts are too little too late
  • Crisis within NPF unfortunate : KG Kenye
  • decision-making body of NPF resolve: 2 Aug
  • NPF Legislature Party Statement : 2 Aug
  • ..honoring martyrs by raising Tri-colour
  • ..strong Opposition: Cong MLA striving hard
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #3
  • Khongjom War Memorial #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Oops! They've Done It Again!
  • Photography: Career through lenses
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Chemical Ecology: Info for college/Univs
  • Jobs - Nursing Aides in Singapore
  • NPF responds to MLAs' demand
  • Overlooking one's own Cabinet decision
  • Potential of our state
  • Drinking joints in a dry State : Liquor tragedy
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #2:: Gallery
  • Manung Kangjeibung, Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • 1st Mao Market day @Nagamapal:: Gallery
  • ILP : Students protest [27 July] :: Gallery
  • Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon #2 :: Gallery
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS