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E-Pao! Opinions - View and Vision of Manipur

View and Vision of Manipur
By: Th Joykumar Singh *


It's really disheartening to learn all the unwanted and mischievous things happening in our once beautiful and peaceful land. We all know that the awful polity and leadership, insurgency, the prolonged negligence of the Central Govt. and common people's ineptness are all responsible for this messiness. It's very much visible that the rich and the powerful ones are having their whims and fancies being carried out by adhering to their respective power domains. The common public are at the receiving ends. These people openly use inhuman, immoral, divisive and nefarious means to sustain the hold on to this dirty and bloody power. This way they cripple our society and economy and masterly cheat the ignorant population. Our leaders are tireless of spitting lots of naked lies out during the elections with hollow-baggy promises. Most unfortunately the general public swallow these lies with leaves of Rs. 500/- note. Sadly these elements are in the winning spree so far!

If the current unethical and chaotic situations persist then it will only plague our society to the extend of the point of no return. Thank God! the general public is not starving and not coming out to the streets at least for the moment. Farmers do not join this protest as they have the basic staple i.e. rice to fill their stomach at least for few months in a year. Good that there is at least some acres of paddy field left to grow this basic staple. Even this only reservoir is under threat due to the expansion of houses and the constructions of govt. offices etc. This point may sound presumptuous but it is a fact that the majority of the population is under the poverty line that they cannot even afford to depend on this basic food imported from other states for longer period of time.

The state government employees are also not into this hysteria as the Central Govt. in the name of granting nearly 40 billion rupees as annual fund is feeding them monthly. They laze out and gossip lots in office or at home and get paid (wow!!). Our leaders are so maddened for it that they toil hard and officially (but not true!!) spend sleepless nights in five star hotel or Manipur Bhavan special suite in Delhi pushing the concern ministry and RBI to clear the monthly quota of "begging bowl". It is very appalling to note that our politicians are the master-crafts in corruption that they even tried hard to bribe the Finance Ministry (Central Govt.) to clear the RBI ban forgetting that this will bring deplorable name to Manipur. They do this not for executing some expedient work for the state but just for the sake of their pockets and retaining their positions or saving the present day govt. Delhi does listen "on and off" to this mendicancy just to pacify them to not to come out on the streets and revolt against the hold on Manipur.

In this grave situation what can the common men do? Shall they keep quite and go for the moratorium till the point of no coming back, in presuming that they are powerless and voiceless? Or shall they flinch to the fire and end up as ashes burying their cherished goal of making our state a peaceful and prosperous one? Or else is there any way out? These are the thought-provoking questions impinged in the minds of the people that need to be addressed. After all what we all want is the development and the prosperity of our state. Though we all know the gravity and complexities of bringing any changes or improvements to our state polity but we can certainly conceive and execute some of the workable alternatives or pathways to rocket our state to the better and secured orbit.

Before it becomes too late the common mass needs to apply the right gear to drive our state to the realm of self-sufficiency and development. Let me remind some of the immediate and epochal aspects that we need to address to realize this goal:

  1. It is quite unlikely that we will secede from India at the moment, as this country is becoming stronger year by year in terms of military, economy and political standing in the world. India has established a good relationship with it's once arch rival China and even its war-mongering neighbor (Pakistan) has come to the negotiating table under duress pressure and dollar tactics by USA. Even it's last Sangrilla neighbor Bhutan was kind enough to flush out the Assamese insurgents from its soil, which the eastern despotic Myanmar is ready to perform the same kind of operation to purge all the Northeastern insurgents from its territory. Even to it's smaller and not so easy neighbor Bangladesh, India is trying to use some coercive power to toe its lines of discouraging insurgencies from its soil. Not only these diplomatic successes and moves, India is sustaining an annual economic growth of nearly 8%, which is mainly powered by the boom in its Information Technology industries. And its overall standing in the world has also shot up in recent times.

    Moreover, India being a partner in the 'international war against global terrorism', any militant attack in our state will be termed as 'a case of terrorism'. There is a catch if the insurgents opt for the minor attacks no body is going to take it seriously except causing harms to its own people. When they go for the major ones either by massive detonation or targeting high profile personality out of frustration or vengefulness then it will be archetyped as 'a terrorist act'. This will jeopardize the moral and sympathetic support (if at all exist) from the outside world to the cause of militants.

    So in this changed scenario, should the insurgents of our state give a chance to the peaceful mean i.e., negotiation with the Central Govt. and try to extract as much as possible for our state? This peace talk could serve as the most important and foremost step in bringing eudaemonia in our state. Going for the negotiation does not necessarily mean the mere surrender of the cause but it is the timely and tactical shift in our approach/standing.

  2. To contribute in framing what kind of governance we want to have in our state. This has to be decided by the people in the peaceful atmosphere without any fear or coercion from any corners. Fresh election should be held and the patriotic, visionary and dedicated people of Manipur could participate in this free and fair mandate. This way the mass will execute their real power of electing the true and caliber representatives and can overthrow those tainted and outdated politicians. Regarding the holding of smooth and fair election, the local clubs, apolitical student communities/organizations and various other bodies like genuine NGOs can play a responsible role during the election. The local media can also play a major and judicious role in exposing the true colors and intentions of those corrupt and tainted candidates. Once elected that governance should be transparent in handling public administration and public should be free to access any kinds of records pertaining to their cases and interests as "Information is the currency of democracy" (Thomas Jefferson).

  3. Once the normalcy gains ground and an stable govt. sets rolling then the new ministry can demand for the removal of the draconian acts like "Armed Forces Special Power Act (1958)" from our soil and ask for deploying the armies to the peacetime barracks in or outside of state. The relevance and visibility of the security forces in public space should be curtailed. The presence of the large number of security forces from mainland India in our land should be stripped to the lowest possible level. To man the territory of our state form those internal and external enemies of the state, the much-needed "Manipur Regiment" should be earnestly established. This new army unit should be at least humane in dealing with the problems unlike the commandos or Indian Armies who do not show the respect of human rights. Its is disturbing to be the eyewitness of the daily doses of inhuman killings by human beings as if we are living in the "modern day cannibalism". State Govt. should make sure that such mayhem incidences do not occur in our state and should shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding the lives of each and everyone. These alterations will certainly unchain the people and deliver the sense of security. This newly attained sense of fearlessness will drive the mass to the productive thoughts and marvelous consequences. Once the lives of our people are well secured, then the cultural, social, literary and collective images of our state will metamorphose to the new stature.

  4. Our state's most important asset i.e., human resources should be explored and exploited to the maximum possibility to graduate our state to the comity of the advanced and productive group of people. The main crux of this is to formulate the much-needed educational policies of imparting standard and quality education to our people to bring forth the knowledge and quality based society. At present we can see a significant number of good and well managed schools but there is a clear lack in the number of good colleges and the centres for advanced studies. Filling this later vacuum will be the offshoot for generating productive people for the society. So many of the rich people from our state or even the "Non Residential Manipuris" (NRM) can start setting up such facilities in a competitive manner. This can be termed as an "education related business". Regarding this business, we can learn much from the South Indian States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It's really striking to notice that they could attract so many students from over all India and even from abroad with so many of the engineering, medical and other professional colleges/institutions. We also can repeat this successful phenomenon in our state.

    Once we are in a position to achieve this level then our creative and innovative skills will enable us to even compete and capture the national or international job market in a fair and competitive manner. Not only this, we can also restrict the channeling out of a large sum of money for sending students outside of our state. Attaining knowledge and quality based society will instrument us to transcend into the competitive and transparent domain from the present nepotic, corrupted and fuzzy state of affair. For crystallizing into this social shape, we can educate from the success story of the one of the most literate and thriving state of India i.e., Kerala. Majority of the Keralites gets free and quality education from their own state and then many of them move to the greener pastures in Gulf and Western Countries. And even within India too they are seen everywhere in hospitals, schools and private and governmental firms or organizations. Their acquired characters of professionalism and hard working apart from the qualifications are also the plus point for furtherance and acceptance. These expatriates are also very considerate people as they keep committing huge earnings to their respective families back home. This indirectly helps in sustaining a sound economy in their state. There are other factors too for maintaining such an excellent track record of economy. One most important factor is in developing the world class infrastructure for tourism to attract both the international and national tourists. Very interestingly this state was recently rated as one the most favorite tourist destination in the world. If a state like Kerala can make it to this hallmark then why can't we do it?

  5. Normalcy, a stable and certainly non-corrupt govt. can be the genesis for creating the suitable and favorable environments for both the national and foreign investors to commence their businesses in our state. Here again our leaders/promoters should be technically smart enough to project and promote the best strategies to attract them to our state. We should encourage them in those undertakings where we have the stake of performing well. Some of those promising ventures are in tourism, information technology, agro-economic sectors. We also have huge potential in hydel projects. At the same time the govt. should instilled the hopes, favors and security to this selective group of people. Even the rich NRM can be bandwagon of this privilege group. Thereafter, investments will start flowing in and many more enterprises will flourish. This way the much needed job opportunities for the skilled locals will be generated and they will be enjoying the opportunity of taking part in building an economically advanced state. This will pave the way for the prosperity and development of our state. Common people will also participate in this movement in the form of providing cheap and constructive labor.

    The govt. should also continue in framing strong, saleable and competitive economic policies that matches well with the rapidly changing economic scenarios. The govt. should also do the homework of developing infrastructures in the line of providing proper means of transport and communications. For this the state, national and international roads should be well laid and maintained and should also be free from untoward incidence of looting and hijacking at gunpoint. To fulfill a part of this vision we can press the central govt. for extending the "East-West Super Highway Project" till our state that could serve as the link for the "Super Trans Asian Highway". The communication hubs and centres should be installed in all necessary points and should be serviceable throughout. One of the most important requirements to power all these is to produce consistent supply of electricity, which can be achieved by exploiting our hydel potential without causing harms to our ecosystems. We can also demand for setting up of some kind of "free economy zones" in our state so as to join and compete with our neighboring states and as well with India's neighboring countries. Our state has a good chance of becoming an economic hub in no time considering the strategic location it has.

  6. At the same time the new govt. should strive hard to enforce strictly the rules and regulations to generate funds from it's own people. People need to be law abiding and should cooperate with the govt. This will at least circumvent our leaders going to Delhi with the begging bowl. All the Manipuris should be ashamed of this act and should help the govt. in discontinuing it at the earliest possible. Its high time that Manipuris stop assuming that Delhi is their eternal and perpetual source of feeds that will keep on feeding and will bring niceties to them. We need to ask ourselves who are there in Delhi? Why they need to feed us? Why they will want us to prosper? Why we need to be submissive all the time? Why can't we have our own visions that can be fulfilled with our own hard work? It's certainly true that at the moment we don't have much of infrastructures and capitals. For this we can seek the help from either Central Govt. or some other organizations like Asian Development Bank or even from World Bank or generous donations or loans from rich nations like Japan. Though this is not as simple as that but we certainly can convince them that we really need these supports as we aspire to be part of betterment and advancement. Only with such collective, strong and sincere efforts of the people will push Manipur ahead and make it shine.

  7. We should discontinue the obsession with calling and banning bands etc. that hamper the day- to-day life of the common man and students. Our minds should not be engulfed with the unwanted activities like daily doses of killings, strikes, rallies etc. etc. This does not mean that we should not worry about the integrity of our state. But this kind of question should not arise at all once we are united, equal, prosperous. Demanding an amendment in the Indian Constitution should solve this question of integrity once for all. This lingering and nebulous mindset will only instill disunity among the various communities of the state. Manipur belongs to all the communities and we should have the responsibility of making our dreams come true. We should keep our eyes wide open to those sinister designs to bring hatred and disunity among the various communities of our state in the name of religions and by concocting our common history on the lines of races etc. If we don't keep watch on such parochial, malicious or perfidious designs then our centuries old fraternity and peaceful co-existence will be shattered and will only lead to mutual annihilation. Our minds should also be free from the self-inflicting whirlpool of violence, which only divert us from the real issues and concerns of uplifting our people.

The above strategies are not the only strict or golden ones to redeem our common vision of building an advanced and prosperous state. There can also be so many other ways that we need to invoke to make our tryst with destiny of living in a peaceful and prosperous land of ours. Each and everyone one of us should participate in molding a sincere, virtuous and collective effort to shape a united, strong and developed Manipur.




* Th. Joykumar Singh a Research Fellow at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore regularly contributes to e-pao.net


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