TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinion - Where are we heading for?

Where are we heading for?

By: M. Golmei *


Almost half of the 365 days of each year we are blessed with bandh or blockade or both of some kind in whole of the state of Manipur or some part of it. Thanks to numerous students organizations, social organizations, peoples organizations, and so on. But who are the most affected ones? What is its impact to the State's economy? What will be its cost in the long run?

Manipur is a dry State as declared by the Govt of Manipur as well as some UG group. But is anybody able to count the amount of country made liquors and Indian made foreign liquors seized by AMADA, CADA and others? How many strips of narcotic drugs such as Spasmo Proxivon (SP) tablets have been seized so far? These organizations/associations leading the drive against misuse of drugs and alcohol are worth appreciating.

But my request to them is that they may continue their drive in a sustained manner to get the long term effect and not short-lived. I don't think anywhere in the world there is any place which is completely free from these drugs and alcohol. Yet controlling is a very good idea. So they may not be violent, but thoughtful and gentle while carrying out their drive. SP tablets are freely available in the market in other states.

No one is taking such things unless prescribed by doctors. Liquors are also available in the market in most of the Indian states. No much people are seen to be consuming it and making nuisance. Why are our people so much addicted to harmful drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc? AIDS has like an epidemic. It has affected many people including children and housewives, they have become innocent victims, for no fault of theirs. Who is responsible for all these?

Many of our office goers reach office at or after 10.30 am and left by 3 pm with lunch break between 12.00 noon and 12.30 pm sometimes even upto 1 pm. While on duty they are not paying much attention to their job, but are more interested in their personal matters or they will be just passing time gossiping or so.

No file seems to be processed or moving from one table to the adjacent one in the same room if bribe are not paid. These officials have forgotten that they are being paid by their employer for performing their duties. On bandh/general strike, most of the employees stay at home happily just because it is bandh. I don't say all are like that, but majority is.

There are so many students organizations, social organizations and UG groups working for the welfare of the student community, fighting for the people of Manipur. Why can't there be 1, 2 or 3? Why these many? Why so there is so much differences if they are fighting for the same-common cause?

So many JAC's had been formed to demand something or other. But almost all people are in dark about the importance and even existence of Consumer Court. People are not aware of their consumer rights while purchasing things because no one is there to guide them properly. But there are lots who will misguide them to misuse their democratic rights like launching a dharna, general strike, bandh, blockade, etc. "Do the right things, not things rightly" - M.K. Gandhi. But we always do the things rightly.

Power thefts are rampant. Many will come out in the evening for making unauthorized tappings of electricity from the LT lines, thinking it is free of cost. Many people including big shots and government offices are not clearing their bills. Water pipes are being drilled at many places unofficially. There is all time artificial shortage of cooking gas (LPG). One has to wait for more than 2 months to get his empty cylinder refilled from the authorized agency. But LPG is available anywhere anytime in the black market, except from the agencies.

When there is bandh or blockade on the NHs - 39/53, petrol and LPG are not available at the authorized retail outlets, but you can get these from everywhere in the black market of course on a higher rate and lower quality or quantity. Clubs and associations are seemingly not taking much interest in these matters except some cases of collecting fines from those who sale LPG cylinders in the black market. After paying the fine, all is fine. They are back on their business. This is our Sana Leibak Manipur.

There are many social organizations, associations and Human Rights groups making hue and cry against killing of innocent people, Human Rights violation of innocent people, injustice, etc. Is there anyone who really bothers about the violation of basic human rights (right to live peacefully, freely and without fear, pressure, threat; right to earn for ones own livelihood without interference/disturbance) of the whole people of Manipur by the bandhs/blockades we are facing almost every third day and diktats or restrictions imposed upon us by some guardians of people? Some are making issues out of non-issues.

While addressing some genuine issues also, the main issue is being bypassed, and personal interest becomes the main agenda, though hidden. Who will pay for the lost manpower-hour because of all these things? Kidnapping for ransom and sometimes subsequent killing, including small school children, of which most sensational ones are the cases of baby Lungnila Elizabeth and masters Hriini Hubert and Moheni Martin to name a few, by some of the so called freedom fighters or other anti-social elements have become a common practice.

What and who will compensate for the loss, panic and emotional problems caused to the people due to these? I am afraid; some big hands may be behind these organized crimes. That's why the truth does not come out in the open. Many Human Rights groups use to bother about the human rights of these killers, had they been arrested by chance, at the same time, undermining the human rights of the victims. Many humanitarians opined that they (the killers) should be given a chance so that they will realize their mistakes, become good human beings and do good things. They are against capital punishment being given to them (the culprits).

For me I don't think they should be persecuted, hanged or executed in the manner which is being carried out now-a-days. They should not be given another chance to kill more innocent people. Instead they should be tortured with utmost severity in public, before killing. They should not be allowed to die nor live for some days at least. So that others will think twice before committing such kind of crime. This will not completely avoid crimes, but will definitely reduce the number. At least the killers will not commit the same crime again, because they are no more. Youths/students are said to be the pillars of the nation. No denying to this fact. If they are educated properly, have been imparted sense of responsibility and broad-minded-ness, they will become good and responsible citizens/leaders.

Then our society will shine brightly among others. But they have been deprived of their rights and opportunities for studies and learning many times. Everyone knows half an hour is so precious to a student. Half an hour loss is a huge loss. Then what a big loss for them that the favourite bandhs and blockades have done to them? Who will make up this void? Are not we making our young brothers and sisters (students) inferior to their counterparts of other States and other countries, by calling bandhs and blockades and sowing seeds of constant fear and panic in their young minds by abducting and killing their friends?

We are stealing their peace of mind. We are making them aggressive, stubborn, adamant and impatient. We are already lagging in many respects, shall we continue this way? Why don't we choose the other path? How long shall we waste this precious time of ours and more important- our youngsters' which (the lost time) will never come back again? Why do we waste it instead of using it? Why don't we teach them the value of time and proper use of it (time management)? Is this not important?

In an interview of a Manipuri actress by AIR, sharing her experience on shooting location outside of Manipur, the actress told that schedule is well maintained as planned. Whereas in Manipur when the schedule is to start from 2 pm, actual shoot usually starts from 4 pm or so. In another interview by AIR, M. K. Binodini (after accompanying dance and cultural troop of Manipur to many developed countries including the US, France, Russia, etc.) told that in many occasions, they felt like crying as just before 15 minutes of the show to begin, no one turn up to watch their program. But within about 10 minutes the audience started rushing in and within no time the hall/auditorium is full.

It is said that in Japan and other developed countries people sleep only about 3-4 hours a day. This is how they manage time. They don't have much time to celebrate so much of festivals like us. I don't think they have time to call bandhs/blockades/ dharnas/rallies also. They use time properly and precisely so they are developed. They are developed and so time is precious to them. This is a cyclic process. We need to implement it here too.

Some organizations are working for bringing quality education. Their effort is remarkable in banning of mass copying in exams for example. Still copying will be there to certain extent, but help from outside/ running behind the windows in a large scale seems to have disappeared. My sincere request here is surprise checks in schools/colleges may be carried out to check that teachers are discharging their duties properly. Same thing may be done at government offices also to check how sincerely the officials are working. We need to cultivate work culture in the state, in all spheres. Culture of 'time-pass' should be abolished.

There are innumerable dictators, who pretend to be doing good for the people. People have lost their peace of mind. They are under constant fear and tension. Please ask the doctors how many nos of complaints of high BP or hypertension or BP stroke they receive everyday from patients. It is on the rise from year to year. This is definitely not a good sign. Might is right is the order of the day. Don't agree? Alright gun is right will be more appropriate. People have lost their freedom of expression. The so called people's voice do not reflect people's real voice or view as a whole but only of a handful. These are concocted or adulterated in some way or the other.

People's movement do not represent people's real movement either. People are forced to act as per the directives or dictats of some guardians of people. Whether from the civil organizations (some of them are more militant then the real militants as asserted by one reporter/journalist of TSE), militants, military personnel or the police, common man is at the receiving end. He has to suffer in silence. When he happen to speak out, it will be his master's voice but not his own that will be coming out of his tongue. Am I wrong?

Gone are the days about 20 years back, people come from as far as 20 km to Imphal by cycle for watching the last show of picture/film. The last show starts at 6 pm and is over by 9 pm. The cinegoers after enjoying the show go back peacefully and fearlessly. There were no electric lamps except in the Imphal city. Street lights might have been seen only in the films. Still there were absolutely no problem at all. Things have changed drastically.

Now-a-days, is anyone venturing out of his/her home after 7 pm, unless he/she is having some very important or urgent reason? I don't think so. Even though there are lots of problems, kidnappings, killings, bandhs, blockades, sit-in-protests, dharnas, sometimes even curfews, etc, we don't see any decline in festivities, celebrations, concerts, fashion shows, beauty contests, thabal chong-bas, etc.

Beauty contests are conducted as main part of Gaan Ngai, Kut etc. A beauty pageant has no place in Gaan Ngai, a traditional festival of Kabui community. I have no objection of beauty contest in Gaan Ngai as a part of entertainment. But spending lots of money and time for this is not encourageable. How far will our beauty queens be able to go into national and international levels of competitions is still a big question.

But unfortunately, traditionally associated sports such as Tao Phaimei (traditional shot-put like competition) and Daan Jongmei (traditional long jump competition) etc have been neglected. Mention may be made that Manipuri sports persons are doing very well in the national levels and even in the international levels of competitions, just look up the medal tally of the latest National games held at Guwahati. Manipurs' performance could have been much better, had all or most of the sportspersons of Manipuri origin, represented Manipur we would have won the overall championship (not only to be the best state) keeping behind the supposed to be the mighty Services.

Likewise some very important cultural items might have been skipped in Kut also while accommodating the most admired Miss Kut beauty contest. Thabal chongba used to be seen in or around Yaosang festival and also in Lai Haraobas. I don't think there is Lai Haraoba nor Yaosang in the month of January, still lots of drum beating sounds of Thabal Chongba were heard at many places during the nights. Many Christians and others celebrate Christmas, but without Christ, without even remembering Him. New Year being celebrated for so long.

The world is so fast now-a-days. The whole world has become a small virtual global village. Thanks to growing power of IT, we can communicate and exchange our views, ideas and even technology with others anywhere in the world in few seconds. The world of Science, Technology and Computers has become so advanced and things are changing so fast as for example the latest technology or software available now becomes obsolete after few months. People are now talking about nanotechnology and eying the possibilities of developing computer chips from molecules, human cells and neurons. People have started discussing about the rights of Robots and Humanoids.

It is time we start thinking very seriously and sincerely, otherwise it will be too late. To me it seems we (our society) are a confused lot. We do not know where we are and where we are heading for. We are living in the past not in the present world. In terms of development, we are moving backward, not even standstill, taking into consideration the current trend of the world or the country as a reference.

As per the latest statistics, Manipur is at the bottom of the list in terms of development among the North Eastern states of India and of course ultimately among all the Indian states. We have not yet realized the precious value of time. Otherwise there won't be so much of Bandhs, Blockades etc. We are in a sweet slumber, still dreaming of the past, no one knows when we will wake up. We will have to wake up now, we will have to be awake and see what is happening in the dynamic world and act accordingly. We will have to join the race - the race for bringing development and prosperity.

Bandhs and blockades are hardly heard in other states, especially in the developed ones. May be because their politicians are better than ours, their leaders and bureaucrats are more sincere than ours, people there are honest and better than us. I mean to say we are responsible for what we are. Because our politicians, leaders and bureaucrats - almost all are our own people. We can not blame the government alone. The government is also formed by our own people, our elected representatives. There is no such outside agency which is holding us back from progressing forward. It is within us alone.

Corruption and bribery are everywhere in the country or the whole world for that matter. But corruption and bribery are rampant here. It starts from Two Rupees and sky is the only limit (upper). Who has done this? People use to talk about oppression or suppression. I do agree. It is very much there and it is bound to be there. If we are the majority also same thing will be there (to others) or at least the minority will feel so. This is not particular to us or anybody or any society. It is natural.

One thing may be mentioned here. Our sports-persons are shining in many sports disciplines in the country. They are doing very well even in the international events. Do you think they did not face any of such oppression, suppression, nepotism or favouritism? They did very well face the problems in our own state and outside, and overcame the hindrance. Now it will be very hard to stop Manipur's sportspersons, if anyone tries to do so also, at least in India. Likewise, we should face the country or the world in other fields also in the similar manner as did the sportspersons, then progress and prosperity will be at our doorstep.

Manipur was rightly called the land of jewels (Sana Leibak Manipur). The flora and fauna, the greenery, the climatic conditions, the pleasant wea-ther throughout the year though slightly cold in the winter and slightly hot in the summer, humidity is moderate so it is comfortable, moderate to heavy rainfall, fertile land, sweet water lakes, where do we find these all in one? We have unique soil here, everything that grows here has a distinct taste say rice, sugarcane, maize and different kinds of vegetables.

God's gift only to Manipur: Loktak Lake, Sangai - the deer, Siroy Lily, Dzuko Lily, Kasokpong, to name a few. We are abundantly blessed with different multi ethnic groups, like different kinds of beautiful flowers in a beautiful garden. Is there any place like ours in the whole world? Why don't we rejoice? Why don't we make use of this diversity to our advantage? Why don't we exploit the potentials of tourism in the State? Tourists will throng in like anything if peace returns to the state and if we develop infrastructure.

Some experts opined that violence is not the hindrance to tourist coming in the State, citing the examples of Jammu and Kashmir etc But I agree to disagree with him, because no one wants to risk his/her life without having a very big reason. If the expert is right, he is right only partially. Had not there been violence in those places, the number of visiting tourist will be manifold as compared to the actual (present).

People of Manipur were known for their hard work, sincerity, bravery and their love for their motherland. Where have all these gone? Everything seems to be just the opposite now. People have started calling Manipur as 'Bandhpur' mockingly though. I remember one day I was standing in a queue for filling petrol from a pump during economic blockade of the NH 39 & 53. There were two lines, suddenly some 2/3 persons came from the sides. When asked to come in the queues, they just didn't listen. A person in front of me gave a comment, "Manipur dadi sibabu kidraba, ikaibabu khang- draba, adum yarabani" (in Manipur if one is brazen faced and fearless of death then everything will be alright). Quality of roads, school buildings, etc who bothers? Only % shares!

Why are our people living in constant fear? Why so much of uncertainty and insecurity? Why so much of confusion? These are all man-made, artificial or to be more precise, self-invited or self-inflicted.

Our energy has deviated from the main course, if not diverted into wrong direction. Youths are said to be the most powerful and most energetic section of the society. If their energy is directed and focused into the right direction, in proper ways and constructive manner, our society will definitely move forward, we can compete with others and we will excel in many fields.

In the olden days, the Meiteis especially the children use to tease us the tribals by calling 'Hao, Hao macha tunamboi'. There were lots of difference between the Meiteis and the Haos, say in our lifestyles, living standards, the way how we dress, the way how we talk, the way how we eat, the way how we behave, etc though we all belong to the same state of Manipur. Un-touchability was there to some extent. The Meiteis looked at us down. We too felt inferior to them. Still there were no question of identity crisis, breaking the territorial integrity of the state nor of Meiteis' hegemony in the state.

And now there is not much difference between the Meiteis and the tribals. But lots of mistrust and misunderstandings have come up. Why the idea of Greater Nagaland in the minds of the Nagas? And Manipur's territorial integrity at any cost, in the valley of Manipur? From now on it will be next only to impossible for a Naga leader to become Chief Minister of the state, irrespective of his/her capability.

To be honest, this is what I personally feel, no political bias or otherwise. What about the other tribes like the Kukis etc? Very few of them are speaking against Greater Nagaland, most of them kept silent and some though very few, are even talking of following suit with the Nagas. Everyone claims "Ching Tam Amatani, eikhoi ima amatagi machani".

I don't think it is being practised in the true sense by anyone. Here too we need to give a serious thought before it is too late. If there is some misunderstanding or mistrust among the people, it is the smaller group or the weaker ones which is more hurt, they become more sentimental or emotional. This should be understood by one and all.

Ningol Chakkouba among the different ethnic groups, Mera Hou Chongba (some call it Mera Hao Chongba or I heard it that way), Ching-Tam Pot Lannaba etc being celebrated mostly in the valley areas will not have much far reaching effect.

'Ching-Tam' amatani is yet to be seen in practice, not only in words or plays/films. I can point out examples but don't want to go to that extent. My intention is not to make the divide wider, but to make people understand what is happening among us. Then only the problem can be solved. Without knowing the real problem from the grass-roots level and trying to solve it will be a futile effort.

'Ching-Tam' is a very common and easy to use Manipuri phrase. It comes out of one's tongue automatically without any difficulty. But now some have started using 'Tam-Ching' in a new fashion. What can be the logic behind it? It may not take long that we may hear 'Tam-Tam' and 'Ching-Ching'. Is it the love and brotherhood among the peoples of the Hills and the Plains, (Oh sorry, the Plains and the Hills, to be more precise) that is binding us together?

Some of the beloved Meitei brothers use a saying "Hao lalle Hao phu, Meitei lalle Hao phu" (when the Haos are guilty, beat up the Haos, when the Meiteis are guilty, beat up the Haos). The term Hao was derived from the word haoi according to Mr. (Dr.) Mohendra Irengbam in his article 'Saving Manipur' as appeared in TSE, seems very funny. But what I heard from the elders is that the word Hao is derived from Ho ho ... (hoi laoba of the tribals - the Nagas). How far it is correct is not known to me, but the latter seems to be more logical.

Dr. Mohendra wrote "We must break down the barriers between tribes with openness and transparency as the Meiteis have shown". The notion 'Meiteis are always right' is wrong. One should not be biased or single sided while projecting social issues. Dr. Mohendra better realize Meiteis' hegemony is burning in the minds of the common tribal people of Manipur. The word 'hao' is not derogatory as quoted by him is not correct either.

It depends on how the word is being used e.g. Haopot (improportionately heavy load), Hao-ball (when the ball is kicked up too high), Hao-sak (very ugly looking person), Hao-lingjen-nai-lingjen (a foolishly daredevil), Hao-nai and some are still there which I don't think it will be decent enough to mention here.

"Haona ningthou oiba yaroi" (a Hao can not be the ruler/king) was very often heard from many Meitei brothers when Rishang Keishing's Chief Ministership was about to be ended. Now also I doubt the same agenda is there, maybe hidden in almost every Meitei's mind. How open is the openness and how transparent is the transparency of Meiteis is an illusion to me. Likewise, Kukis, Nagas and others are also not different, they all are concentric, they may have their own hidden agenda. They think something and show off something else. All lack sincerity.

When AFSPA was imposed in some of the hill districts of Manipur in the 60s and the hill people were facing the wrath of the security forces, did anyone raise a voice against it? How long did they suffer under the same act? When the same act was expanded and the valley people felt the excesses of the security forces then only started hue and cry against the act. Where is the integrity question? Where is the ching-tam amattani sentiment? Unity seems to be a distant dream.

Why so much of killings, human right violations...? Why AFSPA, who brought it? Why was it imposed here, if repealed what will be the outcome? The answer is simple. Leave aside the UG groups, lots of fake UG groups and extortionists will come up. Extortion, looting and kidnapping for ransom and eventual killing will become rampant. Law and order situation will become worst from bad. (This is a common man's view but as a matter of fact, no one dares open his mouth).

Because there are lots of people who want easy bucks, enjoy life without sweat and tears. Even now-a-days we come across lots of imposters being pulled up by either the police, militants or social organizations; while the imposters are extorting money or trying to do so. Another example is that before banning the Manipur state lottery and others by some UG group, people went crazy after this. Many became broke and even sold out their lands, paddy fields and other properties just to book these lottery tickets.

To be frank, I feel...
More often than not we love to forget our responsibilities of citizenship and always cry for our rights.
We are in a sinking ship, where lots of cracks of differences have come up due to differences because of ethnic or communal lines, hatred, distrust, disunity, narrow minded-ness etc and everybody is digging a hole in the name of mending the cracks. And we are sinking together slowly but surely.
We preach love and unity among all the people of the hills and plains but practice the otherway round.

Pessimistic? One may call me a pessimist, alright. But it is coming straight from the heart. We have to work hard. We will have to practice what we preach. We should not be sentimental or emotional while dealing social issues.

We will have to be practical and more realistic in our approach. Single sided views have to be avoided. We should not politicize issues. People's attitude, mindset and mentality have to be changed. We'll have to look for long term solutions for problems, not quick-fix types.

Last but not the least, let's not waste time rather use it properly.


M. Golmei wrote this article for the Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 26th, 2007.


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  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
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  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
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  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
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  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
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  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
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