Before I sleep... III

Rajendra Kshetri *

Election is the biggest festival in the largest democracy of the world. It is that kind of festival where uninterrupted supply of money power pours in and fire from all cylinders. An unique feature of this festival is that there is no dearth of money givers and money takers. The more there are givers, the more there are takers . There is no limit, not even the sky.

There is no hierarchy of rich and poor, literate and illiterate, educated and uneducated, mortal and lesser mortal. Money treats them all. Treats them equally. Money levels anything and everything. Money is the greatest leveller. Manipur, though diminutive in size, has been able to match the largest democracy serve by serve, stroke by stroke and volley by volley when it comes to celebrating the biggest festival.

Manipur, the land of jewels, 'jewel of India ' to a certain Nehru, goes to the polls for the 12th General Assembly Elections on 27th February 2022 (First phase) and 3rd March of the same year (Second phase).

Manipur, as the very name indicates, is a place where there is no paucity of fund allocations and no dearth of monetary pipelines. It is another matter that funds are not allocated and money not judiciously used for making safe potable water available to the general public.

Election (s) is/are more important than giving drinking water to the people. People can sustain without drinking water but not without money. And money comes to the public in large amounts of different denominations. Especially in times of elections.

There is a fever in the air. A kind of fever different from Covid/Omicron fever. To no one's surprise, election fever is very much in the air and catching up. One fervently hopes the Omicron fever does not catch up with the election fever. One can only pray that the election fever does not add up/to the dreaded Omicron fever.

Being a teacher, I did/do receive New Year's Greetings, both offline and online, from students every year. Twenty Twenty Two is no different and yet Different in that I was bowled over by the novelty (or is it ingenuity) of the gift from Dr Bimolata (technically not my PhD student though), whom I helped during her doctoral days.

A simple Tea Cup it is but inscribed on the Cup are my lines that I penned and posted on my FB wall "Before I Sleep " over the last few weeks. So thoughtful of her and so meaningful. A gem of a gesture. I love it.

Such gestures are what egg me on to continue my journey of rumbling thoughts from Social media to Print media: "Before I Sleep... lll ".

16. (December 28, 2021).

Women voters outnumber Male counterparts
Male candidates outnumber women candidates
Between these scenarios lies a tale
A telling tale of women
Who have suffered
Women who have managed to suffer
Women who have been managed to suffer
Yet women do not support women
No tangible sense of solidarity among women
No wonder women representatives in the House
Are Few and Far between.

17. (December 29, 2021)

'Vox Populi'
It's true.
The voice of the people is the voice of God.
Truer is...
The voice of the people's representative is the voice of people.
Truest is...
His Master's Voice is the voice of people's representative.

18. (December 30, 2021).

There are Three 'Mantras'
That can fetch BJP 40 plus seats .
Withdraw AFSPA from Manipur
Give ST Status to the Meeteis
Punish Drug Kingpin (s).
A tough call for the BJP Leadership
Not impossible to do though.

19. (December 31, 2021).

It is New Year 2022
Another resolution to take
Another battle to fight
Another lesson to learn
Another journey to begin
Another tale to tell
Another message to pass on
Another Covid variant to live with.
Come on in 2022
Show me light as I like nothing more
Usher in a New Order as I always yearn for
Bring me Hope as I like nothing else.

20. (January 4, 2022).

There are two battles ahead
Battles to be fought
With all the weapons in our hands
Battle of Babupara and
Battle of Omicron.
Battle lines are drawn
Between dumb politicians and dumber people
Are you ready to fight ?
Don't be dumb and act like one
Be conscientious and resilient.

21. (January 5, 2022)

BJP State President is woman
Woman understands women's issue(s) better
Issue is...
(under) Representation in the House
Non-allotment of Party tickets.
Thirty three percent reservation is yet to see the light (forget it)
Reservation can be done though at Party level
If not thirty three percent
Say ten percent to begin with.
Can BJP walk the talk
Can the BJP State President do it?
If the woman President cannot do it for women
Who else can/will ???

22. (January 7, 2022)

Tonight is a cold winter night
The clock struck twelve
A chilly midnight
Birds have stopped chirping and singing
All nestled in the nest
Waiting for the morrow sunrise.
But the night is still young
Super enthusiasts of political parties
Die hard supporters of candidates
Are out and busy on the streets
Up with billboards, flags, festoons, posters
Wooing (read buying) poor electorate.
The night is young and tender
The air is hot and humid
Tonight is a cold chilly night.

23. (January 13, 2022)

I am tired but not dog tired
I am sleepy but eyes wide open
I am silent but let my silence speak.
It has been a night without sleep
I need to sleep
I need to synergise my energy
Tomorrow is another day
Another Sunrise.

24. (January 14, 2022)

"I will save Manipur
Vote for me"
Pet slogan of politicians of all colors
Every time Election comes around.
'Save Manipur from whom/what'
One wonders.
Manipur is fine/doing good
Will be better off if politicians are not around
Echoes man on the street.
"Save Manipur from politicians "
My Considered Agenda.
What do you think???

24.(January 15, 2022).

This land of 'Sanaleibak Manipur '
Is a land where elections are fought
On the power of four Ms
(machinery, mafia, money and muscle)
Not on the issue of State/National importance
Never on the power of ideology.
Gullible electorate are flummoxed and befooled
Whoever is mafioso Godfather wins the election
Your 'Sanaleibak ' my golden Manipur
Their Eldorado.

* Rajendra Kshetri wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Professor of Sociology at Manipur University, Imphal.
Author of 6 books, his latest publication (Mittal) "Letters from the Republic of Dust" is available at Amazon and Department of Sociology, MU.
This article was webcasted on January 25 2022.

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