Before I sleep... IV

Rajendra Kshetri *

"We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity".
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every time I read newspapers, I come across news items, publicity and propaganda relating to the 12th General Assembly Elections of Manipur, scheduled on 28th February and 5th March 2022 and these lines quoted above comes to my mind (as it will be to you too). Money is important no doubt. But what is frightening and sickening is the decisive role played by money power in winning elections.

If you are not a crorepati and able to dole out crores and crores, you can't think of contesting elections, let alone winning. Every election is money-laden election and this time will be no different either. What had happened and what shall happen is people are left poorer in every sense of the term. The Society suffered and will continue to suffer for want of men of ideas, integrity, principles and visions.

I believe in democracy and electoral politics. And I shall exercise my Constitutional franchise. Quite often I used to wonder, though, whether democracy suits well a Country/State where people are not thoroughly educated (as different from literates).

Many a times, I tried to stop thinking and discontinue my series of rumbling thoughts. But my internal urge to write and disseminate ideas (to people all around) render me quite helpless. So here goes, again, the fourth part of the series "Before I Sleep... ".

26. (January 17, 2022)
Everyone in this land is feverish
Some are high and some low
But fever nevertheless.
Kinda fever that puts
'Saturday Night Fever ' into oblivion
Kinda fever that makes
Omicron fever ran away
Kinda fever that shall pass
In two months time for sure
What is this fever all about?

27.(January 21, 2022)
Give money
Get elected.
Use muscle
Get elected.
Get elected
Make more money
Get elected
Muster more muscles.
Once elected
Stay blind deaf and dumb
Who/What is to complain!
People will come with begging bowls
Ah! the beauty and the power
Of money and muscle.

28.(January 23, 2022)
Manipur Oh Manipur
Fifty years of Statehood
What have you given to us?
Infrastructure development!
Improvised education sector!
Conflict ridden society!
Sponsored economy!
Volatile polity!
Hill-Vale unity!
Powerhouse of sports!
Over and above this
Oh Manipur you have given us
A Special Class of People
To celebrate or not to celebrate.

29.(January 24, 2022)
I believe in politics
But I don't believe in politicians.
I believe in political message
But I don't believe in the messenger.
I believe in change
But I don't believe in old wine in new bottle.
I believe in ideology
But I don't believe in ideologue.
I believe in Statesman
But where on earth is the Statesman?

30.(January 25, 2022)
You know why
People love elections.
People love elections
Not because they love politics
Not because they love political parties
Not because they love politicians
Not because they love democracy.
People love elections
Because they love MONEY.

31.(January 27, 2022)
Once upon a time in Manipur
There emerged a regional political party
A strong one in that
It had produced two/three Chief Ministers .
The indigenous fervor of the Party caught
The imagination of the educated youths.
Five decades down the line
The Party is in pathetic shape
A pale shadow of the past.
What could be sadder than to see
The oldest regional political party in the NE
In such a moribund situation?
What happened
What went wrong with the Party?
Who killed the oldest regional party?
But for a couple of past Presidents
Who loved rental collections more than the party
The Party could have been a Force in the coming election.

32. (January 28, 2022)
Political Science and Politics are different
though interrelated.
Political Science is a science that deals with the study of State.
It begins and ends with the State.
It doesn't necessarily breeds politicians.
It is a science with ethics and morality.
Politics on the other hand is an Art.
It is an art of making things impossible possible
And possible impossible.
It is an art of making lies truthful
And truth falsehood.
It is an art where ends justify the means
Not the other way around.
It does necessarily breed politicians of all kinds and colors.
It is an art without ethics and morality.
Politics is primarily the art of making money
Easy Fast and Quick.
Come elections and money politics rains heavy
And politics of money runs high in veins.

33.(January 29 , 2022)
Oh Nambul my beloved Nambul
I almost forgot to go
For a stroll by the banks
What with the election and Omicron fevers.
You look a tad cleaner
A minimal sight of plastics .
You look apprehensive and saddened though
What with the RCC cappings on the banks.
A river natural you are
Turning into a man made canal???

34.(January 31, 2022)
Hardly thirty days to go for the polls
The electorates are gearing up
Expectations scaling up
Speculations soaring up
Rumours spreading like wild fire
'How much shall I get/be given
How much should I ask/bargain '
Questions open secret on the lips of electorates
Oh democracy! Thy name is moneycracy(read money crazy).

35.(February 2, 2022)
There are two types of voters
First type will ask for and take money
(majority of voters belong to this type)
Second type will not ask for but will take if given
(sizeable section of voters are of this type)
Third type will not ask for
Nor will take even if given.
How one wishes
The third type constitute majority of the electorates.

36.(February 4, 2022)
The King is more than happy
He had executed his masterplan
Tickets distributed as per his dictate
Machiavellian politics at its best
What more could he asked for.
Paved the path for Babupara Bungalow
The King had sounded the war cry
For the anticipated battle of 'Heinou Makhong '.
The King-in-waiting is no less happy
Chanakyas of the land are on his side
Plans are hatched strategies strategized
To put the jewel on the crown
The King-in-waiting is upbeat
Forewarned is forearmed
Watch out Kangleichas!
It is Machiavelli VS Chanakya.

37.(February 5, 2022)
No ordinary battle it is
Battle of Babupara is the mother of all battles
It is no longer the battle of money and muscle
Both the warring parties have equal measure of money and muscle .
It is a battle of Ideas and wits
A battle of moves and counter moves
A battle of manoeuvre and counter manoeuvre
A battle of who could pull more and push harder
Not a battle of loyalty and integrity
But a battle of opportunism of the third kind
Within the same family
Within the Parivar.

38.(February 7, 2022)
A thief accusing another thief as thief
A political trader accusing another political trader as political trader
A party hopper accusing another party hopper as party hopper
A corrupt politician accusing another corrupt politician as corrupt politician
A political dealer accusing another political dealer as political dealer
Who will judge whom?
Recalling lines of Dr. Kamal
"Huranbabu huranbana faarabadi kanana beechar toubigani ".
(Who will judge if a thief is caught by another thief?).
Such is the scenario of political semantics in Sanaleibak, that is, Manipur.

39.(February 8, 2022)
All roads lead to Thambal Shanglen
That is until recently.
Now all roads lead to 'Heinou Makhong'
Pledging new found support to party nominees
All eyes and ears for the King
Eager to spread message of the messiah
Ready to carry out the game plan
For a slice of pie.

40.(February 15, 2022)
The King is past master of games politicians play
Had withered down many a political storms
In his checkered political career
Now all set to resume the Second Innings
The Machiavelli in him coming to the fore.
It is none of your business to wonder
If a few lakhs/crores were/are exchanged
Yours is not to think/wonder/question
But to obey and serve the King
The King can do no wrong
He is an 'Honourable Man'.

* Rajendra Kshetri wrote this article for The Sangai Express
Sociologist by training and profession, Rajendra Kshetri is Professor of Sociology at Manipur University, Imphal.
Author of 6 books, his latest "Letters from the Republic of Dust " (Mittal publication) is available on Amazon and department of Sociology, MU. .
This article was webcasted on February 19 2022.

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