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E-Pao! Essays - Youth Problems In Manipur - Juvenile Crime Wave

Youth Problems In Manipur - Juvenile Crime Wave

By: R.K. Somorjit *



Young people naturally have their problems. That is a feature common to all epochs but today’s youth problems involve crimes. Juvenile crime, in other words, is portrayed as a function of economic class, parental neglect, narcotic addiction, boredom, unemployment and the abundance of alcohol.

Not long ago a friend of mine, a hard drug addict, was sent into a mental hospital. Another teenager was accused of murdering his alcoholic father. In Imphal, police recently caught some young professional sex workers. And again recently, a 15 year-old high school boy was committed suicide after fighting with his parent. Besides many juvenile crimes involving guns such as threatening the people to collect money and burglaries can be found in our everyday newspapers.

These examples illustrate the disturbing new faces of the youths in Manipur. The problem of youth becomes vicious when it involves bizarre crimes such as murdering parent, adolescent pregnancy and minor prostitution which are never happen before in our society. No doubt juvenile crime wave now comes to our society also. It is neither the generation war nor the western influence. The juvenile crime seems to come naturally when there is certain defect in the society.

Some surveys have measured the correlation between adolescent crime and family problems. "Ten times as many juvenile delinquents come from an atmosphere of vulgarity or heavy drinking as from a normal environment", a criminologist said.

In our locality there are many boys of my age who dropped out of school before the 10th standard. Many of them come from broken families. They don’t believe in ethics. They live "the free life", drank, and stole neighbor’s good, bicycle and motorcycle.

There are many youth like them in our today’s society of Manipur .Unfortunately, the government and the society do not concerned for the welfare and amelioration of those unfortunate youths. Instead of uplifting them, people cut them off from their society so called "good" and treat them as "bad" and call them "garbage". Everybody seems to forget that in future their places in "the good society", as they named, will be replaced by them. Though the caste system has almost completely abolished from the entire nation, the new form of dividing the youth into the "good" and "bad" is appeared again!

The elders perceive us in simple term. If a girl smokes and uses drugs, she is immoral and vulgar. If a fellow has long hair and piecing all over his face, he is virtually a dishonest. Even teachers divide us into "good" and "bad" based on appearance.

In our classroom most of the teachers do not want to pay attention to any comment from students they named "bad". They treat them like untouchable in the class .It is rather unfortunate that some teachers make fun of them in the classroom. If the teachers treat them in this way then how long those students will sit in their classes and listen to their lecture. Thus, all the hope and enthusiasm of the students are discouraged by them. Dividing the students on their appearance is a very common defect of today’s teachers which is also included as a main defect of today’s society. Such view of the society also naturally causes the youth problems. [Lack of proper education]

After leaving school and college, hundreds of thousands of youth of Manipur have no chance of obtaining employment. Neither the government nor the society offers any alternative for the unemployed youths. Lack of income naturally lead to various crimes . It is not only the youth in the sense that causes the problems but also the weak policy of the government to govern the youths.

One teenage drug addict who dropped out of school in the 10th standard said "Soon after I dropped out of school, I entered to the world of drugs. The world of drugs is a lonely world of mental frustration, false happiness, and sickness. You enter it so simply with your first exciting smoke of marijuana .The next steps seem to come naturally, and before you know it you’re hooked on heroin."

" After my first fix I stopped being afraid of the needle and, despite the constant threat of HIV-AIDS and blood poisoning, came to associate it with mental relief and pleasure. Eventually my body and life were ruled by heroin. I lived for nothing but my next fix. I was incapable of demanding money to my parent so I started stealing to get money for drugs and finally when my family discovered about me, they treated me even worse than before and the surrounding avoided me. Now I need a good future with proper education and good job but how……? " He wanted to start a new life and wanted to continue his education like other aperients but it is unfortunate that nobody gave him the strength to become a real person again. Instead of uplifting him, the society stigmatized him.

Drug, of course, is what makes youth do "wrong". Once they are addicted to drugs, they all face the stark reality: stealing and robbing for drugs. Albeit they indulge in such crimes, the youth themselves are not the only responsible for their problems.

For example, in most of the families parents are too busy to earn money to devote time to the upbringing of their young. Of course we need their pecuniary help and no doubt, most of the juvenile crimes come from the lack of financial help, however we need love and affection of our parents than money. Because of their tough time to guide their kids, most of them choose wrong paths.

No one is born drug abuse or crook. Who will like to become a criminal and prefers to spend his life time in prison? In our adolescence our minds are changed according to the condition of our family and surrounding.

Not long ago when I was loitering in the Imphal War Cemetery-which I do quite frequently-I was painfully touched by witnessing the punishment given to some young boys by two armed elders(*****) for smoking hash (marijuana) . They cut the feet of the young boys to bleed by a sharp small knife. This is how those elders punished young boys for smoking just some puff of reefer!!! Punishing the young drugs users and pushers in cruel way is a step taken up by some group of people in our society to solve the youth problems. They should know that drug addicts can be cured, even if they are crashed out. It is unfortunate that some older people also believe that if some of drug abuser and pushers are punished in the same way or killed then naturally all the problems arise from drugs will be disappeared.

A witness of the incident, an aged regular jogger, commented "Those young boys are the garbage. They spoil our society. They are the disease of our society. They should be killed! Today’s youths do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither proper behavior nor truth is found on them." I do like to ask some question that how long they will punish those kinds of drug abusers and juvenile delinquents and by doing such drive will all the problems of the youth be solved. Killing and punishing the young people in cruel way is not a proper means to combat our problems. We need a long time solution for our problems not only for my generation but also for the coming generations.

"Adolescents, in their search of more affection and satisfaction, are often abused by drugs" informally a clinical psychologist in Imphal, commented "then they get caught in the web and can’t get out". Some questions like why some youth abuse drugs, why some youth engage in violence and why today’s youths always search for more affection and satisfaction than the youth in the past are remained unanswerable. There are no authentic answers from our society to these basic questions.

Understanding about the causes of the youth problems is the beginning of the solution to Manipur"s youth problem. So, the society first need to trace the root of all the changing faces of today’s youth before granting special rights (social, economic, political). But it is unfortunate that some people always blame us for all the causes of the problems. Most of the people have a notion that they arise from a generation conflict. Perhaps, because of such view the youth today fine hard to adjust with elders.

Blaming and dividing us are not the ways to combat the problems of youth. The most visible way to solve our problems is to first amend the wrong views of some elders. It is neither our controversy nor our challenge to our parents and the society. We don’t have anybody than them to help us. They are our only guidance.

Lastly, I do like to say to all our teachers, parents and elders that whether good or bad we all are the youth of Manipur. Besides we are the backbone of the peace movement in Manipur. The future of our society is in our hand. We need a good future. If we are not empowered today, the time will take us slowly and quietly, and with much aguish and bewilderment, to a confuse society. So, love us, nurture us, develop us and give us strength before it is not too late.




R.K. Somorjit, 20 year-old student - resident of Imphal, contributes regularly to e-pao.net.
He can be reached at [email protected]

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