TODAY -

Need of the hour: Political maturity
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 01, 2024 -



Lest we forget in the cauldron of the so called biggest festival of democracy and the accompanying sweet, tempting and impressive promises which seldom see the light of day.

The general elections to the 18th Lok Sabha are being held in the midst of an unending tragedy in Manipur, brought about by a premeditated and well planned aggression which was launched on May 3, 2023 in the garb of the so called tribal solidarity rally.

Over 200 precious lives have been cut short since then and tens of thousands of people have been living a life of uncertainty in relief camps till today.

Thousands of houses built with the earnings of a life-time were burnt down. Faced with sustained and relentless attacks from all sides, hundreds of youngsters, if not thousands, who otherwise should be going to schools and colleges, were forced to take up arms.

All the Meitei inhabitants of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Moreh and other Kuki-Zo dominated areas were brutalised and driven out, and their houses were burnt down.

Even the foundations of those completely destroyed houses were leveled using bulldozers.

In retribution, Kuki-Zo people living in Imphal were forced to flee.

Since then Churachandpur, Moreh and Kangpokpi remain off limits to the Meitei people just as Imphal is inaccessible to the Kuki-Zo people.

With the Kuki-Zo aggressors even targeting farmers, vast tracts of paddy fields were left uncultivated.

Even today, Imphal-Dimapur highway is inaccessible to the Meitei people.

The annual pilgrimage to the abodes of Lord Koubru and Lord Thangjing has been forcibly suspended, if not stopped totally.

The geo-political entity called Manipur is still under a very serious threat.

As the violence raged on, it became clear that the well planned and premeditated aggression was launched with the principal objective of carving out a separate and exclusive political domain for Kuki-Zo people at the cost of the united and pluralistic Manipur.

Throughout ail these months of widespread violence, the central government never bothered to make any meaningful intervention except for lip service.

As for the state government, it was almost impotent.

It could only watch silently as people were killed on daily basis.

Considering the abject failure of both the central government and the state government, people's resentment, frustration and fury was understandable.

Strangely, the guns which were booming since May last year suddenly went silent as the Lok Sabha elections drew closer.

While politicians and political parties, both ruling and opposition, are busy scheming to win the elections, people's suffering has not ameliorated a bit.

All the communities of the state, not necessarily restricted to the Meitei and the Kuki-Zo communities, have been suffering.

One interesting aspect of the Manipur violence was how the victims were portrayed as aggressors and vice-versa outside Manipur, both within India and abroad.

Yet, the Members of Parliament elected from Manipur did not bother to set the record straight or correct the false narratives.

This was the least people expected from the elected members representing them in New Delhi but the MPs failed miserably on this front too.

The failure of MLAs or MPs to live up to the people's expectation is, by corollary, a failure of the citizens, for after all they were elected by the citizens.

With the guns becoming silent, people's anger too seems to be subsiding, and a vast majority of electors appear to have adopted a very casual attitude towards elections as done in almost every election.

It is this casual attitude towards elections or one may call it political immaturity which often lands all sections of the society in deep, deep trouble.

Demanding resignation of MLAs or MPs after electing them duly when they cannot handle a crisis satisfactorily is understandable but ironic, to say the least.

Instead, citizens ought to treat elections with all the seriousness it deserves and elect the most competent citizens.

It's time to show that being a Member of Legislative Assembly or Member of Parliament is not all about enjoying perks and privileges but they are also responsible for the security and wellbeing of the people.

Lest we forget, the crisis has not been resolved yet and who knows the guns may start booming again after the elections.

It's time for citizens to demonstrate political maturity and assert that we, electors, cannot be taken for granted.



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