TODAY -

The Monica's return

R.K. Shivachandra *

In the aftermath Monica had been elbowed out from Indian contingent in the 'worst' ever conspiracy hatched by R.K. Naidu and his accomplice, people of Manipur are now eagerly watching 'what comes next'.

In the meantime, Abhinav Bindra's winning a gold medal in Olympic hits the headlines in India. When the beaming young man stood on the podium, the Indian national anthem "Jana Gana manna Adhi Nayaka jayahe" played through the finest orchestra. Indian sports contingent in Beijing led by Suresh Kalmadi kept watching the touching event with tears of joys.

It appeared as if India had conquered the whole world at that moment. Obviously everybody should rejoice it for the medal has revisited India after a series of 21 Olympic Games. The two silver medals won by Norman Pritchard in 1900 were credited to British India. It is now more than 88 years that India had been suffering a medal drought in the Olympic arena.

Bindra's medal will definitely shine on the Indian streets and he will be welcomed in an unprecedented way. He deserves it too. State governments would be crazy while competing who gives bigger awards. His medal is not only Indian pride but this also throws an opportunity worth milking for their own glory to many canny politicians and unscrupulous sports officials.

But they are the one who never had lifted a finger to pull him up. Mr. Abhinav also had saved the face of other sports disciplines from brickbats after their pathetic performance in the Beijing Olympics. The sonar puttar had shot more than two birds with a single bullet. Bravo. Abhinav Bindra. Long live the man with the golden gun.

Around the same time, some thousands kilometers down the road in Manipur, watching the Sports Channel, listening to the victorious National Anthem of India in utter dismay are the angry youths of Manipur.

Means Monica would not go easily from their memory. The law of the land could not rescue her. The Indian Justice had failed to tread on her corridor. The National Women Commission championing the cause of women in India at New Delhi seemed to have not existed for Monica. I don't know what goes wrong with Manipur.

Shall we dream of another probe to Monica's case today? Have not we experienced enough enquiries in Manipur that had never seen the light of the day? If those pages of Jeevan's Reddy Commission report on AFSPA could not find its way to Manipur, thinking Monica's probe would bear fruits could lead to another misadventure.

Enough is enough. We have seen many episodes. It plays around the same old trick.

To many SAI officials Monica's case is almost a foregone conclusion. They have people to support, to twist their misdeeds. The probe is simply to quieten down the irate crowd of Manipur or rather made the people to accustom in this kind of situation, the way a wild elephant was tamed by its circus master.

The administration yardstick or the system being applied to the Manipuris is purely borrowed from the Hindi film story line where Minister's son killed somebody and at the same time he was proved innocence in the court of law. Hindi film desperadoes and Indian politicians got confused very often because of their striking resemblance in each other character.

Monica had returned home. The virulent crowd received her at Tulihal Airport. It may not be a grand one but it was befitting reception as far as traditional Manipur style goes. The tears in those eyes of the onlookers seemed to have spoken different language today.

Weightlifter Laishram Monika teary eyed at the Tulihal Airport


Monica had passed through the common route as Dinku, Mary Kom, Kunjarani and other sports heroes of Manipur have had strolled in the past especially when they come back home triumphant. Today it was another scene. I have seen thick red in the eyes of many people stood by the road side. It was evident that everybody wants justice, a quick vengeance.

I wish the people never retreat back. IOC is one body that would listen to the grievances of Manipur. The South Africa's expulsion from participation in the Olympic in 1964 till 1992 for its practice of racism holds ample testimony to that. This has relevance with the prevailing Monica's case in Manipur.

Professor Sanajaoba had rightly pointed "Possibly CBI inquiry and a proposed inquiry by a judge of the Supreme Court of India may be on the cards. Public figure in Manipur had urged upon the culprits in SAI and IOA to personally pay a compensation of not less than 25 crore rupees for the physical, mental damage done to the Victim- Monika".

Now we need to put all the heads together and find out how Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei participated in the international event as two different entities. However both of them are very much under the Chinese administration.

We all can do it. We need to organize more public meetings, rally etc. in democratic forms. Marking the protest in the form of bandhs could create a negative approach for Bandhs are too unpopular now days in Manipur.

One important thing is whether Monica who had been employed already in the CRPF would be able to cling on along with the people of Manipur in the process of the agitation?

Would not she listen to her higher-up in the CRPF organization? Definitely they would ask her to quiet from participating bandhs, dharna etc. But without Monica in the process nothing is going to be materialized.

Two- if the state government really had the intention to showcase the spirit of sports in Manipur than the Sports Department could offer a suitable job to Monica on top priority. This way the spirit of Manipuris sports can be saved. Let us remember this is a Manipuri national issue where even a visibly challenged one has his duty to perform. Please let this Monica issue be opened to all.

The politician both in the opposition and ruling needs to work together. If they failed to strike the iron when it is hot than the wrath of public may fall on them. The Chief Minister and Sports Minister seemed to have pulled the cart well as far as the show goes.

They need to be encouraged. In a football match all the players starting from goal keeper to midfielder have equal responsibilities. At such critical juncture it would be wrong to mock with the politicians.

In one way Monica is a crusader who is giving a wake up call to many who are still in their deep slumber. The racism and discrimination practice of some canny SAI officials calls for a timely intervention -is what Monica attempted to herald to the people of North Eastern Sates. Let us pray together that 'whosoever wronged be punished' be it is through the act of the gods or human.

The other day when our Hon'ble M.P. Mani Charanamei boldly gave his statement saying he would fight for the cause of Monica in the PMO, everybody was thrilled hearing that. Certain organizations in Nagaland and in parts of Assam including the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi strongly condemned the works of some manipulators that blocked Monica from entering into Olympics. Monica episode is one chance where we can work together, fight together for a common cause.

In the brief two decades history of Manipur, we, the indigenous people have never been together in any of the issues. People with different mind set always seemed to have been abetting each other to draw swords against thy own cousins. Bloods have been shed and gun shots have become new music in Manipur.

Land disputes, bandhs and animosity among ourselves have often been translated into violence which had done much harm to our society. The culture of guns has taken the reins and 'silence' is the best option for the wise men.

Who bothers... We have been cooking together till the doomsday befalls.

Anecdote

Union Minister of State, ID Swami and his team visited Manipur on 5th July to take stock of the situation in Manipur following the June 18th.

Due to prevailing tension, the Ministerial team diverted the normal route and preferred to travel through the dusty Sangaiprou road. Already women in thousands have lined up on the Tiddim Road stretches- rehearsing, flexing their limbs and muscles to display some left over techniques of 18th June in the presence of the Honorable Minister, who arrived Manipur much later. Women in Manipur were of the view that the honorable Minister had missed the 'Must See' scene on 18th June and it was their duty to give a lively demonstration on his arrival.

Smelling some unlikely event the Manipur Police team whisked the Minister away through lanes and by-lanes of Imphal and ultimately landed in Raj Bhawan. Giving his smartest salute to the Minister, the eloquent liaison Police Officer wishes the Minister "Good Day Sir". The minister who knew it was not going to be a good day beamed the police office with a scowl on his face in reluctance.

Over a cup of tea, before the serious discussion started the Minister asked the Governor in utter disbelief "If what the women in Manipur are as virulent as they are seen today?"

The weary Manipur Governor, who had had enough of his share during the uprising replied with an intelligent smile "Definitely sir, they can do anything". He continued, "Moreover what have you seen today is only women force". The Minister further queried "who else were there on 18th June". The Governor replied "It was ferocious Mixed Double on 18th June, sir".

You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there. -
Edwin Louis Cole




* R.K. Shivachandra, social worker based in Imphal, contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be reached at india_myanmar(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on August 26th, 2008.

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