Eight weeks since I've been back at home (Churachandpur, Manipur) after a year and couple of months in Delhi, I feel that life out here seems to be stagnant being accustomed to the noisy hustle-bustle of the metropolitan city. I feel like an ant on top of leaf floating fallen on a pool of water depending and trusting on the wind that it'll blow us to dry land (or not). Life everyday seems to be consumed with unvarying performances starting off the day with my aunt bugging my ear shouting “Theng'nge hougatlo” (wake up it's late) and ending the day with my father's midnight alarm telling me to sleep when I'm making the most out of the meager electricity allocated to us by watching television.
I at times feels that life is this way and will end this way. My father is still the same person he was years ago and so is everybody around with the exception of those who show keen interest in bribing, paying 15-20 lakhs rupees to those authorities who guarantee their sons and daughters a position in a department. Many gained from it and many has seen or are preparing to experience the hardest part of their lives. Seeing all these, I doubt will I be considered unpatriotic for preferring to go back to the noisy fully-mechanic city leaving this monotonous yet fresh and not so calm place? Most will say yes but before one takes up the notion that I detest Manipur and see the “un-patriotism” in me, I'll have to overcome the reticence I house inside me.
Starting of with development which all of us can see that the trend here is downwards, we know that our state is considered one of the least developed states in the country. The question here is, “Do we or do we not know what causes the same?”. Yes we know what are the factors causing our state's depreciation. We know that the state's administration is infected by social evils of all types and heightening the ignominious political system are the malevolent (so called) revolutionaries and the barmy Citizens who are also equally accustomed to scuffles and dissensions. The frequent strikes and blockades for which the state is known far and wide has made the state a living joke. Keeping all these in view, what do we see as a future of our tiny state? Nothing, but a very dark and shaky tomorrow. If one probes one's own mind about what is behind the States Depreciation, we do know the answer but if asked by any, blame game commences. The state authorities will blame the Central Government and the citizens and vice versa. The truth in fact is that it is we who are responsible. Not a single person can be spared from being held as a culprit of the state's all-round shambles.
India is a democratic country and as our state being a part of it, follows the same. The question is, “Do we have justified reasons to be proud of what we call democracy?”. We elect our leaders and our leaders (as expected) leads our way (or do they?). In Manipur, we have our own way of electing our leaders. To be a Leader or to be one of those fighting for the crown, one needs not to posses a leadership quality or be well-educated but should be rich regardless of he or she being a gentleman or a cad. Why rich? We as citizens are supposed to elect an able leader who can represent the mass and be a forerunner of the people but what can money not do these days? “You give us money, we will vote for you” has been a defined hard rule out here. The otherwise parsimonious would-be-leader makes no hesitation in giving out what the people demands for he sees what's in store for him if he is crowned. And here we are, for the right decision we took years back.
Bribery, another social evil has got a dignified status in Manipur. It is a known fact to all that if a person needs any help from anyone who works in a position in which he or she is supposed to serve the people, there is a need to pay some price for the service. No wonder why I had to pay `500 for a character certificate which comes free. Will this end? Yes, only if we let it. These things show that we (citizens) are the worst of all. If we really care for ourselves, why do we let bad things happen to us? We know where did we falter, we need to stop them from happening further but no, we are busy in our personal affairs, dividing and trying to grab the best part of what our ascendants have left (never did we think of reviving the good days gone). Similarly, in a little higher level, each community are engaged in their business of creating separate areas for themselves. I have a tribal mother and a Meitei father, where do I stand?
Revolutionary groups by whose name scares the shit out of everybody is one topic which is always under the spotlight when it comes to the question of the state's downfall. The same holds for armies, commandos and police. One group terrorizes from the underground and the other doesn't need to. Helpless us are trapped in between the legal and illegal terrorists afraid of stepping one way or the other for both Gun A and Gun B are pointed on our temple and both ready to pull the trigger. I recall that most, in fact all revolutionary outfits have the same objective, the betterment of the society, the state. Then why the gunfights, the killings? And do we understand that ours is so tiny a state, vulnerable from losing its real identity?
Revolutionaries!! Rise up and look, what is happening and the future you dreamed of has a sky-earth difference. Picking up arms and “Red Paints” everywhere is not going to nullify all contentions.
People! We had it enough and why fall when they entice us? This time we shouldn't let them draw away our rights. Why don't we rethink and elect a leader who leads? Look at the condition of life we are living in. Are we okay with the dusty and muddy roads? Are we content with the four hours electricity a day? Bands, strikes, protests and high price of essential commodities, we have had it enough. Our prosperity lies in our hands. It's time we get together, put up a fight and built a stronger state for a bright future for the coming generations if not for ourselves. Seen enough bloodshed and empty stomach. Lets put an end to it.
Coming back to senses, I hear my father telling me to sleep. It's 00:00 Hours, midnight and here the light goes.