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a potpourri of
A potpourri of personal commentaries
Through the looking glass of a pacifst
While my guitar gently sweeps
I have a dream
Prejudice, ignorance and intolerance
- The Manipur hangover and search for a solution
Contact : +91.9818.6051.61
ike an individual, every community has its distinctive
traits and ways of life. At a glance, observers in the
state would say violence, corruption, drugs and cheap
lifestyle amongst other things, provide the platforms
where the farce is set. These are the parasitic elements
of any backward region and are, not surprisingly, rampant in our
neighbourhood. The resulting frustration is manifested in our daily
life, where the elected government is bent on intimidation while
non-state actors are defying them at will. The general public are
sandwiched between the two, and are disoriented lot between the
devil and the deep sea.
A confused identity and a sense of belonging nowhere are
the building blocks of this absurd plot in the valley. But there are
dreams, and plenty of them, which are sustaining our life and
making survival possible. The struggle for achieving them has
become all the more diffcult as many have lost faith in it while
others are embroiled in the chaos and lack of clarity to accomplish
The hope of a peaceful and self-reliant society is all we have
got for posterity. We need to change ourselves, get rid of the
violent and lazy mentality, and make ourselves visible in the global
It has called for fguring out our roots. Asking ourselves where
we belong might puzzle us again. Still we know we do belong to
a root. Belonging is a feeling – not just a membership. It involves
being included or accepted by others in a group. Hopefully, it
is not politics this time around, but rather a universal feeling of
love that we have for our birthplace. We belong to humanity, and we know it.
In deed, this consciousness oil the social reality, however harsh it may be in
But how do we justify the security forces causing mayhem in a crowded
place? Is there any authority out there? Or are they so busy fghting the rebels,
who are clamouring for freedom from the jungles? Why do we remain a mute
spectator to bloody gunfghts in our backyards? Is it done just by staging those
boring sit-in protests or organising senseless general strikes? How do we say
we have an elected government? There are several more questions that we
don’t have the answers for – the stupidity, of course, makes us a hardcore
One of the insurgent groups even criticised that ‘the killer pack of police
commandos the chief minister is raising is beyond counting.’ We can hardly
expect anything from this dimwitted commandos, who were formerly raised as
the Quick Striking Force (QSF) in the late Seventies. They are blood-thirsty and
barks when their masters order. But, at least, we expect some panacea from
the top brass if – yes, if they are aware they are responsible for the security of
the man on the street.
In history, we have seen revolution giving birth to nations whose power and
autonomy have markedly surpassed their own pre-revolutionary pasts. France
became a conquering power, the Russian rose to an industrial and military
superpower. Mexico gained political strength and the country is least prone
to military coup in Latin America. The culmination of a revolutionary process
reunited and transformed a shattered China. Likewise, decolonising and
neocolonial countries, such as, Cuba and Vietnam have broken the chains of
extreme dependency. We have also seen the lofty ideals of Liberty, Fraternity
and Equality fring imaginations in the quest of social and national liberation.
of a PACIFIST
Violence rules the roost in Manipur – the state government as well as the militant
organisations are responsible for this deplorable condition. The bloodshed continues
unabated and the only thing that remains is the hope for a better tomorrow.
BY KAPIL ARAMBAM
It might be superfcial to compare these enhanced national powers to a region
like ours. But the resistance is completing fve decades and it is worrying, the label
of being a failed state is going to be attached for ever. It is an open secret how these
insurgents are operating with mass extortion, and how armed movement has been
devalued shamelessly as a business enterprise. What is to become of Manipur?
Ted Gurr elaborated in ‘Why Men Rebel’ that political violence occurs when many
people in society become angry. And people become angry when there occurs a
gap between the valued things and opportunities they feel entitled to and the things
and opportunities they actually get – a condition known as relative deprivation.
But there are basic counter-arguments, which are convincing and easily specifed.
No matter how discontented an aggregate of people may become, they cannot
engage in political action, including violence, unless they are part of organised
groups with access to resources.
Is it only politics that is affecting the Manipuri landscape and the North-East as a
whole? Not necessarily, as this aspect is also closely related to a regretful history, a
complex geography and an ineffcient economics, so as to say, that is spoiling every
generation. In our homeland, we have so many beautiful places to die for, and vast
natural resources to kill for. However we are caught in a time warp, unable to break
free from the chains that tie us to our tribal instincts. We have been exploited... we
have been humiliated... we have been cheated... but this is not just done. A gun is not
at all enough to bring us salvation – we need thought and discipline and reason and
commitment and planning and what not.
In 'Revolutionary Change,' Chalmers Johnson described revolutions on the basis
of a value-orientated social system model. A crisis comes into existence, according
to Johnson, whenever values and environment become seriously dis-synchronised,
due to either internal and external intrusions. Then, people become disoriented,
and hence open to conversion to the alternative values proposed by a revolutionary
movement. The existing authorities lose their legitimacy and have to rely more and
more upon coercion to maintain order. Johnson continued if the authorities are
"smart, fexible, and skillful," they will implement reforms to "re-synchronised" values
and environment. But if the authorities are stubbornly "intransigent," then revolution
will instead accomplish systemic change violently.
But there are doubts about the prevailing armed rebellion, blamed for ideological
bankruptcy and focussing more on extortion and government contracts, will be able
to re-synchronise the social system's values and environment. Or rather, to create an
organised and self-conscious "class-for-itself," as expounded by Marxism.
We rise to every dissension and sink to any depth of social-economical and political
tragedy. We are resilient to this experience would mean but to be preoccupied with
a defeatist’s psychology.
Getting to the basics, the Manipur State Development Report in 2006 surveyed we
have a meagre 6.73% of the gross geographical area of the state, which is classifed
as agricultural land. An ineffcient centralised planning, with an acute infrastructural
scarcity and lack of resource mobilisation, has been cited as the
foundation of the present economic doldrums. No wonder, the
successive governments are resorting to overdrafts to pay the
employees in various departments.
Throw garbage politics into the dust-bin. A couple of years ago,
in an opinion poll conducted by the All India Radio, nearly 90% of
the 750 respondents answered corruption is a bigger issue than
HIV/AIDS though the state has the highest number of the HIV-
infected people in India in terms of population ratio.
Corruption is unbridled where there are low public-sector
salaries, delayed salary payments, weak performance evaluation
and disciplinary procedures, extra-budgetary funding mechanisms,
and lack of complaint mechanisms leading to disciplinary action.
It does not take a rocket scientist to identify the complication. While
culpability might be a debatable issue, what causes corruption to
spread its tentacles in society is not. It can be minimized only if
political leaders are willing to impartially implement effective anti-
corruption strategies and augment the probability of detecting
and punishing corrupt individuals.
But then this crookedness has eaten up the entrails of our
society. It would be wrong to blame the system because all of us
are equally responsible for creating a dishonest and corrupted
We are caught in a web of decadence and, unfortunately,
everything is inter-related in the establishment – we cannot expect
any positive upshot out of this mess. Do you see any probability
of curtailing the drug menace in the state? Is there any chance to
resolve the crises bogging down the region in the near future? Not
at all, and the answer is simple as that.
The diagnoses do not mean to doctrinaire the multi-faceted
disorder, like once the mainland politicians and policy-makers had
done for the sake of expanding the region. These are rather the
quest for a development paradigm that is conditional on improving
the people’s subjective well-being in an environment of peace. An
air of pessimism is lingering, and is making us more frustrated. No
redemption song can free our mind. This pen is all that I have and
I doubt, it can write further.
The dream of a peaceful and just society has remained as
elusive as ever. We are a violent society, trying to seek recourse
to violence to address the issues. Still, we believe a day will come
when man will be equal to man and blood is shed no more. We
want to leave behind a vision that would survive this turmoil. And
Killing in the name of...
eisure activities teach us several
things. An awareness is being
instilled, which otherwise would not
have been possible in our mundane
life. The knowledge that soaked
consciously or unconsciously in our pursuit does
a great deal to make us understand things.
It does not matter what you do, but how
you do it. In solitude or in company, there are
several things we can pursue for recreation.
These activities in our life are provided with
several doors, which lead us onto large rooms
for exploration as well as discovery.
For the past ten years, we have been playing
guitar for fun. This hobby has fne-tuned our
receptory veins, enabling us to split the best
piece from the better lot, and the better one
from the good collection. You cannot call me
an expert because I still don't know how to
read music on staves. But the years that I have
spent strumming my Signature semi-acoustic
instrument, have been quite an experience. One
of the most remarkable experiences is gaining
the knowledge to critically appreciate music. The
world of music, which many people have been
traveling along, transforms into a familiar valley
of wild orchids, streams, and sweet melodies
when my guitar started sweeping gently.
In our teens, it was our deep interest in rock n'
roll that gave us a hitch to this place. Our seniors
had then advised if we could play A-D-E, we were
done. We improvised on those simple chord
progression, fngering techniques, and further
There are certain things in life that we can learn from our
hobbies and the experiences that we gain are quite exciting.
BY KAPIL ARAMBAM
graduating into groups – playing easy Led
Zep and Dire Straits riffs, or anything short
we could make out from the dizzying spells
of Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo, Eric
Clapton, Richie Blackmore and their ilk.
Finally, we found there was something more
hidden in between the notes. Music is life.
Everybody has the desire for making it
big some time but, unfortunately, it does
not count anymore as far as our guitar
is concerned. However, the journey has
enabled us to feel the intricate emotions of
every musicians. Our frames of reference are
broadened and we got newer perspectives
to view the world.
Especially, when we were growing up
in a chaotic place like Manipur, our guitar
was a useful weapon. It had provided us a
space to get rid of boredom in the listless
Imphal atmosphere, a solution to ease
our frustration caused by the moronic and
megalomaniac leaders, and a means to
excuse those eye-soring activities of the
numerous self-interest, social psychopaths.
In other word, this weapon doubles as a
medium, allowing us to mend the emptiness
of life in our hometown.
It is a pain to relate our guitar to these
political trash but we know more than meet
our eyes in reality. This is just one aspect,
and not surprisingly, there are still several
lessons that we have learnt from the six
On the cultural front, playing guitar
and listening to different forms of music
have made us more open to accept the
various social mores. People have different
taste, choice, and it varies as much as
there are different societies with their
own backgrounds -- be it social, political,
historical, geographical or whatever.
Technology has shrunk the world into a
global village, but we are still living in a big
bad world, where it takes sixteen hours to
reach the nearest railway station. Ironically,
we are not village-dwellers though our town
may be quite rustic. The experience takes
us out from the familiar social terrain to the
Many people counters us western music
is a mere hole-in-the-wall hoax, cashing in
on our deplorable weakness for anything
with a foreign name. For any critic, there
are always reasons and drawbacks in any
thing, well, for criticism’s sake. I’d say if you
argue correctly you are never wrong.
In fact, this magical instrument has
become our identity. Many people in
mainland India are surprise how every
north-easterner could play guitar. It’s in our
blood -- we are creative, crafty, and have a
‘soft’ hand. No doubt how we fnd so many
of our mayang friends and their siblings,
who want to learn the tricks of the trade
from us. These things apart, we have been
able to fnd a place in the mainstream. One
of the chief causes of the turmoil in Manipur
is the lack of identity. We are humans, and
we love playing guitar -- this consciousness
is suffcient to give us an identity and make
us a better person.
He who stops being better, the famous
British politician Oliver Cromwell said,
stops being good. As in our personal life
or in proffesional feld, a simple instrument
like guitar teaches us to keep up with the
rapid pace of change. The Black Sabbath
could do wonder with a distortion effect but
we have to improve -- that’s the only way to
survive. We need to update our awareness
about new gadgets and accesories to
commit ourselves to continual improvement
in life. Whenever we embark on our
way to improvement, we begin in small
manageable steps, like learning Bach’s
Sonatas, to make room for long-term
success, such as in playing Malmsteen’s
solos. It further accentuate our conviction
that we can easily improve. Oh, and while
my guitar gently sweeps...
While my g uit a r
ge nt ly s we e p s
While my g uit a r
ge nt ly s we e p s
irst thing frst. For starters, I see myself earning circa two lac [Indian
money will do!] a month, though without any income-tax hassles. The
cash is fowing smoothly, and I have a substantial saving that nets a
crore plus a couple of lacs invested in mutual funds.
I have earned, saved and invested, allowing me to buy a delightful home. It is
set in one of the prime locations in a cosmopolitan city. My property is designed
by leading architects and interior designers, and comprises several state of
the art fttings. It has a stylish and generous living area with a lot of period
features in a contemporary setting. I'd defnitely love to kill my time in the large
study room, furnished with a fexible library. The double aspect interiors are
well complemented by a landscaped garden, where I could throw occasional
parties and entertain guests.
With the money that I have earned by dint of my sweat, I've been able to
drive a jet black Bentley. I've also kept a spare Skoda Octavia in my garage.
The Blackberry might be beeping inside my tuxedo pocket, with a mail from an
important client, but which I'd not be checking until I reach my offce, situated a
half-an-hour drive from my home. Besides, I'm more handy with the latest Nokia
cell for personal use.
You might want to know where I am working to earn such a dough. I own a
multi-national publishing frm, where I work as a Managing Director. We deals
in books, journals and magazines, many of them with a global presence. Our
clients range from Foster's Australian to the lean, slit-eye Malaysian, and from
vodka-loving Russians to the arrogant Englishmen. All of them have one thing
in common - their incorrigible belief in our high-quality products. No wonder, my
employees takes pride in working in such an organisation.
I work 5-days a week from 10o'clock till 6 in the evening. It caters to pursue
my hobbies very well. I have a Fender Stratocaster guitar with a 501Processor
connected to a sophisticated Marshal stranger. There is also a plenty of scope
to kill time in my well-stocked library. I have collected books and journals, which
can eaten, chewed or digested. On the other hand, weekends are exclusively
separated for festivities. The ftted wine cellar would undoubtedly be everyone's
I'd unfailingly store vintage wine, imported whisky and a truck of beer in
I believe life is celebration. I would work hard, so hard people would take me
as their role model. But that does not mean I'd sacrifce my leisure activities.
And not surprisingly, I'd take my time off for holidaying once a year to exotic
locations across the globe. I have several places to go – Switzerland, France,
Italy, Spain, Egypt, Greece, Russia, New Zealand, Venezuela; and nearer
home Sikkim, Meghalaya, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh – oh my my... the list
goes on. I would love to visit remote areas in Manipur too.
On priority, I have also build a gym, with the latest gadgets, in one corner
of the house. I would work out an hour daily. Health is wealth, and it is a must
as I plan to hit a century - bringing more essence to my living. The balanced
diet and the spiritual lessons that I took would, no doubt, accentuate my
lifestyle. The easy life would be a source of vital energy, adding more to the
meaning of my existence.
All's well till now. But no man is an island. I love meeting people, though
I have what people call a reserved personality. My mood depends whether
I enjoy solitude or in company. One way or the other, I dream I have a
healthy relationship with my fellow mates -- family, friends or whosoever.
In life, it is a delicate entity, which we need to take care and nurture gently.
I have supportive friends, who are my critic, well-wisher, guide and most
importantly, my good company. I'd love hanging out with them, share things
that we love and hold debate about our ideologies.
Personally, I don't like routine things. I'll write novels based on confict,
insurgency and softer themes such as human relationship, dilemmas and
ironies. I'll travel around the world. I'll learn more about my hobbies and
passion -- music, web technology, photography et al. These pursuits will, I
believe, get me rid of the tedious, routine lifestyle.
Several meanings are bound to defne our existence. Every thing that I
have mentioned here suffces to add more essence. However, man is not
a complete being in this vast universe. All of us are a means to explain the
ends of our human life.
I'd be glad if I could take more lessons in spiritualism; if not, the material
gains are mere mortal's pleasure. We are not living for the sake of living.
The sacred study of our life will defnitely bring more shades of meaning to
all of our action.
There is a reverie, which has been occurring now and then. I dream
about being a powerful opinion leader -- to steer the direction of our
Manipuri civilization. I like to contribute worthy, pragmatic solution to fnd
a way out of the current hotch-potch. But they say thought without action is
not a thought, but a dream. The only way to realise them is to wake up. And
you know I'm an early riser.
I have a dream
No person has the right to rain on your dreams – Martin Luther King
PREJ UDI CE,
I GN ORA N CE A N D
I N TOLERA N CE
A report on the perceptions on
discrimination of North-East women in the
National Capital City
BY KAPIL ARAMBAM
For a long time, people from the North-East India
staying in the national capital region (NCR) have been
facing numerous cases of discrimination, harassment
and humiliation. Intense socio-cultural confict and the
resultant stress that impact all aspects of their lives
have taken a heavy toll on them. Study shows that
50% of the cases of sexual harassment are targeted at
women from the North-East. There are approximately
90,000 people from the region staying in and around
Delhi. On the other hand, the bewildering affair has
raised objections on the lifestyle of the North-East
women in general.
In January last, two women from Manipur were
molested and beaten up by 25 thugs. They were only
the latest victims from the region. Y. Monika, a cyber
café owner in North Delhi’s Gandhi Vihar had slapped
a man for misbehaving with her sister, Anjali. The main
accused returned with his friends, dragged out the
two sisters and allegedly molested them.
Dress to kill
Attire can express so many things about you. No
doubt, culture is characterized signifcantly by what
people are clothed in; but, it will be unfortunate if this
very matter cast a shadow over the dignity of a whole
community and if it is sowing dissension between
groups of people already diverge owing to varied
factors. To be precise, the way North-Eastern girls
gear themselves has raised questions on morality and
mystify whether it is the reason behind crimes against
them in the capital city.
It will be sheer ignorance to blurt out that the
girls with their freedom and choice to live their
own life should be completely responsible for
the misdemeanors. On retrospection, the clash
of culture or rather the domination of one over
the other has been the bone of contention since
long. Six decades of chicken-neck syndrome
have shackled the lives of the North-Easterners
and the incrimination that people from the region
are blameworthy ahs waxed more hate and
resentment towards mainland India. Moreover
the hackneyed conception of all the Mongoloid
stocks is ludicrous, for in any crisis it is labeled as
done or created by them in ignorance that there
exist different societies of diverse element in the
Non-entity in Mainstream Consciousness
It is often regarded that the whole North-East is an
open society where sex, drugs and violence are
pervasive while oblivious to the physical existence.
The paucity in the mainstream consciousness is
the genesis of point-at-issue, hitch together with
apparent racial arrogance. People from this region
with their distinctive epicanthic features, behavior
and dress habits are taken as “outsiders” and
often categorized as barbarous, uncivil, unrefned,
tribal, easy and what not. The perception of being
an Indian by the mainland people never seems to
include the build and frame of the North-East people
and it is deplorable that ignorance can also lead to
racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
Research study shows that Delhi is like
an alien land with unfamiliar language and
unknown socio-cultural terrain for many
students. Furthermore the situation is worse
for girls. Owing in large to their liberal culture
in the conservative Delhi milieu, they are often
seen as ‘fast’ or of easy virtue. This acuity
exposes girls from the North-East to worst
sorts of sexual harassment. Diana, a Mizo
student at IP College said, “Delhi men believe
that North-East girls are easily available. They
look at us with only one thing in mind: sex. If
we protest, they warn us to clam up because
we are alone and there is no one we can turn
In this scenario it is also interesting to
observe the lifestyles of folks from the North-
East which comprises mostly the student
community. While we complain that the
mainstream people do not understand our
culture, we don’t either give a rap about
their conservative way of life. N. Manishwar,
General Secretary of the Manipur Students’
Association, Delhi points out that some
people have brought disgrace with their
untoward characters and that usually North-
Easterners do not interact enough with the
local populace due to language barrier.
Is there any way out???
Last October, a manager of a call centre frm
in Green Park Extensions, New Delhi made
sexual advances to two young women. He
stopped their salary and suspended from
work when they resisted his overture. The
victims had complained to the North-East
Support Centre and Helpline (Contact: +91-
9818-3141-46), a joint initiative of various
human rights activists, social workers,
students, journalists and lawyers seeking
to prevent harassment and abuses meted
out to NE people and tribal communities of
other states. Initial investigations showed
that the two women from Nagaland, aged
about 23 were employed at Accurate
BPO. The manager made constant sexual
offers to one of them. When she refused,
the manager turned to her friend. She too
declined to fell in the trap and ultimately
both of them were sacked from the job
without any payments.
Madhu Chandra, spokesperson of the
NE-SCH says, “It’s been just 5 months we
launched the NE Support Centre & Helpline
and we have received more than a dozen
reports of sexual harassment. When we tell
them we are not here to replace the police,
but help smoother communication with
The list rolls on...
Dhaula Kuan Rape Case, May 2005 • : A 19-year old Mizo girl was gang-raped
by four men in a moving car after yanking her from a roadside eatery. The
next day, the Vice-Principal of Kirori Mal College made a press release that the
North-East girls should wear salwar-kameez to avoid any such happenings in the
Chanakyapuri Incident, November 2005 • : A Manipuri girl was molested and
mishandled in Chanakyapuri.
Nehru Vihar case, November 2005: One girl was molested while she was •
returning from the market by dragging her in a deserted alley. The police
refused to take timely action. When a complaint was lodged the police asked the
girl to take it easy. They replied that the action will be taken when she identifes
Mahipalpur Incident, June 2006 • : A girl was molested by four persons. No
police actions were taken.
Viyaynagar Case, January 2007: The accused rape and murdered a girl from •
Manipur in her rented room in Vijaynagar. The girl was alleged of being immoral.
Kingsway Camp Episode • : Three women were dragged from a rickshaw and
were molested in broad daylight by the examinee of Delhi police constables at
the main road. No police action was taken.
Mahipalpur Case, October 2007 • : One girl was molested by a tenant in
Mahipalpur. The duty offcer of Vasant Kunj Police Station refused to register
case until the media intervened. The accused was arrested but failed the police
failed to book a case under SC/ ST Prevention of Atrocity Act though the victim
belong to Scheduled Tribe community.
Vijaynagar Case, November 2007 • : The accused molested the girl and
passed lewd comments. In this case, both the accused and the victim were
tenant of a reputed Delhi Police offcer.
Gandhi Vihar Case, January 2008 • : Two sisters from Manipur, aged 24 and
18 respectively, were thrashed and molested by 25 rowdies in Gandhi Vihar on
5th January, 2008. The police registered the case only two days later when the
them, many of the complainants leave the
case at that. That’s why most of the crimes
go unreported and the accused goes scot-
free. This is a major hurdle we are facing”.
The last in line
Eventually, the mindset of the people in Delhi
towards the NE people and the lackadaisical
attitude of the Delhi Police towards such
issues need to be tackled. Ranjana Kumari,
director of the Centre for Social Research
and president of the Women Power Connect,
said, “In the northern belt, the mindset is such
that men believe they can control women
physically. That’s why they can’t stand the
freedom of sexuality that men and women in
the North-East enjoy”. She added, “There’s
no way out of this problem but for women to
take charge of these issues. In this regard,
we will be observing a National Shame Day
across the country, hopefully coinciding with
International Women’s Day on March 8, to tell
the people that women must be respected”.
Meanwhile, the attitude of college
authorities and the local police to incidences
of sexual harassment is usually nonchalant.
A couple of years back, just a day after the
Gang-rape of an NE girl, the vice-principal
of a reputed college in Delhi University
announced dress code for the girl students
from the region. In the press release issued
by the vice-principal, it reads-“All the NE girls
are sent by the militants of the region in order
to seduce the mainland people so they are
molested are raped. In this way, they are
trying to culminate anti-Indian sentiment”.
Often police stations refuse to register
FIRs and provide data on sexual harassment
of these girls. One policeman says, “This is
the daily drama these girls play at… how many
complaints should we register? Anyway, there
is no smoke without a fre”. Not surprisingly,
many NE students in Delhi are incensed by
the callous nature of the police. Sensitivity
training needs to be given to the police, and
not to the targets of attacks.
Alternate frame of reference…
In another perspective, it is notable that
discrimination of any kind is highly prevalent
in present-day India cutting across region,
race and culture. India ranks 114 in a list of
128 countries in the recently released Global
Gender Gap report of the World Economic
Forum (WEF). Particularly, Delhi is considered
as the rape capital in the country and no
wonder, even so many women from the North-
East have fallen victim to the harsh social
reality. Inequality and injustice are the order
of Indian society with a diverse gap between
the people in every spheres of life. Yet the
vantage point is different when we deal about,
for instance, the North-East on the problem
of sexual harassment or racial discrimination
in juxtaposition with the perpetual negligence
by policy makers in the region. It is altogether
a disparate matter when we analyze the
situation on those of mainland and the
North-East. Rakesh Pukhrambam, a Manipuri
student at DU opines, “It is recurrently needed
to create an atmosphere of resistance to show
our consolidation. The authority cannot afford
to overlook the aspirations of the people who
are occasionally regarded as belonging to a
Finally, social work interventions, concrete
measures to fght discrimination and enhance
socio-cultural exchange between communities
of students could help alleviate the problem.
Also there are law enforcement agencies to
prevent crimes but they alone will not be able
to solve the affiction. The local people’s co-
operation is also crucial in eradicating the
menace. Above all, people from the North-
East, who have different sensibilities, need to
be told about Delhi which is largely orthodox.
© Kapil Arambam: This article was published as a cover
story in the Eastern Frontier, a Manipur-based, monthly
magazine in February 2008.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Manipur -
The Land of Jewel, The Switzerland of India,
the exotic land where you could fnd the
Loktak Lake, the Siroy Lily, the Sangai and
so on. But please hold your breath; the next
few moments would not be quite amiable. It
is implorable as the people are miserable
here and you will feel pity. However, go to the
street and talk to anyone you would never
fnd such hospitable people on the earth.
As you begin chatting, the mysteries of this
place will mortgaged your mind, there are
lots of confusion and chaos but hopefully the
people are so carefree.
Although our society does not have any
expression of a cultured modern life or
whatsoever, we don't seem to mind either.
Experts view that we are in a web of conficts,
poor governance, ethnic confrontations,
multiple tragedies and a complex social
fabric. It could be ascertained to the fact that
it is the backwardness of the region hampering
all the comforts of a modern life. Here it is worth
mentioning that we are not yearning for fast cars,
jet planes, big trucks and other trendy gizmos,
rather we could be well-contented in simple life
but we don't want violence, corruption and living
In the quest, it is quite apparent that our society
is in a critical juncture of civilization. The other day,
a senior journalist opined that insurgency arise
due to underdevelopment in the region and the
controversial Merger Agreement. The reason may
vary from one person to another but the fact is that,
whatever the condition may be, we have to move
ahead along with the modern time. Unfortunately
it is the inability to change the mindsets of our
people that impede growth and development.
People are apical about our future. When you
are locked inside a compartment, obviously you
will see nothing and you have to crawl and scratch.
Our bleakly maintained society is always on the
The armed resistance movement started in the state during the Sixties. Since then we are
in a web of multiple tragedies, suffering an uneasy hangover from the British rule and more
recently, the merger agreement with the Indian Union. People are beginning to ask what
freedom really means. By Kapil Arambam
verge of negative outbursts every now and
then. Dear compatriots, we are not beasts
and want to live our life with dignity. Whenever
we demand our rights, the Government
lays their authority as if we are begging for
charity. The malady of maladministration
is so profound that we need a radical and
progressive movement. It is said that a
State is an individual writ large. As such the
development of a society depends upon its
constituents i.e. the people.
The miserable facts of identity crisis,
lack of political consciousness and fear
and frustration out of subjugation have
made our environment so deplorable. What
is the signifcance of law in our State?
Could anybody justify the existence of
The Government has been declaring that
the door is open to all the underground
outfts for peaceful dialogues. Any steps or
measures intended to resist the decadence
of our society is appreciable, the only doubt is
the sincerity of the authority existing legally or
otherwise. Incidentally the proscribed UNLF
responded that a direct popular consultation
should be held in the form of plebiscite
under the supervision of the UNO to end the
imbroglio and which the Centre has outrightly
rejected the proposal. Still, in a democracy
the people have the supreme power to form
or deform the Govt. In the meantime this type
of Government could be criticized here likes
Socrates and his students would have failed
to. The Government should be coerced
to give us an opportunity to express the
consensus without any prejudices and
Besides the army and paramilitary
forces must do away with their dominant
approach. It may not be entirely their
fault but violation of human rights
and maltreatment have created a fear
psychosis in the minds of the people who
have been already rendered ignorant
by the prevailing geo-economical and
socio-political scenarios. Peace and
development lies in the conscience of the
people. Since the origin of State, man has
been professing for an ideal condition,
though in vain. But as mentioned above
democracy is a well-known concept and
denotes a form of Government in which
the people have a share in the exercise
of the sovereign powers of the state.
Moreover change is the only permanent
object in our universe. To be precise,
the revolutionary movement needs popular
consent, however there are bottlenecks in their
activities for the simple reason that there are
two many groups and also, the Indianisation of
culture and tradition has worked in the Manipuri
psyche that there are people who incriminate
At the end of the day nothing seems worth
consideration except to tolerate the existing
scenario. Basically there is not solution to
answer these social riddles. Again it should be
noted that the development of a region depend
upon the mindset of the people. To be or not
to be, that is not the question but the apparent
solution is the embodiment of justice, equality
and fraternity which are nondescript in our
society. Lastly freedom is not the absence of
bondage but the feeling of being unbound even
This article was published in The Sangai Express on January
27 2006 and webcasted on www.manipuronline.com/Opinions/
September2006/manipurhangover25_2.htm and www.nagalim.
FREE AS A BIRD: An aerial view of Imphal valley
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