By: Heigrujam Nabashyam
The two months plus blockade of the NHs have caused lots of hardships to the common man – the Aam aadmi. The ordinary people without distinction – a majority of which lives hand to mouth are the hardest hit by the blockade. Even the hospitals had to stop routine operations for lack of oxygen and other life saving drugs.
The blockade had not spared even the school going children as school vans and buses could not ply as petrol pumps ran dry. Even the advocates Dharna-ad demanding petrol for their vehicles, forcing the courts to stop work. There is no cooking gas till today – one week after the suspension – nor kerosene for the common man which it is suspected, is reserved or diverted for the VIPs, the powerfuls and their connections.
Being a common man, the writer use to remember, the Hon’ble Leader of Manipur Integrity, Shri O. Ibobi Singh whenever he steps into his Chak-sung – the kitchen. For more than a month the chak-sung has been running without cooking gas or kerosene and there is no electricity to substitute. The prices of all essential commodities for the consumption in the chak-sung has been inflated – a good season for the unscrupulous business people – the agencies and the dealers, etc, maybe in collusion with the law enforcers.
Living in a town area where space has became so limited, living without LPG or kerosene has been extremely painful; whereas the leaders on both sides of the silly divide are safely ensconced in their fort untouched by the blockade. And the common man had to bear the brunt of the clash of the Titans; the collateral damage is bound to fall on the Aam aadmi. And like in a war, nobody complain and the ordinary people dutifully bear the hardships and follow the Hon’ble Leader very willingly without any question like the ancient Spartans.
Not surprisingly, the factor which drives the common man on both sides of the divide is, there is a dubious atmosphere that induces the public to believe that their future is at stake or a new history is being created. Therefore, it is the bounded duty of the people – the common man to bear these hardships – and maybe much more in the coming months and years or till the nationalist turned patriotic Ibobi Singh government survives. Pathetically we, leibak-meeyam do not realize that we are responsible for our own future and not the government of India nor any other power and that nobody will be able to destroy us unless we destroy ourselves, and I am afraid we are coming close to it, in the last few months.
The question is who are this “we” which can destroy – or redeem ourselves ? Is it the 24 lakhs strong public of Manipur ? Or is it the civil society organizations and the Meira paibis ? Or is it the students bodies ? Or is it the elites in the Leikais and in the neigbourhood ?
Or is it the Hon’ble 60 MLAs who represents – (24 lakhs 60) – 40 thousand people each ? Or the three Hon’ble MPs who represent the 24 lakhs people of Manipur ? Or is it the combination of the two groups of Hon’ble MLAs and Hon’ble MPs?
Now the simple question in layman’s term is where lies the power which can destroy or strengthen Manipur ? And the answer in the same language is it – the power, lies with the Manipur government, which controls the entire resources of Manipur – money, machinery, manpower, movable and immovable assets and the security forces, etc.
But, who is or are the government ? And the answer in the same simple language is the Chief Minister and his cabinet is the government, and to be precise the Chief Minister is the centre of power of Manipur.
That is the reason why I used to remember the Chief Minister wherever I saw the preparations in the kitchen without cooking gas or kerosene stove or electricity, but I appreciated the chief minister telling myself “Oh, great; you can even play your arch critics and take the people for a wonderful ride”! But this is my personal appreciation of the CM and it is not the point.
The point is one must appreciate and understand the “we” who can either destroy or redeem us. They can destroy peace and tranquility of the society and the future of our children or they can ensure peace and development and lead us to a promising future for our children. This is plain truth.
But as the old adage “Karidaa Tai Laa-da Tai” – in the end everything boils down to the Banana leaves; for the Meiteis the Banana leaves are a must for all rituals, ceremonies and occasions from birth to death – tells us, everything boils down to the people – who elect the Hon’ble members. And the Leikai and neighbourhood leaders and the leaders of the civil society organizations and the opinion makers are not without responsibility too, for the decay. After all the quality of our government reflects the quality of our Leikai, our neighbourhood, the opinion makers, etc. Markedly it is a feature of Manipur that in the time of elections a huge majority of the citizenry are driven and influenced by the Leikai and neighbourhood politics which is greatly promoted by Chaak and Dakhina – meals and some pocket money given by the candidates, rather than the issues of frightening unemployment, drinking water, electric power, roads, education for the children, corruption in high places, etc. Had it been otherwise, Manipur would have been a much better place and Chak-sungs in Manipur would have been much richer. Therefore it is high time we look at ourselves for our own good and for our children and for Manipur.
The writer is ex-candidate Singjamei assembly constituency