Rendering Our Lives Uneconomic


By: Shreema Ningombam                       

 “Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the wellbeing of the future generations as long as you have not shown it to be uneconomical you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow and prosper”      – E.F.Schumacher

Rabina and Sanjit were not the first to be slain nor will they be the last. There is a predestined long queue waiting to follow their fate. We write for everyone of them who were butchered, murdered, killed or whose body was simply made to disappear without a trace not only in our society but everywhere else where human come together to form a society. We are born in a specific time and place where our lives have been rendered hopelessly ‘uneconomic’. Yet it remains a fact that it is still economic to some section of our community to take the life of some others. The very fact that the continuance of such series of brutal killings is beneficial and economic to certain section of the people makes these acts of brutal killings entrenched and perpetuated.

Answering every question is not the only solution. At times the questions carry much more of an answer than the answer itself .This article will pose a series of questions whose answers are left for the readers to think upon.

Q. Is the “agency” of human to steer clear of all the ill-circumstances and still be a good individual disappeared from our society? Each person is not born with the same physical structure as well as same mental aptitude. Yet we believe that each person has the ‘capacity’ to grow and become a human in its true sense. Why and how has this common capacity become so stubbornly dormant within each of us? How do we awaken this capacity?

Q. What is the social system or structure which has eroded our moral agency beyond recovery? No one is born a murderer. Certain circumstances and structure forces him/her to become one. Why are we unable to withstand the impact of such structure to maintain our moral agency? How do we bring about a respect for the lives of others?

Q. Who derives economic and political dividends from such brutal killings? It is time we trace the benefactor of such crime. They may not necessarily be people/persons; they may be certain structure, certain norms or certain mutated mindset of ours .How do we bring about a ‘critical emancipation’ of such distorted forms?

Q. What are the historical factors that have been instrumental in such slow yet pervasive regression of our mindsets and subsequently eating our civil society and body politic raw?

Is it the British colonisation which had used the means of divide and rule policy among our diverse communities? Is it the decline of education in the true sense both in the primary and secondary as well as in the level of higher education over the last three decades? Is it the lack of norms to be not corrupted or the norms that makes up lives with uprightness and integrity in both public and private spheres? Is it the lack of legal authority in our society or is it the thriving of multiple authorities in the same space and time. Why are we unable to evolve a legal authority by dislodging the present form of traditional authority? Is our democracy dysfunctional?

Q. Is there anything we can or should do to ‘reinvent’ ourselves?

 We all seem to know what we want; we want responsible government, good citizen with civic sense, ideologically oriented revolutionaries if there should be any. Yet we are all confused on how to attain these desired yet elusive goals.

Q. How the reform should be brought and at what levels? Should it be at the level of individuals or at the level of society?

We must note that every society is composed of individuals. Today’s children would become the evitable components of tomorrow’s society. One simple and the first step would be to indoctrinate our children the concept of humanness in order to bring about sensitivity towards human suffering and pain. We must not ignore the fact that the seed of the crime that occurred today was sown decades ago. There is an inextricable linkage between humanness and education in the true sense. Then what is education in the true sense? Lets us first think, contemplate and dream of what we can do to bring about an emancipatory transformation of our society. As every thought or dream is a prologue to a concrete action in future, thinking today and dreaming tonight would for sure bring about a change however slow and steady it may be. If Manipur has become an opened Pandora’s Box without hope ever coming out then we must create a hope of our own. Against all odds we must never stop reinventing ourselves.

*Note:  This article was written after the July 23rd Killing of Rabina & Sanjit and was earlier published on Sangai Express.


  1. Glad to hear some hard hitting honest introspections.
    My take on this is:
    Our society is yet to become mature. And impeding the process is our inherent social character. We are so much tolerant to indiscipiline, corruption, mob justice, high sounding morals (more of acoustic nature). We jump to opportunities of individual growth at the expense of community without even an inkling of growth. And off course our inherent character of oneman upmanship!!

    I was born in Manipur. But fortunately (or unfortunately) having educated outside of Manipur, I am totally at loss with our dealings here in all aspects of social, govermental, educational structure here:

    • (continuing the above comment. “without an inkling of guilt” is what I meant in the above)
      one is so nonchalant in giving bribes for government job. Here its interesting to see that we have a open market policy!!!!

      one here thinks government job is for getting a regular salary without working!!

      Student body thinks they can decide the fate of education. (the irony is How the uneducated educates a system to be their benefector?)

      we make lot of noise (logical/illogical) when it is propagated by UGs. The impression “that we are justice loving people and wont tolerate any kind of injustice”. However we are silent in those events perpetuated by UGs in the name of fight for freedom. Where are voice for justice when cops, civilians, non-locals are killed outright? (I mean some civil movement like Sanjib Rabina). Is it only Sanjib Rabina like when an UG is involved? If one remembers, Rabina was a minor component in the initial period.

      what was our social conscience in the 80’s when we could have corrected many ailments (which were just getting rooted).

      we justify ourselves as educated and civilised. But one can get an idea of how much we are just by driving through the roads of Manipur. One will understand how much we are self involved/absorbed that we dont give a damn of rules (which are for safety) and we only want to reach where we want to .

      we laugh at tribals condescendingly. But we ourselves are so much in tribalism.

      My only solution:
      lets bring up our children without our social bias, make them earn the ethical values, and give them true education not a farce one.


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