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Ministers binge at Keithel function even as police cut short Sharmila concert

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh launching the campaign of Badhte Kadam at BOAT, Imphal. 2010-11-20 | by : IFP Photo
Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh launching the campaign of Badhte Kadam at BOAT, Imphal. 2010-11-20 | by : IFP Photo
IMPHAL, Nov 19: A musical concert organised yesterday by All Clubs Organisations of Manipur, ACOM, Lup featuring prominent artist of the state, Tapta, at the Biehgyachandra Open Air Theatre, BOAT, was cut short by police as the permit for the concert was only valid till 8 pm. In direct contrast another concert organised by the government for the inauguration of the three newly inaugurated Keithel buildings at the same time ran till the wee hours today.

The Tapta musical concert held in culmination of the decade long hunger strike of Irom Sharmila was postponed earlier this month following similar permit hurdles, and was finally organised as part of the festival of justice, peace and hope by the Just Peace Foundation.
The musical night at the Ima Keithel was attended by cabinet ministers and other officials of the state including MAHUD, PWD and engineers of SIMPLEX, who carried out the construction of the three market buildings.

A huge crowd was further enthralled when Thongju constituency MLA Bijoy Koijam came up on stage to serenade three old popular numbers including ‘Taniklae thamoi ngashigei ahing ‘, a song by renowned singer, late Nongmaithem Pahari.

Even as the MLA performed, currency notes were showered on the MLA turned singer by works minister K Ranjit and education minister L Jayantakumar bewilderment at the actions of the MLAs.

“This is amazing that an MLA should come up on stage to sing in a public arena, they are the elected of the state and have to maintain a certain degree of decorum especially in public. The wanton display of wealth by the minister is also below the dignity of a public figure, this sort of thing happens only in Manipur, if only they would show similar enthusiasm regarding developments of the state “, a concert goer said.

In direct contrast of the merry making at the bazar musical concert, state police closed down the Tapta concert held in observance of Sharmila’s decade long fast.

Usually, musical nites at the BOAT go unopposed by the government authorities, even if the programmes continued even after the permission time was over.

Tapta, known for his non conformism and unconventional style, presented more than twenty songs to entertain the large crowd yesterday evening.

All the songs were dedicated to Sharmila.

One narrated the innocent reaction of four year old Russel, son of pregnant Rabina Devi, who was shot dead in the controversial shoot out at Imphal Khwairamband Bazar in broad daylight on July 23.

Tapta presented the songs during yesterday’s peace concert and performed for free. Normally he charges from Rs. 45,000 to 50,000 per concert including fees for his orchestra.

It may be mentioned that several human rights groups had decried the police action of disallowing the Tapata concert and the rally scheduled earlier showing solidarity to Irom Sharmila.


  1. This is an interesting self-satyrizing report. But it’s not something that happens only in Manipur. Westerners would see it as reminiscent of any number of tin-pot dictatorships, banana republics and third world megalomaniac despots. What is striking is the petty hubris. Small time mafia contractors form the Government of Manipur.

    They announce development is so that they can skim off huge fortunes and come the next election you will reelect them. On the whole it’s not a good idea to tell a small time trigger happy mafia goon that he can’t sing. I was suggesting rather that come the election you don’t vote for him again.

    The insanity is twofold. First the complete narcissism of the dacoits whose depredations have done more harm to Manipur than any of its previous invading armies. Second and part of this subjugation ordinary Manipuris comply like sheep. 50 years of no accountabilty violence rape extortion fear and paranoia. The only time a Manipuri fights it would appear is in a boxing ring. Before someone comments with racist abuse against me consider at whom are you really angry.

    Westerners need a simple translation. If they see Manipur as Tibet change will be forced upon India. Or perhaps a retelling of the Seven Samurai. The way in because Westerners live in fear of being called neo-colonialists and modern Indian rulers seem to thrive on the title, is to get the West to admit that AF(SP)A and colonialized beggared economy of Manipur were their creations. Western leaders feel the need to approach these problems humbly. If they take responsibility for the cause, then perhaps India will comply with a solution. The EU and UN live to pump money into development but there is no point while you have so many thieves at the door.

    It’s not that Manipuris cannot rise above the gormless gossip and low level racist and communal abuse. If anyone listened to the one minute speech given by the Head of the EU/India Delegation in the European Parliament you would see how well the MEP had been briefed by intelligent thoughtful Manipur Human Rights Lawyers. They assembled facts without tendentious exaggeration. They will make the West listen and India comply with its much boasted democratic constitutional ideals. At present India has an ersatz democracy. Like many things Indian, a sad imitation of the West, copied by rote without any understanding. India sold its birthright for the allure of being a First World White Nation. Many young Indians have no idea of what they are capable.

    The second thing the West likes is a poster girl. Americans and this applies to all democracies are always in an election mode. Now is the time American politicians are seeking candidacy for the Presidency. If an American President picks up on Irom Sharmila the black law will be repealed that week. The many peace prizes that Sharmila Chanu has been awarded don’t just happen. Again thoughtful hard working activists have to lobby in order to get AF(SP)A repeal on the national and international agenda.

    My plans for next week. As this will be my last comment here I am glad you asked. Having made a complaint with the Local Manager of the Kottayam Speedpost service to ascertain the name of the person who returned my official correspondence with the Manipur Home Secretariat I will armed with that name seek action from the Chief Secretary. He may not care that much but I am copying all correspondence to Western Politicians and since my request is on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and people generally don’t like being exposed as petty sadistic monsters…

    I have already sent a strongly worded letter to my own Prime Minister. I naively thought when I first came to India that if I wrote to an Indian poltiician that I might get a reply. I do see the funny side of that now. But what Manipuris fail to understand is that in a real democracy, politicians always respond to letters. They have interns whose job it is to summarize and statistize the letters, triaging the few that need to be responded in more detail. That is why I find being rude to my own politicians helps with getting under the radar and a true response.

    Then I choose another politician and start telling the story again.

    Once a Western politician feels so ensconced that he doesn’t care what the voting public actually thinks or says about him his colleagues know that it’s time to have him replaced. You may not understand why Tony Blair who was once the most popular prime minister Britain has ever had, had to resign. But it was really about mistakes catching up with him and his forgetting that his power comes only from the people.

    Replacing politicians is the only real power representational democracy affords. Until Manipuris work out how to do that you really don’t have anything at all except oppression. I am sure I will now be called a dancing drug addicted monkey etc I do not judge Manipuris by the gormless adolescent comments here. I was a spoilt brat teenager once too. Knock yourselves out or learn to ignore what you find unhelpful. I shall concentrate my efforts on snail mail and communications and meditation. The theory is that sincere enough meditation brings its own protection. I guess I must practise with better resolve.

    May you be happy. May you be happy. May you and all sentient beings be happy and discover the causes of happiness.

    • i appreciate your thoughts…. you are very right… may God bless you with your efforts… about your meditation …there is an ancient religion of manipur… which you may help popularise…. come to manipurtalks.com ….


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