Editorial – Violence Within

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The silence is getting eerie. For while on the surface, calm seems to have returned, the undercurrents still promise an uncertain future. This cannot be peace, and if the government or anybody else thinks this is, let them rethink. For all we know, this could be the proverbial calm before the storm. In Manipuri there is a saying indicating how dangerous it is for black magicians to conjure up spirits from the netherworld for whatever the mission in his mind, and then deciding to leave the spirits to take care of themselves without bothering to put them back to rest after the mission is either accomplished or aborted. In a similar vein, there is also a belief that even a bedtime story teller of innocuous kids tales, is obliged to tell his or her story till the very end, lest he is chased by wild elephants in his sleep. These beliefs are not to be trifled. They contain timeless archetypal wisdoms, neglecting which can only mean trouble for the protagonists. If the protagonists are people in position of power, whose actions have profound bearings on the lives of the masses, they can by their action or the lack of it, put everybody else in an unenviable mess. This being the case, let those in positions of power, be very aware of their onerous responsibility in the matter. In the end, they could be the ones who sin the most, and possibly face severe backlashes of the people.

No marks for guessing. We refer to the deafening silence in matters of the arrest and trial of the United National Liberation Front, UNLF, chairman, RK Meghen alias Sanayaima. It would be extremely wrong for anybody to believe the sordid story has reached its denouement. Depending on the course of action in the coming days, the matter can either be another milestone towards the quest for peace or else a fine opportunity wasted. From whatever has been happening, it does seem the latter is more likely to be the outcome. Let it also never be forgotten, especially the hawks amongst the official speculators of the future, that what the state wants is not the peace of the graveyard, but one defined by justice and an all round sense of security. This can come about only if the unfolding story is told to its logical end. This logic definitely is also not about keeping mum and wishing everything and every issue would be put to a conclusive rest. Remember the nightmare of rampaging wild elephant for those who leave this intense story incomplete.

The silence is also of the people. This has many parallel messages. One is that they are tired of all the violence that has come to define their everyday lives, whatever the cause or objective behind them. The fatigue has made them passive. All the years of intimidation has benumbed and made them inarticulate. They are never sure if anything they speak up now would not invite trouble for themselves, from the government as well as those fighting the government. This silence hence is not a lack of intent or interest in the development, but one of a collective lack of courage to stand out of the crowd, a sorry state of societal impotency thrust on them by the extended brutality they have had to tolerate. However, let this lack of spontaneous reaction not be mistaken for a final resolution to the problem. Think of the situation instead to a dormant volcano. The fury within has not been addressed. Let there be no doubt whatsoever that until this has happened adequately, the potential for future violence would remain.
There is yet another reason for the silence. Nobody is sure what they are expected to do or speak. They are even less certain what the consequence they would be inviting if they speak up. Our call at this point is for there to be some proactive step so that the ice is broken and this dreadful silence is ended. The catalyst for such a proactive step would have to first come from the government and indeed the UNLF’s leadership and advisers. The ground must be prepared for the party to have consultative meetings within themselves, with other underground organisations in the state and region, and most importantly, conditions for a comprehensive and free-for-all interface between the people at the grassroots and the UNLF must be prepared. Only this can ensure the suspicion and uncertainty are erased and all parties involved can read, assess and understand each other’s will and aspirations. Let the roadmap for a final resolution be informed by such a consensual picture of a collective will. Only this can give permanence to a solution envisaged.

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