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Times Gone By

by N. Arunkumar
A group of armed young men enter an office in a high security zone and noiselessly put a bullet through an officer who was on the threshold of his retirement from service perhaps, and walk off home. No one comes to know anything about this incident till much later, and the official was hurried to the hospital where he was pronounced as ‘brought dead’. The veracity of the incident is so creepy and will most certainly terrify the daylights out of anyone here in Manipur as well as outside it. Imagine, if this is what can happen in a high security zone, where are we going to be secure? Where are we going to be safe and sound to come back home from our daily chores in one piece? If such acts are any suggestion of a war for our secession from the Indian colonial yoke, then we are absolutely not on the right track at all. Besides, if personal scores are being settled in such dreadful manner, we are doomed. Whatever may be the cause of a person’s behaviour that calls for such drastic eventualities, it does not justify murder.

This incident once again brings to light the meaninglessness of life in Manipur for us today. Are we being led to believe that slaughter of a person will resolve a problem? But, will it truly undo the rot that has perhaps called upon the sensibilities of the perpetrators to mete out such ruthless justice? Or, is this justice at all, on the flip side? I personally do not know the person who was silenced in this method and yet, I cannot fathom the horrifying act as warranting validation by the perpetrators, on his life. The end result of this murder is merely that another government office will now fall into shambles and lie crumbling. What is the end result of such rubbish? More baloney will follow and there will be a virtual breakdown in the functioning of this state government organisation also, where the murdered personnel was engaged. We are well and truly done for. Education has suffered for long due to over interference by concerned pressure groups in the state already. Now, it seems like we have entered a more vicious phase in this sector, and honestly, it does not look all that good for the sake of education. The decay had set in long ago, due to our brazenness to maintain a culture of bribery and, also our affinity to break every rule in the book to get what we want.

Our standards had deteriorated much before the advent of the present set of government servants. And, we do need to stem the rot somewhere of course, but if it is going to be at the expense of fratricidal war between our own brethren, then we might as well forget the battle and lose the war too. That is just what is happening in this case. The man who died might have been done in, for various reasons and not all reasons will be brought to the public domain for a debate. In fact, there is no room for much debate in our present state of affairs apparently. We are simply dictated to follow the party ideology of whomever it is who thinks and takes a decision about what is good and bad for us. The ideology itself is quite unclear to many of us and we still have to follow the diktats, as we have no opportunity to discuss it in a public domain. What is the effect of such myopic diktats subsequently? We are lost about the actual benefits that will accrue to ourselves in the event of honouring these forced changes within our society. And if a debate or displeasure is going to be welcomed with a bullet through our bodies, our voices are suppressed forever and we keep mum about our own disaster. It is like banging our head against the wall by ourselves.

We are all constituents of our society and if a person thinks that something needs to be drastically changed, there should be a platform to raise the issue and convince all the inclusive constituents about it. If not, then we are not in a democratic process at all, and we should then not be the ones talking about egalitarian means to achieve our collective goals. If issues are going to be settled with bullets through the head or the heart, then we might as well stop harping on the great values of our rich cultural heritage and fair rights at all. If there is a better alternative to democracy today, then it is best to come out into the open and let us all know about it. Let us discuss it publicly and allow the brilliance of our people to come to a decision on their own. Otherwise, forget about the chances of living respectfully in the world of refined people, once and for all.

All said and done, it does not behove a race of culturally advanced people to indulge in such senseless violence and killing on flimsy grounds. I am sometimes suspecting that the people who indulge in such violence are not Meitei at all. They are perhaps foreigners who are from enemy nations or from neighbouring countries who are hired to create disorder in our otherwise calm society. Meitei’s like us are not violent and we are an advanced race who has always been at the receiving end of violence rather than being perpetrators as such.

Mysterious external elements are the ones who are fomenting disorder within our society, and they are playing a game that the enemies of our uniqueness want us to play. Hence, the enemy is undoubtedly winning the war as well as the battle; as we regularly go on to indulge in fratricidal killings like these. The rivals of our self esteem are perhaps very much within and not without, apparently. If these elements are allowed to play havoc with our great cultural ethics and traditions folks, then our declaration to be peace loving people will be construed as nothing but a mockery. However, the truth of the matter is that we are facing complete wipe out soon, if we do not recognize these enemies in our midst and do something to apprehend them before our gorgeous culture becomes a story of – ‘times gone by’. My heart cries on account of the destruction of the values of our great culture and land today. My tears are running dry. My motherland lies soaked with the tears of blood of her own children. Are our beautiful traditions indeed in ‘times gone by’?



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