By N. Arunkumar
An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
This is the moral of the following observation of mine. Somebody may like it and everybody will read it, I hope.
Yours truly is not a sensational writer of greater wisdom or quality than the conscious reader holding this paper in his or her hands at this moment. At the outset, before I begin to draft any missive to send to various newspapers here and outside here, I begin with these humble opinions about myself. Therefore, whatever I write need not be exactly earth – shattering or mind blowing to make people sit up and crouch on their backs and take note of the subject that I find worth mentioning in my musings. Yet, the present state of the drainage system in our Imphal city merits some attention by me today. It goes without saying, and off the block, that it is a city in perennial pathos of negligence, carelessness (by the authorities as well as its citizens), laissez – faire in doing things as and how one pleases, proprietary attitude towards civic amenities, and the list is continually long.
The city has no visible municipality working for its preservation or development of whatever exists in the name of civic amenities available to us citizens. Some areas of the city are flooded endlessly throughout the monsoon season, which also peculiarly seems to last forever these days. The weather patterns in the world have undeniably changed considerably over the past four to five years and, we are faced with an entirely new sowing and harvesting season too, in the wake of these odd climate changes. Besides blaming global warming or whatever it is that are causing these changes, we have to be prepared to meet any emergencies that tend to crop up in our day – to – day affairs of living. Woefully, that remains a distant dream for the people of the city. Our sloppiness is more manifest than our vigilance to meet eventualities of various kinds. The recent incessant downpour has again left the people stranded with no help from the authorities concerned to redress their grievances and provide decent amenities to them.
Many roads remain inaccessible due to water logging in the absence of drains to draw the water away to its natural reservoir or treatment plant. There is simply nothing of such kind in existence anywhere in this city, with educated members in the Corporation, civic authorities and elected council members who are entrusted with our votes, to ensure that the city grows up vividly and exponentially in terms of healthy living standards. Sadly, at the moment, we are living in wretched conditions, to say the least and put across gently. The real terminologies which are to actually to be used to exhibit our disgust might provoke our very sensitive public servants to anger and react, who were in fact supposed to ensure these things for us in the first place. But, they are mostly in their jobs to provide for the comfort of their families first, and not to provide any comforts to the masses after all.
So again, why should the department employees bother with these trivial things? They have their eyes on their pensions and how heavy it will be at the end of their tenure of public disservice. Some of the drains in the town have been completely blocked by individuals and groups at their own free will, as the water that flows through the public drain collects in front of their houses due to blockages here and there along the way. I have come across an instance where a senior officer in the Govt. of Manipur has stored a large amount of iron in the drain outside his house, and even refuses to remove them in spite of repeated pleas by the neighbourhood residents. He has used his clout as a senior officer to create nuisance to the residents. The water does not flow down this drain and the situation is status quo as I draft these observations for you. Some groups and individuals have even made their own drains, with as little space as possible to utilize the land to its maximum advantage. The society around may go to hell, is their stance to civilized living in a cosmopolitan society.
These attitudes are overlooked by the authorities as they are hardly bothered to do their jobs or what is expected from them. If the administration sleeps like this, the people have no one to turn to for redress of their grievances, and ultimately we witness such situations parallel to a kind of social anarchy. Each one of us will do things to suit our own conveniences, and thus the society will remain in a state of disharmony. We have enough of this already, and yet more of such cacophony is being added almost with steady uniformity. If the citizens realize that a city has to reflect a culture of its own and remain distinctly unique in the context of the present day world, it requires many sacrifices and accommodations of personal liberty by the citizens, for the benefit of social liberty for all other citizens. Harmony is not just a word in the dictionary of the elite, but an absolute necessity if we are to claim that we are proud citizens of Imphal.
It is therefore absolutely imperative for the government authorities to wake up to their responsibilities now and do their jobs properly. They have to justify their salaries rather than amass wealth on the sly in every ordinary work they are supposed to perform as a part of their regular duties. If the government has departments with qualified people in the form of Chief Engineers, Junior Engineers and skilled staff at their disposal, they must be made accountable to their departments for their performances, rather than turning a blind eye to their negligence of duties. Corruption is the hot topic these days with all kinds of people ranging from the ordinary man on the street to the corporate honchos having a say in the ongoing drama of fighting against it. In Manipur, we are simply living with this menace, which we have come to accept as a fact of life. Without greasing palms with speed money, nothing works here.
Take the disgusting example of traffic cops, mostly looking malnourished and starving, with a permanent sneer on their faces, shamelessly extending their palms out at rickshaw pullers and pocketing the pittance they dole out to them. Here, it is the rickshaw puller who is doing an honest job and the cop is the parasite. The uniform and the lathi in his hand is his ticket to broad daylight goondaism or dacoity, whatever you wish to call it. I mean, it is so difficult to pinpoint where we have to begin to clean up our act and start taking responsibility towards our city. The whole so called system is so rotten now, that searching for a place to start the activities for cleaning up our system of the disorder will almost be like looking for the needle in the haystack. We are condemned, unless each of us begin to change our attitudes towards peaceful coexistence with each other and then progress towards being true global citizens who care for our tomorrows, by being accountable to our personal hygiene as well as the hygiene of the land we co – exist in.
I shall conclude by reflecting on the US Patriot missiles that were abundantly used during the Gulf Wars to subdue Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The Americans named their missiles with these substitutions for the Patriot. It goes like ‘Proud Americans Taking Responsibility For Our Tomorrows’. So, taking inspiration from that, shall we call ourselves as ‘Proud Asians Taking Responsibility For Our Tomorrows’ at least? That is the minimum we can do to provide us the incentive to surge forward with hopes of achieving a global status and a respectable place in the world. Try it folks!