By Hoihnu Hauzel
In many ways, the future of Churachandpur district and its people depends on the ensuring election. The elected representatives are ultimately the ones who will shape the future of the people and the place. They are the ones who will assume the role of rulers and decide for the good of all. They will lead and show the way and be responsible and accountable for many issues ranging from development to a peaceful existence.
Therefore, the question of whom to give your precious vote has never been so important and pertinent as today. The need of the hour is a visionary leader who can fuse in new life and hope to the declining state of affairs in this promising district of Manipur. The people deserve to have a reliable figure on whose wisdom and wit they can safely surrender their fate. An educated leader who possesses genuine degree, who is articulate and well-informed, is one who should assume the role of being our representative. A selfless leader who would not pocket away the money meant for our development is one who should be chosen. A man of integrity and principle who can uphold truth under any circumstances is one who should be favoured. A broadminded leader with a fair understanding of global affairs and who will go beyond the petty lines of caste and clan is one who should lead the flock.
A thinking leader who can argue and debate with logical stand and one who can speak in the language of the educated lot in the Parliament is one who deserves to get the support of all.
Considering that Churachandpur district has only regressed with time instead of progressing, there is little doubt that people should be discerning enough by now to know whom to vote, this time round. Am assuming that people are now tired of leaders who do not deliver. That, they have had enough with leaders who only amass personal wealth for themselves at the cost of many others who go hungry. Churachandpur is bleeding and it needs a compassionate hand that can gently heal the wounds and nurse it back to health. The people should be eager and restless to revive the pristine glory of their home in every sphere. Lamka in particular, used to be a peaceful den with guitar-strumming youth who would walk the street fearlessly under the moonlit night. Today, can anyone with the right frame of mind dare step out after sunset? Yes, the district is home to drug lords and addicts. Unemployment rate is only increasing and social restlessness is growing. There are no productive vocational activities for the youth who are only wasting their prime lives. All these have not featured in the scheme of many existing politicians who would rather concentrate on more lucrative activities.
The problems in the district are manifold. There are sociological, economical, ethnical and political. If you consider the few government schools in the villages (in different constituencies of the district) it’s appalling as they are without proper facilities and teachers. There are no proper health care facilities in villages despite having the money sanctioned in paper. Do we have our basic needs in place? Why do we still run out of drinking water? Why are we so accustomed to having no electricity in our homes?
And part of the problem is having chosen wrong leaders who are not just quipped to think or act. They lack the faculty of sound reasoning owing to their illiterate background. If there is anything, this ensuring election must redefine the standard of our elected leaders who must represent us, fight for us, fend for us and stand up for us. If there is ever a toss between financial muscle and intellectual power, the choice becomes easy and clear. For what is the might of money that can be squandered away overnight when intellectual power endures forever? And, anyway, money in the hands of an illiterate and flamboyant is a dangerous tool that can cause social evil.
General public are in some ways responsible for having chosen incompetent leaders. If any voter can be bought with money, it would indicate their lack of character and stand.
However, there is hope of revival if we make the right choice. With a bit of brand new ideas, a lot of changes can be introduced in the district. The system is crying out for young blood to take on that role of leadership. I have had no inclination to know who is standing for what Party and where. Nor do I burden myself with the task of supporting or standing against any candidate. But for the love of the place and the people what is important for me and you is to identify candidates who are dependable.
I have had the opportunity of meeting just one candidate so far. He’s Chinlunthang, all of 37 and shows maturity beyond his age. Easily, he reminds me of India’s young brigade of politicians whom I have had the privilege of interviewing time and again. Like India’s youngest politician Muhammed Hamdullah Sayeed who, at 26, became the youngest member of the 15th Lok Sabha. Sayeed is a lawyer and so is Chinlunthang. In fact, it was only after meeting other young politicians like Agatha Sangma and Shruti Choudhury, among others, who are all lawyers by professions that I realized Chinlunthang really falls in that category of bankable young Turks who can make a difference.
Chinlunthang is soft spoken but firm. He is mild mannered and speaks with the wisdom of a lawyer in measured tones. He has taken on the Rahul Gandhi model of working and believes in acquainting himself with ground knowledge before he plunged into politics. No wonder, he’s also the president of Rahul Gandhi Youth Brigade in the district. Soon after he became a lawyer and practiced for a while, Chinlunthang gave himself for various social causes. As a social worker, he took on the cause of the poor and needy and educated himself on their problems and pondered upon possible solutions. Yes, apart from the college degree that he already possessed from Delhi University, (a science graduate from Hans Raj College), he knows and understands the need to educate himself on the problems of his people, an indication that he is dreadfully serious about his decision to stand for election.
Given the fact that he is an ideal candidate who can argue for his people in the Parliament and much more, he must be given a chance. In many of his campaign speeches, he is heard saying that his late father, Thangkhanlal, left no wealth or material possessions behind for him. But I say, the biggest wealth that any father could have ever left behind for his offspring is a sound education that no thief or burglar can steal. Chinlunthang is fortunate enough to have that today. And surely, it is this gift of intelligence that will stand him or rather, should stand him in good stead in this race.