Restaurants, Meira Paibis and Love

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Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
Living in the present society of ours, one comes across different mind boggling situations which beg a reasonable answer as well as an expectation of an amicable outcome from various concerted efforts. Some efforts made by ‘some’ defy basic human logic.

We applaud the Manipuri womenfolk for their courage, challenging the mighty British Raj,the Nupi Lal movement then, bears testament. The capability of the women to stand up against injustice, to act as watchdogs of the society, preventing immoral acts and awarding befitting punishment as deemed fit is given due cognizance by the public, and the trend still continue.

The more than decade long hunger strike by Irom Shamila Chanu against AFSPA, bears testimony. It reflects the unbreakable spirit of a Manipuri woman and her struggle is a non violent and unique one.

Now, mentioning the present scenario, our respected ‘Imas’ conducting drives of shabby roadside inns which double up as brothels. Their efforts of ransacking such places, doubling up as moral police and sometimes forcibly engaging ‘visiting’ couples in wedlock evoke mixed responses from the public.

In today’s globalized era, where civil bodies organize rallies and holds conventions to propagate awareness about HIV/ AIDS and the use of condoms as one major preventive measure to check the pandemic. A Meira Paibi pointing to used ones found inside a ‘ restaurant’ and highlighting the immorality conveys the tell tale attitude. The reflected perception is that “immoral activity” occurs rampant inside the shady hotels. The efforts may be lauded by some but still, it can also be said that safe sex is being practiced, on a positive note.

The Meira paibis have been recognized as guardians of the society, the torch bearers in the darkness. Yet, certain activities including raiding shady inns and ‘punishing’ young couples is not the solution and unbecoming of the status given by the Manipuri society, one feels.

The need of the hour is not for Meira Paibis or a student organization to conduct such drives but efforts is required from other concerned organizations to point out the flaws in the management of the restaurants and impose certain strictures.

Certain organizations including underground outfits had issues dictates to the shady restaurant dealings, but the ‘restaurant’ culture still thrives despite the threats. It can be asked for how long can the ongoing drives be carried out by the Ima’s and the organizations? AMADA and CADA fought against drugs and alcohol abuse and many vendors including alcoholics, drug peddlers were paraded in the media with last time warnings and whatnot. But, did such endeavors yield the desired results? It can be safely said that despite all out efforts, vendors still dole out liquor and Sekmai town still continue to brew.A non Manpuri still openly sells foreign made liquor at the heart of Thangal bazaar .Polo ground is still a watering hole for alcoholics.

A makeshift red light area caters to the myriad customers at north AOC.

To address a particular ailment in the society, it would be false bravado to applaud Don Quixote for charging headlong into a windmill with a wooden lance riding on a donkey. Rather, the prevalent affliction must be dissected and discussed. Conducting deliberations with experts, the true conclusion and the path to go about to address the situation will bear light, in a logical and comprehensive way and endeavors should be carried out with a visionary approach .

An underdeveloped economy and want of jobs for the unemployed educated youths,want of funds to establish a proper business is sometimes left lacking. The easiest option to feed oneself and family may be to sell liquor or to open a shady inn at one’s own land. It should be introspected by the Samaritan groups on the outcome of the so called righteous actions and their impact on such wrongly self employed individuals.

It is testament that none can stop Sekmai from brewing liquor nor can an addict be rehabilitated by force. Different means of a profitable livelihood should be introduced to the brewers and proper counseling and rehabilitation should be given to the drug addicts. Force is never the answer. Similarly, restaurant owners along with the civil societies should plan the outlay and management of the shady restaurants to make it a more acceptable social gathering place to bring about a mutually beneficial solution. Thrashing owners and pulling out furniture, parading ‘immoral couples ’in front of the media and throwing stones is not the answer. It is felt that highlighting sex education in schools and providing a socially acceptable area for the youngsters to get together is also another need to bring about a positive change.

As far as moral standards are concerned, our society reveres drug lords, corrupt politicians and personalities in question. We sell our votes to the highest bidder and later still shout that our leaders are incapable, that our basic rights have not been addressed to. A sense of hypocrisy and gullible Samaritan-ism still pervades the Manipuri society.

Still, it is not wrong to think and act for the best interest of the society provided that the watchdogs of the ‘samaj’ also needs to be counseled on how to properly go about and tackle the excesses. They should keep in mind the biblical statement “Let those who have not sinned cast the first stone”. And who can stop teenagers from dating.

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