Institutions and Institutionalisation: Need of the hour

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By Amar Yumnam

There is one popular saying which does not operate successfully in development articulation, formulation, designing and implementation. It goes like this: “We will cross the bridge when it comes”. Success in development trajectory is much like achievements in academic pursuits. Doing well in matriculation examinations depends upon the preparations and efforts the teachers and the students concerned have put in over a period of time. These preparations and efforts are not reckless inputs but definitely follow a design and a structure. All these are components of the institution in the form of organisations (schools here), members of the institutions (teachers here) and the objectives of the institutions (good students). Following a design and a structure of norms in order to perform effectively and achieve positive outcomes are institutionalisation processes. Once these processes are normalised such that they are not violated and followed routinely can we say that the institutionalisation process has been completed. Then we can claim that the institution is in place. Three points of immense significance here. First, institutionalisation is not a static process. It is dynamic and continuous process. The uncertainties of social existence are such that they cannot be fully comprehended beforehand. In fact, as society progresses, there always emerge new dimensions of these. So it is imperative that human beings develop new institutions from time to time while at the same time improving the quality of existing institutions. Secondly, society-wide performance and achievement necessitates the presence of vibrant institutions in order that the achievements are more-widely based and sustained. Third, when the performance and achievement or non-performance and under-achievement are encountered in an institutional-oriented functioning, it becomes easier to identify the causes of either. This being so, it becomes relatively easier to work on the corrective and improvement mechanisms. So accountability is relatively easy in an institutional context instead of the reckless and random atmosphere of trying to cross the bridge only when it comes; it is always better to prepare ourselves beforehand to cross whatever comes our way on our journey to the
destination.

The need for institutionalisation and institution creating efforts are highlighted most prominently by the scenario of sports sector in Manipur. These have been further reemphasised by the recent emergence of new Olympians in our soil; this time it has been in multiples rather than the solitary in the case of Nilkamal. Now we need to collectively understand as to what has been the driving force behind the emergence of sportspersons of significance in Manipur. Invariably this has been the result of individual-based preparations and efforts. The institutional structure has been almost missing. We do remember with pride and love the existence of an important sports infrastructure thanks to the late Wangoi Nipamacha. But we still do not as yet have the institutions and their vibrant components to ensure a sustainable and accountable emergence of sportspersons. Mary Kom is not an institutional product and so also the other Olympians except Devendro. In the case of the latter, we had the Indian army as an institutional support for him. But here again it was not an institution designed for sports, but rather the individual commitment of him being supported by an organisation as a by-product of its main functioning. While efforts on individual foundations may be able to result in international achievements, these would be just sporadic. But a society and her tempo cannot be founded on sporadic ism.

The necessity of ensuring a sustained and accountable institutionalisation and institution-building for sports is particularly paramount in the case of Manipur. The region has remarkable lack of expansion of opportunities for employment and livelihood. It is also marked by an atmosphere of multiplication of destructive entrepreneurs. It is dominated now by a wind of pretensions and cheating. The scope for youths to prove their individual talents and flourish on that is as good as non-existent. In other words, here it is a society which has lost her tools and does not possess any stream of consciousness. What a pity!! But fortunately, the long years of existence as a kingdom has left a culture of excellence and competition and imbibed among the people certain norms for forward inter-generational movement. This is what lies behind the robust presence of individual sportspersons in Manipur. But this cannot be a permanent feature for sportspersons to emerge and thrive. The emergence of blockades at a time we should be celebrating the performance of our sportspersons in the recent Olympics establish beyond that this view. Further it also proves that the achievements are seen as individual-based rather than as society-wide.

This is exactly here that we should be collectively applying our mind on how to initiate a Manipur-wide institutionalisation process for nourishing sportspersons in the land and enable any talent in any event as the foundation for sustained livelihood of an individual. This would entail designing of institutions covering a wide spectrum of social functioning. We have very successful doctors and engineers leading very comfortable lives. We should also make it possible for sportspersons to lead very comfortable lives as well. This is the only way we can ensure a future of peace, growth and competition ready society.

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