By Amar Yumnam
Our celebrated boxer says she is already preparing to shoot for the gold in the next Olympics at Rio de Janeiro. In fact Rio is one city in the world which keeps striking everyone’s mind around the world and all for good reasons. Let us recall romance first. The fabulously beautiful city has such an enthralling and engaging presence in one’s thinking that we could only ‘Blame It on Rio’ when the middle-aged felt in love with a teenager in the tropical atmosphere in the 1984 movie of the same name. But today, this marvellous city is now the centre of every significant global happening. It defeated Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago to become the venue of the Olympics four years from now. Before that it is going to host the Fifa World Cup two years from now. It was this city that hosted the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. It has recently hosted the assessment of this conference twenty years hence as Rio+20 following two environmental conferences in between in this city itself. The
world’s two largest urban forests, Pedra Branca and Tijuca, are in this city. Now friends from the World Bank have informed that it has recently completed a state of the art waste treatment centre which would lead to 8 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Further the city has already started installing bicycle lanes spanning 300 kilometers. This is how Rio is emerging as a global venue for serious debate and a leading model of urban development with environmental qualities fully incorporated. Remember this is a Latin American city, and not of a rich country in North America or Western Europe.
Look at Ourselves: But let us have a relook at what is happening in this country and in our province of this country. When this country hosted the Commonwealth Games recently, we had only scam after scam characterizing our execution of the event. India’s till recently city of pride, Bangalore, has come down from the elevation from noun to verb as the destination for global outsourcing of internet-based services as reflected in the Obama speeches to one from where youths from one part of the country fled out of fear of racial violence. Well the world would only be laughing and many cities around the world must be putting actions in place to fill the void left by decline of Bangalore. The Sewage Project in Imphal has had the most damaging protest conceptually and image-wise from the recent disapproval from the Watham Leirak population; it is absolutely plain absence of monitoring mechanisms and rules for environmental regulation. Such news are now regularly picked up globally and the intelligentsia of the world use them as lessons for development articulation. This is why the administrators of both Imphal and Bangalore cannot afford to have good sleeps if they are genuinely concerned about the image of their cities. It may be recalled here that the protest against the World Bank in the Rio 1992 protesting the heavy environmental costs of the Narmada Project led to the creation of an institutional mechanism within the World Bank in the form of Inspection Panel the very next year.
Unfortunately this country and the provinces therein have shown dogged refusal to absorb lessons from the emerging global behavior for success and the repeated own failures. This is a sure mantra for ultimate collapse of this country. While we have India as a county, we wonder where India is as a nation. The imperatives for saving this country are in multitudes and the levels of correction are varied. India should now prove to the world and to herself without losing any time that she means business. This entails at the least that the various scams in recent years should be resolved and superiority of law established. This is true in the case of Manipur as well. Imphal is the social, political and economic face of Manipur. Anything being implemented here should be the guiding posts for the entire State and charm every visitor. The various articulations complaining against the disconnects between the so-called democratic processes and the developments needs of the population of the land should not be taken lightly. We now see logical expressions questioning the meaning of district administrations while the offices and functionaries of the Autonomous District Councils are based in Imphal. There is an absolute meaning in this questioning which we cannot simply ignore on security grounds alone. At the country level, the plain attraction of the country to the youth population is definitely not rising if not falling. There is no city in this country now which we can say is the definite centre of destination like London, New York, or Los Angeles. While the barriers founded on race and place of origin are disappearing (mark the recent relaxations on immigrants to get themselves legalise as citizens of America) around the world and competitive efficiency is being nurtured relentlessly, both India and the province of Manipur are showing signs of increasing ethnic articulation and place of origin articulations. In the unfolding global scenario of development trajectory, these are sure means for degradation and ultimate disappearance from any face of global recognition. Imagine Bangalore only of the Kannadas, Mumbai only of the Marathis and Imphal only of the Meeteis, and city in India like this, within the next few decades we would witness the decline of all and the fragmentation (social, political and economic) beyond recovery. There would be no India and no Manipur. We should rather be preoccupied on replicating Rio here.