As we stand now at the beginning of yet another year, we inevitably end up taking a relook at what passed us by, what we achieved and lost. A few among us might begin to scoff at the romanticism of the fuss that is associated with the annual cycle saying that the beginning of another year will not change things, that they will remain the same. Yet, for all purposes when January 1 dawns on every ‘new year’, people all across the world will herald its advent with cheer and celebrations. Millions of people will peg on hope that there will be better times ahead, that there will be more progress and peace. What happens in real terms will only be reflected in a balance sheet that marks what has earlier happened in the 365 days that has gone by.
Manipur’s 2012 started on a subtle note after emerging from an extended economic blockade. Back when 2012 was about to start, we hoped that we would not see another economic blockade. We prayed that we would not have to see any more long lines at petrol pumps, that we would not have to pay exorbitant prices for the most basic requirement to run a kitchen, the LPG cylinder. We heaved a sigh of relief as the days, weeks and months passed by on the calendar without an economic blockade breathing down our necks but by December, the pace of life unstuck itself. First came a brief interlude with an economic blockade that thankfully resolved before it could bring in a sense of déjà vu. In the earlier part of the year, all the buzz over a shift on who would lead the government were laid to rest with the outmost conviction when the Congress romped home with the maximum number of seats in the history of democratic processes in the state. Though the Congress showed who was boss in the state terms of muscle power, the one positive takeaway from the elections were that there were a few first time elect representatives who crushed known names.
On a somber note, post mortem records from the state medical records show that out of 505 cases, the maximum number of deaths being pegged at 196 happened due to road accidents in the state cautioning each one of us on the perils of clogging the narrow roads of Imphal and other districts with more and more vehicles and less and less abiding of traffic rules. It tells the relevant authority to also pull up its socks and ensure that traffic rules are followed and not be left to be flouted by VIPs and security personnel who get the go ahead. The number of deaths by hanging is another somber reminder of the fragile nature of the state, society and family. There can be no joy in death and if the figure of deaths in the state is a toss up between road accidents, death by bullet injuries and suicides, it tells us that we need to have a look at what it is that we are missing.
A New Year set to begin should not only be confined to the solemn and the gloomy bit. Like Pandora’s box, which unleashed sickness and anger and unhappiness but also had hope, we should all have a glimmer of hope that we do have what it takes to bring out the best in our self and in the people around us. As we shake our heads and say the all too familiar, “things will never change”, let us resolve that each one will take the responsibility to change what we can. Trouble and strife is what fills our spaces in the newspaper and media sector but maybe, there will be a time when we can sit down and write about things working, about how life is changing for the better. Here is looking to that time.