Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
How do I live my life? Am I and the society I live in, not existing in tandem? These are questions which sometimes crop up from time to time and one introspects. Sometimes, these thoughts come as the situation of the State which we live in is unique in its own way and affects individuals within every walk of life. It is needless to detail the current pitiable functioning of the State administration and the murky affairs prevalent and the gossip in roadside hotels while sipping a cup of tea gives one an idea of how the social system has deteriorated. Corruption is an accepted norm and it is normal to ask how much a job will cost. It is an open secret that those in power have the clout to appoint for official posts in various departments of the Manipur government with favoritism being a common occurence.
Many an educated youth has sought greener pastures outside the State as lack of bribe money lessens the chance of selection to a negligible minimum. It can be said that one has a better chance of winning a lottery then getting a job without paying a bribe here. The trend affects the honest man, as the corrupt society views the individual with moral values as a foolish boor.
Sometimes, the situation may become ‘confusing’ while pressure from various quarters may have impelled the honest man to opt and join ‘them’ with the self- rationalization that in Manipur, one has to do as the Manipuri does. The question here: Should the person be blamed for joining the prevalent ‘mainstream attitude’? Besides corruption, the myriad factors which play havoc with the system are numerous. Leave alone politicians and government officials, self styled leaders and representatives of civil bodies have played the socio-political card for achieving their own selfish ends. Even the State media have not remained true to their journalistic ethics in various circumstances and have had to compromise for fear of losing life and limb or maybe ‘otherwise’. The rich keeps getting richer and the poor gets poorer is the adage and there seems to be no way out of this vicious system. The pressing question is: is it wise to join those whom you cannot beat? It could be pointed out here with amusing relevance to the Philosophy of Charvaka which is considered as not part of the school of orthodox Hindu philosophy. In a nutshell and a crude explanation, it says to eat, drink, make merry as we all are going to bite the dust one day. The Western counterpart could be the teaching of the philosopher Epicurus who said that pleasure is the greatest good and even if we do evil, the Gods are not able to prevent so and they are not concerned over it and it is only we humans, who are concerned. Both philosophies may be basically described in a sentence sung by Manipuri popular singer Tapta. It goes “Sidouraba punshini, nungaithokshi keinonae,” ( We are all to die, so let’s enjoy and be happy). This rendering sometimes may give vent to a burdened mind and give an excuse to the self to act ‘randomly’.
The point being mooted is that the society today seems more inclined towards materialism (after all it is said that we are living in a materialistic world) but, to earn honestly seems no longer to be a viable option and thus leading to a state of moral bankruptcy. It is felt that an educated person without moral values may do more harm to the society than in developing it.
During childhood days, the bedtime stories told to us included moral lessons. This went a long way in molding the character of the child and in imbuing human values. But, the rat race today leaves no space for the nuclear family to spend that amount of time with children. It would be a positive step for schools, both private and government to make compulsory moral education up to a certain grade.
It is the obligation of the parent to look after the child until a state of self reliance is attained. Bringing up a child requires much, but we often hear people around us grumble that the world is in very bad shape. There is much of corruption, exploitation, merciless killings, terrorism, a lot of casteism and communalism, , mutual hatred and a total crisis of character degeneration. Man, machine and money are the modern day trinity while morality is a casualty. Inflicting untold miseries and sufferings on our fellow beings is the rule of the day. All this needs to be reformed. But who is to bell the cat? It is the children, who have to complete the task and today, the dire need of the hour is imparting of moral and spiritual lessons, for “the simple cause of making the young ones strong, brave, courageous and valiant enough to fight the unending list of evils and for a better society”.