Book Review of Seram Neken's "Voice of the Voiceless"



Voice of the Voiceless
Voice of the Voiceless

Electoral politics has tarnished the expected democratic values in Manipur. Instead of selecting the fittest representatives, the electorate always votes for the wealthy and powerful people who can purchase their democratic rights. Not only in general elections but also in local body elections, the ill-practice of buying votes with cash and kind has become an unavoidable trend. The nation surely feels shame of having inserted the picture of Gandhiji on currency notes, which are involved in all kinds of vices happening in the contemporary society. Drug trafficking, fake encounters, murders, kidnappings, sexual abuses and what not – all antisocial activities are carried out for money and with money. The  “Voice of the Voiceless” ask its esteemed readers – “Are we humiliating the father of the nation by putting Gandhiji’s picture in currency notes ?”

The book is a collection of articles from the columns of Seram Neken, who writes for newspapers and web editions including for the last 2 decades. All the 35 articles contained in the book are short, easy-to-understand and resourceful. A few chapters of the book dwell on the three regimes of Okram Ibobi government in Manipur. The Third Ibobi, The Highway Ghost, Hero worship, Vote for my wife etc. are some of the topics focusing on present political scenario of Manipur. Women empowerment in the form of seat reservations in elections is also discussed as being a practice of male-hegemony. Child rights violation, women issues, media invasion on the children’s minds, meira paibee’s role in elections, restaurant drives, issues of aged people, good morning Manipur radio programme, bicycles use etc. are some of the chapters analyzed in the book.

The book “Voice of the Voiceless” includes chapters on the dying cultural/musical art forms such as Pena, Khongjom Parva, Khullang Esei etc. Lai Haraoba and Shumang Lila are also discussed in-depth in the later chapters of the book. A chapter is devoted to Rajarshi Bhaeigyachandra, the famous king of and his religious intellectualism. The pressure on Manipur media organizations and individuals is covered in the article “Guns versus Pen”. Knocking electric poles for any eventuality in Manipur society is also mentioned as an effective traditional medium in Manipur today. In sports arena; cricket glamour, Olympians of Manipur and disabled children are also covered. Introduced and forwarded by Prof. MC Arun of Manipur University, the book is both entertaining and informative. It is rightly the contemporary history of Manipur. Besides the colourful cover and inside pages of the book, the unique character of the book is the inclusion of meaningful cartoons/caricatures drawn by Aribam Sanadkumar Sharma of AVRC, Manipur University. The handy 103 paged book is priced reasonably at Rupees 120/-. Anyone who wishes to comprehend contemporary Manipur will surely find resources from this book. Have a glimpse and comprehend Manipur today.

Some of the photos from the book:

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