By Amar Yumnam
The beauty of any society is the resilience of the individuals in it. We may recall here resilience of an individual as meaning the capacity to come out of difficult circumstances unscathed, with no moral deprivation, and with a new zeal to take on the activities of life. This is not an easy task and has to bank on the core skill and intelligence competence of the person. The higher this core competence, the easier it is for the person to reassert the existence and conduct a profession for survival with confidence. This capacity also enables the individual to make home anywhere under the sun; for the intelligent persons the globe is their home.
What is really reassuring for us individually as well as collectively is that Manipuris have proved the prevalence of this resilience among them time and again. We have lived with the most difficult circumstances in the historical past, and that has not deterred us from sustaining the society lock, stock and barrel till today. In contemporary context, we are hearing continuously how our boys and girls are finding a place for themselves in every area of highest competition in the most competitive regions in the world. Earlier it was Europe and North America where the proportionate representation of the Manipuris is very robust and the trend continues. Now we find them in the newly most competitive and most dynamic places like South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. If there are places where competition based on skill and intelligence are emphasised and genuine efforts are handsomely rewarded, we can now afford to say that Manipuris are to be found participating in the race with the head held high. The non-encouraging atmosphere in the home front has not deterred the tempo for global assertion of the people born and brought up in this soil and social context. But the power for resilience speaks volumes about the long term sustenance of the Manipuri society and the unputdownability of the members comprising it.
While we have seen our boys and girls going to places where at least the language as English is not a constraint for assertion and establishing themselves as individuals to reckon with, I recently experienced another courageous example of the resilience of the Manipuris. This was in Beijing where I was during the second week of September this year. My Manipuri spirit was pushed up to the optimum, confidence heightened and pride reaffirmed. His name is Kiran. He is a wonderfully friendly and firm person. It is his love for the Beijing girl and confidence in himself that had taken him to Beijing. He was already an officer in the Indian security force but gave all that up for his heart in Beijing and without knowing anything about the future call of duty; he only knew his love and did not know where he would find his livelihood. In the first few months he could have easily found himself completely lost with none other than his wife to communicate and share. But he did not; he did have dependable skill and training in Yoga. His daily yogic exercises in a park in Beijing drew slowly but surely crowds to his capability. Today the OmSivaYoga is one of the most successful Yoga firms in Beijing. Kiran’s name has already spread far and wide in China with many television presentations and publications to his credit. The size of his Yoga firm is such that with his monthly turnover level any public sector undertaking in Manipur would not have died but would instead have flourished.
It is exactly in this context that I would like to emphasise the imperative for evolving a Manipuri policy encompassing Manipuris everywhere. Kiran’s firm has already given benefits of employment with home-network effects under which similarly skilled personnel from his home locality in Manipur are getting employment in his firm in Beijing.
While we should all be wishing further professional growth to all Manipuris abroad, the time has come for us to link their growth with the transformation of the home economy. The linkage between poverty reduction in the home economy and the remittances of the migrants has long been appreciated for quite some in development studies literature. The new area is the issue of linking the investment structure and level at the home front with the remittances of the migrants; while the particular families back home get benefitted from the remittances of the migrants, there is need to widen the net of beneficiaries at the societal level. The technological and market sense of the migrants are definitely of a superior order than they are in the home front. Besides, true to the nature of humans, the migrants anywhere do not forget the needs of the home front. This is true in the case of the Manipuris thriving elsewhere in the world as well.
The level of domestic sources of investment in Manipur is low as ever and there is little likelihood of the situation improving any time near in the future. She should now explore every option available anywhere in the world to ameliorate the situation. The State should now apply her mind to evolving policies for facilitating and ensuring fruitful investment opportunities of the migrants in the home soil. We should now evolve a framework for taxation and other political economic contexts so that the migrants are allowed to fruitfully contribute to the transformation of the home economy. The changes getting unfolded, though at the Hindu rate, in the global scenario of Manipur demand that we are pro-active and move with the times. This is a challenge lying before the government in this beginning of a new millennium. It is either it facilitates change or just lie sunk as ever.