The reproach that we have an insensitive government in the State has been proved wrong. This is true, particularly for the last one month of football World Cup that just ended with Germany lifting the trophy. Electric power supplies to the consumers have increased since the beginning of the World Cup matches. The State has been able to feel the pulse of the sports loving people of Manipur, so to say. This is true that people have become so used to power cuts. So far, we have not seen a single protest against the pathetic power supply in the State. Though there was a PIL filed against it by a group of citizens. People were uncertain of the sudden improvement in power supply. Just before the onset of the World Cup, there was good business of electric power generators in Imphal area. People were ready to spend a few thousand of Rupees more from their monthly budget, or from their savings, to catch every moment of the matches live on their television sets; stoically, without any complain. But deep within their hearts, they would have had strong resentment buried, against a government that fails to provide electricity during the football World Cup. There would have been no explanation for it on the part of the government. But that has not happened. In fact, the power supplies have remained the same even after the culmination of the game. Another interesting side of the World Cup, or for any kind of game for that matter, is the support for a particular team or a country. We have seen a visible display of support for one’s favourite team on the social media, with supporters sporting the team’s jersey or toying with other paraphernalia. This was even more visible during the matches at the Leikais where giant screen were put up. It looked as if the fans were heading for a complete showdown. Psychologists have tried to understand this phenomenon of affiliation in sports, of the divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Their elucidation is that people want to be judged positively by others and they often try to associate themselves with something positive. By piggybacking on the success of their team they enjoy the warm feeling associated with it and feel connected with it. There is no harm about supporting a team, even without a rational explanation. However, what is disturbing is the rising trend of betting that was prevalent during the matches. An acquaintance during a casual conversation had tried to explain that betting is a kind of adventure which involves a certain amount of risk that must be taken. And people of this land, being a lover of adventure would easily fall for it. Nevertheless, some keen observers of betting have maintained that it is an ‘illusion of control’: the belief that the bettor can exert skill over an outcome that is actually defined by chance. Near-misses occur while betting but there is no actual win. Bettors often interpret near-misses as indication that they are mastering the game and that a win is on the way. Whatever the explanations, the phenomenon of ‘last digit’ in lottery, the report of organised ‘housie draw’ that has been banned by social organisations are also a form of betting. There has been unconfirmed report of betting taking place covertly in the heart of Imphal. And it has been going on much before the World Cup, the report says. The power supply after the World Cup may go back to square one. But betting will remain, and it is bound to increase manifold if it is kept unchecked.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh