Let the Dice Roll

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It is indeed an interesting sight involving the festival of lights beside the usual fireworks. To the residents of the Imphal city, it is a familiar sight of the signature `Lagao`™ dice game being played in every nook and practical cranny. When the years were back, one could witness the lagao dice gambling being strategically perpetrated and positioned, i.e. to flee at the first sight of any approaching police personnel.

Now, times have changed and we witness during the Diwali festival that the cops who are supposed to be practically banning the gambling act and enforcing the law are very much `taking the law into their own hands`™, in a manner of speaking and translative , several policeman in their ivory maruti gypsies and motorbikes are doing the rounds of Imphal city for a singular purpose ; which is to collect a `lagao tax`™ or protection money. The dice master waves at the police with a note and the latter with a smile on his face accepts the offering and signals that the game be resumed. No one loses except the public.

The acceptance of this game in our society inclusive of the `Housie` or bingo game must obviously point to the fact that our society does accept gambling in a way or other. It is not a sin to have a go at the dice game and is viewed more of an entertainment. In fact, beside the gamblers, the dice game is being organized by women. It may be a form of women empowerment and suggest that times have indeed changed. An amusing sight to see the taxing policeman`™s awe when the ringmaster turn out to be women shouting the symbols of the dice and calling out odds against the gamers.

Back then, some years back. The public were made to part with their hard or easily earned money by scamsters. The frauds operated pyramid schemes or Ponzi schemes by such names of TVI, Visarev, Forex, Global Index Daily etc. and offered the proverbial pot of gold without working up a sweat. Many were duped by the schemers and the masterminds got away scot-free. There were no arrests made and again, it is only the public that loses.

Similarly, when the national highways are supposed held up by the organized highwaymen of the modern era; their reasons mostly based on ethnic lines. Essential commodities like fuel and cooking gas become scarce and prices skyrocket. A business cannot do business on loss, but he rather hikes the price to balance his loss. Here, the public also loses.

Times of election and once again , the drums beats a signal of free food, drinks and pocket money. It is an open secret that politicians woo voters with money. The amount is taken with such ethical standards that the person is obliged to vote for the person who has bribed him. Ultimately, the big time scamster having enough finances wins the election game. It may be akin to the lagao game now. The public is paid off just like the diwali policeman to turn a blind eye and the politician like the master gamer thumps his dice on the ground. But, unlike the dice which is unpredictable, the politician has already laid his cards or dices in his own way and the `House`™ never loses. The Manipur Assembly sittings may harbor such gamesters who with money, power and a tough hide have gained the people`™s mandate for a span of time. And candidly, the gamblers shout foul when their money is lost. Sometimes, we do not just lose money in Manipur but lives also.

AFSPA has taken away much. It is the gambling for all the wrong reasons that the public has ended up in the cesspool dug by themselves only.

But, with the new generation, one hopes that they gamble and bet on the right circumstances and true leaders to bring about a profitable future. In that way, let the dice roll.

Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba

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