It is said only about three percent of the state`™s work force are in the private sector. This is indicative of a very deep malaise. The all India average is far above Manipur`™s but at 21 percent it is not too good either. Obviously, despite all the disinvestment and the bold thrust of the Indian economy towards the Capitalist road, a greater majority of the country`™s job seekers still shun the private sector, and prefer to work under the security cover of the state`™s mantle. Indeed, in states like Manipur, till only a few years ago, somebody does not have a government job is considered unemployed and would command very little attention in the marriage market. The person himself would also most likely consider himself thus, and register at the employment exchange of the government, thereby projecting a somewhat deceptive picture of unemployment status in the state periodically published by the employment exchange. While those who do not have a government job long for one, the irony is those ensconced deep within the government cocoon, routinely swear by the ideology of free enterprise. In the ultimate analysis then, the free enterprise doctrine remains a prescription for the neighbour`™s children. As for one`™s own, there can be no alternative to government jobs, so one would beg, borrow or steal to bribe and win them these secure stations in life. Can societal ambition be more narrowly circumspect than this ever?
One other thing is clear. The advertised shine and confidence of the Indian private sector it seems is localized to basically the metropolises. The cliched divide between India and Bharat has still not been bridged convincingly, leaving the new bevy of sleek, expensive motor vehicles and the primitive bullock carts together to paradoxically constitute the Indian reality. We can vouch little or none of India`™s supposed new shine have not reached the Northeast, definitely not Manipur. Here we are still reeling under power shortage, pot-holed highways, drinking water paucity, piling garbage bins, unsalvageable governmental fiscal crunch, unmanaged or unmanageable law and order situation, paralysing and widespread insecurity etc. At least in the case of Manipur, we can again vouch it`™s train is hopelessly derailed at the moment and it is going to need nothing less than a superhuman effort to lift it back on track. The question we have to ask ourselves is, who but the people of Manipur would ultimately care or commit to put in this effort? And if this readiness does not come about, what else can be said then that we are condemned to an extended future of uncertainty and ignominy.
As so very often happens, a great piece of thought is remembered, but not the mind that first thought the thought. Here is one we definitely feel would provide a clue as to where we can begin the effort to steer our society back into course: `there is no greater fear than the fear of fear itself.` We interpret this to mean that if we stop fearing fear, there will be little left to fear. This also would have to be the perfect recipe for courage and calibre, qualities which are increasingly on the wane in our society. The spirit of taking life as an adventure, so much the feature of the most successful societies and civilisations in the history of mankind, has today become virtually nonexistent in our society, although it must be said, the private sector is showing some signs of stirring in certain fields, but continues to be overshadowed by those which have remained stunted because of lack of tertiary sector support. In the meaningless hunt for educational degrees without bothering to first honesty acquiring the knowledge and skills the degrees certify, this same moral vacuum is stark. In the willingness of the people to bribe to secure undeserved government jobs, we again see this same weakness. In the inability of our intellectuals to honestly speak out their minds on vital matters of life in the state, we see this same malaise. Insecurity has indeed become a millstone hanging around our necks. We have to begin standing up to say that we can cut and shed this dead weight. We must begin debating honestly the issues of our lives without fear. For all we know, we may happily discover, there was nothing to fear after all and that by thus deciding to assert ourselves, we had nothing to more to lose than our incapacitating fears and insecurities. For the sake of our future generations, let us do just this. Urgently!
Leader Writer: Pradip Phanjoubam