Is a Culture of insensible activism taking root?

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It’s been for some time that Manipur has been caught up in cycles of unrest. Various social and political issues have prompted different forms of protests time after time. Many such social movements are indeed worthy of the name and the labour involved and need all the support that can be garnered. However, one has to be wary too of frivolous attempts disguised as a movement but seek some ulterior motive other than the stated, occurring either by intent or genuine misconception.

Thankfully, with the change in government the state is witnessing a decline in bandhs, blockades; and the much undesirable but regularly happening violent gheraos and lynching should be the next things we confine to the past. Ideally, these forms of protest should be replaced with humane forms of protests.

Many protests do have a basis in some underlying problem, but instead of seeking out relevant corrective measure they are often misdirected for some socio-political gains. Such undertakings can be easily manoeuvred because the state is diverse, hence the mass media is predominantly divided into various vernacular groupings catering to differing sentiments. And, thus, Civil Societies and the general masses by virtue of information asymmetries that exist in the state, tend to be easy prey in such scenarios, which have been repeated all too often.

The public must be able to make informed choices whenever some social issues come up so that we don’t get taken for a ride. Thus, the media in Manipur must take responsibility and bear accountability over the news it publishes because being the fourth estate it needs to play its part in rebuilding the state. There have been glaring instances where peaceful conditions were drastically altered by insensitive and dubious reporting. As Manipur doesn’t yet enjoy even a semblance of political and social stability the need for media due diligence is dire. While the public and the mass media being a watchdog over law enforcement, legislature and government is essential, it should not lead to mob justice and media trial tendencies.

We must learn to respect the due process of the law. The goal of social movements should be to put in place a fair and reliable system of governance and refining the procedures of public service.

Besides the undesirable trend of mob justice and corporal punishment that have cropped up in society from certain elements, we have recently started to also witness incessant media trials of one issue or the other.  Take for instance the last Manipur Public Service Commission’s Manipur Civil Service Examination. First notified in 2015, the advertisement was withdrawn over demands to include local language criteria as an essential requirement. This was a real genuine issue, and the authorities thankfully remedied the matter. The controversies that marred this exam afterwards need to be examined thoroughly for their merits, and as far as possible avoid media trials which will manifest misinformation and undermine the due process of the law.

What came as a shock was that the student groups protesting against MCSCCE 2016 actually vandalized the MPSC Office and the Car of the then Chairman of the Commission, much unbecoming of aspiring civil servants. Further inspection of the complaint revealed that the grievances of these protestors arose only after the results were declared, which may have been coincidental but raises doubts nonetheless on whether these protests were only for self-serving goals. No doubt, one familiar with the landscape of the state can fathom that there may have really had genuine concerns and grievances.  MPSC is not UPSC in terms of its capability, standards and organizational efficiency.

Thus, every effort to make the MPSC better is to be appreciated, however, any attempt seeking to dictate the functioning of a constitutional body through the use of brute force would be most undesirable for the society as a whole and governance in particular, and needs to be nipped in the bud.

Watching TV News reports on the MPSC MCSCCE 2016 controversy one can sense that parallels are drawn to the Assam Public Service Commission APSC Scam. Here it is pertinent to note that such a comparison holds no water. In the case of APSC the Job for Cash scam was caught red handed and the modus operandi systematically unearthed; the emphasis was on evidence of wrongdoing, not on a propagandist approach. The whole anti-corruption operation against the APSC was carried out objectively, the people involved are being arrested and penalized, much unlike the case of the MPSC controversy where the protesting candidates are asking for quashing of the whole exam. Especially surprising since quashing of the completed examination is being demanded ahead of other options like re-evaluation or inquiry and investigation.

The whole logistics of conducting a statewide civil services exam are rather massive, and there are humane considerations too: are the candidates selected the cause of the controversy that they are so being targeted? Would they be made scapegoats in the name of activism? Don’t they deserve prudent review at the very least? Surely merit cannot be considered with such disdain and preface such little regard. Many among them would have left other jobs and opportunities to take up the MCSCCE 2016. If the matter is sub judice, is it not best left to the wisdom of the court?

It is also noteworthy that many recruitment processes in the state are being mired in such controversies and jobs remain scarce. Our people are simply suffering in a quagmire of litigation and protest. It is about time we adopt procedural corrections and learn to sieve out the corrupt without halting the process of growth and development as a whole.

This article was sent to Kangla Online by AS Eunice, who can be contacted at plcmeryl(at)rediffmail(dot)com.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Mr/Ms/Mdm/….. !!

    In your futile and desperate attempt to mislead the ignorant masses , it has been only proved beyond doubt that the MOVEMENT has indeed caused a significant impact and shivered the spine of the guilty.
    It has been also much to my amuse that you have contradicted every sentence you apparently seem to have voiced for.
    Talking about informed choices all you’ve done is stating blatant lies based on ill founded intentions. If one really feels the importance of “due process of law” and “fair governance” in our already illed state, one should now realise that every bit of the MOVEMENT is towards bringing a step closer to it. One should also not forget that any effort to bring IT down will only create more ripples down the line.

    The AWAKENING has already started for the truth has been laid bared to the world. Say what u may about the parallel drawn with ASPC or UPSC, the mass tampering of marks and irregularities found from the rti papers are no less than acts caught red handed in cameras or so.
    It is very sad that the peaceful protest against the injustices meted out to the genuine aspirants have been made equal to vandalism and mob justice.
    You talk about propagandism or insensible activism. I wonder who is doing that now at present? Time to ponder upon !!

  2. This is a frivolous and a half baked attempt to malign the efforts that are being attempted to strangulate the jaws of incompetency, lack of structural and organizational will, lack of transparency and the other ills which have “fatally” infected MPSC.
    Your efforts, sadly contribute to nothing in your valiant yet futile attempt to enlighten the public. I will not argue with you on the premise of why the issue deserves mention in the public space. Rather, I would like you to paint your life in the frame similar to the situation that the protesters have faced.
    We are talking about:
    1. Failure in governance
    2. Fiddling at leisure and at willbwith potentially bright careers(cut vehemently short)
    3. Lack of ownership and accountability
    4. Lack of political will
    5. Crippled administration(in and out) and so on and so forth
    So the list of “failures” is quite embarassingly long, and one should be proud that our state does have a strong and a “patriotic” ecosystem of civil societies, which have been instrumental in shaping up the public views and opinions of this mess. Whether he ways adopted to enlarge the ills are ethical or not can be discussed in altogther a different forum. Your direction is clearly misdirected when you have clearly overlooked the findings of the RTI which I am sure our educated lots have already digestly deeply and painfully by now.
    I am surprised that you havent even highlighted the fact that the Mains results were declared within a period of just 9-10 days and that this appeared completely “normal” to you.
    Lastly, about the aspect of aspirants “unbecoming” themselves, let me remind you these candidates are those who believe in fighting for what are truly their rights. Let me give you some of these(as a medicine for your illness):
    1. Right to Information
    2. Right to protest peacefully and purposefully
    3. Right to a dignified life
    4. Right to have access to justice
    I am not an expert on legal matters but I do know that the recent progress of this case certainly hasnt gone down too well with the beloved public of ours and if we want things to stagnate and hinder development in the state, nobody should care. But I am thankful that some responsible minds have come together to stand against the triple malice of corruption, maladministration and mismanagement in the state. If you want MPSC to be an efficient ecosystem it needs to rid itself of these evils once and for all.

  3. Your article would have been famous if you have talked little more about controversies in recruitments and their impacts on job scarcity.Because it would have given a glimpse of opportunities to many disgruntled souls;
    For food in their mouth,Work in their hands,sparks in their eyes,dreams in their mind….as one will rightfylly enjoy the fruits of ones’ efforts.

    By the way ,Did you ever write on such matters before?hell no,because your whole article is biased,baseless with shallow understanding of the matter and not even a single statement you put up in it is in any way an attempt to encourage or support the truth(here the logical,rational and ideal things) rather it clearly is an attempt to defend the culprits by putting your OWN DIRTIED SPECTACLES on innocent people of this land. Your only purpose of writing this very article would be either to escape yourself or to defend near or dear ones from being shacled for crimes.Your unwarranted arguments should only be taken as a temporary painkiller by those culprits.
    How can you justify a procedural error with an extent of 80% or 90%?.Had this been possible ,people wouldn’t have complained about the little errors or small errors(as you think) like in the case of 32+27+25+22+21=32, signature missing, wrong tabulations etc.
    You can’t blame those people standing against injustice simply because your ideas of righteousness is affected or You can no longer be the beneficiary of the wrongs.Lets not put more mud on the already dirtied spectacles that some people knowingly or unknowingly wear.

  4. Lets stop this hypocrisy. Shall we? You talked about informed choices of the people but ironically your writing is mainly based on the wrong information that aspirants vandalized MPSC office.Do you know that to misinform public is very unbecoming of a civil servant.Let us correct ourselves before preaching others.For your kind information,MPSC office was stormed by BJYM workers long back before the General election to the State legislative assembly. What took you so long to write this? Why didn’t you protest back then? Why now? Do you think you can fool the public? The timing of your post suggests that you have vested interest.Please do not misuse media for malafide purposes.If you feel that RTI evidences which proved practices of mark tampering such as over writing,under marking,absence of examiner’s signature,discrepancy in signature,error in totaling,etc are not enough reasons to quash the exam then you must not have known what this exam is about and blindly writing or you are also corrupted like MPSC. I wish you luck in your futile attempt to stop us.Your post is an overt expression of your frustration which means we have won this psychologically.We have won the public sentiment also.We will soon win in the court room as well.Truth alone triumphs!

  5. Dear sir/Madam,

    First of all kudos for your effort to paint the protest as another media trial and your failed attempt to hijack this as obstructionism. It must have taken a lot of courage to conjure such blatant lies and put before public under the garb of positive crticism. Your moral high ground is nothing but farce.

    Your article contradicts itself on many points and your attempts to tarnish this movement fall flat.

    BJYM has gone on to clarify that they had led the protest at MPSC, so your remark that candidates vandalised the Chairman’s car is result of half cooked information and your inner Arnab Goswami alter ego coming alive.

    MPSC is not UPSC. Who is denying that? Is your comparison leading your readers to accept that there can be a certain leeway in functioning of MPSC? A little corruption here and there.

    APSC tried its best to hide its crimes and so did those job buyers. It was only after investigation that the truth were revealed. So dear writer we wish you were present at yesterday’s protest because we asked for CBI enquiry. Since you are so concerned about the state of affairs in the state you ahould have raised the slogan in support of an enquiry. Fair enough? Please stop your holier than thou attitude.

    MCSC exam conduct rules have nothing about re-evaluation. Court precedent have been to squash the exam altogether. Please do not assume you do the batting, balling and fielding too. One of those bouncers may catch you off guard and hit you where it hurt the most.

    Now dear writer, talking about humanitarian ground, I am fumbling on my small screen smart phone which squeak in protest everytime I press the buttons a little hard. Buy me a new smart phone and we will talk about allowing corruption on humanitarian ground.

  6. Do you have the prove that the protestors vandalised MPSC office and Chairman’s car? Don’t try to fabricate us with your baseless accusations. You must know what you are writing..yes, the media bears accountability over the news it publishes but you are leading this media in the wrong way with your groundless aaccusations. Has someone paid you to write in this way or are you among those cheaters? Don’t try to lead people in the wrong way…if you put up any news without proof,you know what the consequences are. And if you think yourself as “a TRUE HUMAN BEING” and a real author who are really concerned about what’s going in the state then clarify what you had written. You know that what you had written down here is right or wrong. If you are manly enough to write this then be bold enough to clarify it. Else you will be just like another loser who lives under one’s feet. Choice is yours.

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