By Bobo Khuraijam
Midnight past, of the 27th July 2012, has once for all proved that the electric wire which crisscrosses the ramshackle landscape is indeed made of copper. The fortress of our belief that it was made of flour has been crumbled. Insignificant ration of power supply for a day could be cut short if rain falls. When you dial the enquiry number, ‘power line problem’ because of rain, would be the answer at the other end. Power line or any line, if rain water can damage into a state of malfunction, then it must be made of flour – meida or atta.The sudden rain late in the evening of 27 drenched the dry speculation of whether to declare the state as drought hit or not.Paddy fields are still dry. Yet knee deep shit-soup flows through the leirak – khulak of Imphal, following the nominal drizzle. All thanks to the deific town planners and the drainage builders, who like the Will-O’-the Wisp, would appear sometimes in the guise of contractor/social worker/patriot when election befalls. Electric power stayed awaked throughout the night. The Opening ceremony of London Olympic made it happen.
ISLES OF WONDER: a nation that is currently struggling recession with severe public expenditure cuts is host to the sporting extravaganza.Cities like New York, Moscow and Paris lost their bid to host the game to London. So London is the only city to host the game for a third time.Please bear with us, we are not ready to amuse you, or rather mesmerise you with the romanticised version of the world biggest sporting bonanza. We are sorry to say, the much hyped opening ceremony has failed to impress us. Of course, with due respect to the mastermind, Danny Boyle, who designed the show. The evolution of the city of London from a pre-industrial city to an age of digitised-socially networked city, connected to the world through the World Wide Web. Or the glibbest show of the city and its people’s sense of humour; the fifteen thousand odd performers, in between which they robed in a football star, a comedian, inventor of the Web, a movie star and so on. But they have failed to arouse any sense of awe to us. Were we expecting too much? Perhaps, we were. It was after all Olympic opening ceremony. Anybody would expect some new imagination. People soaring down in acrobatic alacrity with invisible string, the ring formation and the inevitable pyro technique, we have all seen it, sir. We still remember the grandeur of the Beijing Opening ceremony. In all fairness, London failed to scale the Chinese height. And they termed it ‘Isle of Wonder’.
BEYOND THE CEREMONY: Olympic, like any mega event, do not go without hubbubs. Not to mention of the members of “Bread and Circus”, a group of protestors fighting against public expenditure cuts occupied the house of an Indian origin artist, Anish Kapoor, who design Olympic Park landmark tower. They entered the five – storeys Gregorian building in Lincoln Inn Fields, one of Central London’s most attractive and exclusive garden – square. Working Olympic Charter clearly mentions that the aim of the Olympic movement is to inspire a ‘spirit of understanding and friendship which will promote the creation of a better and more tranquil world; the spreading throughout the whole world of the Olympic principle for the creation of goodwill amongst nations’. These loaded values like ‘friendship’, ‘tranquility’ and ‘goodwill’ are to be ushered in by millitarising the city to an unprecedented level. Surface-to-air missiles are kept ready, a Royal Navy battleship moored offshore, and soldiers on patrol. The ministry of defence is filling in every gap of London with about 13,500 military personnel.Uncle Sam declared it will send its own security to London, including 500 FBI agents. The oragiser had these ‘cleansing the street’, where sex workers, homeless and ethnic minorities are forcedly evicted from their dwellings.
The United Nations funded Centre for Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE), in 2007, had reported that between 1998 – 2008, Olympic Games have evicted more than two million people – a top cause of displacement in the world. No other sporting events offer such a positive image of profiteering enterprise in the service of a higher cause. 10, 490 athletes competing in 302 medals, 5, 535 hours of television coverage, there is unparalleled marketing opportunity before a global TV audience. No other card, except for Visa, no other food but McDonald’s, no other soft drink other than Coca-Cola. There is exclusion of local community. Imagine it’s happening in our town, you cannot sell your kaanghou, Bora or Shingju which is beyond the dictum of the corporate agreements.
OUR LOVE FOR SPORTS: is incredibly beyond explanation, truly called the power house of sports. India, with the second largest population; without any doubt will have to be contended with two or three medal at the most. And we are sure it will go on as long as the sporting diarrhea with cricket continues, and run high and dry between the wickets without any sports policy. A large section of the population haven’t heard about Olympics, 0.01 % (still doubtful) of the total Indian population would correctly saywhere from Bombayla, Sonia, Kothajit, Devendro and Mary Kom have come from. Yet, they represent India, which the developed world identifies with Taj Mahal, Sadhus & Spirituality, Bhangra dance along with poverty and dirt. Not really sure whether we would be able to see the five Manipuries amongst the sea of athletes; or the unachievably fat Indian contingent marching in the stadium, beamed live through our television sets, the uninterrupted power supply was just another sporting spirit of us. These collective sense of ‘US’ which ‘WE’ claim to represent by the five is a moment of glory. It hardly matters if they win any medal or not. Traitors and patriots, Thieves and police, Social workers and anti-social (s), black and white and brown together:
Cheers to the FIVE!
FOOTNOTE: a supposedly honourable member of a northern Indian state Assembly proposed the idea of dealing with the nuisance of street dogs by sending them to the North East.
Leipung Ningthou elated says, “koiyet chaona yetlaga wakhal pikna khandoi sarukpudi wakhal khanbadagi voluntary retirement matam chuppagi loubiro”.