By Bobo Khuraijam
Other than petrol, cooking gas and diesel we desperately need something else. A book on ‘how to do it’ series or an educational video showing us the same is urgently needed. Sure, we can also teach to the world of doing so many things with perfection. Those of us who resides along the highway can teach to the world about how a blockade is carried out; on how to pelt stones to the vehicles plying on the highway, how to aim only to the driver so that maximum damage is done to him, how to burn down a vehicle and push it down to the gorge without getting your fingers burned, how to collect tax like the man in uniform without wearing any uniform, how to choke the vital supplies of almost the whole populace by staying alive. We can also teach about enacting theatrics of scarcity. The teachers would be none other than our business fat cats who resides in Paona Bazar. They can teach you how a fake sense of helplessness is acted out to the customers. Maan laaktre eikhoisu upai leitre – we are helpless, the goods hasn’t arrived. But one thing is not. The water taps may run dry; the gas stations may smell dry but colorful liquors ‘made in everywhere’ are available in abundance. There is open sale in festive seasons. Bottle of any brands are sold on the pavements like vegetables. No Nisa Band or Meirapaibi worth their salt dare to enter this zone. This place is guarded by the statue of Rashtra Pita Mahatma Gandhi, and by those whose duty is to bag notes printed with the Mahatma from the fat cats. Those running this can teach what a BOLD business is and how it should be run. Reputed business schools with all kinds of names are invited to get admitted. Admission forms are available at MG Avenue. Last date of form submission is till the economic blockade last.
SOME MORE LESSONS: which no other human species on earth can teach. That is discipline and spirit of perseverance. We are the best in that field. The place of learning is time and space specific. Best season would be when there are economic blockade along the highways. We can teach how vehicles of all kinds are to be parked in a queue, in a row. One has to be informative of whether fuels will be issued by the stations or not. First come-first position, to be followed by the next vehicle and the next; nobody jumps the queue. No traffic control police on this earth could enforce that kind of discipline. The vehicles are parked one night ahead before the faithful morning. Each and every owner has to surrender their sense of security of the vehicles by leaving it behind. The poor vehicles happily spent the night together – A vehicular orgy of one night stand. When morning falls, the owners return to the spot where they had left their vehicles; waiting for one’s turn, without taking over the other needs perseverance of a strange kind. We do not know how many of them actually follow traffic rules on regular days. But for the miraculous act displayed at the gas station during the time of economic blockade is certainly a lesson to be imparted to the world.
WHY WE NEED: the ‘how to do it’ lessons? To demand for something rightful or to protest against something unacceptable to our collective self, as expert commentators put it, is an epitome of a modern democratic society. But there are pitfalls when we try to picture on the ‘how to’ part. We may claim ourselves to be a nation rich with the heritage of powerful revolts and uprisings. The last century saw two uprising where women took to forefront. There was also the revolt against the mighty English colonisers. We lost some and won some as well. They are engraved for posterity so that the present generation and the generations to come could revisit the events, if possible, reinterpret them and place them across the board for a better comprehension, and make a new meaning out of it. That would help us envisage a future free from the present maladies. the means of getting a rightful demand, or means of championing it, always ask for an imaginative exercise for the structure of the then social order have changed now, the nature of the one who is going to give the demand have changed. No wonder, the air is much more polluted now. In recent times, we have seen many groups demanding their rights. Protests are taken out in different forms when the demands are not met. On the other hand the ‘right giver’ would use coercive force in the name of maintaining peace and order. At times they would engage in systematic witch hunt of those who are at the helms. This kind of action destroys the moral fabric of the agitating side. Moreover the ‘right giver’ is over-equipped to man any group or individual who dare to assert their right. We have many a times seen the ‘right giver’ maintaining a solemn silence; as if they are the kings and kin of the mythological Hindu epic Ramayana, where everyone is happy and prosperous, and nobody have a complaint of any sort. However, having said that, at this critical juncture would it be an exaggeration to plead to our brothers who are presently taking out agitations on the highway to use their imagination a bit to champion their cause. If they think that strangulating someone is a rightful means of asserting a demand, then there is a serious crisis of error of judgment, thereby defecating on their own sense of wisdom, and trampling the rightful cause by their own insensible boots. There are lessons which we can always learn and unlearn together.
FOOTNOTE: a journalist who went to cover the Anna episode took an autorikshaw for the return journey. The driver charged unreasonably, he said he will drive with the meter when the Lokpal Bill is passed. Leipung Ningthou calls it, “Chinese na Olympic ta gold medal louraroi haiduna washakpa”.