By Amar Yumnam
The present phase in human history is marked by features of immediacy and decisions of long term relationships on the shortest possible period of courtships. The suitors are many but the technology of information is such that communication is alive. The age of pigeons as mediums of communication for courting is long gone. I am referring to this for India still seems to have lost in the old style courtship. Relationship between countries is today the same as between two persons in a relationship. Love has to catch up with the latest technology. The old relationship based mainly on merchandise items is now replaced by a much wider relationship encompassing passion, culture and academics. The very old relationship between two kingdoms on the basis of prince of one getting married with the princess of another is now back but with a much wider compass of foundations. This is exactly where India is found wanting and faltering with halting approaches and diffident propositions of love. The earlier round of gas and fuel relationships was badly lost to China while India was faltering on her steps.
While changes are happening with deepening democracy in a resource rich country with every potential to join the South East Asian model of industrialisation, the whole world has been paying attention to it with early visits of large teams. India has taken so long to take notice of the recent changes and the imperative of visits of decision makers (political leaders) to bring about a new relationship. Looking at the huge involvement of all the major countries in Asia and rest of the world in the emerging economic dynamics of Myanmar, the signals emerging from the Indian side are still weak. Anyway, we shall wait what comes out of the continuing visit of Dr. Manmohan Singh. We have been insisting from the angle of transformation right from the beginning that the border trade relationship should be replaced by a full-fledged trade relationship. Given the regional and global dynamics, we cannot or rather development cannot afford any longer delay on this score. Besides, bus trips can serve the security perspective of monitoring people but cannot be the engine of growth. What Manipur needs is this engine of growth and not the additional halting step of bus trips. The time is now for evolving and implementing a policy based on this perspective. India must now evolve a kind of policy based on evolving a robust relationship with the citizens of the country, in particular citizens of North East India, rather than getting bogged down with the China phobia and insurgency logic. Time is now for incorporating and taking along the common people towards the new possibilities for well-being based on widening global markets. Give the citizens the scope and the resultant atmosphere would bring the positive entrepreneurship out into play.
Here we may recall what James Coleman wrote in 1974: “It is the corporate actors, the organizations that draw their power from persons and employ that power to corporate ends, that are the primary actors in the social structure of modern society”. The fundamental responsibility of the federal and provincial governments in so far as it relates to Manipur is the establishment of an atmosphere where the power of the people can be unleashed and put to play for both nation building and economic advancement. It is a very happening world today, and the world is going to happen in this region as well with the large plans of the Asian Century. The provincial and the federal governments cannot remain blind to the collateral developmental interventions needed to prepare the region and her people to take advantage of the unfolding dynamics. Here a very recent book by Timothy Noah titled The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It is of immense interest. I would at least mention how the negligence on the skill upgradation aspect has cost the American economy a lot in recent periods both in terms of employment and employability of the people and the inequality. The failure of the American schools to live up with the changes in technology has led to skill outdating of their population. This has led to the outsourcing of skilled jobs to outside America and replacement in the domestic job market of unskilled workers by skilled immigrants. While the Marxian prediction of rising inequality leading to collapse of capitalism was proved wrong, now even the prediction of Kuznets for reducing inequality by economic progress is even proved wrong.
This puts us to seriously think of the emerging global scenario getting unfolded through this part of the country, and what we are teaching our children for the emerging dynamics. We are to evolve an educational environment alive to the latest technology, and enable all our children learn in that environment. This is the moment for us to put in place a kind of equal opportunity education of highest order for all the children of Manipur. Anything wanting on this front would be very costly collectively, and the resultant outcome of this for social stability would be disastrous.
Now this educational policy should also be accompanied by an encompassing comprehensive development plan of Manipur. This has to be a focused and committed policy. We have to think of replacing the existing social order marked by violence by a social order marked by widening scope for advancement. Now in Manipur we have a kind of social order where the basic forces thrive on violence. This has created a kind of atmosphere where the beneficiaries of this violence have developed a strong vested interest and the individual and collective capability to move forward has been suppressed and nullified by this group of vested interests. With democracy deepening in Myanmar, we should also play our part and deepen the democratic atmosphere even more. This is where the state and her agents should concentrate heavily in the coming decade. Make this happen and the people would make the region a happening land. This is what global development history has taught us.