Once again the people of the state particularly the Meitei observed the birth anniversary of Hijam Irabot, who had renounced all the worldly pleasure and spent the later part of his life fighting for justice of the common and the downtrodden people. It was with the sheer unstinting effort of this leader that the thin bondage between the Hill people and the plain people was strengthened. The virtue of patriotism among each Manipuri was first embedded by this leader.
Years have gone and some among the people still continue to follow the path once paved by this leader but majority of the people had forgotten what Hijam Irabot really wanted to see in the Manipur of today. The kind of tribute being paid to the pioneer leader today on the occasion of his birth anniversary is worth every effort, but seemed to have lost the essence of keeping his dreams and ideologies alive to each one of us. Just recalling his work, and praising him with cultured language by standing at the manmade podium is not really what is actually needed to remember Hijam Irabot, but to fulfil his dream should be the essence of remembering him.
Now Manipur is on fire. The bondage once tied by this leader is on fire and is on the verge of snapping off even while the blame game continues and nobody really cares to look back and reflect on what went wrong in the last few decades.
Is it the price of the merger of this erstwhile kingdom to the Union of India? Or is it the selfishness of the self proclaimed leaders who ruled the state after the merger of the erstwhile kingdom to the Indian Union?
A civil society organisation is blaming the merger of the erstwhile kingdom to the Indian Union as the root of all the things that is happening today. They now campaign the public to mobilise a movement to restore the pre merger status of Manipur, and this very well may turn out to be the right demand. But will this extinguished the fire raging today?
The Government of India introduced a lot of beneficiary programme to improve the life of the common people living in the interior and inaccessible parts of the state particularly the tribal people. The absence of proper connectivity with these interior villages has built a communication gap. And not to be surprised, these befits provided by the government for these disadvantaged people are being pocketed by few vested interested people. They hold the stomach of the poor people and played with any games they desire for their own narrow interests.
When there was enough time to check the missing link the rulers were busy building their houses and amassing wealth for themselves and their descendants. And now things seem to be going out of hand.
For Hijam Irabot who renounced worldly pleasures for the cause of the poor and down trodden, he certainly would have been crying in heaven or tossing in his grave, as the case may be, if only he can see the present state of affairs of the state we have come to be identified as Manipur.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.