Times are a changing- as everything ought to. Stuffs that were not even dreamed about are becoming devices and gadgets for everyday use. The pace of development and inventions is increasing at a dizzying pace and in an unbelievably complex manner. Every single gene in the human body can be identified, isolated and manipulated. Electricity can be transmitted without any wires or cables. Cars that run for more than a thousand kilometers with only a gallon of fuel is no more a fantasy today. Space travel or space tourism is here. Humans with embedded microchips can now manipulate and control his environment, well almost, as of now. Research and development in every field, being aided by sophisticated computers and robots, have quickened their pace and shortened their observation periods, leading to quicker results. It would not be much off the mark to say that the world as we know today is undergoing a paradigm shift in the way we live our lives. Through these radical changes and developments, one thing has withstood the test of time, proving to be an unseen and unaccounted yet a determining factor that could make or mar everything else- the human mentality.
The workings of the human mind – emotions and feelings that cannot be quantitatively ascertained or expressed as an exacting scientific expression or equation, has remained an enigma- a mystery that has not been unraveled till date. Herein lies the genesis of every conflict and differences. Societies created laws and statutes based on the greater good of the citizens, and a system of checks and balances to arbitrate, enforce and amend them. It is a perfect set up- on paper. Unfortunately, the bitter reality is so far removed from the system so envisaged. We, the ordinary citizens are arrested and harassed for raising our voice against what we feel is unjust and wrong- even threatened and shot by those who purport to serve our motherland, whatever form that might take. The powers that be proclaims to work according to the wishes of the people, while the voice is subdued with threats and intimidation, or worse still, let the voice die out and be forgotten with time. And who are we to turn to for help when the terrorists are the army and police who are drug traffickers; who are extortionists; who are the influential and powerful? For us mere mortals, complaints and appeals entail the inherent risk of losing limb and life. Is what we are experiencing a replica of the so called Jungle law? One would like to think that a jungle law would be a far better option- each one would then have a place in the set up.
But then again, we are born equal. A prime minister is as human as a sweeper or a carpenter or a scientist. Each one is doing their bit for the society. The president of India or the Chief Minister of Manipur needs a weaver to weave a piece of fabric which will be sewn into a cloth by a tailor and sold at the market from where it will be brought for his use. We need to accept and embrace one another as our equals. The powerful ones wouldn’t have had a concrete mansion to hide within were it not for the masons and plumbers. Respect for others regardless of caste, creed, faith or colour should be the basis of social interaction and formulation of policies. So long as tolerance and understanding is at a premium, no amount of expressed progressive efforts will ever succeed. And the time to adopt an inclusive and tolerant mentality is now; for tomorrow will be a day too late.
Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]