The air is thick with anticipation of the arriving festivals in this State with a perennial presence of occasions for celebrations. That the people pour their hearts out in their celebrations might very well be a manifestation of their frustrations and hopelessness of the present situation. Wishes and messages of peace and harmony, not to
forget development and progress will be doled out to the public with unerring accuracy and seemingly empathic statements, both by the ruling leaders elected by the people, as well as by those who have taken over the cause of fighting against the injustice and independence of the people upon themselves. The ideologies, have they been practiced as propagated, could have propelled this small state into a league of its own, one which the rest of the world would have looked up to for inspiration and guidance. The reality that lay around us couldn’t be more different or ironic. In spite of so many patriots and pioneers of freedom and justice, why is the common man in Manipur still could not live a decent life? Why is efficiency and hard work not being regarded with the same venerability as the ability to cozy up to power and riches? Why is fear and violence being viewed as the preferred mode of getting things done-for those who can, or profess to have the power, to unleash them? What is the meaning of peace and independence when the common people, far removed from the company of the powerful government and the relentless insurgents, live in fear and uncertainty, deprived of their rightful stakes, their share of the benefits being utilized, albeit without their consent or knowledge, by the bureaucrats and heads of departments as well as those fighting for independence to further their professed cause of development, justice and independence? Why, despite the teeming guardians of truth and
equality, the majority of the public is still reeling under injustice and oppression? Is extortion and use of force- lethal force at times a prerequisite for attainment of peace, freedom and independence? How do these opposing forces, purportedly working towards the same goal, envisage the participation of the public for which they are supposedly carrying out their pursuits when the trust and empathy have all but evaporated into thin air? The frightened feelings and uncertainty of the people should be allayed first. The present practice of holding a gun to the head of the public while enquiring their allegiance will not work in the long run. The spawning of a breed of self-styled insurgents and protectors of freedom and progress who are taking advantage of the naivety and unsure state of mind of the common public, while carrying on with extortion, demanding huge exacting amounts as donations, and conniving with the powerful whose faults are conveniently overlooked as long as their purpose are being served should be put to a complete halt. The Government should cleanse itself to regain that dwindling confidence of the people. A new beginning is still possible. It is not lofty ideals or poetic words that will win the hearts of the public. It is the cold hard facts of their deeds which will determine the outcome of their professed goals.