After the infamous 8-8-88 military crackdown in Burma, many pro democrats took refuge in the state of Manipur. The desperate pro-democrats fought with resilience and determination for decades staying out of their country to restore democracy in their country under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. A few among those who escaped their country experienced acute frustration on imagining why all the people of Burma do not understand the needs for democracy. Some among them desperately attempted to mobilize the villagers about the need for restoration of democracy in Burma, but were not very successful and the Military Junta which later change its name to SPDC continues to rule the nation until recently when Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party got majority in the parliamentary election. It took nearly 20 years to restore democracy, or some semblance at least, in Burma; in other words it took the same number of years to make the people aware about the need for democracy. In another case in early 2000 a friend from Bhutan once said that their country needs a monarch as people are not so literate. Government by the people needs people to be literate and have the ability to choose the right person to run the country. And he was of the idea that until people at least got minimum literacy to understand which representative to choose, it was better to have a monarchial form of government. May be the Burmese refugees or the Bhutanese friend have their point. Or the people of their respective countries might have been well motivated by their respective leaders to believe in their words. If people want a successful democracy – a ‘govt. of the people for the people and by the people’, the electors should be at least be able to properly judge on whom to be elected as their leader. “Smart city” is now the talk of the town. Private TV channels, social media, newspapers now are occupied with ideas, comments and critics about making Imphal a ‘smart city’. As chief town planner Gitchandra had stated that the main idea about smart city is making the people smart, it now becomes common understanding for almost all of us that making the people ‘smart’ stands as top priority for the mission. But, How? This column had suggested some of the important component that needs to be taken up as top priority to make people smart. But one serious issue is when the leaders are not smart and resourceful enough to make the common people smart, how can one still dream of a Smart city. First, the priority of IMC to make Imphal a smart city should be starting some initiative to make the politicians, Bureaucrats, govt. employees from top to bottom smart enough to make the people smart. When we talk about ‘smart’ – we literally mean sincerity and persons with integrity.
Until and unless the leaders are not smart enough to make the citizen realize the cruciality of becoming smart, the concept of a “Smart City” will remain just a wishful thinking.