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When arrogance meets ignorance

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Arrogance, overconfidence, dismissive – traits that have proven to spell the downfall of an individual. And if that individual happens to be the elected leader of a state, then it would not be much way off the mark to state that the state is bound to regress, and the very leader would have been digging his own political grave. Could it be the practically limitless power derived from the position he holds, or is it a manifestation of the money and muscle power he has inherited as the Chief Minister of a state with one of the most heinous record of human rights abuse and state-sponsored terrorism? Is it just a natural progression of the vagaries of being in power? While it is still not possible to put a finger on the exact reason or cause of the emerging facet of the present Chief Minister hitherto assiduously kept away from public, it has become increasingly clear that N Biren is a man who does not like to have his decisions questioned. There are also recent incidents which have surfaced through various social media strongly indicating that he does take affront to unfavorable comments or critical opinions of his actions and tends to take these expressions personal- a frightening revelation given the power and resources he wields due to his position as the elected head of the state. And there are an increasing number of people questioning the wisdom in putting him to power, more convinced than ever after witnessing the intolerant and intimidating manner in which dissenting voices are sought to be suppressed.
Despite the much publicized effort of connecting with the people of the state, the increasingly impregnable official residence which had put untold pedestrians not only to much inconvenience but also to risks of physical injury is an ironic twist to the whole public stunt. While the compulsive obsession with safeguarding the heavy iron gate from the frustrating kicks of the enraged public may be explained away as a personal indulgence of someone in power, the real issue of why the public has to resort to such dire acts has been sidelined. Imphal Times has been trying to put the issue of barricading the Chief Minister’s official quarter in the correct perspective, pointing out the futility and the symbolic detachment of the Chief Minister from the grave and immediate concerns of the general public. Truth be told, no amount of barricades and rolls of barbed wires will be able to keep the enraged public away for long- it will only result in the public feeling neglected and pushed away by the very person they looked up as a leader to allay their fears and listen to their concerns.
Another sign of immaturity is the failure to reign in the chest-thumping attitude even after enough incidents that should have taught the elected leaders that the only way forwards is to make radical changes and pave new roads towards progress. So long as the present government keeps comparing the result of their actions with that of the previous government, the focus will never be on the future development. Spending crores on posters, hoardings and advertisements to announce their achievements will impress very few. Real progress should be felt and experienced, not projected. The myriad schemes and uncountable yojanas being brought out to purportedly benefit the general public and the downtrodden section of the population can only become meaningful when implemented efficiently and swiftly. The top leaders should communicate with the real targets of the beneficiary schemes to gauge the actual performance and efficiency.
What started out as an optimistic change of guard in the state has withered to one which is increasingly intolerant, impotent and megalomanic. More than anything, the people of the state needs to confide in the government but for that to happen the leaders of the state need to show empathy, humility and tolerance- attributes hard to detect among the present breed.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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