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Qualitative Decline in Governance But Public Proving Their Democratic Capability: Manipur Tragedy

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Qualitative Decline in Governance But Public Proving Their Democratic Capability: Manipur Tragedy

By – Amar Yumnam
Imphal, June 10:

The 8 June 2024 edition of The Economist concludes the Lead Article titled A Triumph for Indian Democracy thus: “The question facing India is therefore whether Mr Modi can evolve from a polarising strongman into a unifying consensus-builder. By doing so, he would ensure that India’s government was stable—and he would usher in a new sort of Indian politics, capable of bringing about the reforms needed to ensure India’s transformation can continue when the Modi Raj is over. That is what real greatness would look like, for Mr Modi and his country. Fortunately, if he fails, India’s democracy is more than capable of holding him to account.”
The same yardstick can be applied to what has been the outcome of the 18th Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur. During the last nearly two years, Manipur has been marked by unwanted social happenings. This has been coupled by the continued unpreparedness, inability to digest the dynamics and non-committal governance response to take the land and her people out of the unprecedented and undesirable social happenings. It is in this context that the recent elections took place. The outcome of the Elections tells us inter alia of three very important lessons, particularly so as similar results came up in the both mythologically and historically integrated two geographic regions of Manipur; I make this statement with the understanding of the mythological and historical manifestation of reproductive behaviour, human sexuality, marriage, family, kinship, social hierarchies, economic behaviour and economic systems of Manipur.
The first lesson is that the people of the State in both the geographic regions prove the inherent capacity to take the persons in power into account. Manipur has never experienced such kind of uniformity and huge margins in winning elections. The second lesson is that the people do possess the capability to exercise social choice in a shared and collective way in loud and clear terms. A few words on social choice may be in place for, in the present socio-politico background of the emergence of such a shared public choice would have normally been thought impossible; but the impossible has been made an absolutely possible one by the exercise of collective choice.
As the Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow writes “A natural way of arriving at the collective preference scale would be to say that one alternative is preferred to another if a majority of the community preferred the first alternative to the second.” This preference has been conveyed in unequivocal terms in Manipur. The third lesson is that despite the attempts to restrict the free exercise of individual rights, the people exercised their democratic freedom of right to choose their representatives wonderfully for their preferences to emerge as a collective choice. As Amartya Sen said “‘such basic economic notions as individual well-being, social welfare, living standard, consistent choice and rational behaviour can all be fruitfully re-examined by paying more adequate attention to the perspective of freedom.” The beauty of recent election results in Manipur lies in the revelation that the people value freedom of choice as an instrument to bring about a consequence of social well-being of the individuals in the society. This revelation has added to the value in opting for democracy in the political realm. It is for these reasons that I call the recent Election Results as the only Beauty Manipur has seen during the last two years or so. The extraordinary quality of this result has been the absolutely low cost the society and the individuals have incurred to achieve this.
While the State has just seen and experienced Beauty, Manipur is now back to the ugly part of ethnic killings after a short break. We have been pointing our fingers at the lapses and failure of governance for the continuance of killings for more than one-year, and we shall do the same for the very deadly revival of the killings, attacks for killings and vast damages to property. The absence of the persons in power from the State and non-return to the State in this time of crisis would certainly amount to lapses of governance by the government in power. The Government of the day has utterly failed to establish a system wherein “the processes and interactions… tie the state to civil society.”Manipur today needs and demands a coherent and sustainable framework for reviving and maintaining the Social Beauty. Where is the government which can ensure a governance to achieve this?

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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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