Janghaolun Haokip

Janghaolun Haokip

Janghaolun Haokip, a resident of Kholep Village, P.O –Motbung, Kangpokpi District, Manipur -795107  is a regular contributor of articles to Imphal Times. He completed his B.A (Psychology) Delhi University, Delhi and is currently pursuing Bachelor of Divinity at Manipur Theological College, Kangpokpi, Manipur. He used to work as a Assistant Teacher in English Literature for two years at MBC Higher Secondary School, Kangpokpi Mission Compound, Kangpokpi.

Haokip can be contacted at : [email protected]

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Thursday, 24 September 2020 18:36

My idea of Justice

1.  Introduction
It would be hard to imagine a civilization without ‘justice’ being a part and parcel of the fabric of the whole system of governance. Had there been no notion of justice, there would be discontented peoples from all walks of life. From the dawn of civilization, ‘justice’ stands for   giving and making an equilibrium on the part where some wants to prove that might is right. But is it possible to have an unbiased and fair treatment? The answer lies as we turn the pages of the world’s ancient civilizations –the most notable –the Mesopotamian civilization. In it we are assured that there was unbiased and a fair judgement for all. “An Eye for an eye” states the Hammurabi code, a code which is just and fair as well.
2. My Idea of Justice
My idea of justice is absolute fairness for all, irrespective of one’s race, religion, or region, and regardless of socio-economic status, political leanings, or professional and personal backgrounds. It is granting everyone the natural right to liberty in having what they deserve without restrictions on grounds of the individual’s capacity and ability, but purely on grounds of simply being human; and as a citizen of a state with certain defined laws and rights thereby granted to the individual. It does not discriminate or differentiate, it does not suppress or oppress, nor the rich or the poor, and nor the capable or the incapable. My idea of Justice therefore seeks to uphold a person’s dignified integrity and safeguard the person from any illicit threat to the person’s mental and emotional well-being. It aims to promote and encourage fairness for all; while it discourages any violation of rights that are so perceived or naturally recognised through conscience and laid down laws of our world and our institutions.
3.  Challenges to Justice
Unfortunately, as beautiful as it is in its essence and meaning, the idea of Justice has for the most part been undermined by various mechanisms. The elements of these mechanisms are mostly inimical to the overall human society as it hinders and obstructs the natural law of justice and equality for all. They are detrimental to peace and harmony, and trust-building and reliability of the society. Elements of hate, prejudice, and selfishness or egocentrism are often the obstructing elements of prosperity and tranquillity of our society that are projected and materialised through mechanisms as governance and societal and organisational set-ups, hindering a harmonious and well-developed society.
My idea of justice, particularly in our society, is far too neglected; justice no longer consoles the cries of innocent women and children, the powerless, and mostly the weak and the poor. It fails to stand in solidarity and as a solace for the victims of grave violations of Human Rights, and fails to grant them their mental and emotional liberty to peace and harmony. In other words, it unfortunately indirectly promotes crime through its inactions. Consequently, crime rates are at a rapid rise. Mention could be made of the rise in crimes against women and children. They are often victims of trafficking, forced labour amounting to prostitution and child pornography. This rise in crimes against women and the subsequent lack of justice make victims desperately run from pillar to post. People therefore begin to lose faith in the system and thereby the citizens support and glorify the taking of the law into their own hands without any regard to the system that they see as failed, biased, and unreliable.
4. Factors responsible for the failure of Justice
There are many factors responsible for victims being failed by the system of Justice. However, we will only largely discuss the most relevant factors below:
4.1 The importance of being learned
Everyone must be aware of his or her rights; the rights to equality and the need to fight for it. If one does not know his or her rights, there is no way that he/she could stand out and fight for Justice, but worse, he/she wouldn’t even be conscious of what Justice really is. And therefore, we become vulnerable to being exploited against our rights. One must therefore deliberately learn and understand his/her rights. This simply means that you have to possess the knowledge of human rights and equally know what to do and where to go to seek redress if your rights are violated.
4.2 Understanding the “money-trap”
Most of us today are victims of what we termed as “money-trap”. We are often readily inclined towards misusing the influence of money. As the saying goes ‘Love of money is the root of all evils’, people tend to show injustice for the sake of money. In other words, Justice has become buyable with a price. The truth then becomes stored in obscurity. Even criminals who are liable to getting an appropriate punishment are being acquitted under the escape clause wherein the root cause is money. The law fights, aids and abets the rich whereas many destitute people are deprived of justice simply because they have no money to override the system.
4.3 Power fall-out
It is indeed very unfortunate to say that with unchallenged power comes the natural tendency to abuse it. The power that is ‘the guardian of Law’ often fails to bring many crimes to justice but has subverted the idea itself due to reasons best known to them. Many a time, there are impending cases which come to an eventual closing due to the practical influence of power. This further grows deeper into the system to lead people to strive for power and prominence with the sole objective to enjoy and misuse it thereby victimising the whole society and the system of governance.
4.4 The rich-and-poor gap
The wide disparity between the rich and the poor often makes someone look down on the poor because they are lacking behind in many crucial aspects that concern the way and means of living. There are people who wait for a chance to exploit the helplessness of the poor in a world filled with the influence of money and power. This grows bigger and deeper into societal division and hence creates a misunderstanding that becomes the root of disharmony and other evils of the society.
4.5 The failure to fight back:
Our ignorance can often be taken as an excuse or be compromised with our right to Justice. Likewise, our failure to redress the issues and taking up a reprisal is taken as our weakness by possible perpetrators. We fail to stand up and face injustice to its roots but let injustice take shape until it has grown highly influential and wherefore become destructive to the society as well as an individual life.
5. Counteractive and Countermeasures
 5.1 Justice and Morality
As written by Linda J. Skitka, Christopher W. Bauman, and Elizabeth Mullen in an essay of the relation between Morality and Justice, “Morality and justice have apparent similarities. Both facilitate social interaction, coordination, and cooperation. Both can feel like external standards that somehow should carry more weight than individuals’ preferences. That said, morality and justice are not synonymous.” However, the point is that they are complementary to one another. As such, the morality of mankind can be more or less determined from the Justice it serves, or likewise Justice that we serve as mankind and to mankind are the answers to our standards of morality.  This is about serving Justice as morally conscious beings, irrespective of colour, creed, or caste or anything, regardless. It is to consider Justice as a moral obligation so that it becomes a necessity rather than something depending on our mere choices.
5.2 Justice and Human Rights
International standards recognize access to justice as both a basic human right and a means to protect other universally recognized human rights. The notion of Human Rights is the direct influence of Justice. In other words, Human Rights in itself is Justice. They are interrelated, and interdependent on each other.  The definition of Justice by the international community as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) expressed under thirty articles of rights is a notable one. Similarly, every nation or state has their own system of rights and provisions of Justice which are all good in its expression.
However, the rising problem has been the lapses in concerned institutions towards implementing and enforcing these theoretically commendable natures of Justice. The effectiveness often goes unchecked, unnoticed and unconcerned which opens up a wider scope to outright violations amounting to serious crimes as murder or any danger or threat to life. This therefore calls for revived policies and programmes for implementing the promotion and defence of Human Rights and Justice for all.
5.3 Justice and Politics
Unfortunately, politics today has become synonymous with extra-judicial activities of propagandas and conspiracies. It is today a common understanding that politics is naturally ill-advised and inclined towards narrow and selfish goals. In addition, it is the centre of blames and accusations, particularly related to Justice and employment of justifiable mechanisms. However, on the other hand, politics or the political entity is the framer of what Justice is and what it is not. It is at such a crucial position that it has the power to dictate the notion of justice. Therefore it is a must for the political entity to realise their relevance and significance towards framing policies best suited for Justice, and as such framing and implementing strict laws and regulations against perpetrators to warn people of dire consequences if Justice is at any way and at any point being undermined or exploited.
5.4 Justice and the Judiciary
The Judiciary is inarguably “the guardian of Justice.” The government of India affirms that the objective of the judicial system is to ensure the rule of law and legal security for individuals. It is the Judiciary that has the legal authority and authenticity required towards anything so related to Justice, and of promoting and safe-guarding Justice. The world indeed owes much to its Judiciary, as even in India; it is the Judiciary that always stands up for Justice in engaging itself in different situations, regardless of the height of severity, and certain high risks involved.
This is not necessarily to say that the Judiciary is entirely unquestionable in its nature and functioning. Nevertheless, it is the Judiciary that is the inner wall in promoting and defending justice. It is the last resort for individuals and people to turn to in times of any obstructions to the access of Justice. With it, it has a great role to play in granting Justice where it has been denied, promoting where it has been neglected, and defending where it has been exploited thereby keeping Justice accessible to everyone and by everyone.
6. Conclusion
Different individuals and communities of the world have different worldview, gender roles, and beliefs among others, and thus having different notions of what is just and what is unjust. There can be no wholly valid individual idea of justice as any individual idea of anything may be one-sided and may fail to employ a certain perspective.
Nevertheless, we ought to prepare ourselves today by understanding the essence of Justice and advocating the same. The world needs to come and stand together; each convicted of his/her responsibility towards access to Justice for all. In addition, we also ought to educate our children by positioning true education at the forefront as we nurture our younger generation. With it, it must remain our motto that “Truth alone triumphs” as Mahatma Gandhi had quoted, so that we must bear in mind that the failure in access to Justice is also a failure in our moral principles, our system of governance, our judiciary, and most of all our Humanity –our goals and objectives as human beings and individuals.

Let us therefore tirelessly strive towards granting access to Justice for all. This is my idea of Justice

If ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’, then the Kukis have been denied Justice –their rights to live with dignity and integrity. In fact, for almost three decades now the Kukis have been demanding Justice for the victims of the ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ or the “Kuki Genocide” carried out by the NSCN IM against the Kukis. Will the victims be granted Justice? 
Kuki Black Day
Every year on 13th September, the Kukis observe the Kuki Black Day in dearly remembrance and in mourning for their families and relatives who were mercilessly slaughtered during the Ethnic Cleansing or the Kuki Genocide of 1992 to 1997. Thousands, including women and children, were victims of mass slaughtering on that fateful day. Recounted stories of survivors narrate stories of terror and anguish that are mentally and emotionally torturing and devastating. 
On 13th September 1993, more than a hundred villagers were killed by the armed cadres of NSCN IM in a single day that came to be known as the “Joupi Massacre”. These helpless villagers were served a quit notice to leave their villages and were also warned of dire consequences. However, the villagers were betrayed and were gruesomely murdered even after they had left their villages and homes. 
The Kukis under the leadership of the Kuki Inpi, an apex body of the Kukis, and various other civil organisations and their branches, have been observing Kuki Black Day on 13th September every year. The Kuki Black Day is generally marked with peaceful procession and a prayer session which will be followed by candle lighting and people paying homage to the departed souls who were victims of the Kuki Genocide. 
Why Ethnic Cleansing?
The Ethnic Cleansing or the Kuki Genocide was a programme of the NSCN IM under the banner of Nagaland for Christ and their claim of Greater Nagalim. The militants claimed that the Kukis were living in a Naga territory while the Kukis took it as an outright insult to their dignity and integrity as they were living in their own ancestral lands, defending it from Kings and conquerors of which the English are notable with whom they had valiantly fought the Anglo-Kuki War (1917-199).
 The ethnic cleansing by the Naga separatists, as termed by BBC, was aimed not only to inflict terror and agony to the people, but it was also nefariously aimed at encroaching land and establishing power to rule at will. It was an extremely atrocious act to strip people of their rights by means of power and torture. Indeed, the Ethnic Cleansing has cost the lives of thousands of Kukis let alone the thousands and thousands of Kukis who were forcefully displaced from their ancestral homes. 
Why has Justice been denied?
13th September this year marks the 26th year of commemorating Kuki Black Day. For twenty six years a number of memorandums have been submitted to the government to deliver Justice to the victims of the Kuki genocide. Several efforts have also been made by various civil bodies of the Kukis in seeking Justice. 
The results have rather been extremely unfortunate since the government does not seem to take the least desirable effort to deliver Justice to the Kukis as a whole and to the victims in particular. The government has been largely unresponsive. On the contrary, the government has been long engaged with the perpetrators in talks to sign a peace deal. While the government’s effort to bring peace is applaudable in the militancy and violence gripped states as ours, one questions why Justice has been denied to the victims of the Kuki genocide. 
It is indeed intriguing why the government and the people remain silent when hundreds of people have been mercilessly killed, a hundred villages torched, and thousands of people forcefully displaced. Moreover, what is more shocking is the unimaginable and indescribable manner and circumstances of the genocide.
 A call for Justice
The genocide calls for justice. The indescribability calls for an action from the government to deliver Justice to the victims. The unprecedented loss of life and terror inflicted upon the lives and minds of the people seeks for restoration. The pain and sufferings, the agony of the people, and the inhumane actions and immorality calls for Justice. 
It is indeed extremely imperative for the government to rightly deliver Justice at the earliest. The government must realise that any challenge against its institution and the country as a whole cannot be left unattended but must be effectively addressed for a greater good towards a common goal as a nation. It must stand as a guardian to constitutional morality and stand out to serve justice in the right manner and in its essence of humanity and equality for all. The issue therefore calls the government to constructively engage and address this painfully significant issue of Justice. 
From Humanity to Humans
As the Kukis observe the Kuki Black Day, let us all be reminded that it is not just a dark day for the Kukis, but also for Justice and Humanity, and for the state and the country. It is indeed a black day for us all as responsible persons and citizens in our quest towards societal harmony and common good for all. With it, it is an earnest appeal that it is no longer just the Kukis to cry for Justice but for us all, as the same human kind, to constantly fight against anything that hinders growth
 for a better world. 
Today we mourn for the victims of the Kuki genocide, and we also pray that such inhumane thoughts and action do not once again grip our hearts. And as for JUSTICE for the victims of the Kuki Genocide, Twenty Six years have gone by and the government must no longer wait.

Sunday, 06 September 2020 09:41

Thinking differently –Out of the box!

I've always been much of an extrovert; interacting often with quite a lot of people from friends to strangers and from people of different elite professions to daily labourers -once being one. Though often unpragmatic; sharing liberal ideas, as to one's understanding, feels like all of what one can contribute to his society with speculation on different subjects with much rationality as one believes it to be. The ideas and iota might not necessarily be an orthodox of the well-defined today's world. However, it's more applaudable if one could think differently -out of the box -the small grisly box.

A few hundred years ago life was a race for survival -the one for food and shelter. It then gradually changes its form from one to another taking with it a multiplicity of changes. Nowadays, our society is but myriads of abstruse; subtle and pernicious. While a few hundred hankers power and luxury the rest of millions tries to befit. The idea of humane value seems to have lost its meaning where humans are held in greed and insidiousness by the so
called civilization. Human minds are becoming despotism of elitism and decency with a little or no tranquillity. In a compendium, life has lost its meaning between the human struggle for luxury, power and the dogma of disquietedness.

Somewhere between the fading beauty of life and wholeness of its meaning lies a baffling question, 'why?' If our selves are questioned as to the change or shift in our desires, most of us will be lost in perplexity. Why have we changed to a speck of dirt in our own eyes? We are dogmatic of the principles of the so called today's world with its well-defined vagueness and delusions without speculating on foresights and insights to any of life's intricacy. One of Gautama Buddha's 'Four Noble Truths' states the 'Truth that there is misery', all along we tend to try to defy the dogma of life and suppress it with a bogus of personal enunciations. We tend to bent towards the cessation of misery through other destructive means without working out with the actual cause. This further brings us a bigger load until one can't take and until one collapse with his/her own troubled mind. While all along we were ignorant and arrogant towards change, we eventually realise, we've caused ourselves a great misery and then we lie buried ourselves in the regrets of our transgressions.

We are meant to live in harmony as social beings in a society, our students are meant to study, our forces are meant for public orders and our leaders and diplomats to negotiate for the best policies. But what happens when it's the contrary -this sadly is what happens in our society. Albeit the fact that this doesn't necessarily mean all of the society, this is an anomaly of our society today. The real anomaly moreover is our inabilities to discern the noble truths of life and the pernicious trends of our society. Besides, the crucial subtlety is this anomaly being considered a normality to which we have no resentment of any level. What do we think the world is getting into? –Laconically –no Love. It's getting realistically materialistic with our hearts diplomating a little less of our lives and our realist minds taking us to our way forward. The truth is we stagger along our path-to-death until we realise we'll soon be close enough to our graves.

I don't believe in the idea of a perfect world or perfect humans neither do I believe in the idea of coerciveness. Only that I know our world today is becoming pathetically indescribable. Living was just a race for food and shelter. But today, it has become an art that requires the finest form. Like Charles Darwin postulated, ours has become an age of 'survival of the fittest' -the theory of natural selection -the race of elimination. However, to quote Buddha's saying, "The mind is everything, what you think you become" -the fight for survival is in the power of our minds. Survival here will rather be defined as happiness and contentment not of the mind that recedes with an impede but of the soul that remains untouched by the world around.

It's no time to lay idle when someone follows a very hectic schedule; when someone races hard albeit all the complexities and hurdles of life. Remember you're in a RACE OF ELIMINATION -GENERATION OF PERFECTIONISM.

"Remember life is a race. If you don't run fast, you'll get trampled" - 3 Idiots (2009)

Jiribam, Henglep, Sapormaina to Kholep on Imphal-Dimapur road (NH-2), have frequently been on the news making big headlines and cover stories. These deteriorating conditions of roads and the sufferings of people have attracted wide criticism from people from all walks of life. The politicians are unsparing themselves for people’s sake (hopefully) as the opposition is going hard against the ruling party.
How bad are the roads?
From the latest video of a patient being transported on a makeshift bamboo stretcher by young boys from the village, the mud in the road can be seen going as high as up to the knees of the boys. The road conditions are not just bad but they are terrible. The recent patient to be transported in that pathetic condition is the fifth patient brought to the hospital in a makeshift stretcher from Henglep to District Hospital Lamka. 
In Jiribam, the roads are too bad that truck drivers reportedly have to maintain a speed not higher than 5km/hr at certain places. From Sapormaina to Kholep, the road condition is too bad that a car was caught in mud in the middle of the road and the driver and other occupants of the car had to helplessly abandon the car until a help was found the next day, with the car spending a lonely dark night in the middle of a national highway. 
Whose fault?
Obviously not the government, but these are largely all the fault of the politicians. Who else is to blame than the person who is the in-charge responsible for looking after and acting wherever and whenever necessary.
In some places, the government is putting the blame on extortions and harassment of workers but that cannot be reasonable enough considering the fact that there are thousands and thousands of law enforcers who are working under the direct supervision of the government. What then is the main problem is a question the government must honestly answer without any hidden agenda.
Furthermore, the idea of truly honest politicians is something to ponder upon. In fact, the public over the years are having growing suspicions against the government. Interestingly perhaps even a youngster in Manipur will have a general notion that the politicians are corrupt to the core and the system is mostly unreliable and not worthy of trust.
The thoughtful excuse –diversion!
The Chief Minister, Shri N.Biren Singh in one of his recent speeches had made a mention of the road conditions. Ironically, instead of addressing and deliberating on the real issues, the Chief Minister as usual was trying to divert the main issues and problems. In his speech, the Chief Minister made misleading remarks stating that the number of small villages that are newly established is making it hard for the government to construct all weather roads and thereby causing problems for people and the state.
However, what the Chief Minister has missed is that the most pathetic conditioned roads such as Henglep and Jiribam are clearly not of new and small villages. Contrastingly, these are roads that have served since decades. Furthermore, even in that case of a quest for compromise, it is highly advisable that the government can at least construct all weather roads for the sub-divisional headquarters.
Stating which, the Chief Minister and his government seems negligent of the fact that what is the need of the hour and the need of the people is the willingness to root out the real problems and find the most effective means to address them rather than diverting the issues behind superficial or designed problems. The government must realize these essences and must approach the same with careful analysis and benevolent devotion rather than ignorance and arrogance and personal and organizational incompetence.
Why diversion?
In fact, diversion of critical issues has always been a ready-made mechanism for the government to solve every problem challenging the administrative functionality of the government. It has become increasingly instrumental towards finding short-term solutions while leading the country into deeper complexities that are devastating to the country and the people.
Furthermore, it could be true that the government is diverting the issues of stagnant economic growth in the face of carefully designed propagandas and policies or the government is diverting their incompetence and inability in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it may not be entirely true but the question isn’t wholly irrelevant to ask concluding from the entirety of the political scenario of the state and country.
The murderer of accountability?
Diversion as an ever-ready mechanism as it is, is the reason for diminishing accountability of the government. It is detrimental to the trust building between the government and the people as it discourages reliability but promotes suspicion against the government. Regrettably, all this has to do is bring about negative impacts largely affecting the performance of the state and its machineries.
The infamous diversion tactic of the government only destroys community cohesion as governments and people. It obstructs the collective and constructive engagement of the people in governance and governance policies that hinders every co-operation to be given to the government or that the government needs.
The way forward
This has to change, the government cannot go on making choices for the people through false education and hook and crook means. The people must decide for themselves and the government must fulfill demands.
The government must look for means to effectively engage the people in societal upliftment, it must give voice to the people and do the needful as lawmakers and as well as law enforcers. It must strictly distance itself from diverting critical issues but stand out and face those issues. The people have hearts and the government must step into that and invite cooperation from people and not try to play hide and seek in an age of CCTVs.
It’s time the government must come out real and play it real, as human beings, as a true and responsible person if they really want to bring positive change. Because we are now in a generation of “everyone knows everything” we are all politicians afterall.

*****The writer is a Social Activist, and Gen. Secy. International Human Rights Association, Manipur

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