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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Tuesday, 07 July 2020 17:37

Loving the unloved

G.K Chesterton’s message about Love will always lead the rest. He was an English writer, and philosopher who was also referred to as “the prince of paradox.” In his message about love, he preached a strong and lucid concept of love, stating that to love means loving the unlovable.
The statement may well spark our curiosities albeit in unspecific terms. We may ask ourselves what would be the intended meaning. In fact, several conclusions could be drawn from this statement. Out of many, one can simply be an unconditional love. This means to love a person without having to look for reasons, which then points us to loving a person not because of his/her virtues but because of our own –of the simple fact that we are loving. A more noble bearing could be to love a person because he/she is utterly pathetic, and with that we are compassionately moved towards that person in whatever manner which can be largely defined as love.
A question may then be asked, “Why do we love the unlovable?” The answer is rather simple albeit unnoticed by most people or, maybe, simply ignored. It is plainly because that is the true essence of Love. Otherwise, what is love that loves only in return for love? In fact, that would cease to be love at all, instead, all it will be is just a mere relationship with mutual benefits –a mere misconception. The Christian Bible (I Corinthians 13) markedly points that LOVE is kind; it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hope, always persevere, and most of all, the Bible says, Love never fails. I believe with it we can retrospect our concepts of Love; that it must be realised in its essence; that it transcends and is the greatest of all virtues, and can in no way be limited to the privileges of the self alone.
However, sadly, our society has fast-forwarded itself and with it seems to have lost the essence of Love in its swift transition. The supposedly redefined love has unfortunately in its core mostly the craving for materialism –something which can be seen and gained –something which is physically appealing and pleasurable –as opposed to an abstract yet a transcending value that holds our lives together until so far. This redefined love has come to defy about all forms of genuine benevolence and the true essence of kindness but has encouraged opportunism and other forms of self-centred dispositions in our outlook of the world and subsequent thoughts and actions. Thereupon, this has grown to crumble the morale of our society, and above all, our humanity towards one another as the same human kind.
While we are grumbling over the ostensibly morally decaying world and human society, unfortunately, we are often blinded of our own negative impacts on the society. The point is that we do not realise that most of our thoughts and actions of everyday lives can be detrimental to the shaping of the nature of the society. This means that most of what we dislike about our society has itself deeply rooted in each of us. That is because the society is primarily the product of each of us. Stating that, the imperatives of realising our roles in building a desirable society has to be prudently addressed. Furthermore, the issues concerning moral values and principles of life are also to be given its proper emphasis in order to bring about a shift in our emotional and intellectual dispositions from self-centrism to humanitarianism.
For instance, while it is naturally commendable to felicitate success, one may wonder why failure remains unaddressed. The culture of felicitating successful persons, HSLC candidates in context (HSE examination results are also awaited), has grown extensively. A particular successful candidate or a position holder will be feted by almost every notable personalities and agencies (newspapers today are filled with who fetes who). What about the unsuccessful? When the successful alone are encouraged, what happens to the failing? Who encourage them? Implicit then is the fact that we don’t truly care. This is not to against the courtesy of individuals and corporations in encouraging people (students) for greater heights nor is it an antagonism against such. However, the question is “why not” also for the people who obviously need it the most. In fact, successful people are successful because they have the potential and are already encouraged. Who essentially needs encouragement are rather those who fail. What then do we do about that?
Pressing on, one can be reminded of Charles Darwin theory of survival of the fittest in his on the Origin of Species. But on the other hand I guess science is all about statements and proofs and has therefore, to an extent, disregarded the essence of being human –of our hearts and emotions that set us apart from others. Wherefore, we cannot leave the left. By every sensibility of the essence of humanity and love that is naturally attached to it, we have every responsibility therefore to find means to approach and address the issues of failure which maybe mental ignorance of lack of inspiration and motivation, intellectual incapability, financial strains, and individual and societal impediments among others.
For that reason, tomorrow, I wish to learn that an encouragement and a career counselling meeting was held for the unsuccessful candidates of the recently declared HSLC examinations. The otherwise, one can be utterly convinced, defies love and defiles humanity. I wish to believe that many, if not all, have realised their potentials and have found ways to awaken them; that these students have garnered the courage to break the stereotype and were able come out to explore beyond the academic opportunities. I wish to hope that the society has turned its minds and actions towards inclusiveness from exclusivity, and from not caring to actually caring, and that above all, the hopeless are given hope.
Who will then begin this divine mission? This is a challenge not just to you and me but for the entire humanity –who will love the unloved?

Thursday, 02 July 2020 16:56

Impact of COVID-19 on students

While the spread of the untamed-pandemic stroke and quiver all over the world, hampering people’s lives in a total pandemonium, with profuse news- both certitude and forgery, fluttering in from copious angles. And the innumerous number of proliferating confirmed and active cases reported everyday in the television news shows, social media’s goes without saying- with graveyards flooded like the ‘Khwairamband market’ in a hustle-bustle manner as was always, devaluing the value or worth of life. The world is at stake- wherever, whoever and whatever it may be, we are at stake. But amidst all these various issues, what in my opinion effecs the mos- not necessarily in the present but for the time to come, is the future and career of the young learners in our country, particularly here in our state, Manipur.
The COVID -19 pandemic has affected the educational system worldwide, leading the closure of schools, universities and colleges. The closure of these educational institutions not only interrupts the teaching for students;the closure also coincides with a key assessment period and many exams have been postponed or cancelled. Internal assessment are perhaps thought to be less important and may have been cancelled. It is also possible that some students career might be benefit from the interruption. The global lockdown of educational institutions is going to cause major(and likely unequal) interruption in students’ learning; disruptions, internal assessments and the cancellation of public assessment for qualifications or their replacement by an inferior alternative. It has been estimated to affect around 600 million learners across the world- the school going students in particular.
The big question here is- What can be done to mitigate these negative impacts faced by the students? Despite where thousands of competitive minded students in most part of the country, accepting this so called ‘lockdown’, a bane to a boon, preparing themselves thoroughly for their lessons and various competitive exams coming ahead, precisely and wisely managing their time during these untolerable crisis, which gives them the maximum time more than needed due to extension of lockdown, providing the best environment for students to sit down on their table , utilizing various digitalised and computerised electronic gadgets to acquire more than what is supposed to be learn, joining online classes and what not.
But how painful it is to see the other side-a total contrast to what had just been pointed out, do we see in our context.Some exceptional students who have the will and quest to learn might perhaps be aware of the valuable time the lockdown had provided to prepare themselves at home for their own, despite the numerous ill-effects and impacts it cause to the people. But it is hurting and discouraging as well as helpless to see tons of groups of youngsters and students in thei mid-schooling days are craving to fill their thirst- a thirst which is not meant to satisfy a thirst, one which does not keep oiling the engine of their life-a thirst that will thirst them for more. They gave their precious but fruitless time to needless things, as such- playing online game, gone away with the fairies with social medias and what not when thousands as them out there, are reasonably and judiciously acquiring all feasible cognition from all possible and attainable ways, by hook or crook. This part, for an instance, is what I endured which is really demoralizing as a yound learned man.
I, for one, had tackled this predicament issue with a Lilliputian step towards ‘India’s leaning won’t stop’ amidst this pandemic with nebulous lockdown, had took up a home tuition for few eighth and tenth standard pupils, which according to my view is the only possible step and remedy for students living in the hills and remote places, when many good-to-do families in the cities nourished and supplement their children with online classes and so on. The Information Service Television Network (ISTV), Imphal had launched and produced a series of educational videos based on online teaching, telecast a local network channel - ISTV Nongin, for students to learn through online and through television free of cost, where reputed and highly qualified teachers from various institutionse voluntered to teach on various topics, mainly for college students pursuing MSc and BSc, in particular. This has been one of the steps taken by the state to compensate students who are adversely affected by the lockdown.
The state government, particularly the Educational department should therefore, look over this current trending challenging issues by acting accordingly as needed in the swiftest possible means , as an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. As Nelson Mandela, the first president of South Africa who was also an anti-apartheid revolutionary, rightly quoted, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

Would it not remain a mystery unknown to the world? Or until unless we can talk to the dead would anyone truly know why? Why do people choose to die?

 By- Janghaolun Haokip

Suicide is a global phenomenon. According to the World Health Organisation data, close to 800,000 people die of suicide every year, this is one person in every forty seconds. This means that by the time you finish reading this article over ten people will have already died of suicide. In the year 2016, suicide accounted for 1.4 % of all deaths worldwide, making it the 18th leading cause of death.
Why people choose to die.
When people are going through an acutely difficult time, some are naturally convinced to believe that dying will end the pain. So, basically, it can be said that people choose to die because they are mentally and emotionally broken and there seems to be no way out. While there may be certain other factors responsible or known to have led a person to suicidal thoughts or subsequent suicides, according to health.com; a US based magazine focussing on mental health issues, and verywell mind, an online portal providing mental health information, there are five factors that can largely explain why people choose to die:
Depression and other mental illnesses: While there are many factors that can influence a person’s decision to commit suicide, the most common one is severe depression. Most people make the decision to attempt suicide shortly before doing so impulsively rather than planning it out extensively. Depression can make people feel great emotional pain and loss of hope, making them unable to see another way to relieve the pain other than ending their own life. 
Hopelessness: A feeling of total despair—a sense that there’s no escape from an ongoing intolerable situation—is another big risk factor. “Often people engage in suicidal thinking or suicidal behaviours because they feel like they can no longer withstand the psychological emotional pain that they’re currently in,” says De Maria.
Feeling like a burden: “A person with chronic pain or a terminal illness can also feel like a burden to others, as it becomes harder and harder to ask for yet another ride to the doctor’s office or more help with household duties or assistance paying for hospital bills. In fact, many people who decide to commit suicide often state that their loved ones or the world, in general, would be better off without them.
Stressful situations: Stressful situations can lead to suicidal thoughts, says Dr. Genovese. What counts as stressful covers a wide range of experiences, such as a relationship crisis, financial problems, academic or work pressures, bullying, health problems, loss of a loved one, and so on.
Isolation: Having family support and social structure is a protective factor against suicide, says Dr. Genovese. Conversely, people who lack support and community are at a heightened risk for suicide.
Additional risk factors for suicide include previous suicide attempts, a family member who has died of suicide, alcohol or substance abuse, or a history of abuse or trauma. Not having mental health resources available is another risk factor, as is ready access to drugs, alcohol, and weapons.
Warning signs of suicide
Warning signs of suicides are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help. While some of these signs can be clearly noticed, some other signs can be totally vague. Some observable warning signs may include extreme mood swings of anxiety and agitation. Primarily, the people who are most vulnerable will most probably show signs of loneliness and depression, lack of interest in communication or incessant frustrated expressions, and prolong pervasive sadness among others. However, this doesn’t mean that vulnerable persons can all be recognised through these signs. There are also people who seem to experience no mental or emotional pain but who actually are otherwise. These people do not have observable warning signs of suicide and hence are most vulnerable because they are more difficult to be recognised and given timely assistance.
What can you do to help?
To realise that we are responsible is the first step towards helping people in distress. If one may ask the reason why we are responsible; it is because we are as much a component of the social entity as much as we are as individuals. This naturally points to the fact that each of us are determinants of society in some way or the other; that the person that we are in some way gets to shape the society that we live in. This may be in sharp contrast with people who believe that what a person goes through as an individual is all up to him/her. While this may also be true to a certain extent, the fact that we shape the society and the society in turn shapes us still stands unquestioned.
With it, we must deliberately heed to the warning signs in a person. We must read the behaviours of people who we think are vulnerable –people who have recently been exposed to the factors that we believe are likely to incite suicidal thoughts in a person. Subsequently, we need to project that we are there to help, and we also need to assure them that there is hope so they can open up on their own as well and progress from there. Moreover, we must focus and root for people who truly need us in this phase of their lives.
Let us again therefore recall what causes suicide. In a compendium, it is severe depression that vitiates a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, it is extremely important to be kind and considerate, and tender and compassionate towards our dealings with people around us. We have to realise that people are not all the same. Even though some are comparatively bold and confident, some others can be really weak and timid. Thus it is yet again imperative to be all-embracing, optimistic and approachable. We have to be able to encourage and appreciate people. We have to help them build their self-esteem by reminding them that they are as worth as every other person as a unique individual. And for society at large, we need to build a positive environment where we do not discriminate but appreciate the dignity and integrity of every individual.
Paying homage to Sarju Naoroibam
Although medical reports are yet to be ascertained, media quoted ‘mental stress’ to be the reason behind the death of the 21 year old girl Sarju Naoroibam, a bright and promising student and an aspirant of the coveted Civil Service Examinations, who was allegedly found hanging in her room on the end of her quarantine period.
While the distressing suicide of an actor and an achiever Sushant Singh Rajput still echoes in our hearts, it is indeed extremely unfortunate that we have yet again lost a beautiful friend, a daughter, and a sister to the prejudices of our society, of our very own arrogance and impatience.
We have failed them, and along with them many others who have faced the brunt of the unmindfulness of our society, of stigma and prejudice –mostly unthought. We therefore need to pay them homage today: we need to take a pledge to fight against the social evils that directly or indirectly affects the mental and emotional life of a person; that we will take into account every individual, regardless of differences, and will, to the best of our conscience, strive to making the world liveable for everyone.
A plea!
And if suicide ever crosses your mind, my friend, please remember silver linings and lights in the end of a tunnel are not just myths but are for real. Time will inevitably play its part eventually. Until then, my friend, you just need to be strong, and you just need to love yourself just a little bit more or you can reach out to me anytime.
May their souls Rest In Peace!
(This article was written with valuable inputs from friends from different walks of life and of whom I am deeply grateful)

Friday, 26 June 2020 17:45

Wagering on people’s fate?

(Dishonourable political contentions and their adverse impact amidst the already chaotic pandemic)

Power seldom fails to allure people. Abraham Lincoln once said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  It emphasizes the power that power has on an individual. It is believed to be a determinant of the change in everything surrounding an individual’s personality. It is believed to be obsessive, so much that ‘power’, which is the ability to do what you want in a way that you want, actually becomes enslaving. In this power labyrinth is where most of our leaders and politicians are trapped today.
The headlines of our newspapers that are unprecedentedly shocking stand proofs, particularly because of the chaos COVID-19 has already brought. It is especially surprising why, amidst the pandemic and the deadlock we’ve reached in our management of Quarantine Centres, the government would still be engrossed in petty political contentions as if it were wholly unaware of the mounting complications. It has indeed come to pose a big question for any and every responsible citizen: Is the government –the politicians –wagering on peoples’ fate? And what if it is so? What do we do as learned, concerned, and responsible citizens?
At this point, it is all-important for the politicians to recall the ultimate essence of representative democratic policy. The once composed aspirations of every politician and leader should be brought to life and must stimulate an actual reality of selflessness and excellence among others in working for the people. This is imperative as in it lays the fate of the people, of hundreds and thousands whose lives are being impacted by the decisions made and steps taken by the leaders. This ostensibly demands a step-to-step critical analysis by politicians and leaders alike towards uplifting the society as a whole and being deliberately responsible in their respective fields in particular. The politicians must realise that they are being closely watched, and they must also be extra-aware that power as it stays can also be transferred back to where they belong –the people –and at any point.
On the other hand, I also feel that the power of the people is being terribly undermined both by the government and by the people themselves. People are becoming victims of the structure they themselves design, and are burnt by the fire they themselves ignite. This is supposedly because we do not wholly understand our roles in policy making that has been concealed by rhetoric tales since past times –of the government and certain politicians viciously making a larger section of people believe in falsities merely because they want to stay in power. The public fails to be inquisitive and responsive towards the governance that dictates them. Moreover, we are –our votes are –unfortunately more or less buyable since money is a great determinant owing to more than 85 percent of people in our state living well below the poverty line. The fact is that we fail in our responsibilities; we fail to be vigilant as we continue to be ignorant about the social and political aura that surrounds us.
However, this is not to point that there can be equal emphasis on the lapses in being accountable, on both the government and the people. The larger part necessarily remains with the government as it decides what is and what is not in a way that they have the complete authority to bring things into accordance or likewise the opposite, which cannot, in any way be compared to the authority that rests on the general public. These leaders –the politicians and their governments –are to lead the entire business of the state despite the roles that the public can or may play. Therefore, the contrasting situation with the current political scenarios is a big misfortune for the people of the state. It is largely but indicative of the failure of the government to live up to the needs and hopes of the people.
More critical is the sweeping complications in various Quarantine Centres of the state. Cases of conflicts between inmates of these Centres and government agencies are at a rise as can be seen viral in various social media platforms. With this is the growing suspicion of the inmates against the government and concerned CSOs if there are any political propagandas being employed. At many centres the inmates are voicing their discontentment against government discrepancies in administering the centres as a whole and the inmates in particular. Their demands are largely transparency and efficiency in government programmes and policies. In a certain way, test results are also something that confuses the inmates to an extent of adding to their suspicions of any opportunistic involvements of people from the political arena, apart from inadequate and sometimes inappropriate amenities being provided.
The eventuality can be dangerous if the government does not take all the right directions and appropriate the frustrations of the inmates. The government must turn from its outright, ignorant, and blatant misuse of power and position and must come towards the right cause for the people rather than engulf itself in petty opportunist dramas. It is a time when selfless dedication is highly desirable and the politicians must heed to this. It cannot draw itself away from the real and surging problems that they stood out to solve and bring to an end. Moreover, the government must be conscientious of the policies they engage in administering the returnees. It is to be carefully noted that SOPs are near impossible to be actualized when two and three toilets alone are arranged for more than fifty to hundred inmates as it is in most Quarantine Centres. The government therefore has little or no right to anticipate and subsequently blame the inmates alone for the fault in handling the spread of the pandemic.
Wherefore, in a time when there should be cohesion and cooperation, the ruling government and the opposition alike, together with every politician, must let go of any contentions due to selfish intentions. Rather, it must strive to come to terms through deliberation and rational cerebration and realise the urgency and therefore work together to achieve a common goal of quality governance and well-being. This is also to enliven the general public that in each of us is power and when we can bring together those powers in each of us; that is the answer to how we can change society. With that, notwithstanding the drawbacks in governance, let us be discerning and responsible as we strive towards a better society for our future generations to live in. And for the government: it must, in no way and under no circumstances, think of wagering on people’s fate.

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