I came back to Manipur after almost a year and could see the changes; not in terms of good roads or tall buildings but in terms of increasing unemployment, sufferings, injustice and unlawful acts. Boys and girls, much lesser than our age got married, with no job in hand. I was wondering how they will manage to survive in life, amidst this cruel fate of Manipur!
Many of my friends got married and were looking for a good job or business. Some have been doing small business and maybe prospering in it too! It somehow reflected me with an image of the complexity they must be facing in life. With a wife to support and a family to be accounted responsibility of, they must be really at their wits end to find a loophole in the society to drain the wealth in their pockets. Many friends who were good in studies have left studies, some got married and took up business or something to support their lives, but how long will that go on I ponder!
On the other hand, I at my mid 20s, have been keeping myself away from family and relative’s pressure to get married or questions of my relationships. I feel I love to be a Diaspora now, whose mind stretches from one corner of world to another and yet end up with thoughts of Manipur. This mixed culture has swept across the nation for quite a time now, most people of our age are working, struggling hard and focus on career rather than worrying for a good wife. I ask myself, are our minds westernized or is it the feeling of realization in life to have a better life after struggling hard? Maybe I am not the only one who thinks like this but maybe I am one of those who spoke it out! Maybe a Diaspora thinks like that! Maybe I am not the right person to answer or ask the very question because I am a part of the system too, where people have their own views and philosophies in life.
Manipur on the other hand has developed into a killing field, where army troops and UGs come for shooting practice. And the most important thing is that the people are either not aware of it or knowingly suppressing the screams of the hearts. I am not blaming anyone for the cause because it’s us, the people, who have led to this situation. In such a small state like Manipur, there are more differentiations than other bigger states in terms of religion, caste and place. When we could not have unity at such a small level, we possibly could only dream of a better life and not achieve it. There are more than 50 tribes, leave religions alone. In such a place where caste comes first instead of humanity, how does one find time to hate one another?
Whenever a friend asks me the meaning of ‘Manipur’ or ‘Kangleipak’, somehow I feel a deep sigh in my heart to describe it as “Land of jewels” or “Switzerland of India” or “Land of paradise”. It has lost its all meaning, it feels like I wish to call it like that without a reason or supported by facts. I however feel the pride to be a Manipuri, that’s the same reason why I am writing this article – for the love of this hometown. The sense of belonging to one place however reflects differently for different people.
The main problem is not the neighboring states or people that hinder the growth of the state but the people that live within the state. The dissimilarities between different groups, the differences between different caste and religion, the hatred between them. Where does it lead us to? Every one of us has read stories of heroism, unity, brotherhood. If that is all what we have learnt from books, to read and forget, what use is the education for us? We are used to the prevailing system that it neither gives any space for a change nor have any intention to do it.
Many good students are out of the state, struggling for a career whereas the parents are in Imphal for securing a good future for their children. So isn’t it our duty as a children of this state to give back something we learnt from our education? Isn’t it our duty to secure a good life for our old aged parents? Would you part your hard earned money when your time comes? Maybe you would say, “I don’t want to stay in Manipur at all”. Then I would say, “You should never have been born in Manipur”. It’s easy to run away from the problems, but difficult to confront it. Will it solve the problems? No, never. It’s very easy to point fingers on another but have you ever thought why he is being pointed out? Everyone wants to be at the top, but have to struggle for that. Depriving one of his rights for your own benefit won’t help you out when his time comes. Everyone dream of the good old times to come back, but a dream without a value won’t last long. And that value generally will come through sufferings. So isn’t it time we realize our own mistakes and come forward together for a better tomorrow rather than wait for that day to strike you.
Many Manipuris are at high posts, some with good contacts and some an authority in itself. Together we can make it happen; dissolving all differences together and creating a new meaning for the word “Manipur”. Some Manipuris got rare achievements, some lucky enough to draw a good crowd and some administrators in the system itself. What good will be the education, what good will be the achievement, what good will be the honors and medals without a true meaning of “Manipur”, from where it originated all? Maybe we won’t be able to see those good days in our lifetime, but we will be remembered for ages to come.So come out of your caves and join us.Let's do something for this God forsaken place.
If not for yourself then for your children and grandchildren!!