The Incorrigibly Inscrutable Race Called Manipuris

For many reasons, I sometimes prefer staying in Delhi than in Manipur. Life here in Delhi, as compared to the drudgery and ennui in Manipur, is freaky cool. Yes, it’s tedious to work the whole week anywhere. The buzzing alarm, the laziness to wake up, the rush to reach office on time, the eagerness to reach home no sooner than office ends etc—all these mark the daily routines for most of the professionals in the city. The difference is that we don’t need to bother about economic blockades or dramatic rise in the price of various commodities, though this is not the case in Manipur.

It is true that nostalgia is a chronic disease that each one of us is equally infected with. We miss our homes, our people. We love talking about good old childhood days, those local games, those fun-filled school days, festivals and what not. The smell of u-morok that triggers our appetite simultaneously makes us miss home badly. And if we are lucky enough to relish dishes like chagempomba or tharoi thongba, we fondly tell one another ‘Yumgi insaang yam maandra?’ This is the norm; this is the contagious homesickness that all of us mutually share. And that’s all that we got to amiably talk about Manipur.

The rest as we all know is history in the making in which we are directly and indirectly involved. 100 plus days of economic blockade, woes of people on price rise, the communal malice, the shattered emotions of this and that community—these issues are more than enough to make us all pissed off during our weekend together. We would debate with one another, give our personal opinions, sometimes indulge in quarrels to prove our opinions more noteworthy… but at the end of each and every Manipur-centric discussion, we find ourselves a little annoyed or disturbed. Debates could take the shape of anything. What bothers us most is who is going to preside on our debates? Who is going to listen to our grievances? Who is going to be accountable for what is happening in the State?

The best solution sometimes seems avoiding the discussions on Manipur with a pledge not to start it ever again. But that is next to impossible. We know we will keep talking about Manipur. We will keep quarrelling on issues that affect our people, though it is a different cup of tea whether our people know consciously if they are affected or not?

To a lot of Manipuris who are home based, it would not make an iota of sense staying miles away from the State and talking or discussing on issues that are faced by them back home. Well, the reason that we don’t stay in Manipur doesn’t mean we are less concerned. I doubt if maximum numbers of the Manipuris in Manipur are indeed bothered about the issues at all? If yes, then how? They do not protest, they do not raise their voices on the price rise. Come what may, they are ready to celebrate any festival with great pomp and show. If cooking gas is sold at Rs 2,000, they have alternative means of cooking meals. Instead of protesting or resorting to collectively act or react, they enjoy sober meals and stay quietly within their homes watching ISTV news or watching movies (if it is not a load shedding day). If there is any probable bandh, they get damn excited because another ‘chaak chanaba’ is on its way. Who cares about the economic blockade when one can afford a sumptuous nganu-thongba and yeah some booze (local or imported ones). The day will pass on merrily with some friends and that is more important. Let the problems burgeon day by day who gives a damn? Let an invisible virtual crusader descend on earth from ‘atiya’ and fight on their behalf. Meanwhile, enjoy the boozes, enjoy the delicacies!

All of us are either too cynical or indifferent and there lies one of the starting points of all the problems. It is DISGUSTING to know that political consciousness is a pale joke among the maximum population. I am sorry to say so but our people seem to be pretty OK with what is happening in the State. I do feel that we the outsourced lots are unnecessarily worried and concerned about the situations back there. No one complains, no one cares and everyone supports the situations instead of figuring out doable means and probable measures to solve it together.

Manipur is a living hell, Manipur is a failed State, Manipur is this, and Manipur is that. Everyone loves pointing fingers; no one is ready to lend a helping hand to resolve the problems. It is like ‘People, people everywhere, not anyone to act’. How long will this happen? How long will it take for our people to wake up from the slumber? “FRANKLY, My Dear, we don’t know because we don’t give a damn” would be a probable answer from our fellow Manipuris, the incorrigibly inscrutable race. Oh! Poor Change, it seems it will take years for you to make your presence in the State. Why don’t you plan a world tour first? Manipur will keep waiting for you till forever comes. Ciao!

PS - I do not have any slightest intention to hurt the sentiment of my people. It’s just that I want them to be a little sensible before it’s too late. I also don’t put myself in the shoes of any Vendetta who is trying to reform the society. I am in fact no one to talk about change or reformation. I am just a mere individual struggling for survival and sustenance in a metropolitan city. But trust me; I would love to be proved wrong on my above views.

This article was published on 13 Nov 2011
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