We, The People (With No Country)

The exodus of North Eastern students and professionals from various Indian cities has thrown up many unanswered questions. It has made us doubt ourselves, quite uncomfortably, of our own nationality. It has made us wonder if the country has never been ours in the true sense of the word. Had it been, we would not have been scared or rushing for home — now the situation is like we have to show our passports for proofs of our citizenship, not anywhere else but in our own country. This is not the first time.

I personally feel extremely sorry for all those students and professionals, especially in Bangalore, who have to go through such trying times. I equally feel sorry for the Indian system that cannot bring any solution to such brouhaha. The nation seems to have been engulfed by chaos from all its directions. It would be apt to say, from the number of people in the exodus, that it resembles the re-partition of the nation. As a North Easterner and as a Manipuri, I have my own concerns about my brethren who are frightened, which the government and its law-enforcing agencies say, is only a result of rumours. Would they care to read between the lines of the exodus of more than 20 thousand people? Quite ironically, the India that once annexed us, promising our fundamental rights now fails to protect us from mere threats. The India that boasts itself as one of the biggest democratic nations has repeatedly failed to uphold its spirit.

We always had/have our own share of grievances against the system but we never imagined that our existence would be threatened by some miscreants who perhaps share the same nationality with us. Perhaps, it’s time for a serious introspection among all of us. India, are you really our country? Why has such a question cropped up?

From the context of Manipur, many deliberations are to be discussed — and like open wounds, the more we discuss about them, the worse our emotional pain gets. But it is now more than being emotional or getting excited. Let us admit the very fact that Manipur’s merger with India has aggravated the problems.

We were gifted with the AFSPA — the most unwanted law that arms the effeminate military and affects the people. The very mention of AFSPA brings along many bitter memories. There was a time when any impending combing operation used to scare the hell out of us. The sound of hammered electric posts leaves trails of those nightmares. We were scared of getting raped, we were so helpless when our brothers, fathers and uncles were beaten black and blue right in our courtyards. Some of them were arrested without any warrant or on grounds of mere suspicion. Many of them never returned home. Later we would hear about how their lifeless bodies were found at nearby turel or paathi-komthi. Fear psychosis is still the order of the day, thanks to the power which has been passed over to the state police these days. It is ironical how fear takes different shapes and roles in our society and hinders us from leading a life of dignity, all in all living in the biggest democracy of the world.

The dilemma between written democracy and practiced democracy needs to be solved among the leingaak-pathap holders. They have tried to polish the spirit of democracy but ended only in polluting it; they talk so loud about the achievements in various fields, ignoring the remotest problems at its nooks and corners. They too boast of a hollow republic concept that ensures each and every citizen to lead a free and fair life without even the ability to protect the lives of innocents. Have they realized how many of us are dying every day right in our own land? Have they ever tried to put themselves in our shoes?

I am equally amazed by our own political leaders and representatives, who hardly pay any heed to most of our grievances. But what to do, we have done the favour ourselves by electing them. And there are our honourable rebels, the motherland lovers- the so called sons of the soil- who leave no stone unturned to add more salt on the wounds of the people. Baah, Kangleipak! What have they turned you into?

If this is the norm of democracy, sorry but we would rather prefer a dictatorship by a sensible leader, who would at least be concerned about the grievances of its citizens. India, please let us have a choice. Are you really our country? Stop all these step-motherly treatments. Need I remind you again that we are not children of the lesser god; we are neither born to spend our lives with fear. Please restore us our dignity, please make us proud to introduce ourselves as the citizen of this country and if you can’t, it is better we call ourselves and take ourselves as the people with no country.

This article was published on 19 Aug 2012

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