Post-Chakkouba Offer: Manipur Map on Sale!


Chakkouba is over but a couple of offers are not, even a week after the feast. Hope nobody has the sale at a loss. One of them is the great political offer, which concerns Manipur Masala.  As a Post-Chakkouba offer, the Non-existing Ministry attached to the Pumchai-chairaba State of Internal and External Affairs has decided to put the map of Manipur on sale.

A tender notice on the local dailies has confirmed the map of Manipur is really on sale. Vendors have also reportedly got the green signal from Non-existing Ministry. They are hopeful that this sale will benefit many bidders across the state. The map-makers are targeting, if reports are to be believed, the hill dwellers.

The ministry is expected to announce the date of sale through its publicity wing, probably by next week. Bidders are requested to submit their proposal letters for the bidding on or before this coming 30th.

This tender will primarily benefit our brethrens from the hills. They can claim their own districts and start redrawing the erased part with a darker ink, or rather afresh from the beginning. It is however a confusing deliberation on where they are going to start afresh.

A gala night is on the way once the tender is passed in favour of the hill brethrens, who are heading for this historical political crusade. A fiesta will be held across hill district headquarters. As a part of the celebration, many roads that connect Imphal to other districts will be blocked. Blockade will find a brand new meaning this time. But we should not worry.

If this is the means of earning easy income just like in the valley through ‘Diwali Lagao’—which was rampant until Chakkouba—nothing seems wrong. Like the plain people, like the security personnel, our brethrens in the hills are putting up an effort to have the same opportunity. For example, impose tax on everyone who passes through the blocked roads. Sounds real legit.

Inspired by Diwali Lagao and the beggarness of the security personnel of Manipur Mr. John, the president of All Manipur Blockade Association tells us, ‘This is a step towards the welfare of our community. This has nothing to do with any feeling of enmity or animosity with other communities in the state.’

He continues, “This is one important strategy to support various developmental processes of our community. Our people have been neglected for a long time. This time they will be taken good care of. Once we win the bidding, we will form a ‘United Districts of The Hills’. This body will look after the social, political and economical grievances of our people.”

In an unofficial notice of the Non-existing Ministry, it has been stated that one representative will be allotted one district each. Those who want to occupy more than one district have to bring a bag of fish to the head of each concerned department. Though this bidding is primarily about the hill districts, unofficial delegates are discussing on whether either of the Imphal East and West district should also be included in this sale or not.

So if Imphal East or the West district is included in this tender, the experts speculate the rate will be triple times that of the other districts for obvious reasons. The valley being the more populated area in the state, many bidders are already allured by the probable tender.

Every action has its reaction. As for this historical sale of Manipur map, it would be quite interesting to see the reaction of those who oppose it.  Unsurprisingly, the Associations of Manipur Frontal Organisations (AMFO) have pulled their socks up. Twenty JACs will be formed in each district and protest rallies are in the offing.

Members of the AMFO have also rehearsed the slogan: ‘Manipur gi ngamkhei kaiba yaroi’; and countless placards have been made ready in undisclosed locations. For the essential commodities—for petrol, cooking gas and other daily needs, nobody is sure about.

One of the not-so-famous educationists explains, ‘It is high time we replace the redundant B for Boy with B for Blockade or Bandh for the kindergarten kids. They will understand it better this way. I extend my best regards to the crusaders of this economic blockade for revamping the educational curriculum.

‘And the flag—is there any discount on it?’ Uninformed, he concluded.

This article was published on 18 Nov 2012

The Salaried Beggars of Modern Manipur


When power is misused, chaos becomes the norm of a society. In our society, sad but true, power is misused in each and every sector. It is too obvious to come across many incidents that testify this bitter truth in Manipur. The oppressors enjoy oppressing the oppressed; and those who are luckily out of the league of the oppressed, enjoy the show as mute spectators.

For long we have stopped questioning ourselves, implying our society is getting defunct. Our logic has ceased to work. Isn’t it bitterer than power being misused?

Among the oppressing lots, those who are supposed to protect us from lawbreakers are the scariest ones. I am, of course, referring to the security personnel a.k.a as the ‘Salaried beggars of modern Manipur’, because many a time they are on the other side of the law. They have a job in hand, alright. But all they need is an excuse to beg money from civilians and they are shameless about it. Admit it.

It is quite ridiculous for the sake of earning a ‘side income’, they are ready to cross any limit. We feel pity for the beggars and urchins in metropolitan cities. I feel pity for these well-dressed, authorised personnel licensed to beg money on the street. All in all, I feel sorrier for these personnel who have to do so despite having a job in hand and earning a monthly income. Possibly there are reasons better known to them.

The jokes are on them. Annoyingly some would say, ‘Thabak changbada pijakhiba paisa hanjinaba tourini’. I am amused by this plain joke in which the ugly truth is always brushed under the carpet. I have also come across many funny incidents and cases of security personnel adding more glory to their democratic power.

In one of the incidents, one of my cousins was halted and checked, all for twenty rupees by a VDF cop, on the way to Wangkhei from Porompat. My cousin was guilty as charged when he was stopped for frisking at a traffic-less location because he had no helmet and so his punishment was to shell out 20 rupees.

When have the VDFs replaced the role of traffic policemen? It has been going around for sometime. I know not yet it is also a newly implemented rule to carry at least 20 rupees when you are driving around the shanty Imphal town. Otherwise, you could get a slap or an unasked threat from the commando or VDFs who loiter around the streets. Forget that traffic police exists. Mind you everything is possible in Manipur. All you need is to believe in the motto: Might is right.

If you have this false notion that they are supposed to maintain law and order in our society, feel sorry for yourself. The absurd reality is that they need to be educated about what exactly is law and order. They need to be officially tutored on what are the roles of security personnel in a society. They need to be acknowledged that ‘khonda waoba’, ‘mee usitaba’, ‘paisa neeba’ etc. are not a part of their duties; and their discipline needs not be compromised to call themselves cops.

I know they do not understand the meaning of discipline or politeness. They should at least try to spell it correctly if not follow it. I envy, however, two traits about them — their enduring capability and gutsy mannerism. They know that most of us hate and curse them; still they sure can tolerate to overcome our judgment about them and theirs about us. Quite courageous.

I don’t understand what the heck they consider themselves. Away from the familiar streets, stray dogs who loiter around the keithel do not even bark at the ema-eben but these trained, human-looking creatures can cross their limit, any time of the day.

I am also quite confused about their origin. I feel sorry especially for their families who have to share a kind of relationship with them. They are the licensed law offenders. They do no have any civic sense. They are supposed to protect us but on the contrary, their presence around our leikai or leirak khulak is synonymous with fear and anxiety.

Ladies and gentlemen, look forward to come across them anywhere in the valley. If there is a long queue at the ATM, they have every right to break the queue and offer themselves the privilege because they are the cops. People have to spend long hours in a queue for every commodity — from ATM to petrol pumps — but they don’t belong to the people and can have their own way. They can scare you and do and finish whatever they want.

Needless to say it will be hard to admit that these semi-educated men of law and order are serving the state. But it is unsurprising from the first day of their honourable career; because they would start with an offering of 10 to 20 lakh and more to their contacts. Bribe? No, it’s just returning a favour. The biggest lesson we can learn from them is to pay an amount and get ourselves what we want.

Much to our dismay, they have the license to bend the law and oppress the civilians, who are already bugged down by a fear psychosis that runs in the vein of every Manipuri. But as mentioned earlier, without money or contacts, we would find ourselves behind the bars. If we have a bit of them, well, life goes on.

All the crimes have a price in Manipur, just like there is a cost for every available job. Those arrested for Gooli or from a liquor vendor means 500 or 1,000 rupees, while for naharol case, it’s a bigger amount of some 50 thousand or more. Money talks. All said and done, I cannot understand why they have to act like moral police frisking at the vendors or leirak khulak, besides being a multitasking traffic controller. Is it the so called norm, ‘Sabina mama noknaba?’ Despite this, I know not how they can smell and endure their own craps.

Pity their lives. I extremely feel sorry for the many curses that people are used to swear on their name. Dear God, please grant them the wisdom and inner peace. They badly need them. Dear you, ‘Get well soon’. You have the key for the destiny of a group of people and your sickness is adding salt to the wounds. How true: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

This article was published on 4 Nov 2012
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