An Open Letter to New Prime Minister of India

Mr Prime Minister-designate,

Kem cho? Mazaama?

I heartily congratulate you on becoming the new Prime Minister of India. As another era of the Congress Government comes to an end, the nation is looking forward to a complete Modi-fication of the so-called Indian nation from every perspective. I am sure your government will bring a revolution, again, in the nation.

I have stayed in Gujarat for three years. No other Indian state has ever impressed me the way your state does. You can, in fact, consider me as the brand ambassador of Gujarat (if it were a brand like the way you want to pamper the flamboyant corporate). Again, I have unforgettable memories about Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The officials at Gandhinagar helped me and my friend to get our hostel admission. It would be a mammoth task to find officials like them in any of the sectors here in our state. Forget about the essentials, some people allege our education department is the most corrupt section. We have reasons not to refute it.

Well, in the arrival of a new political system at the centre, why would only our local government be hopeful about the impending funds and grants? I would not say I’m excited like the anti-Congress mass of the great Indian unwashed but I have a short list of complaints from my home state. Please make sure this list is not dumped in a dust bin like people would throw away those empty Styrofoam cups of teas.

To begin with, we do not have adequate power supply despite the fact that we have an enormous hydro-electricity plant. Even a five-year-old kid can explain about load shedding in a detailed manner. Electricity is a luxury that the majority of the population here cannot afford to have. The situation is worst during summer like nowadays. With just three hours power supply a day, it is quite an intolerable situation here. I wish you can do something about it — and we have lost our hope in the state government.

My next complain is about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or shortly, the AFSPA. I am sure you must be aware about it. It is one of the chief tools of Indian security system. Manipur has been living in the shadow of AFSPA for all these decades. Please imagine, if AFSPA were imposed in Gujarat because you share border with Pakistan, how would you feel about it? How would you feel if security personnel torture innocent Gujaratis simply because they suspect them as terrorists? It might be hard to even think about it, but that’s a sad truth that we have been compelled to undergo day in and day out. Sometimes we forget India has got independence 67 years ago, because you know, we have so many of these colonial stuffs.

It is encouraging in a sense. We do not have a leader like you here in Manipur. We do not have anyone who can stand up and speak out about such grievances that are continually faced by the hoi-polloi. Manipur has no doubt many name-sake leaders who are only interested in percentages. They do not have any sense of nationalism or belongingness to their state or to the nation. Please ensure to instil the same sense of patriotism that you have for Gujarat among our ministers.

As far as corruption is concerned, the price of a signature of any government official ranges from Rs. 200 to god knows the upper limit. I have personally been compelled to pay bribe to a few officials just for a few signatures. We have this habit of stealing from the public exchequer. These so called officials have reduced themselves to a shameless breed of morons who exploit the system as per their whims and fancies. I would not spare even my relatives or acquaintances who profess, practice and propagate corruption.

There is not a dearth of honest officers in the system. However, as the majority wins the vote, they cannot exercise their power. It does not matter even if you have received only 31 percent of the one billion votes. It’s quite a pathetic situation here. We desperately need a wind of change in the state.

I won’t ask you to sanction crores of rupees for the development of the region. The reason is obvious. Any sanctioned amount from the centre never reached or will reach the rightful recipients. I would refrain from citing Rajiv Gandhi’s view of one-paisa-to-the-needy example. The fact is that every fund always ends up in the personal accounts or pockets of ministers and their sub-ordinate offices or bureaucrats. A few of them even went to God-knows-how Russia. Please check the website of the Loktak development office that was created in Russian language in the name of a non-existing firm, if by chance you meet your technology officer who did a wonderful job during the last election campaign.

Well, I don’t want to bore you with the unnecessary details through this letter. I just need a few positive answers for a few questions — Can you promise us at least 10-hour power supply a day, if not 15 or 20? Can you promise us to repeal the draconian law like AFSPA? Please you can leave the other black laws; we will put up with them. Can you promise us a corruption-proof system? Can you promise a better education system for the next generation? Can you promise us a brand new Manipur?

Eagerly waiting for your reply.

Aawo Jo!
A Depressed Manipuri
25 May 2014, Imphal East.

This article was published on 25 May 2014. The sworn-in/oath-taking ceremony of the new prime minister is scheduled on 26 May 2014.
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