Bridging the Personal & Professional: Entrepreneurship in Manipur

To decide and to organise a business venture of your own and to bear all the associated risks with it, in my opinion, requires proper planning, dedication and a go-getting attitude. Money really talks. But in my humble opinion, entrepreneurship is not just about money. It is also about pursuing our cherished dream in a professional manner.

For a sarkargi job, money of course matters. So, you want to crack MPSC exam? Have you arranged for lupa 30–40 lakh? So, you want to apply for the post of SI, have you arranged for 10–15 lakh? Such is the norm that goes on in our state. But there is nothing to be proud about it.

In a land like Manipur where unemployment problem breeds like mosquitoes in a filthy nala, I consider entrepreneurship as one of the probable solutions. The challenges of entrepreneurship are however of different types and nature.

Sometimes our own family would fail to understand what we love to do or want to do. Let me tell you a personalised example right from my family. My mom never understands what I do. In her opinion, I am wasting my time, money and energy investing on various activities that are apparently clueless as much as meaningless to her.

The same goes for my saagei-naatei and all the mari-mata under the sun. Ever since I passed my graduation, my relatives expect (read want) me to get a stable job at one of the sarkargi offices. Their understanding of a stable job is however beyond my good understanding. Some of them keep nagging me, “MCS kumba atei peikha gumba thajinlu yadro nangbu matam paamudro?” If I had 30 lakh, there is nothing to stop me from investing in some of the ideas that I have for my future ventures.

Alright, it’s not a shocking discovery that the value of an individual (as per the understanding of our society) is evaluated according to the post s/he holds in a particular government sector. For that matter, it is a matter of pride and prestige that is measured in the amount of money one can steal from the public exchequer. Such is the fate of our society.

I do not have anything personal against any of the government officials/employees but trust me I would be the last person on earth who is ever interested in a regular sarkargi thabak. I have never ever bothered to appear for any of the competitive exams so far (patting myself on the shoulder). Please excuse us, the opportunists, read optimists, who believe in changing from ‘inside’ the system.

Piles of files on the table, a cranky ceiling fan, giggles of ladies over gossips, the smell of bora-kanghou and the most important of them: marup houbi, fee yonbi and yengnabi among the staff — all these form the picture of a typical government office. To add, a file from one table to another takes days/weeks/months or even years depending on how much amount we are ready to pay the lazy clerks. A single signature that does not even take 10 seconds actually takes days, weeks or even months. It has nothing to do with thabak chinba or chindaba of the particular official. We know it why.

Like bones for doggies, it’s always money-money-and-only-money for the government officials. In quite a thou leitaba way, I wonder how they flaunt themselves as the educated lots when they have reduced themselves to a shameless breed of ‘ekai khangdaba siki anada choppa’ people. It is no surprising though, when their seniors and heads of the departments are leading the bandwagon.

Over the last few months — after I have decided to start standing on my own, doing my own stuff in Imphal — I have been familiarised that muscle and money are the only two things that matter if we are desperate to get something done.

The other power which is genuinely needed by us is altogether a different machal of discussion here. Amid the mess, it is quite a challenge for any individual to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship in a land like ours where many are ready to criticise and demoralise with the ‘oiroidabada or yaroidabada’ comments. Comments are free and the Manipuris just cannot ignore the free stuffs. Look at our government for instance, waiting for the freebies from New Delhi year in and year out.

But then again, as some of the pioneers of entrepreneurship have shown us, it is a lucrative career option to invest in our ideas, especially for those who have taken a daily dose of anti-corruption pills. The guild of entrepreneurs has taken root over the last few years, much thanks to technology and the energy of our generation. It is time to look ahead for empowerment. It is time for a wind of change in Manipur.

This article was published on 9 June 2014

An Appeal to the Mari Leinaba Authority

Mr. Natraang reporter from Sundrang News leaked this confidential news that reports how Mr. Load Shedder has been temporarily suspended from his assigned responsibilities at our leikai. As an immediate impact of his suspension, my entire leikai has been enjoying uninterrupted power supply for the last few days. You read it right- UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY for 24 hours. Sounds luxurious right?

Like the advent of a ‘Mangaal Fangba Era’, many families at my leikai have started getting used to such a privilege which is of course a fallacious treatment. The reason is obvious. The situation which will last only for a few days may prove to be another reason of depression for many individuals in the near future. Imagine a sudden transformation from a bright world to a dark one? Sounds scary right?

Considering all the negative impacts of (temporary) uninterrupted power supply, I hereby raise this complain to have a look at this matter as soon as possible. It is also a personal request from my end not to play with our emotions by providing such a facility which is meant only for the VVIPs and VIPs. We are not used to such a luxury, we in fact don’t want to get used to such luxuries that won’t last forever.

“The recent problem of uninterrupted power supply at our leikai is more or less an insult to the Moreh Lamps we have bought from Khwairambandh Keithel. I recently bought two lamps from the Keithel. I still haven’t got a chance to switch them on. If this problem persists for another week, we are going to form a JAC and submit a memorandum to the mari leinaba authority. We won’t keep quiet. I also personally extend my heartfelt sympathy for Ebungo Budhimambamayum Load Shedder, who has been honestly serving us for all these years. He should resume to his post without wasting any time”- states the Moreh Lamp Paibi Secretary of our leikai.

Well, I know not whether Mr. Load Shedder’s temporary suspension is a political/technical gimmick or not. However, in my earnest opinion, he should resume to his post as soon as possible in the due interest of all the families whose Moreh lamps have not been lighted for the last few days. We miss the dark nights, we miss relishing the taste of rice cooked in chafu. The rice cookers have been doing overtime duty for the last few days. I can already see a fatigued look on their faces.

My own family has some serious concerns regarding the situation. Mom finds it irritating when my brother watches movies on the television in the midnight. Addicted to the dark nights, she has sleeping disorders these days because of the light from the various corners of our home. I have come across similar complain from leikaigi eney-indols.

Dear mari leinaba authority, this is my earnest request to you that in the interest of every individual from our locality, please ensure to bring an immediate solution to such a problem. Also take up necessary actions to cancel the temporary suspension order of Mr. Load Shedder. He is such a sober guy who has been punctually and religiously adhering to his duties for all these years. I am sure our concern will be taken care of.

This article was published on 1 June 2014
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