As I look into the state of affairs in my home state Manipur, I often wonder why, despite the existence of influential and iconic people, the plight of my state is pathetic and cries for attention and that too a constructive one. Minutes turn into hours, hours turn to days, days turn to weeks and weeks to years and yet, we, the people keep hoping that one fine day, Manipur will become a peaceful state, free from despair and differences but that day never arrives.
As we go on living and complaining about the state of affairs in the state, iconic people like Mary Kom show a silver lining amidst dark clouds instilling in us the hope that things might be on their way to becoming better, but alas! our hopes gradually turn into despair.
Mary Kom, the pride of Manipur brought laurels to the state when she became the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. All this made us, the Manipuris proud of her achievements as one of our own.
But on April 26, 2016, our hope for a better state gained flight when she was nominated by the President of India as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. We thought it was time for things to change for the better but as time passed, we were in for a very rude shock.
Manipur has been reeling under blockades, ethnic clashes, the effects of economic renaissance under the spell of demonetization, the poor plight of boxing (womens), leave alone the over all sports domain and ofcourse, how can we miss out on the unburied dead, decaying bodies of martyrs that lay in the mortuary crying out for a dignified burial,
Even after so much hullabaloo, there seems to be no end to the uncertainty of three Bills from Manipur being converted into an Act, namely the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 which were unanimously passed by the Manipur Assembly.
In our quest for materialistic desires, we often surpass the limits that binds us as humans. A similar case scenario has been witnessed in Manipur where nine bodies have been rotting away in a morgue at Churchandpur, about 60 kms south of Imphal, the capital of Manipur. Churachandpur still mourns its martyrs’ death. Everyday, people converged outside the mortuary, where six symbolic coffins were placed under a tent. They lighted candles, sang hymns, shouted slogans and prayed to God for the Central Government to intervene.
With Mary Kom being a Member of Parliament now, does it make me less Manipuri to expect more from her? The plight of our state is in shatters, is it bad to expect somebody in power to be able to pick up the pieces and bring about a reformation? As people of Northeast India, are we just happy and satisfied with recognition and power but nothing to implement? As a proud resident of my state Manipur, does it make me a traitor to raise questions at the depleting plight of my land when people from this very land are in power and can bring about a viable change?
Or perhaps maybe, there is something wrong with me, with us for expecting Mary Kom to fight for us, for Manipur, like in a boxing ring and emerge victorious! May be, we expect her to fight for our rights, for the betterment of our state, for our land but everytime we expect this, we are left ignored and our days continue in utter despair and helplessness, under the clutches of apathy who care no more for who we are and what we want!
–By Mary Haokip
The opinion expressed in this article is that of the writer’s own and TNT-The Northeast Today may or may not subscribe to the same views