Expanding Possibilities


    It is said statesmanship and diplomacy is about the ability to expand the space of the possible where things once looked impossible. The general outlook is to give up on what appears impossible, a spirit encapsulated so well in a popular limerick that turns a popular nursery rhyme upside down. “If at first you can succeed, try again / But if at all you can’t succeed, why bother”. This is realism no doubt, but often realism has the tendency of inhibiting initiatives. The fact also is, at this crucial time in Manipur, the dominant feeling is one marked by a similar cynical realism. Nobody wants to step out of the relative but limited security of closeted life and try and make the necessary changes that can deliver a brighter future for all.
    Official corruption probably would come first in the list of abdicated duty by the government as well as citizen. Although this abdication is also largely on account of complicity, for indeed today this malaise has sunk deep in the society and has come to be internalised quite pervasively that there would be hardly anybody who can with a clean conscience say he or she has never been a willing part of it. The only difference would be in the degree of complicity. Some do it with relish, others are forced to soil their consciences as there is no other way they can have what should have been their legitimate entitlements without having to crease palms. Yet the other major reason for this abdication is a sense of being overwhelmed. So many would agree this is a major illness corroding the society and dooming it ultimately to total decay and perhaps extinction. But even with this knowledge, they are left with a sense of helplessness to do anything about it. The challenge being too daunting and pervasive, all their initiatives have been lulled into dreadful mediocrity and cynical resignation.Other than corruption, there are other issues where this same logic works to inhibit initiatives. Insurgency is one such. In this case at least, the pathetic abdication of duty is less of the ordinary citizenry but more importantly of the government. It is true the government has been doing everything to contain insurgency violence by countering it with more violence, but seldom, if at all, have we heard of any out of the box thought emanating from the corridors of power on how the matter is to be tackled and a more lasting resolution attempted. This is unpardonable at a time that seems to be opportune in more ways than one. The inhibition in this case may be coming from what we earlier in this editorial called as one born of the cynical belief that it is impossible to resolve this problem. This is precisely where we would assert the spirit of statesmanship is missing –statesmanship which perseveres on to find imaginative ways and means to expand the space of possibilities.
    It is said faith can move mountains. In the same spirit, a steadfast belief in a just solution to any social problem should ultimately result in openings springing up where they were once thought impossible, through which light appears to brighten the dark tunnel. Once upon a time, nobody would have thought there ever would be anything as a policy that saw India’s future linked to the South East Asian countries. Today this has become very much a dominant outlook. In fact, wherever there have been solutions to vexing social problems, including insurgencies, they had been a result of unflinching conviction that resolutions exist. These convictions have also not been marked just by pushing a single point agenda, but by exploring every alternative route imaginable until one that can bear fruit is found. The tears and sweat that went into the initiation of the Mizo, Naga and Kuki peace processes are just some examples. The last word has been heard of the former, but the latter two, especially the Naga peace process is still nagged by vexing hurdles, internal as well as external. However, it must be said in this case that at least there is a process going on which can open up opportunities once impossible to imagine. True all problem of the nature are similar in many ways but in the same breath it must be added they are also unique in their own ways, therefore the approaches would also have to be similar in some respects, but unique in others. At this moment, it is the duty of the government of Manipur and the people to work harder to think of honourable ways of involving all groups in a process to bring about lasting peace for all.


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