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Contagious Ignorance

Tinky Ningombam

We deal with superficiality all our lives.  We have seen it when we see people act different just to give an outward appearance.  Some do it to hide their flaws, some to please others. But one thing’s for sure, everyone gets affected by other people’s opinions some time or the other.  

No matter how good or how bad we are, we are constantly at war with ourselves from thinking of others or otherwise. We do not like it when people say bad things about us, we are happy when they praise us. That’s human nature. How many people actually like to be ostracized and exiled as an outsider by others?  People make other people. Some of the unfortunate lot live, eat, dress, work, play just for other people.

Sadly, in our unique society where the poor are pretending to be rich and the rich are getting richer and flaunting it. So instead of protesting in the streets when they cannot pay more money to get food on their table, people are busy pretending they are able to afford the expensive food. Why else would one get food flown in and served illegally sold at four times the MRP? Why would people pay twice much the amount for gas without protesting to the authorities who if they had done their duty right would not have fleeced so much money?

Those are just one classic examples of what length we go to, to show off, to tell others how self-sufficient and rich we are. We have been doing this for years and because of that we have had our priorities wrong and we are teaching kids the wrong lessons. How have we let our image be defined just by the wealth that we brag of? We are not rich people. We are living in one of the worst economies.  Our infrastructure, security, industry, employment, educational institutions are nowhere comparable to a metropolitan. We do not have public entertainment facilities, forget about night life. There is lack of governance with armed rebellions, terror attacks, crime, drug abuse and illegal trafficking. In between all these, the only thing that people seem to care about is how much money they have and who has strong “connections”. How did we get so wrong?

Why not accept our real situation instead of running away from it? Is our only goal to get educated in a recognized foreign university, get a job and get married? Are we to pretend that our lives are not affected by the daylight crimes that happen around us, the injustice that our neighbors go through and the corruption that everyone seems to have accepted? Is our moral duty not to leave a better place for our next generation, should they also run far away to live in peace?

And then we have these stereotypes; those heinous things.  “People from this border line onwards are not to be considered as civilized or rich, even if they have money; it is only because they didn’t have anything to do with it.” “People who fight for a social cause and don’t have a proper salaried job are doing it because they have nothing better to do”. Yes, you must have heard those. If we truly really cared about what others thought of us so much, we would still be kind to other people no matter where they came from. If we truly were bothered of our image, we would still not make fun of people who have sacrificed their lives trying to fight on our behalf. It is high time to reflect on our priorities. Till now, we have wasted and squandered the land of abundance. Look now, our older population faster exceeds our young ones, as they leave the place rapidly, hunting for better lives; the remaining are arming themselves with guns. Has it ever occurred to us to question why? Sadly, we were made to believe we are in a state of war, but by now, we have forgotten whose side we are on.

We are perpetual show-offs with huge ego problems, esp. the meeteis. (I talk only of my community as I know it best by default and as such by rule I am as guilty) We always flaunt our powers (sic), we do not do menial jobs, we never say we are poor and we always talk about our grand ancestry.  And that is why we are what we are; people who do not listen to other people but still get affected by what others think of us.  Are we not then leading superficial lives?



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