On the Fragrance of Roasted Ngari


A Bit of Verity & Falsity by Vox Populi

Will the Manipuri people survive without Morok? Can we live without Ngari? It is hard to imagine life without Morok & Ngari. If Nagaland or the government of India wishes to wipe off Manipur, they must attack Morok & Ngari first so that Manipur meets a natural end.

Even with a steaming fish curry doled out in front of our eyes, it is difficult to swallow a mouthful of rice without the Morokmetpa gracefully seated in a corner of our plate. We can survive without a leader who would lead, but our lives would be horrible without Morok & Ngari.

There is a leadership vacuum. This we all agree. We are badly in need of a worthwhile leader to repair the damage that has been done to our polity, economy and our outlook. A single leader for Manipur as a whole is also an uneasy proposition. Everybody in Manipur wants to become a leader, and every Manipuri, more or less has attributes of a leader. This is why we are seeing so many leaders, sprouting up almost everywhere in Leirak-Khulak and Urak-Warak. One can eulogise Manipur as a land littered with leaders across its length and breadth. It pains the head to decide which leader is to be respected, or which one is to be hailed with deference. Many are in the dark, failing to come out of the alley of powerlessness, to decide.

If fear is all that matters, then someone who can make the young and old, women and children, the wise and fool tremble with fear by threat or intimidation must be the leader of the highest order. There have been rulers of vast empires, at the slightest mention of whose names people acquire cold sweat. Are they today remembered with love and respect? If leader is someone who can kill millions of people, who in turn is feared by millions, then atom bomb is a big leader. Pistols and revolvers are small leaders. A kitchen knife must also be respected for it can be a tiny leader as well.

Leader is someone, just at the slightest mention of his/her name, without his/her presence; evokes reverence deep in our hearts, cast a golden ray of hope in front of our eyes, showers joy and happiness for the welfare of people in abundance like an infinite spring. Leader is someone who detests any kind of personal benefits. Manipur and its people are eagerly looking for this kind of a leader. Not someone who dredges a few meters of leikai drainage and seeks our electoral mandates. Not someone who dumps a truckload of soil over the sunken area of our courtyards and sweet-talk about elections. Not someone who sprinkles a few truckloads of gravel and shouts on the rooftops: `It`™s me who did it `“ it`™s me who did it`! Also, not that man who came guarded with bodyguards and showered money on the pallas at mother`™s shradh. Not someone who offers concealed paraphernalia in the name of the land. Not someone who went begging to Delhi and comes back saying `this time they have put more` with full of pride. Indeed it`™s dicey to be our leader. For sure one is desperately needed. But wherefrom will he/she come? From the south or north, or from the east or west, or from the middle of the Loktak; if one springs up from the middle of that water `¦ Or should we mould a leader made with Morok & Ngari if at all any leader fails to show up? Whatever it may be, leader of Manipur must be men of Ngari & Morok. We are a people who savour the fragrance of Ngari.

(English translation by Khura Seraton. Courtesy: Poknapham)


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