The trouble with Manipur is, nothing sounds the alarm bell loud enough for it to remain awake long enough. Nothing, not even the worst crisis, it seems can shake it out of its complacency. And crisis is one thing the state has never ever had a shortfall of. It has been almost by rule, for the state to be on a crisis a week recipe, some not so severe while others nothing less than nightmares that shake up the body and soul of the place. Regardless of the fact that these crises had either faded on their own with the passing time or stemmed by public fading public attention, one thing is clear, given the circumstance Manipur is caught in today, nobody can promise the last word has been said on the matter. Turmoils and upheavals, many of them extremely violent, seem to be an inalienable destiny of the state. One cannot help recalling the words of a former chief minister of the state, the late and irreverent Wahengbam Nipamacha. Harangued by the unending myriad problems besetting the state, many of which act as the trigger for the other, he had exclaimed in exasperation, and therefore a faint note of resignation as well, that even if Bhagwan Shri Krishna were to rule the state, Manipur`™s problems would continue to rage on.
The worrying thing is not so much these crises are extremely stressful, but that nobody ever seems to learn from them. Not even those who consider themselves as storm-troopers, both amongst those in the driver`™s seat of the establishment as well as the vast human-scape outside it that is rather ambiguously referred to as civil society. The state and its people have come to learn superbly to live out crises and even to fight them, but no crisis, however awesome have been able to teach them the lesson that would make them think in terms of putting the roots of these crises safely to bed forever, incapacitating them of accumulating harm potential again. Crises explode like several kilotons of dynamite periodically, and during these crises semblance of masterstrokes of collective resolves emerge. However, once the dusts from these crises settle, the downward pulls of mediocrity once again neutralize and level out everything to square one. During economic blockades along its major mountain passes, especially National Highway-39, war cries to have the NH-53 developed, work up to resemble a mass frenzy. Once these storms pass by, nobody bothers what condition this uncared for highway is left in. Similarly, the talk of cutting a third highway, so desperate and passionate once, has relegated to not much more than idle academic discussions.
There are more sinister ones than these. Take the case of official corruption at high places. It is not a question of excusing corruption at the lower echelons of the officialdom, but it needs no elaboration to convince anybody that the whole enterprise of dismantling the corruption edifice has to begin from the top. After all, if the generals are corrupt, how can corruption be prevented from contaminating the foot soldiers. The generals can discipline the foot soldiers but the reverse can never be a reality. Would we then be needing any more proofs to convince anybody that organized robberies of public coffers still are rampant? That huge percentages are still being siphoned off from development funds and shared between contractors and contract awarders and their deal brokers? It is another story that many insurgent groups have joined this unholy league, but this can be no excuse for those democratically mandated by the people to captain the state, to be corrupt. Unless and until the establishment becomes a credible institution of governance upon which the people can repose faith in, there will always be the legitimacy of alternates, even if they are subversive, in some corner of the masses`™ heart. Herein is the space upon which the foundation of any insurrection is laid. And this space cannot be destroyed physically. It has to be won over spiritually. This is why many have argued that the search for an answer to insurgency is not so much a physical war but will by necessity have to be a moral one. At the cerebral level, everybody gifted with even average intelligence, understands this very well. The trouble is, this cerebral understanding has never been allowed to be internalized to become a matter of the heart and soul.