Yesterday India celebrated her 66th Republic day with US President Barck Obama gracing the event. I have always felt patriotic on days like Republic Day and Independence Day since my childhood just like many millions of Indians. I used to be glued to our TV set watching Republic day parades and of course waiting patiently for the troops of Manipur. Back at home, kids must be watching it more because Republic day is not only a holiday but a general strike and parents would keep their wards off the streets into the safety of their homes for fear of bomb blasts and gun fires. Yes, never have there been a Republic Day or Independence Day in Manipur with the familiar news of gun fire, ambush or bandhs….it is just so pathetically predictable. Seriously for what? What do you seek? Independence? Are you f***ing kidding me? This year was no different. With reports of bomb blasts in and around Imphal and outfits proudly claiming it as their doing, the tradition is complete…deserted streets and fear! How can violence and fear be an answer to anything? Blame it on AFSPA, blame it on the Government, blame it on Delhi and every other person around…the system but that’s the way it goes! That’s the way things work at Manipur…lobbying, corruption, power and wealth.
I went home for two weeks early this year. My mind freshened; I got to breathe clean air, saw the blue skies, the starry nights, the winds playing with my curtain…so unlike the chaos of Delhi…and I also saw the corruption that went rampant. I was caught for not carrying wearing helmet and the traffic police asked the profession of my father. Such is the sorry state of affairs! Ours is a state based on lies and hypocrisy…you think this will last for long? And when I question about the functioning and the way things work, they say what do you know...you have never stayed here for long. Well, who cares?
I know ten years from now, things will change. The winds of change are finally here. It will take time but surely and steadily hope will remain. We need a generation who believes in this change. And yes, just like a good friend of mine suggested when we discussed about the needs of a good leader in our turmoil torn state that what we really need is not a good leader but a group who can make good leaders, some team who can imbibe the values of a good leader and back him/her with the people. Enough of all the bickering and politics, we need people who can sit together, bring forth ideas and talk and compromise and know his/her stand and that of others. I know deep down everyone is fed up of the violence and the anarchy that have become the image of our state. And yes, I am patriotic, I know my roots so I care. And I know many of my contemporaries care…and they are not okay with living life this way. And I know, they are tired of living away from home and want to come back and that no matter how tainted it is, we still long to be home. My voice will dwindle away for now but soon enough many thoughts like mine will surface up and there will be no turning around. And what will remain will be peace and excellence….a new identity for us…an identity synonymous with truth and tolerance and development as a society whose realms are based on truth will only rise stronger!!