Friday, August 13, 2010

Delhi : Lying without blushing

It is the mother of all contradictions or paradoxes or more importantly a classic case of lying through the teeth without blushing ! While the world has become a global village, thanks to the rapid progress in Information Technology, the Delhiwallahs in the garb of netas, seem to think that they can get away by lying or playing the game of ignorance. Or else how does one explain the response from the Delhi netas, who had the temerity to counter pose, why they have not been informed of the grave humanitarian crisis in Manipur, which was scripted, directed and produced by the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur and came under the blockbuster name of Economic Blockade that stretched for 68 days ? Not only is this an added insult but it also exposes where and how Manipur figures in the overall scheme of Delhi. The question of ‘not informing them earlier’ sounds like a poor joke in this age when any information can be had with the click of the mouse. In 2005, the story was the same, with the dhoti and topi clad politicians relaxing in their air conditioned rooms, while the 25 odd lakh population had to spend over night at a petrol pump to get their share of five or ten litres of petrol or diesel, for 52 days. No, we are not treading the beaten path of ‘Delhi bashing’ when anything goes wrong in the State for that would amount to flogging a dead horse. However we need to see and understand Delhi's policy towards the North East and Manipur, from a new perspective, particularly in the backdrop of the demand raised by the NSCN (IM) for the creation of a Greater Lim, where all Naga inhabited areas will come under one administrative unit. A full understanding of Delhi's approach to Manipur vis-a-vis the Lim issue may well be a diffcult or even an impossible task, but being on alert equipped with a questioning mind helps in identifying the not so obvious but nevertheless significant point. It is with such a mental preparation that we can detect the slips made by Delhi especially when some political leaders reportedly reprimanded some leaders from Manipur, why the economic blockade and the resultant humanitarian crisis was not brought to their notice earlier ! By this very admission, the political class stands exposed for all to see and hear and the message that one gets is, Manipur is important only as a frontier State, since it is strategically placed and can be the doorway to South East Asia through which India hopes to play a more meaningful role. Remember, BRIC-Brazil, Russia, India and China, which were at one time touted as the countries to watch out for. The factors working in favour of these BRIC countries are the availability of cheap labour, both skilled and unskilled, the large geographical areas they cover, the huge population etc. With China clearly stealing a march over India in almost every aspect, politically, militarily and most significantly economically, Delhi cannot afford to remain smug and hence the marginal increase in the importance of Manipur as a dominion of India in the eyes of Delhiwallahs. There are no emotional ties or cords that bind the people of the North East with the people of mainland India and the act of coining the term, North East region itself has some significant meanings. The lies of the Delhi netas, only add to the misgivings.
So even after more than two months of choking the life lines of the State, the leaders at Delhi were not aware of the facts here, or so they claim ! Either the people who run the affairs of the country are ignorant fools or they care two hoots about the fate of the people of Manipur and this does not speak well for the largest democracy in the world. The mainland media too preferred to concentrate on the Khap Panchayats and honour killings and of course, the wedding of Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and how Rahul Gandhi, the heir apparent of the Gandhi legacy, personally sent his wishes to the newly wedded couple ! The very fact that CNN-IBN ran a story under the title, “Is Manipur India's Forgotten State ?” with the inimitable Rajdeep Sardesai at the helm, itself says that there is a missing chain somewhere and the ‘chicken neck syndrome,’ which refers to the narrow strip of land that connects the North East region with the rest of the country, attains a certain level of legitimacy. Yes, after more than 60 days of people coping without fuel, LPG and escalating prices of all goods, including daily needs such as rice, dal or vegetables, Delhiwallahs had the temerity to come up with the question, why they were not informed before ! This is an insult to the existence of Manipur as a State of India, for as we have noted in the very beginning of this commentary, the progress in Information Techno- logy has brought the world closer than ever before and information from any part of the world can be had by just clicking the mouse ! Or are the Delhi netas not adept in using the internet ? We understand that there is a separate Union Ministry specially set up for the North East in the form and name of Development of North East Region as well as the North Eastern Council. In the face of this fact, we cannot help but question, whether these institutions exist only to inaugurate foundation stone laying ceremonies of bridges or merely act at the time of appointing the Director of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences ? Now that Delhi has woken up to the humanitarian crisis that besieged Manipur for more than 60 days, it is amazing to see how security along the highways has suddenly become so effective. Does this mean that all these years, the Centre did not care or did not bother to realise the gravity of the situation everytime an economic blockade is imposed here ? Or does it mean that it prefers to opt for the ‘ignorance is bliss line,’ especially when the blockade is imposed with the Lim issue serving as the rallying point ? In a few days, India will celebrate her Independence Day, but sadly, out of circumstances or out of the mess created by the political class, States in the North East, especially Manipur will see only deserted streets. Is this the “Tryst With Destiny” that Nehru had in mind way back in 1947 ? Sources:-

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