Site Meter

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The thing itself

There is no war in the insecure constituencies that has multiplied internally displaced persons, landmine victims, torture, and all sorts of events resulting in gross human rights violations. But there is a strong battle. Battle to live as human. Battle to realise ones rights. Battle to exist as free and independent individuals. Battle to be free from fear. Battle to celebrate the beauty of life. Those constituencies are the danger zone described as "disturbed areas" and what not. Those constituencies are in our own treasured land, Manipur. Sad but true. Are we progressing to ruin? Yin? Or yang? Everyday grow new enemies. New warriors. New identity. Is this the reason why the defence budget keeps increasing every year? Small things, called it issues, blow out of proportion. But they seem to reflect the reality as they ooze with blood and loss of lives. The grim reality that we have been living with for many decades. They comprised the unclaimed baggage. Ignored. Unrepresented. This sudden outburst, many a times, put a big question on the reality. Questions like, are they possible? Or are they real? But they are where we are. It is, but entangled in the web of ignorance. Well, there is no war, but everyone knows there's a strong move towards armaments, taking into account the implications of security and power factors seemingly hidden in them. The state is a militarised compartment. There is no need to ask what the Jammu and Kashmir regiment or the Rashtriya Rifles are doing out here when the cow belt are also not actually celebrating peace. However, they believed they are exactly where they were raised to be. In this midst, there are actors who are trying to champion interventionism with a mixture of moral solidarity and hubris leading them to embark on the adventure in attaching the inhumane experiences to the issues of rights. But above everything, there ought to be a strong moral obligation to save Manipur so as to save ourselves. My concern, today, here is with moral obligation beyond our tribe, beyond our nation, community, beyond our families, language, dialect or religion.

In the movie, Blood Diamond, one of the character wished that oil were not discovered in the blood inflicted diamond rich land. There is reason to ask if we had discovered diamond or oil in Manipur? It is too bloody already. During the more than fifty years of the Cold War, the presence of one superpower's agents, spies or mercenaries in any ethnic war guaranteed the presence of the other on the opposing side. Does the end of Cold war means an end to the presence of imperialist or superpower interest? Can we say that there is no narrative of imperial rivalry or ideological struggle that stirs the once secured constituencies to become insecure and make those zones their business?

This taxing process has churned out Shakespeare's "thing itself" within us. Despite the swell of interventionist internationalism, it still is "Am I my brother's keeper" with us. That’s morality swinging strongly with us. Obligations to human beings beyond our language, identity, community and what not, has become the most difficult thing to exercise. We have become a corner in ourselves. Too cornered, at times, to be reached. Unaccomodated. Irresponsible. Insensitive. "The thing itself" has been accepted deliberately. Without any question. That's when the modern universal human rights culture found its up-hill task in finding its route into our small geography, but big challenges and issues. Everyday there are some sort of protest ex-pressions, though. From nude protest to self-immolation and hunger strike. The ex-pressions overflow. But it is cornered to be, now, a thing in itself. That's the irony.

The more sad truth is that the civil society seem tired and burnout by resorting to disengagement. Disengaging from the chaos as well as peace. That's more of fulfilling that "thing itself." That throws the question, can we be someone other than the victims. The question that follow is, can any engagement make things better? Those questions are inescapable in a failed state that is caught between the barrel of armed state actors as well as armed non-state actors. This is the reason why the growing insecure constituencies, despite no war declarations, are living with war torn effects. But we still need to ask what and who should represent our moral stakes in these grim situations? Will the new government that is installed with supposed democratic levers be representative? What should be anyone's first move here? Well it would be to move out of the particularist ethics and culture of narrowing our attachment to one's own language, community or identity. That would save us all from the ride towards degeneration. On the part of the state, it ought to be responsible, transparent, accountable and sensitive. Not just governing by hook or by crook. In this desperate context, we all should engage ourselves to find the moral vernaculars and options for the seemingly incorrigible tribalism and miseries. Otherwise, we are extending the insecure constituencies where we continue to create perilled strangers to fulfil that thing itself.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Lalruotmawi: Glory astray

The news of Lalruotmawi, the gospel singer, entangled in a sex scandal has been screaming for quite sometime in different states of the North East. It shocked some constituency. Some compartments were taken by surprise. Some find it difficult to believe. As the misery of disgrace tails the miraculous singer there seem to be more speculation on what would happen to the singer than the gospel. No doubt about the singer, but the gospel would, if there were no man, still speak through the pebbles. He planted and He uprooted. The Bible said that. If there was sex and the city, it is sex and the gospel this time. The gospel singer who stormed Mizoram with her unimitated simplicity and who could sell whopping 40,000 copies of her album in a single day delivers her darker side. Not deliberately though. The dirty linen hangs out. The lapse of momentary bliss continues to cast its long shadows. Like the bite of the forbidden fruit and eternal vain toil by man. The newspaper and local TV channel in Manipur and Mizoram lick every dirt of the sex scandal just as expected. It has to when the act was not done by some fame hungry mortals like Paris Hilton or Pamela Anderson, but the gospel singer.

When nothing is stronger and bigger than the truth, it cannot leave like a stranger. It must have gnawed every stem of her life. It has its grip firmer because she was seen as gospel daughter, moulded by none other than the Church where sanctity supposedly underlines everything about her songs, if not her. When I heard the news, I said to myself that this stuff should be drowning somewhere in Hollywood. Not here. But everywhere, man we are with flesh, blood and bones. Sex is not only made for Hollywood. Or by Hollywood. Similarly, rape and landmines does not happen somewhere in Africa alone. But there are still many inescapable questions. What if Peter and Mary have those fleshy interactions under dirty linens and it leaks? What if this is just a tip of the reality of people who took the shade of the sanctified institution? But that shade should be challengeable. Questionable too. The already painful public scandal is not palatable to the pulpit. Some asked if man should decide who is man to decide? However man has to decide in the interest of the sanctity of the institution. Every man is a panderer. Some with flesh and blood. Some with the eyes. The rest with the rest.

These are not new though it happens to us now. Sex in a temple. The White House affairs and what not. That thing is one universal celebration. But Clinton was impeached accordingly as he was too small before the constitution of the country. If America believes that Columbus discovered America, I would believe that Hilary Clinton discovers the Biblical teaching of forgiveness for America. When the pale of White House needed a whitewash, it was done with Hilary’s forgiving. Imagine if the impeachment was followed by a divorce. Every time something like this happens everyone raised a finger. Some raised their bloody finger. Some raised their sordid finger. Some their corrupted finger. Some with the smell and colour of their dirty linen too, pretending like virgin who have been sleeping in the whitest linen in lame numb all his life.

When popular public figures attached to the pulpit, authority and power are found pandering out of their married or unmarried life; it becomes a plank in everyone’s eyes. It cannot be merely a straw, though we tend to oversee the same reality within us. However, there are certain things that ought to be exhumed to talk the talk or walk the talk so as to fine tune things for all future purpose. If that moment escaped or is let off, we fail as human beings. Therefore the Church cannot be silent in this matter although it must forgive the actors in the union act. I said this because any man should not be higher or stronger than the credibility and sanctity of any institution, which is collectively accepted. If then, it will run hollow of its hallowed character. No man, with reason, should try to overshadow that sanctity. If today that sanctity is sacrifice or is bought to naught to save fame, fortune, individual, or any vested interest, that institution will die a slow death. A fast death is also valid though not desirable.

Here we are not talking about any architected structure, but the Church, which is the belly of Christian faith, moral, ethics, values and what not. This is the moment for every individual to have an insight into the seemingly concealed intricacies that surround the sanctity of the Church. We cannot toast our tendency of casualness to make up the deficiency with an excuse of the straw before the sinners eyes. The Church or for that matter any institution should not be made to bow from being what it ought to be. But let anyone, who is not a sinner, throw the first stone.