Zoram Khawvel publisher, Pu MC Lalrinthanga and Aizawl Post editor Pu C Lalrambuotsai were all smiles when we met. The unseen attachment speaks of old friends. Old lovers. Unquestioned loyalty. We immediately headed for Aizawl, which is almost forty kilometers from Lengpui airport. We pass through many sleepy villages bathe with the red eyes of the drowning sun. The villages were fresh and clean. Most of the time the chain of voluntary hills and mountains blinded the sun. I spotted many village men walking without shirts. Not that they do not have any to wear. I believed it worked unconsciously to walk shirtless in the villagge. Carefree with their six packs firm on sun baked chisselled bodies. They did not seem to have much to impress.
There were big signboards that announced about the threat of bamboo flowering. Some about malaria. If one has to judge the signboards, it seems Mizoram government is well prepared to fight the threat of the death flower. But the newspaper of the following day speaks a different story of corruption with the farmer’s share that was allotted by the government at the Centre. I realized nature is a weaker threat compared to corrupt man. Man is just like death. He can never quench his thirst.
It was a relief driving along long winding road that was only disturbed by curves and curl. The air was too clean. It is a blessing that air is still free of cost. I dread to imagine the future where fresh air would be a commodity in the hands of multi-national giants. We finally reached Aizawl to find the narrow clogged road filled with Maruti-800 cars. Pu Lalrambuotsai told us that Aizawl is also known as the “city of Maruti.” Trains of Maruti cars could be spotted anywhere at the cosy city. I love the city for various reasons. One, there is always a sense of coming home. Second, it is homely too. The other reasons are also intimate.
Reading the wall
There are many man-made concrete walls in Aizawl. They must have been built to give a support to the loose soil from sliding off. The walls were smeared with posters. I could make out two kinds of posters. One that announced concerts, idol/icon related campaign posters, album release, fashion show and all those “superstructure” culture Mizoram is famous for. The other digressed to speak against corruption that is getting rampant with the bamboo flowering. Many new actors representing the farmers multiplied to fight against the present MNF government who were accused with corruption and siphoning off the farmer’s share of money that was allotted by the Centre to relieve them as the bamboo flowers and rats, rodents and wild animals multiply.
The sad vacuum is that there is no movement to plant the serious issues to the consciousness of the public as well as the government. But the rocks and bricks on the wall still does.What i observed was that there seem to be too many actors for the one big issue, which otherwise deserved a concerted move. In the highly acclaimed Chrsitian state, the poor and needy are made to fetch for themselves while the able, haves and those close to the power structure reap and rip beyond fairness and truth. The black shepherds in wolve's clothing exploited them to score political mileage for selfish ends. If Jesus was around in Mizoram today, he would lead the farmer, whom the government as well as the public merely called mirethei (poor), loneitu (farmers) and thingtlangmi (hill people). Responding to the plights of the farmers did not seem to be the interest of the already established Churches too. The Churches seem to have lately appreciate Pilate's stand and his hand washing act too. If the water could have cleansed Pilate, the multiplying tribe of powerful reverends and theologians in Mizoram would also be cleansed by the unmerciful rain that wet the days and nights. But the poor and needy were left in the wilderness. Clueless. Helpless.I still remember Zoram Kuthnathawktute Pawl (ZKP) president, who, in its protest rally, warned the Government of Mizoram that it would be seeing darker days if the plights of the farmers are not addressed. Their voices are drenched on the wall. But the Bible is right. If no man speaks, the pebbles would.