There has to be a reason why the two words Bitter and Truth blend so naturally and become some sort of a single entity ‘Bitter Truth’ that has withstood the test of time and the different phases in the history of mankind. Mankind, it seems, is obsessed with truthfulness or the truth and the obvious reason why this is so is because man may be the only creature on Planet Earth to know how to lie through one’s teeth or twist the facts and figures to suit one’s need. That is why there is the trademark ritual of going through the whole exercise of placing one’s hand on a Holy Book, according to one’s religious belief and swearing to speak only the truth when a witness has to testify in a law Court. This is just a ritual alright, and does not warranty any truth from the witness or the one being grilled and questioned by the lawyer, but its symbolic meaning cannot be lost on any rational being. No wonder truth is one of that rare qualities associated with all that is sincere and honest with mankind. So why does the word Bitter blend so naturally with the word Truth ? We have briefly explained this could be so because of the penchant of mankind to lie and conceal the truth for some personal gains and based on this line of argument or explanation, we may say that the value of truth will multiply in direct proportion to the abundance of lies surrounding a people or when lies and deceit become an important characteristic of one’s life or when such trend begins to dictate the lifestyle of a group of people or Nation. Manipur, perhaps fits the bill of a place where truth has become a liability so much so that an alibi has become necessary to carry out one’s agenda to perfection and the present condition of Manipur more than signifies that the perfect alibi now comes in the name and form of “For the sake of the land and people.” It is these people who have taken up the guns for the “so called and manufactured cause of the people and the land” and in the process has lived up perfectly to fit the phrase “Bitter Truth.” Camouflaging the true intent of taking up the gun under the cover of something profoundly inspiring is nothing short of skirting the truth to gain a certain degree of social legitimacy to cover up their nefarious intents. To such people, the truth will always be bitter and when confronted with the truth they will either try to silence the voice of questions raised with threats and intimidations or run away from it. Criminals come in different shapes and sizes and they portray different persona and an air of aura such as the benevolent mafia don or the mafia leader who rose from the rank and file of the organisation and has a large following amongst the working class of a city, some sort of a political neta. Some may take to the Chambal valley to fight against caste discrimination and violation of a woman’s dignity, and the story of the late Phoolan Devi is an apt example. As long as these people take up the gun and prefer to stay against the Constitution of India and do not camouflage their activities as some honourable steps taken up on behalf of the people, they are at least honest with themselves, but once it comes cloaked under the guise of fighting for a common cause and for the future, then it is the pits.
Such an approach is not only cowardly, but also reflects the mentality of these people, who think that they can take the people for a ride under some highly sounding patriotic slogans or aspirations ! The modus operandi of some of these desperadoes are well known. First get a statement issued by them published in the newspapers to announce their arrival on the scene and then start with their extortion activities. This is one major reason, why there has been a stand off between the press and such armed groups in recent times and why journalists have been receiving threats from these pretenders. To these species, truth will always be bitter as they do not have the gumption to come face to face with reality for that may well mean showing their true face to the public. The nuisance value which these elements have added to the already chaotic situation in Manipur can be seen in the daily dharna or sit-in-protest against a bomb attack at the house of a businessman or a contractor or a Government officer. The rise in the trend of abducting Government officials for reasons we all know but for which no official statement has been forthcoming, the forcible shut down of schools and colleges and Government offices as well as commercial centres are all by products of the emergence of these pretenders, who have staked a claim to the sons of the soil philosophy. There is also a tinge of irony in the universally accepted two words to explain a whole story, ‘Bitter Truth.” We have so far just quoted the examples of plain criminals trying to pass themselves as revolutionaries, but on the other hand let’s not forget that this expression can also be aptly applied at the individual level. This is something which is much more complex than the generalisation process we have just touched upon. An off shoot of the perfect blend of these two words can be seen in other expressions such as ‘coming to terms with one self’ ‘Self denial mode’ ‘Being honest with oneself’ etc. In fact truth as it understood universally has been twisted and turned on its head by some radicals, who do not believe in humanism, that it has become a rare attribute of the human race. If the criminal on the highway hijacks or abducts anyone for monetary gains, then what do we say about the political neta who does not hesitate in pocketing the money meant to build an inter-village road or the official whose conscience does not get disturbed when the fund meant to provide tin sheets for the villagers are deposited in his safe house or safe room for his personal use. To such elements, truth will always be bitter.