As professionals involved in the business of disseminating information and shaping public opinion to a certain extent, the response from our readers, especially those that come in writing, to many of the issues confronting the State, is of extreme interest and importance to us, for not only do these responses reflect the priorities of the people, but also gives us a degree of knowledge on the profile of our readers. 2010 has been a year full of incidents and we do not know what will happen in the next few days, before we step into 2011. If 2009 is particularly remembered for the July 23 BT Road incident, then 2010 has so far seen , not one, but many issues which merit the attention and concern of the people in general. Another interesting point that we witnessed during this period are the shadows of personalities looming over an issue or a whole gamut of issues. The beginning part of the year or should we say mid-2010, from the early part of May this year, revolved around three personalities. Leader of the NSCN (IM), Th Muivah, Chief Minister of Manipur O Ibobi Singh and the Union Home Minister. The root cause of this development can be traced to the efforts of Th Muivah to visit his birthplace at Somdal in Ukhrul district, with the tacit approval of Delhi, without consulting the State Government. The visit was tentatively scheduled for some time in the first week of May, but the State Government, led by Chief Minister O Ibobi, firmly put its foot down and said No to the proposed visit of the Naga rebel leader.What followed after this is there for all to see and hear, but mark the personalities at play here. One is the strongman of the IM group, one is the Boss at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the other one is the leader of a people, who made sure that he sits comfortably on his seat, without the fear of any force shaking his citadel. The outcome of the stand off was the record 67 days economic blockade on NH-39 and NH-53, the Senapati Declaration of July 1, wherein it was decided that Nagas would sever all ties with the Government of Manipur with immediate effect bringing and in the process the UNC interpreting their demand hovers over a separate administrative unit either a State or Union Territory for the Nagas of Manipur. Somewhat of a huge climb down from the creation of Greater Nagalim or sovereignty of the Naga Nations. In between there have been other instances which have drawn the attention of the people, by its sheer despicable act, such as the story of North East girls harassed in Goa and the series of molesting or raping of women from this region at Delhi. Perhaps Mary Kom was the only other personality, who made it to the news somehow, with her famous remark, “I am a living example of ‘Nothing Is Impossible’” after winning the Gold in the 52 Kg weight category at the Commonwealth Games. The unpredented stand adopted by the Owners and Drivers Council never to take the NH-39 route again and instead rely only on NH-53 attracted a fair share of attention of the readers. The recent news on PAP has also not gone unnoticed in the eyes of the public.
Personalities, whether they be sport-stars, movie and rock stars or models and yes rebel leaders like Muivah, Isak Swu, RK Meghen are newsmakers alright and when rounded up with a dramatic development, the interest in such personalities multiply manifold. After we launched the new look, sleek and attractive website sometime in the latter part of September this year, we have received numerous comments and ideas from our readers and this is an indicator of what concerns the average people and what does not concern them at all. By this we are not in any way suggesting that the comments and ideas submitted to us cover all the things that matter to the people, but yes however minuscule it is, there is some significance in it. There were quite a number of comments which we had to reject and hence did not make it to the approved column. The decision was not taken on any whimsical ground but based on the policies of our newspapers. Now coming to the hype and wide scale media coverage given to the arrest of UNLF Chairman, we believe that it was so because of the personality of the rebel leader, whether one agrees with his ideologies or not. Delhi may think it has scored some points, which may be true, but they should not forget that in keeping the whereabouts of RK Meghen a mystery for over two months, it did not only caste Dhaka and Delhi in good light but added to the persona of the rebel leader. His submission before the Special Court of the NIA “I am not waging a war against India, but fighting for the sovereignty of \my land”, may one day be treated on par with Tilak’s “Swaraj is my birth right and I wil have it.” This is one reason, why we had earlier written that the arrest of Meghen should not be seen as the arrest of any other rebel with a gun in his hand. We have been receiving a number of comments on the rebel leader via our web site, and yes some of them minced no words in criticising him while at the same time, there were others who extolled him. Majority of the comments were not approved as some of them were nothing less than attacking the individual in him, others because, it was laced with the poison of communal tones and innuendos and yet some others, which may have the potential to infringe on the ongoing inquiry and hence invite legal sanctions. Now this is where we need to seriously question and decide, which of the two are more important or deserve our attention-the personalities or the issues.