Much to the chagrin of our detractors, during the fag end of December 2017 ATSUM came up with three write ups under the banner “Biren led government is a responsive government” but stop short of calling it a responsible government for it was felt at that point of the time that it was too early to jump to the conclusion. The social media was war-like with our detractors coming down heavily on us alleging that we are trying to impress or hobnobbed with your government branding us as boot lickers, sycophants, hypocrites and accusing us to the extent of trying to sell out the interest of the tribal community.
We defended our stances with the contentions that the write up was the outcome of exhaustive observation basing on the following parameters- performance, the will to alleviate the problems of the people, innovative steps taken, progressive works undertaken, solving outstanding issues confronting the Hill People, etc. Putting to rest the month-long economic blockade, the hang over inherited from the past government, Go to the Hill slogan, solving of the protracted Churachandpur agitation, summoning cabinet sessions in hill districts, CM’s visit of all hill districts Head Quarters, Hill People’s day, the resolve shown to solve ATSUM’S CHARTER OF DEMANDS, etc are all policies and executions that needs appreciation and in turn has endeared the Hill People to this government. “The grand reception that the people has exhibited during the CM”S visit to the Hill District Head quarters speaks for itself and who are we to go against the general will of the people?” we countered.
There’s nothing wrong in “calling a spade a spade” we countered. Humans by disposition are frail, fickle and inclined to err. Even leaders are not immune from it. Leaders need to be motivated and showered accolades when it is deserved but not to the extent of flattery. And that’s exactly what ATSUM was doing. After all leaders irrespective of affiliations are too, humans in flesh and blood not some mutants. Even when God’s needs motivation through praise, worship, offerings, prayers, blessings why not human?
The recent commotions for the demand of installing a native Chief Secretary inspired by ATSUM, DESAM and AIMS, the three prominent students’ organization from both the Hill and the Valley should be viewed from the following perspectives as the polemic leitmotif put forward needs deep introspection as any deviation from the stated demand is likely to cause complications in the coming days.
First, the Geo-political, demographic sentiments should come to the fore before any haste decision is to be effected. The geo-political situation dictates that both the Hill and Valley of Manipur are unanimous for the installation of a native to the post of the Chief Secretary, the highest administrative post. This is evinced by the fact that prominent valley and hill organizations are for native CS. It doesn’t matter whether that candidate is from the hill or the valley but he or she should be from Manipur, born and brought up and whose in blood is infused with the sense of Manipurness. Further, the fact that intellectuals, students, the common people and the silent majority of Manipur has supported the cause of a native CS through panel discussions, news release, social media’s or animated individual talks should be taken into account.
Secondly, this demand is in sync with your endearing slogan of “Go to the Hills”. If for all your past and present overtures to bridge the breach between the Hill and Valley of Manipur has endeared the Hill People to your government than surely this requited move will surely add more to our happiness and gratitude. Commit to your memory that everything is in this world works on quid pro quo basis.You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.
Thirdly, the coming together of hill-based and valley-based frontal organizations on the issue, a rare and laudable convergence, will have much consequence in the collective health of the state in the days to come. (These lines read with deeper meanings and interpreted with optimism). And always keep in mind that ATSUM is the apex organization of the hill people whose writ runs throughout the expanses of the ten districts comprising 1.3 million people who had mandated us and in return are responsible for their welfare and well being.
Fourthly,this move should not be construed as interference to the CM’s prerogative but read as an overture to right the lapses. We sincerely acknowledge the CM’s prerogative pertaining to the appointment of top officials within the state or departments for the sake of harmony in execution of works but would also like to point out that it is in turn your prerogative to listen to voice of your people who has mandated you to the Chief Minister post. During RR Rashmi appointment and the consequent rumblings from certain corners ATSUM had come up in support of your prerogative through a press write up but with a rider that it would have been appreciated if the decision was effected in favour of the “Sons of the Soil”. The used of the very word the “sons of the soil” was vehemently protested by one prominent Hill-based organization. Memory is still vivid and fresh.
But sir this is the second time that native civil servants are given the snub and as such precipitate a sense of panic among native aspirants and also the people for they are of the view that this will be the future trend if not nip in the bud, that is now. When we have native civil servants who fit in the scheme of things why go for others? And the overlooking of seniority list where one junior candidate leap-frogged his superiors is bound to cause serious malaise in the zeal of the senior officers.
Fifthly, rumours is hanging thick and flying fast that you have been arm-twisted by the centre to go with the present CS despite your reluctance or the present CS was lobbying with the centre for this enviable post in question. If this buzz, that is doing the round and one that is invariably heard from Hotel Philosophers spread out to every village, every leikai’s, every leiraks of towns and cities is true than I’d say this is a sad moment for the History of Manipur. For, why our adorable CM should be either arm-twisted or coerced to take decisions against his wish. Sir, never undermined the influences and leverage that these hotel philosophers, who mostly comprised of senior citizens, village elders, retired government servants or Gaon Buras who does nothing but sit in hotels the whole day and analyse the day to day issues over a cup of tea trivial and of significance, have on the voters.
Sixthly, as told, the putative candidate for the CS belongs to one influential community from the tribals. If going by the past trend, my community had shared a no love-lost relationship with it but off late we have decided to let go the past and live with the present and work for the future all for the collective progressive growth of the Hill People. Candidly put, I hope that throwing my weight on him would even bring both the Nagas and Kukis, who were at one point of the time at each other’s throat, closer. And with Valley based frontal organizations having thrown their weight on him there must be this realization that this move will ushered a new era of Modus Vivendi between both the hills and valley of Manipur.
“The permanent harmony of the political views of your government with the wishes of the people is indispensable for the conduct of public affairs.”
This apocalyptic statement was the last reminder of the French Parliament to King Louise Phillipe just before the outbreak of the watershed second French Revolution in March 1830. And given the fact that your present government stance of the issue of the CS is in direct negation with the popular will and wishes of the people I earnestly appeal to the noble soul within you to listen to the voice of your very own people and work for its amelioration.
And here I lay my case, Dear father.
Hillou Kakai Singsit
(With inputs from Marankhai Awungshi, Seibem Lhouvum, K Phoipi and Andria Sinruwng)