War on drugs and sports movement in Manipur

Sanasam Yaiphaba Singh
Globally, substance abuse has become a major problem which needs immediate attention and intervention to do away with it. In present day Manipur, the menace of substance abuse has been spreading in the society to the extent that it is going to destroy the body and the mind of the people particularly the youths which constitutes the most energetic and resourceful section of the society. There is a vivid evidence of a tendency of rapid increase in the demand for drugs which may unmistakeable be presumed that drug users are prevalent in society in an alarming proportion and worrying situation. The demand for drugs is being met with sufficient supply. The manufacturing and distribution of drugs and creation of its market has been a lucrative business though it involves huge investment with high risk.
Various measures and actions with stringent laws were taken up by the authorities as a war on drugs and at the same time a number of community based organisations (CBOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have continuously been fighting it to overcome the use of drugs as well as to stop its supply chain. Generally, in theory, two major means to cope with the situation are to contain the demand as well as to block the supply. In theory there will be no supply of drugs if there is no demand for it, and on contrary there will be no demand if there is no supply provided the market is not created and the use of it is not induced. However, with the increase in the action of the authorities, NGOs and other concerted efforts drug abuse continues fuelled by sufficient supply under a well-knit network of distribution strategy.
In Manipur sports movement has directly or indirectly played an indispensable role in the fight against drugs.  A good number of players, athletes and organisers are continuously seen on the playgrounds. A considerable number of youths are engaged in sports activities that as an outcome the State had gained recognition as a power house of sports. And it is this stature which drug abuse is attacking leading to an alarming situation, and as such, it is pertinent to question what would happen if there were no sports activities among the youths and players. In fact it would be a point of discussion if Manipur was not a power house of sports. But, fortunately sports activities take a very vital role to contain drug abuse in the state. In Manipur drugs users are mostly among the youth who would be future pillars of the state, but the drugs really spoil the career of the youth openly in the society. It is imperative that nurturing and giving impetus to the sports culture will be one of the most important measures to contain drug abuse.
As Manipur is a small State and is not  economically sound, the players have to face a lot of struggle at the local, State, National and international level to be competent enough to bring laurels for the country. It would be more successful and rewarding for them as well as for the society at large if they involved themselves in the war against drugs.  If youth are properly engaged in sports activities they would be physically, intellectually and morally fit with a sense of discipline to face any eventualities in their life and it will naturally keep them at a distance from drugs.
Nowadays it appears that education and sports are practically kept apart presuming that the two could not compatibly go together at a time to achieve success. There is a barrier in the form of mental stigma that sports and general education may not be possibly pursued successfully to achieve success in our society. But, it is felt that if both education and sports are developed together among the youths, it would be better because physical and mental fitness brought about by sports, healthy people could have the capacity, ability, willingness to handle and discharge duties in any field including education, sports activities and drug issues. Sports teach many lessons to promote a better society. It teaches love, devotion and dedication. It is always bound with discipline.
In the present context, if Manipur is to control the drugs abuse and make the state a super power in sports from the stage of power house and showcase it before the world, it is very much imperative to give adequate and proper awareness and guidance to increase the standard of sports activities. It is a fact that once a person starts playing in any discipline of sports he or she is most unlikely to indulge in drug use because there is no place for drug abuse in the field of sports. Therefore, starting from the level of school, college and university the sports curriculum should include the story of veteran players, how they started playing facing a number of constraints, sports science, indigenous games etc. would inculcate theoretical and practical knowledge of sports among the students. The process will automatically raise the spirit of sport which would, in turn divert the attention of the youth from the clutches of the drug menace. Sports provide the harmonious activities for physical fitness and mental alertness as physical involvement and practice in the field are compulsory.
It is known that Manipur has been such a society where sports activities also have been prevailing with competition right from its proto-history. Our ancestors have evolved a number of sports activities for different age groups of male and female with the skill of martial arts, and kept alive handing down from generations to generations all of these forms of games for our posterity as Indigenous games. There has always been logic behind each and every game. It can be observed that every Manipuri possesses the spirit of sports by birth and almost everybody used to play one or other game in the past. There is every possibility to apply the skill of sports activities in opportune time and place. There are the possibilities for more improvement and advancement of the skill of the players in the modern games of high standard and steep competition with the help of modern technology, science, equipment and high standard management. In Manipur, though there is lack of such sophisticated equipment, and standard technology may not be available, there is still knowledge which can be learnt from the hidden indigenous knowledge. With all available facilities and knowledge we would have the ability to develop the sports and also free the society from the issue of drug abuse. We shouldn’t forget that sport activities have the ability to contain drug abuses in Manipur. A little training in the skill of communication, stress management and counselling will also be very effective.