Saluting the Lamyanba Respecting dissent
One wonders where Lamyanba Hijam Irabot would have stood on the current issues besieging Manipur. Not a speculative question to be dismissed with a wave of the hand for the need to go back to a personality like the Lamyanba is the need of the moment when Manipur is faced with so many issues, with people seemingly standing on opposite ends of so many burning issues or issues which have the potential to snowball into something much bigger than they are right now. Having different takes or striking opposing stands is in line with democratic principles and certainly no one would expect all the people to toe the same line when any issue of public importance crops up. The important point however is how ready are the people to take along the opposing viewpoints in their stride and in the process kick up a bout of healthy debates and not silence the other viewpoint into quiet submission. This is a point which needs serious deliberations and in the process it may help to visualise where the Lamyanba would have stood. Would Lamyanba Hijam Irabot have toed the line of silencing the opposing viewpoint into quiet submission or would he have encouraged different ideas and viewpoints and then draw a conclusion after deliberating on the opposing ideas ? This is a question which everyone should mull over and in the process question themselves whether patriotism or the love of one’s land and culture is the prerogative of any single entity or individual or a line of thinking. This is a question which those in positions of influence and power in the Government should also mull over seriously. For too long ideas which do not go with the vocal voices have been dubbed anti-social and hence anti-people and silenced into quiet submission and the time is perhaps now right to start questioning whether such a culture is healthy for society or not. As Manipur turns up as one to salute the great Lamyanba on his birth anniversary this is perhaps the right time to raise these questions inwardly and see where Manipur stands.
It is the principle of dissent and opposition that has led to a number of civil society organisations to voice their stand against the decision of the Cabinet to lift prohibition, a decision that was taken on September 20. Again it is under this principle that numerous sit-in protests have been organised all over the place against the move of the Government to legalise liquor. This is the reality unfolding before everyone at the moment, but would rooms be given to anyone to openly back the decision to lift prohibition ? A question worth pondering over though there may not be any open answer to this other than some individual airing their opinion on the social media. So even as Manipur turned up as one to observe the birth anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot, it would be in the fitness of things to question why so many generations grew up without learning much about him. Even today, how much of his life are chronicled in the history text books prescribed for school going students of Manipur ? Bestowed the title Lamyanba and not giving the opportunity to the youngsters to learn about his life and principles does not exactly behove the status of the first political leader of the land and the people. Time to undo the wrong of the past and set things right for while many Manipuris do know about the Magna Carta and Black Hole tragedy, not much is taught to the youngsters about the heroes and heroines of Manipur, points which should have been taught from the school level. This is certainly food for thought.