My ‘Tragic Tryst’ with politics and politicians !
Ngangom Junior Luwang
I abhor politics and politicians (except for a few, who were my Tamos/bros before their political avatars) for most of them represent sycophancy, nepotism, subterfuge, corruption and most of the known vices and I make my best endeavour to avoid them. If I had met them, most had been by accident rather than by choice.
Of course, many told me that proximity to politicians would certainly help me and my career (unfortunately a so-called fraternity of liars), but my (“liar”) conscience always desists me from doing so.
(1). I had a visitor in Delhi from my home State some years back and he wanted me to accompany him in a meeting with a powerful politician at Manipur Bhawan, Delhi in his and “my interest”. My immediate reaction was to excuse myself from the said meeting and I chose to wait for him in my car in front of Manipur Bhawan Gate. I do not regret.
(2). Some years back, I had to accompany a legal luminary of India to Manipur and he was a declared State Guest with gun-toting commandos at his beck and call. It was the Ningol Chakkouba day (biggest festival in Manipur) and I wanted to take him out for an Imphal Tour (a city I was brought up in and through which only my not-so-great topographical memory takes me around). Suddenly, there was a plan change because the then CM wanted to take the State guest to the Loktak Lake and I suddenly found myself in the State Guest car since the actual State Guest left his car to me and he was with the then CM in the brand new BMW SUV.
I was accidentally part of the CM entourage all the way from Classic Grande Hotel, Imphal to the Loktak Lake with that wrong sense of entitlement to the whole road. The driver told me different stories of VVIPs sitting in his car, only to land up at an Assam Rifles camp for desperate loo breaks thanks to Manipuri food.
The State Guest was always with the then CM and I think he wanted me to be with him and then CM, but I purposely desisted from closing in. What shocked me most was the no-so great body language of the then CM. He was the only one with an umbrella on top, something he could have avoided with modesty and as a sign of respect to the State Guest and others. He was walking with all the grandeur of a King, while the rest of the entourage (except the State Guest) was following him like minions. Arguably nothing wrong with this, but modesty and humility was nowhere visible. I could sense the wrong sense of entitlement and privileges in him and I chose not to even get out of the car when the State Guest was seen off by the CM himself at the CM bungalow to walk into the car I was already in. I do not regret.
(3). Again some years back, it was party time in some place in New Delhi with a close friend of mine and others. It was announced midway that an MLA was waiting in some other room in the same premises for dinner arranged by him. I was wondering as to why he had to wait outside for all of us to troop out and join him, instead of him coming in and joining us. I had no other option but to walk in for dinner and I saw this gentleman, sitting on a brand new chair. I used no “Sir” and I addressed him as “Tamo” and started discussing about politicians in Manipur joining Bihar-focused political parties, only to be pricked on my butt by my friend. It turned out that the said MLA belonged to the one of the Bihar-based political parties and he retorted back.
I joined the issue but chose to gently walk out to avoid further vitiation of the atmosphere. I have no regrets since I confronted a symbol of opportunism – seemingly very indigenous at heart with a not-so local political choice.
(4). Cut to February, 2022, I had to have dinner with a group of people including a highly-placed politician in Delhi. Somehow, I blurted out to him that I have an inherent hatred for politics and condemnation for politicians, wrongly and somehow implying that I hated him (though it was not at all my intent). I was just being academic and of course, the party did not go that well. On hindsight, I regret what I said. I should not have been prejudiced by my well-entrenched abhorrence for politics and should have known the person better. Lesson learned - do not be always judgmental.
(5). I was returning to Delhi from Manipur last month and I saw the top political dispensation of Manipur in the same flight, sitting left and right around me. Of course, the front row was fully occupied, if you know what I mean. I had to go to the washroom and I thought (while in the washroom) that I should be a little nicer to politicians and at least introduce myself (though he has no reason not to know me) and say “Hello”.
I did just that with a pleasant “Tamo” slipping out and he responded very positively and I was very proud of my achievement! But came the shocker – the person next to him almost brought his mouth right up-to my ears to tell me that my pant zip was opened! What an embarrassment! Finally, I realize that I am not cut for politics and politicians and I have been manufactured to do things the hard way!
Of course, there is a silver lining in every cloud. I had the best of interaction with the bureaucrats and Ministers (CM included) of a State when I was representing that State for some matters for around 10 years in the Supreme Court of India and I found the interactions very official and straight forward. I wish my native State, Manipur too had such humble politicians, without generalizing !
I am sure there are many people, who do not believe in sycophancy and nepotism and believe me, it’s always better to have a clean life, rather than looking for short-cuts and political favors. When you die, you should have a clean death and that’s what matters!
The writer is an Advocate in the Supreme Court and a Corporate Lawyer.
The write up was previously put up as a status on Facebook and the writer generously agreed to send it to TSE for publication if the paper wants it-Editor