Discipline : The common thread Significant offbeat news
Central to it all is discipline or the seeming lack of discipline amongst the people. On September 22, two offbeat news occupied strategic space in The Sangai Express and in probably the first of its kind in Manipur, the two news stories centred around discipline of the people. A lot of story it tells in that the Imphal Unit of the All India Radio has decided to introduce a novel bulletin in its broadcast in the form of Live Traffic report in Imphal city. A lot more story may also be read into the guidelines or directives to the different schools that attendance of students should be taken in each period as well as the directive to the school staff to remain within the school premises during school hours. The truth can always be disappointing and disturbing and it is with a feeling of these two emotions that one notes the observation of the Government that ‘students wearing uniforms are seen loitering outside school campuses without school staff, which is not safe for the students.’ In other words it could mean that a number of students have been bunking classes and loitering outside the school campus and this is something which needs to be tackled with an iron hand. Iron hand as understood in understanding and dealing with the matter as expected from the schools and the teachers and not as hands to physically come down on the young students. Students seen driving around on their fancy two wheelers, perhaps ‘zooming around’ would be more appropriate, and juxtapose the observation of the Government with the novel move from the All India Radio and the one word that runs through the two points is the word ‘discipline’. When elders or those deemed to be mature enough to take to the wheels gives the understanding of traffic discipline a big toss, then such a mindset or behaviour is bound to be reflected in the youngsters and students roaming around outside the schools premises in their uniform fits this situation to the T. As noted many times in this column, to many the understanding of driving does not extend beyond the stage of ‘kick the engine into life, pull or kick the clutch, shift the gear and then put the vehicle into motion,’ without learning that driving means so much more than this. Look at the roads of Imphal on any given day and one is sure to be greeted by vehicles overtaking from the left, refusing to stop when the traffic light turns yellow or red, honking unnecessarily, and moving to the wrong lane nonchalantly.
Things get worse when any of the VVIPs or VIPs with their screaming beacon lights decide to take the road and expect everyone to give them the right of way. Some things just do not change and what was in vogue during the days of the Congress at Imphal continues to this day when Imphal has come under the BJP ! It is this mentality, the refusal to acknowledge that the road is there for everyone to use that one can see in the conduct of some school children. Why should students, who are still minor or below the age of 18 be allowed to drive their fancy motor bikes around Imphal ? How many of them have actually received their driving license. Penalise the parents who allow their children to zoom around in their fancy ‘toys’. The school is the workplace of the teachers and they should be inside their place of work until their office time is over. Why has the Government felt the need to notify that teachers and the non-teaching staff should remain within the school campus during school hours ? Food for thought for all those who have taken the role of parents and guardians inside the school. The All India Radio has taken a good initiative to bring live traffic report of Imphal to listeners and one hopes that such a programme is also extended to the other district headquarters, especially in places like Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Senapati etc.