EDITORIAL: Passing The Unpalatable As Manna… Calling The Govt’s Bluff

Comedy is an art, demanding a certain degree of creativity from the man behind the camera as well as the artiste in front of it, not to talk about the script writer. Buffoonery is not comedy and far from being an exercise in creativity, its primary aim is to target the baser instinct of mankind. Poles apart, the two are, with no meeting point. However the irony is unmistakable when a large number of people are unable to discern the difference between the two and buffoonery is increasingly passed off as comedy and fed to the audience. This is typical of some films churned out by Bollywood every Friday and copied and imitated by their poor cousins, including some from the Manipuri Digital Film fraternity.

Apart from exposing the acute poverty of ideas and creativity amongst some of these film makers, this trend may be interpreted as some Smart Alec taking the people for a ride. This is the trend that has become synonymous with the business of film making in certain quarters and the exercise of passing off an act of tomfoolery or buffoonery as comedy has the unmistakable resemblance of politicians trying to pass off something atrocious as part of governance and packaging their utter failure to deliver as something that comes along with the time and situation. This is where the observation, reel life imitating real life, or vice versa, gains credence and a look at what has been dished out to the people of Manipur by the Congress led SPF Government in its two terms in office will leave no one in doubt of the striking resemblance between the attempt to pass off buffoonery as comedy by film makers and the Government’s now signature style of packaging its failures with some bombastic words or some high decibel propaganda, that borders on the ridiculous.

The unfortunate part is, just like the audience have been taken for a ride by the film maker, quite a large number of people in Manipur have been taken in by the craftily and deceivingly decorated words and phrases used by the political class. So from the standard ‘it is really unfortunate,’ ‘the Government is looking into it and justice will be delivered,’ ‘committed to the welfare and development of the people’ to the more sophisticated ‘steps to check corruption in high places,’ ‘NH-53 will be upgraded as befits a National Highway,’ the Congress led SPF Government has come to be identified with such glib talks, during its two terms in office.  It does not matter to these men, who come under the privileged definition of Cabinet Ministers or VIPs, that their bluff has been called on many times, for they have managed to willfully bring the people to the idea that whatever the Government does is in the best interest of the people, by the sheer grace of being in power. So firmly rooted has this culture become that today the Chief Minister does not hesitate in finding an alibi in the rapid increase of vehicles for the traffic chaos that we see every day in the heart of Imphal city. True, the quantum jump in the number of vehicles is an important factor for the traffic snarls we see all around, but this cannot be the reason for the Government to turn a blind eye to their shortcomings or utter failure to address the issue at hand.

Multi-storied buildings as parking lot sound fantastic, but where are these multi-storied buildings going to come up? Next to the Raj Bhawan? A decision will be taken to finalize what type of vehicles should be allowed to enter the bazar (Khwairamband, Thangal Bazar, Paona Bazar, BT Road etc) areas, so said the Chief Minister. This is fine, but where is the need for such an exercise? Simple logic tells us that entry of loaded, heavy vehicles in the bazar areas during day time is something not at all practical or feasible. The same thing goes for passenger buses. The choice before the Govt is therefore limited to the cycle, the rickshaw, the auto-rickshaw, the two wheelers such as scooters and motor bikes and four wheelers such as cars, jeeps etc. Can the Government come up with a decision on which type of vehicles will be best suited to enter the bazar areas, so that traffic snarls are not caused?

The answer does not lie in deciding which type of vehicle should be barred entry into these areas but what steps should be taken up to make the people head for some other places for their needs. As things stand today, for everything, starting from the needles and pins to vegetables, fish, chicken, toiletries, roofing material, electrical goods, electronic gadgets, fruits, soaps, detergents, etc, one has to head towards the said bazar areas. Why has no thought been given to this? Instead, we hear the Chief Minister holding fort on the quantum jump in the increase of vehicles for the growing traffic congestion in Imphal. This is nothing but an exercise in trying to pass off some acts of buffoonery as comedies! We also hear that the Government has decided to set up a committee to check the assets and wealth of all the Ministers and MLAs of the ruling parties. This is fine, but then again the irony emerges when we look at the composition of the committee. By this we are not casting aspersions on any of the members of the committee, who are drawn from the Cabinet, but there must be a reason why there is the precedence of Judges not taking part in the Court proceedings, if any of their family members are involved in the said case. The same is true in the case with autonomous recruiting institutions like the UPSC, SSC or the State Public Service Commissions, where members voluntarily stay away from the recruitment process if any of their kins are among the candidates.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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