Manipur comes first any day

Free Thinker *

One NGO headed by Shri K Kasturiranjan, former ISRO Chairman has published its annual report highlighting the performances of the States and UTs based on an overall index in terms of sustainable development. I don't want to pass any comment on their report or findings. However I would like to say that one day my State will come first on any given yardstick.

Today they may find us at the other side of the tunnel. We don't mind. Our only request to all the organisations, agencies or NGOs is that whenever they conduct a competition they should inform us in advance so that we are found prepared and ready.

We are not playing devil's advocate but we are sharing the truth; until and unless you inform us of the rules of the game how can we take part ? We hardly understand the idea of sustainable development. We simply know how to sustain and survive.

It is just like telling the children to run without telling the direction, the goal or destination, etc. First you inform us about the competition and we will prepare ourselves accordingly. We have won many awards/prizes by the State and also by our leaders.

Organizers normally inform us beforehand about the competition, membership, registration fee etc. The credibility and details of the competition must be made known to us first. If we don't want to participate then how can you forcibly put us in the competition ?

For instance, if it is a competition organised by an NGO on 'smuggling' we may not want to participate. How can you compel us to join the Competition ? Again, if it is about unemployment we don't want to be part of the competition, let other States compete. Again if they seriously want to have a competition on corruption; we may take part, provided it is about the amount involved.

You know very well that our bribery amounts are minuscules though widespread. A single big ticket kickback can cover up the entire corruption affairs of the State for the whole year. Ours is a small State with limited resources. Unnecessarily people have the wrong impression of us.

Suppose Bharat Today contacts us and informs us to get ready for such and such competition. And accordingly we take part. Without our participation, how can you say that you came last or first ? That is not done.

First we do not want to take part in any undeclared competition; it is just like putting us in bad light. We know we can't perform well in swimming so we don't need to join swimming. We are really good in Boxing and football so we can take part in these disciplines. You can't simply put us in any competition to run us down.

All kinds of competitions are going on in this maddening world. Who is behind it ? Why are they doing it ? We don't know how the assessment is done.

Who decides the criteria or yardsticks ? We never want to go into the details. We don't know their motives. They say that cleverest country in all is Japan, Switzerland comes second and China third. In the IQ competition, Singapore is declared first, China second, Hong Kong third, and South Korea fourth.

I don't think they have taken samples from us for any such competitions, studies or research ? If they simply take the samples from Delhi, Kolkata, Bombay or Chennai, they will never get the desired results. The people of Manipur are very unique and talented. If there is a competition on politicking and lobbying our people would come first.

Then in the laziness competition, we can simply outperform anyone on this planet. Khaini chewing , we are second to none; paan chewing, we can outshine even the Zarda Maliks.

To my utmost surprise international Organizations are also conducting such competitions. For instance - the happiness index of the countries. Which country is the happiest ?

According to a UN report of 2020, Finland is the happiest country. Denmark is the second happiest country. Then comes Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand and so on. India comes at number144. And Pakistan comes at 66. That means Pakistanis are happier than the Indians. This is not done.

Some few years back Bhutan was considered the happiest country in the world. Now it is not even found among the first ten happiest countries of the world. I really don't know the reason or reasons for this. But one thing I could guess is the constant interference from the neighbouring big brothers . The unwanted pressure on their territory, economy and even governance make them feel uneasy and uncomfortable.

Once upon a time Calcutta was the cheapest city in India. Today Competition organizers are saying it is now Bangalore. As per their assessment Bangalore is now the cheapest city in the country. Last year or last to last year it was Mumbai. I really don't understand how they do the assessment ? Perhaps the criteria they adopt is quite flexible-to adjust the desired results. I may be wrong but I smell a rat.

They must include Imphal in the next competition. Local drinks are too good and very cheap but the quality of the brew is already endorsed by the Japanese. Our food items or local cuisines are all reasonably priced; go to any restaurant or dhaba our veg or non-veg items are one of the cheapest in the world, cheaper than any highway food joints. Our hotel accommodation is one of the cheapest in the Cosmos.

Foreign goods are available in plenty at reasonable prices (from the neighbouring ASEAN); you may feel that you are shopping in a Duty Free area. Native handloom and handicraft products are beautifully made but they are still reasonably priced. If you praise them , they may even give their products free of cost. Manipuris are very emotional people.

For me Imphal is the cheapest city. They should come to Imphal and conduct a study; within 2/3 days they will change their mind ; I mean they will soon realize that Imphal is indeed the cheapest city in India ; if they continue to stay here for another 2/3 days more they may even declare that Imphal is the cheapest city in the universe.

Once an International Broadcasting Corporation made an announcement saying that we come first in terms of corruption. We never intended to take part in such competitions. How come they made us number one ?

Today again we are saying openly that we are not in competition with any of our neighbors or any other States regarding Covid. No "jabardasti please".

* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on November 07 2020.

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