TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinions - Manipuri Harry Potters

Manipuri Harry Potters
By: Deepak Chabungbam*



Recently, shortly after I finished reading "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", the fifth in the Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling, I accidentally stumbled upon another book titled "In Search of Leadership". In the latter book, the author identifies, among others, seven key qualities of a true leader viz. courage, integrity, competence, humility, decision-making, compassion and purpose.

As I mused over the two seemingly unrelated books, I discovered a strange convergence of ideas ingrained in the two books. As I read chapter after chapter of the book about leadership, I was struck by a majestic similarity in the central themes of the two books that, prima facie, belong to two different genres.

For the uninitiated reader, Harry Potter is a boy who discovers that his deceased parents were not regular people, but a witch and a wizard, and he accepts an opportunity to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in order to follow in their footsteps and become a wizard. He thereby enters a magical world of spells and enchantments. Harry, raised by his heartless aunt and uncle (the Dursleys), finds his niche at Hogwarts School where he finds love and acceptance from the friends he makes. Harry's best friends are Ron Weasely (whose family, though poor, is warm-hearted and generous) and Hermione Granger, a studious girl who also champions the rights of the oppressed.

The stories contain an allegorical struggle between the forces of good and evil. The evil forces are represented by the Death Eaters whose super-imposing leader is Lord Voldemort, a raging psychopath. Their actions are no less different in intent and consequence from those of our contemporary corrupt and power-hungry politicians, bureaucrats, extortionists and human rights violators of all hues and colours.

On the other hand, there is also Professor Albus Dumbledore, a noble wizard who is the head of Hogwarts School. He symbolizes the wisdom, experience and compassion of our old folk. He offers sage advice. For instance, once he tells Harry, "… you have to choose between what is right and what is easy... because what is easy is often not right." One might dismiss this as a bland and trite advice, but if our leaders, administrators and law-enforcement agencies were to heed this simple advice, many of our problems would be instantly solved.

Below, I make a comparison between the central themes of the two books:

Courage:
Courage is rightly cherished as the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others. And the story of Harry Potter and his friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is teeming with heavy doses of exemplary courage shown by these boys and girls.

Napoleon once said that the rarest kind of courage is the "2 o'clock in the morning courage"-unprepared courage. Instances where Harry and his friends hold their nerves on being confronted by unforeseen dangers and show commendable courage in the face of unbeatable odds abound in the stories.

The highest form of courage is when one volunteers to sacrifice one's own life for another. As one picks up one book after the other of the Harry Potter series, one finds a plethora of instances where Harry and his friends exhibit this human virtue of the highest order.

There is a character called Wormtail who is Voldemort's right-hand man and who, out of sheer cowardice, stands in the shadow of the strongest person. He is a metaphor of the helpless and spineless man who remains a silent spectator to injustice being meted out to others, thereby effectively acquiescing in the crime. The moral of the story-it is not enough to be honest within oneself…one should also be "honest aloud".

Integrity:
Integrity sums up a number of qualities that make for character-honesty, dependability, uprightness, loyalty and sincerity. Character is formed when a man demonstrates his attachment to these virtues even under strain.
Harry and his friends develop courage, loyalty and a willingness to sacrifice for one another - even at the risk of their lives. In our self-centered world, what more appropriate lessons can be given to the leaders of tomorrow?

Competence:
Life is not always simple and choices are not usually simple either. Choices are not always between the good and the bad but at times, between the good and the better or between the lesser of the two evils. And it is a leaders job to weigh the consequences and select one course. That is where the "competence" of the leader matters most.
What is the most appropriate advice that can be given to ordinary men and women? It is what Dumbledore told Harry: "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities". The Harry Potter books specifically address the complex and confusing world of modern childhood. The characters are tempted to do what is wrong, as well as challenged to do what they know is right. They face real choices.
When it comes to black magic, the Defence against the Dark-Arts teacher, Professor Mad-Eye Moody warns his students to use "constant vigilance". Black magic is a metaphor of the alluring habits that adolescents are inevitably tempted to pick up.

Humility:
Humility and confidence should go hand-in-hand. Only a confident man can afford to be a truly humble man. The humble leader seeks to understand the people around him. He manages to command the loyalty of the people around him because they realize that they work with him and not under him. Arrogance has absolutely no place in a leader's personality.
One can readily identify the ugliness of arrogance and pride displayed by Harry's Muggle (non-magical) family and his school tormentor, Draco Malfoy. On the other hand, one is pleasantly impressed by the charming humility displayed by Harry throughout.

Decision-Making:
The art of making decisions quickly, confidently and resolutely is the hallmark of a leader. A leader has not only to make the right decision but he has to choose the right timing. It is not only the speed of decision-making but also the quality of the decision and the timing that reveals a balanced leader. The Harry Potter books are almost always about children making choices-the right ones at the right time.

Compassion:
The Buddha once told his disciple that the right action is one that originates when one's mind has compassion. Compassion is a deep feeling for and understanding of misery or suffering and the concomitant desire to promote its alleviation-something that our present-day leaders lack terribly. Compassion is an essential trait of the personality of a leader.

Harry Potter's story is also about the redemptive power of love. Love is what protects Harry from Voldemort. The power that saves an infant Harry and eventually enables him to tide over the times of ordeal and peril is nothing but the power of the self-sacrificial love of Harry's late mother who gave her own life to save his.

Purpose:
Having a definite, lucid and unambiguous purpose of action is an indispensable qualification of a leader. In fact, purpose should necessarily precede true leadership. Leadership is necessary to serve a purpose. Harry cherishes a cause that must be fulfilled, and a goal that must be reached. The devotion to friends and a cause shown by Harry strongly reveals his lucid purpose of action

Making our own Harry Potters:
Walt Disney once said, "You don't try to teach, you entertain, and in the course of entertaining, you teach." That's exactly what J.K. Rowling has done. The values that the kids in her book display are the same that any parent would want their own kids to display. The moral lessons are just fabulous and seem to exactly mirror the qualities that a leader is expected to possess as laid down in the book on leadership. There is such a wealth in these stories that parents and teachers should seize upon to be passed onto youngsters. The reader absorbs lessons of virtue and maturity that any parent would wish their children would emulate. The characters are ordinary people like you and me that the abstract message "Good can overcome evil" is enriched and personalized and becomes "Someone like me can overcome evil".

There are important moral lessons for us to learn and apply to our everyday lives. After all, what are Lord Voldemort's weapons? Prejudice, intolerance and contempt for those who are different; abuse of the weak by the strong; greed, fear, and ignorance. Lord Voldemort's weapons very much exist in our world as well as in the world of the Harry Potter books. A person who has read the Potter series is not only forewarned against these evils, but better-equipped to handle them. In case you are thinking that these are essentially books meant for children, then even adults enjoy reading them to children-and to themselves. (In England, there is an edition published especially for adults who are embarrassed to be seen reading a children's book!)

J.K. Rowling's books have a compelling ability to explore real human character traits within her created world. Harry Potter is what every child will be, what every adolescent is and what every adult has been. He is what every child should look up to, every adolescent should strive to be and every adult should urge every youngster to become. What Manipur desperately needs today are Manipuri Harry Potters.


* The writer is an officer of the Indian Revenue Service and readers are free to comment
on this article at [email protected]


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Kanglei Thokpa @ Sagol Kangjei : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #3: Gallery
  • Meitei Professors' Invention granted Patent
  • Historic Premiere: 'Chilli Chicken' at Manipur
  • Effective Unified Command for Resolution
  • Music & Quiz: Drug Abuse amongst youth
  • Visionless and headless DMU
  • When is the right time & situation for PM visit
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #37: Download
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur: Book
  • Manipur crisis: Treat the disease, not symptom
  • 133rd Durand Cup Trophies Flags Off
  • NEET droppers vs freshers
  • Death : Only future to look at ?
  • Mental health of displaced people
  • Aftermath of Imphal Flooding #1 : Gallery
  • When was the last time we smiled ?
  • Appeal to Stop Unbearable Monetary Demand
  • 'Oppenheimer' links with Supreme Science
  • 'Preventing from holding a press conference'
  • Travel tips during Monsoon
  • Look at it via ground reality
  • Making the 'Balak Buddhi' wiser
  • Kang Chingba @Govindajee #1 : Gallery
  • Release Ebo Mili & Stop large dams in ArP
  • Rainforests are the lungs of Earth
  • Education suffering from political interference
  • Inflated bill main vote plank, law dont cut graft
  • From the Lok Sabha to Manipur
  • Third visit of Rahul
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #9
  • International Day of Yoga #1 : Gallery
  • Lord Jagannatha's processional chariot fest
  • World Zoonoses Day 2024
  • PM 'bola' in Parliament
  • Acknowledging the stand of UNC
  • Embracing tree plantation as a new trend
  • 17th N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #2 : Gallery
  • The spirit & the creed of the Olympics
  • Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra) : Book
  • 'Economic blockade: Rumors baseless'
  • The Power of Poppy - 38 :: Poem
  • Balancing children's academic performance
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #2 : Gallery
  • Covid, Ngari, Yu and Loktak
  • Rural people struggling with network problem
  • English certificate courses for BA student
  • 6th July is International Day of Cooperatives
  • Clogging the waterways with plastics
  • Diverting public attention from core issues
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #2 : Gallery
  • Gateway of Assam
  • Integrating GIS & EWS for flood management
  • The Dopamine overdose
  • Free workshop on civil service exams
  • Bucket of cold water after a hot shower
  • Breaking the silence
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #1 : Gallery
  • Embracing 'Sharra - Kashar-ot'
  • Drug abuse & illicit trafficking in Manipur
  • Nudity being served to increase followers
  • Record high temperature
  • Bangladesh FM Hasan Mahmud's Riyadh visit
  • Indigenous call for NRC
  • Come home to the electorates
  • Meiteis must unite for survival
  • Flood advisories issued
  • State & District Control Rooms
  • Green Hydrogen for a clean environment
  • Need for an Emergency
  • Monsoons beauty
  • Calling out the indifference of Delhi
  • Questioning the silence with a roar
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #8
  • Problem & prospect of floriculture in Manipur
  • WomenLeaders India Fellowship 2024-25
  • Naga Peace Talks and Narasimha Rao
  • Arunachal Minister visits Oil Palm @Godavari
  • Clear cut stand from the Nagas
  • Crisis resolution in 100-day plan ?
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur: A battleground of imperial geopolitics
  • Wangkhem Suresh @ Higher Defence Course
  • Shoppers Stop's 1st Store in Dimapur
  • Stop razing rail station, divert 25k Cr to Signal
  • Has Imphal completely lost the plot ?
  • Time to take responsibility
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #3 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Letter to Prime Minister of India
  • International Day of Parliamentarism
  • Skill Development Course at Lumshnong
  • The Power of Poppy - 37 :: Poem
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #1 : Gallery
  • Multiple Openings @ JCRE Solutions
  • Our mass addiction to predicting future
  • Bonsai - A play with another aspect : Review
  • Timely diagnosis to stop misuse of medicines
  • Impactful tool- Instagram marketing strategy
  • Essence of the June 28 rally
  • Birds of the same feather
  • Scientist of Manipur: Satyendra Thoudam
  • Education and the fate of Manipur
  • Centre not mind talking to Kitovi or Alezo
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Nambol
  • Why Bangladesh urge military diplomacy
  • MoU : Assam Don Bosco Univ with Cambridge
  • Understanding beyond the coup
  • Donning the role of LoP
  • Rally @ Jiribam [June 26] : Gallery
  • Umananda Island- World smallest river island
  • Breaking the impasse
  • Fantasies of a sinister childhood
  • Program: developing women entrepreneurship
  • Microlearning is impacting talent acquisition
  • Looking for the way forward
  • The message
  • Moirangthem Robi - Mr Universe India 2022
  • Parthenium Menace in Indo-Myanmar : Book
  • Respect & recognise domestic worker
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • One test not for India
  • Include tomatoes in your skincare routine
  • Raising ST call a notch or two higher
  • United in grief, but...
  • Panthoibi Phijol Hongba @Mandalay : Gallery
  • Open Letter to Hon'ble CM of Manipur
  • Slavery in the machine world
  • 'Either Rio regime delivers or it fails'
  • No need for NEET or NET
  • Walkathon to promote health at Guwahati
  • Paradox of arming & disarming citizens
  • Meaningless statements
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #7
  • You are king of web, then slave
  • A Groundbreaking HIV Prevention Option
  • Board of Studies at Assam Don Bosco
  • Public Services as a career choice
  • Manipur violence and state
  • Last minute cancellation
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD