Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are you angry enough?

For more than a year now, the issues highlighted by Concern For Silchar have received tremendous response from you. We have received innumerable comments on our blog as well as on the social networking site Facebook, expressing the anger and frustration of the common man of Barak Valley who now want change. Many of the people have called for revolution in order to bring about the ‘change’ that all of us keep talking about.

However, unfortunately, we have not walked the talk at all. The condition on the ground remains the same and we continue to hope that someone else will ring in the change for us – may be a great mass leader will emerge out of somewhere, may be an honest politician will win elections who will genuinely feel for the people – we just hope and get busy with the mundane chores of our daily lives.

This mentality definitely raises the pertinent question, whether we are angry enough with the current state of affairs or do we want to wait for the rot to dig deeper, before we take any action. It is not that we have not protested or raised any voice, however, the protests have been very few and far between, grossly inadequate to shake the system out of its slumber.

One of the most ridiculous reasons for our failure as a people, is the lack of unity among us. Whenever, a mass movement starts taking shape, another lobby becomes active to counter it. It must be noticed that even if a group calls for a road blockade demanding repairs, there invariably will be another group which will protest the same.  Even the local media will be divided down the middle with one leading daily supporting the movement and the other opposing it.

The frustrations we share about the backwardness of the valley take a backseat in front of our personal ambitions and interests. Therefore, we often do not hesitate to approach our unscrupulous leaders to get petty official works done in Dispur, like getting a suitable transfer or getting promotions and so on. Such tendencies breed the politics of personal favours, in which our leaders thrive and prosper.  Once they do a personal favour to a person, his entire family becomes loyal to that leader for life, after which, the overall development of the valley becomes of little consequence to that voter.

This very inclination to seek personal favours also prompts us to invite our corrupt leaders time and again for small and sundry functions, which do not, otherwise, require the presence of politicians. Even for the inauguration of the construction work of a narrow lane through which two cycles can barely pass we invite our MPs and MLAs and also install plaques with their names engraved. Every dirty drain, broken lane or lamp-post in Silchar has such a plaque adorning it. Have you seen anything like this anywhere else in the country? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’.

Donating money from their local area development funds for the development of our roads and drains is one of the prime duties of our leaders. Why do we need to glorify such acts, invite these leaders and provide them platforms to get publicity when we know well that they are all corrupt and eating away our resources to make Barak Valley poorer?  Probably, our personal ambitions drive us to try and be in the good books of these leaders so that we can later derive benefits when needed.
A road blockade on National Highway 53 in 2010 demanding repair of the erosion site at Panchgram
Another major problem is the tendency to brand every movement with some communal colour or political ideology. Therefore, almost every protest that has taken place in Barak Valley is either pro or antI BJP or Congress, Hindu or Muslim and many other such classifications. We have just failed to elevate ourselves from these petty sentiments and work together for the common good of the valley.

Due to all these reasons, our movements remain half baked and lose steam midway. For example, we have often spoken of forcing our leaders to travel by the treacherous National Highway 44 to reach Guwahati and block their journeys by air. However, such attempts have only remained threats and failed to materialise. Even in road blockades that happen in different parts of the valley, we see that the leaders always manage to get passage because there is nobody among the protestors with the guts to stop them or block their way.

Concern For Silchar would like to clarify that this article does not wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments. However, self criticism is the only path by which we can find the way to a new beginning. Therefore, if you are really angry and frustrated, shed your personal ambitions at least temporarily, and join the fight to herald a new dawn for Barak Valley, our valley, our pride.

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Silchar through the Lense