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A befitting tribute continues to elude Gokulananda

Ramlal Sinha

Do the messages of alternative media mogul Gokulananda, fondly called as Gitiswami, have their right impact on the present Bishnupriya Manipuri community that is witnessing a rat race almost on all fronts? The commoners in the community are a baffled lot, a large number of which are mere puppets at the hands of the few influential ones. Not to speak of the commoners, even the so-called conscious lot in the community is treading a path that will lead the community nowhere. Had the bard been alive today, the Bishnupriya Manipuri community would have seen him in different avatar – a mediator. Since nothing was more precious to him than the well-being of the community that he was born, the minstrel would have been ready to play any role in order to keep unity and integrity in the community intact. The need of the hour in the community is another Gokulanda who ensure a grand rapprochement in the community.

Is it the cutthroat competition that is being witnessed on all fronts in the community behind the current rat race? Competition is a ‘respected’ word in all aspects as it allows us to select the best from among a whole lot of probable candidates. This statement stands valid so long the contesting candidates are honest enough to keep their competition a fair affair. However, in the present day competition, the word ‘fair’ finds no berth, and this trend is not an exception to the Bishnupriya Manipuri community that has just entered ‘active politics’ with the formation of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC) at the fag end of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s second term at Dispur.

That the BMDC is a boon for the community is an undisputed statement, but one should not be complacent with that. If we need to derive the best out of the BMDC, we should ensure that those at the helm of its affairs in the community are fair enough. However, all that is happening in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community concerning the BMDC nowadays is far from being fair. As it has always been, those who rule the roost in the community are a divided lot.

So strong are their respective footings that they have already polarized the community. It’s the commoners who have suffered the worst casualty in the war of nerves currently underway among the heavyweights in the community. The common masses have no way out but to hanker after mere ‘benefits’ that never come to them without any rider.

When those at loggerheads aren’t ready to step back, for the well-being of the community, one can only pin hope on a section of leaders, writers and intellectuals, who, for reasons best known to them only, have opted to zip their lips. They can detect the ailment and its remedy right. However, they continue to refrain from opting for a rapprochement from their own that can put an end to the unfair and fierce competition for the share of power-pie.

Walkover is valid in any fields, be it sports or politics, so long there is no contender worth the name. However, when someone throws his or her cap into the ring, any attempt to pave the way for a walkover, someway or the other, is considered as cunningness, and a leader resorting to such practices can never be the darling of the mass, his fellow beings. An impeccable track record is something what a politician needs to guard jealously, if he or she is to get his people beside him, all the time. One may win the race by resorting to an unfair way, but he or she loses the spirit of the game. He or she will remain a loser, at least to the posterity.

The roadblock that the community has hit, of late, is essentially an obstacle we ourselves have put up. Over the years, we had the key to the solution of all problems of ours at Dispur, but now we have the key to the solution with some of our own people, who, for reasons best known to them only, want to keep the problems alive. The fate of the BMDC is hanging in balance, and the reason behind this is not far to seek. The crux of all problems in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community is the “ego” that is not ready to adopt itself with the everchanging social environment.

If the increasing legal wrangling in the community for no personal enmity is any indication, the day is not far when such cases will only spell doom for the community. Can a community that is limping to stand upright afford to waste its precious time on such a rubbish job that leads one nowhere? In this regard, I would like to appeal to the gentlemen concerned in the community to keep it in mind –– legal option should come as a last resort, not as the first, in solving any problem that seeks a just and lasting solution.

The irony is that we still feel proud of giving one another a good run for our hard-earned money so as to fail our fellow beings on the pretext of celebrating the birth anniversary of great men like Sri Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhuthakur and Gokulananda Gitiswami. For the well-being of the community, one needs to come to terms with even an unpleasant development in the community if he or she doesn’t have any viable or better alternative at hand. Taking anything to terms becomes much easier when one does have a well-set target –– and in the present context the target can’t be anything other than the well-being of the community. This is one of the teachings of all great men in the world, and Gitiswami and Sri Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhuthakur are no exception.

I do remember the last few words uttered by my mother moments before breathing her last. When my eldest brother had asked her to spell out the very kind of shraddha she would like, she only replied: “What I want is unity among all my sons and daughters.”

If we feel like paying a befitting tribute to Gokulananda Gitiswami, we should do our best to keep the community that he had been born in order with its unity and integrity intact. Can’t we? Such a tribute to the great poet continues to elude us. In a community in which people with vested interests, including some front-runners, are out to drive a wedge between probable power centres so as to mint money or to get their footholds, we can only strive for a bright future that, more often than not, turns out to be chasing mirage. Will the good sense ever prevail in the probable power centres in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community and its think tank?

We can only hope against hopes.

Courtesy: Smaranika, Janmajayanti, Gitiswami Gokulananda, 2011.


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