Politics always has been considered as dirty game. But this ‘always’ is actually very new. If one will try to find how politics was decades ago, it would be seen in the history where on the appeal of politicians, people kept fast. It would be seen in the time where on the appeal of politicians, people donated even their jewellery as a contribution in nation building. And on the other hand, it would be seen in the time where even rail accidents would cause resignation of rail minister on moral grounds without any pressure. It would be seen where opposition was no less important in policy making of governments.
Travelling through all such golden times, it seems that fresh river of politics has now changed its stream and got mixed with dirty water. Corruption, greed, self interest and mis-utilisation of powers are everyday phenomenon in present days politics. But the big question is how long it will continue? And how we, as citizens are ready to counter it through transforming ‘ idea of politics ‘.
When PRAJA (Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance) was announced by Irom Sharmila, it signalled somewhere a ‘change’. This change was an effort to disturb the dirty stream of politics through entry of a fresh stream. As people’s say, you will also become dirty if you will join politics, but it certainly doesn’t mean that not joining politics will guarantee any self purification of already existed people, parties and ideas. In all such sense, PRAJA has definitely an upper hand to have this courage for entering as fresh stream.
With the regional and central politics, with the support and oppose strategies and with the alliance games, politics is all about uncertainty. But if we see the ideas and ideologies, what is more important in politics is emergence, of idea and a group that leads with this idea. No matter how much support the idea and group has, it’s effort itself may generate enough turbulence to take the struggle of change ahead, to break the existed hegemony of ideas upon minds of people and to bring all new sets of dreams.
People are always remain with dynamic force. Not a single person or family in any region ever want to choose corrupt, inefficient and greedy leader, but in absence of persons they want to choose, either they choose less corrupted, or they move with stream or they try to vote to party, rather than person only with their illusions of betterment. All such actions of people bring a government that only appears to be elected by people, but without having real support of them. A real support is what is required for any leader and party if they are committed to change. A real support has actually more weight than vote as former ensures the engagement and commitment, a bond of trust, while later may have just instantaneous and temporary decision. Irom Sharmila’s party, may or may not do well in set pattern of elections where the existed system is more about greed with unethical practices, but it may bring a wind of change through transforming idea of politics in Manipur.
As a leader who has earned unparalleled reputation at global level, she already has support of more than any people’s representative, but her own interest and actions in politics of the region seems definitely a good sign to take. People of Manipur may definitely think on ideas as it is more important for people than for party or leader itself. Manipur, that has a great history itself, it would be good time for Manipur to see if it can create or can start creating a history. It seems good to have agenda of Repealing Amred Forces Special Powers Act and bridging the gap between hill and valley. These agendas are not only fruitful for Manipur, but for politics in general and it really sends message of values of humanity and prosperity that we all need.
Regardless of the effect that if this change will bring change in government, it must be hoped that this initiative will change the form of politics at regional level. Being a party originated from Manipur and known to the country and even beyond, led by a person who is reputed at global level for her commitment, there seems much scope for the party, people and politics. Existing parties are more associated with mainstreams where there is possibility that interest of people of Manipur may have been compromised in adjustment with larger desires and vote banks, however for regional parties, this helplessness does not lie.
PRAJA may bring politics of change through increased level of peoples’ participation in representative form of politics. PRAJA in hindi also means Public. If PRAJA can play a role to become party of public, it may live the real principle of democracy, of Praja for Praja by Praja.
Ravi Nitesh is Founder of Mission Bhartiyam and Convener of Save Sharmila Solidairty Campaign (dissolved)
(Views expressed are personal)