A Time To Love

Published on May 10, 2010

A Time To Love

By Lunminthang Haokip

The Going Gets Tough: The situation is grim. Commodities are scarce. A few vehicles ply on the highways and by-ways of Manipur state in India, today. No. It is not due to any bundh-call. The erstwhile free-moving freely-purchased without numerical limits, two and four-wheelers of the fast-urbanising North East Indian state find it tough to get a few litres of fuel openly or otherwise. Lunminthang HaokipHundreds of lorries loaded with motor-fuel and essential commodities could not cross the borders of displeased states to finally enter Manipur following the unfortunate incident at Mao gate on the 5th of this month. With life-sustaining aids blocked, and little social and administrative activity in this state, the future can only be tough, tearful and tense.

Clash of Titanic Desires: Despite talks held between the concerned parties, the pay-hike issue that rendered the state administration moribund is still at stalemates. With the focus it enjoyed being hijacked by the leader-visit controversy, the mystery of clinching a solution to the salary impasse deepens. The Sixth Pay Commission strike in the valley and the Sixth Schedule or the “Seek Schedule” agitation in the Hill Areas of Manipur that crippled governance had recently been eclipsed by the endemic economic blockade imposed by an aggrieved collective entity that targets to score brownie points over denial of a certain politically hyper-sensitive desire.

Involuntary Holiday: The JAC strike forbade the lower rank and file to cease work in their offices. Strictures passed to make them function had no much effect. In the conflict of calculated moves and movements, majority of the state’s government employees in the capital city, Imphal, had gone on an involuntary holiday for more than a month. But urgencies kindled by ADC Election, District Administration and Law & Order situation needed immediate attention. When many incumbents had serious intent to do nothing in the morning and take rest in the afternoon for doing nothing, a few proactive field-level functionaries had to work whole day even on holidays like a 45 rpm disc played at 75 rpm.

Woes of DLOs: Gone are the days when DLO, meaning District Level Officer, at times, meant District-leaving Officer. ADC (Autonomous District Council) elections in 3 ADCs had been announced on 26 April, 2010. Schedules for HL (House Listing), and collection of details for NPR (National Population Register), had also been declared with a bang under the banner of Census Of India, 2011.  Add to this deadlines fixed for submission of documents relating to routine DRDA schemes, and you have the Scheme Officers of the concerned blocks hardly finding  time  to be left scheming.

Rare-turning Officers: It also is a contradiction in terms that the interior-posted Returning Officers of the first phase of ADC elections could not return home for weeks at a stretch. Bad roads may be the motor-repair workshop owners’ delight; but not for the frequently shuttling mid-level officials. One’s woes are doubled by the non-availability of agitating drivers. No wonder home-folks, with a pinch of salt, dubbed distanced hubbies rare-turning officers. We thank God that many uncontested ADC election results had been declared smoothly. But the fate of state-wide functional ADCs, that the MORD had been rooting for in the interest of uniform decentralised 3-tier system in the state’s hill districts, still remains to be seen.

A DLO’s Day Out: Pressured with capital P from the helm of administrative affairs to perform or face the (hi-decibel) music, the Deputy Commissioners/Collectors had become the action-station of their respective districts. Carrying the heavy burden of expectation from above and below, the trained-to-be-efficient functionaries had no choice but to deliver. The subordinate cutting-edge officers must also speed up things in sync with the spirit their bosses’ exhibit. The problem with our mental make-up is that good work is not appreciated and lapped up with the passion it deserves. An officer may leave no stone unturned to achieve commendable results. Instead of lauding, onlookers with sceptically chronic outlook will leave no turn of his unstoned.

Yes Boss: In the hectic flurry to get their acts together, family priorities are soft-pedalled, better-halves become bitter-halves, one’s health is left to nature-care and cure, dietary tastes and timings jeopardised, sartorial sense in-sensitized, door-keys forgotten and locks broken at frequent intervals. There was a time when “a boss was a person at whose jokes it was suicidal not to laugh.” Today, in district administration scenario, a boss is a person who has no time to joke, who is secretly joked about and overhearing of jokes on whom is suicidal.

DC/Chandel: Having done a prolonged “Kadam-tar” (stationary parading) as ADC, meaning Additional Deputy Commissioner, which could as well be termed ‘Alternative DC (during DCs’ leave periods), who could not dream of writing a reverse ACR, I want to make this observation about the incumbent DC, Chandel, Mr. H. Deleep Singh. His core competence was in banking and financial matters. One can only marvel his drive to take stock of, within a few months of his posting, the nitty-gritty of his charge. Chandel soon became a re-charged district. The system-friendly subordinates had initially resisted his Secretarial take on district administration. But thanks to the new DC’s innovative techniques, he had successfully revamped the big set-up and took his team along with him. Busy but observant, corrective yet considerate, blunt yet subtle, and hasty but visionary, this work-machine of an administrator had impacted his district in a way his future successors will find it tiring to sustain.

Appeal for Sanity: Above human rule over the land, the Bible says, “The most High rules over the affairs of men (Daniel 5:21). Restaurateurs in downtown Imphal admitted that their material-stocks are fast running out and they will be forced to close shop shortly. People are getting finicky, if not panicky. Most of the essential commodities required by the civil populace of the hill and the valley cannot be found and brought from the border Myanmarese markets. But life has to go on. It will take time to heal the actual and imaginary ‘wrongs’ to be righted. Vehicles need to be fuelled to make the government function and the educational institutions run. What must we do? Worry? No. Worry is the prepaid interest we give on something that will happen with or without our worry.

A God Who Sees Us: Whereas we mortals take pride in making the possible impossible, we have the Almighty God who takes pleasure in making the impossible possible. There certainly is a God who sees us (Genesis 16:13). We will do well to take the backseat and give way for Him to settle our mind-boggling problems. He loves us equally, provides us equitably and sees no national and international boundaries. He expects his creation, which is men, to love one another. As we read in the lives of Daniel (the lion was tamed), Moses (the Red Sea parted), and Lazarus (the dead became alive) in whose tomb Jesus told cynics to turn away the stone first, miracles happened when human righteousness move the supreme ruler.

Power of Love: The first two Bible characters mentioned above repented truly and called heaven in faith and prayer (Jeremiah 33:3). When they did what they could do, God did what He should do. To love one another is a divine command to do which is very much within our own command. When we do that, the Lord of love will intervene. Though we talk in tones of seeming fearlessness, we silently suffer fear in our inner being. Fear of losing land; fear of the future of our children; fear of losing in business; fear of losing our grip over supporters; fear of status-quo etc. But our Maker is more concerned about the saving of our souls. Love can forgive and remove fear to ultimately pave way to save our souls. We cannot love our neighbour before loving God. God is love; there is no fear in love; and perfect love casteth out fear (1 John 4:18).

Best Revenge: All said and done, giving back love for hatred is the greatest revenge. There is no winner in other types of revenges. There can only be losers in fights. But when we give and love, the giver and the lover will emerge as the winner; and all concerned, as joint-winners. Because giving never empties the purse and loving never empties the heart. The bonus comes in the form of a social situation in civil society that is conducive for big investment and quick pace of developmental progress.

Hereunder is a poetic appeal of this obscure pen-pusher written years’ back, in the shade of moments, to ink in rhymed verses, his contemporary general observations.


1. Losing years of the spirit’s slumber,
Saw the Gospel-ardour go lesser;
An error in echoing the Good News
Armed terror in causing the sad news;
The hard-minds soft-pedal The Creator
Here where the top able-kind prospers;
God’s bliss odd men’s ‘me first-bent’ shatters
And land’s peace, periled, lies in tatters.

           Need sieves into the leaders’ psyche,
           Creed creeps into the followers’ frailty;
           In truth the wild youth had not been bred,
           And the fruit of fraud is widely spread;
           Defying the sorrow of the morrow,
           Deified desire tapers one’s borough;
           There where sin’s tease and turns sow discord,
           Let fights cease and peace return O Lord.

2. Fear and tear trail the trap terror lays,
Weak in ire’s the pale man called to pay;
‘Alms’ are shelled out to an eerie frown,
Lest one be offered a thorny crown,
Crippled are trade and learning lane’s pace,
Throttled is the voice of divine grace;
Where flesh rules and ears don’t hear thy Word,
Let flare-ups cool and peers cheer Thee Lord.

3. As true bearers of the cross we preach,
And few repairers of the gross breach;
Let’s all repent and to God beseech
That come peace be the war cry of each;
Where the mind’s under evil’s seize,
Let, in His shine, heat of anger freeze;
In regions where saints are ill-at-ease,
Let not in good-will, passion’s prayer cease.

The writer is additional deputy commissioner under Manipur government, India.

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  1. gugun

    Nice article too…as usual…

  2. gugun

    Another poem, another topic, another page…wonder how this pen-driver manage to steer all his emotions into words like a “Lamborghini” engine?? hard to guess, hard to tell..? No..! better ask the people of his district! he he

  3. well written piece by a seasoned pen-pusher…should get front page coverage at shanghai exp n ifp….kudos 2u my pu2:-)!