Seen from the moral high ground of the liberal moralists including, for example, the recent editorials of The Sangai Express, there is a serious lack of capacity, albeit, failure on the part of those who do not pick up the electric bills and “illegally” tap electricity in order to become a responsible citizenship. And this is why, as they would grumble, there is a general attitude of apathy. For example, one runs something like, “sarkargee oiradi keisu kaide” (if it is a Government property, it does not matter).
In this regard, there remain a couple of moot questions that we all can think together.
- Will the poorer people suddenly change their attitude and be ready to comply with the diktats of the electricity department?
- Will the neighbours tell the officials of the electricity department about the mysterious remains of the piece of cable hanging from the power line?
- Will they tell the name of the illegal consumer who furtively cut them last night?
Yenning believes that we all know the obvious answers.
Ignorance of this fact of political life in Manipur is also indicative of the theoretical silence that we face today particularly among the academics. Recentmost PIL and other similar PILs in the past on the issue of electricity seemed to have given strength to this theoretical silence. Particularly the most recent PIL have inadvertently ignored this elementary aspect of political life and this is partly responsible for the widespread backlash, discontent and even dissent to the much glamorised PIL. In other words, what have been demonstrated by “the irresponsible, condemnable and uncivilised” is that being political need not always be “public and civic”. Unfortunately, the litigators failed to capture this political aspect and moreover their silence could be a result of ignorance of this political understanding. Perhaps, the litigators could have believed that they were being (and only) political when they initiated the PIL move.
Yenning wants to admit that the irresponsible citizens do not want to know what the Government officials think and do. They do not believe in the heaps of the corrupt files and thousands of digitally infested bytes of records. These are the tools which the Government officials pose to show their accountability which is true considering the state of corruption today in this land. This being the case, then, Yenning suggests the Government to seek to know how the poor, illegal and irresponsible receive the official stories of achievements and their policies of welfare in the non-bourgeois quarters of daily life. Without this effort, there is a wager as a rebuttal to the stand of liberal moralists and the official narratives of the Government that the ongoing disconnection drive has a farcical destiny. Unfortunately, the Government is still insisting on disconnecting “the people from power”. What else is more fitting than what Slavoj Zizek once said, “You are right because you are wrong. You are right in the wrong direction”. Let’s say, it is political, stupid!
(The Sangai Express, Imphal, February 20, 2011)