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23 June 2016

ALL FOR SALE


What good is relation

Based on ethnic lines

What good is religion 

That divides or hates

What good is society

That kills the weaker

What good is politics

That fools the masses


Men's organs for sale

Mom's womb for hire 

Boys for cheap labour 

Girls given to brothels

Innocent people die

Nobody cares or cries

Are we really doomed 

To be mere materials


Everything is for sale 

Not just Kalashnikovs

The mercenaries too

Self-styled extortionists 

And the vote capturers 

And the bandh callers

Babus are now cheaper

But not the politicians

All for the right price 

In a shop called Manipur

07 May 2015

A STRANGER AT HOME

Ten years ago I left home leaving behind everything dear to me. I spent three long years in a city and a life of struggle trying to secure a future for myself. Not a day passed without the hope or anticipated excitement of returning home to everything and everyone I ever cherished and love. When I finally came home with all the excitements held up deep inside for all those years, the home I long to come back was no longer the same. All the sweet memories are now mere memories of good old days. I found myself a stranger at home because "home sweet home" have become "home strange home".

The City of Indians


You make them grin, you're an idiot
You give them food, you're a fool
You give them love, you're in lust 
You give them shade, you're in shit
You're innocuous, they're poisonous
The paradoxical city of my country
The hunting ground of perverts
Neither of deers nor of wild boars
But for prey in human avataars
In slit eyes and in spiky hairs
In fair skins they'd often bare.
But all delhites aren't scavengers
There're others who care and dare
To keep Delhi the city of Indians
Embracing the northeast Indians
What Remains

What remains is the portrait
Of yesterday's careless vows
On the wall of shattered dreams 
Hung pieces of a broken heart

What remains is the echo
Of yesterday's careless words
On the mount of empty promises
Flows the river of forgotten tears

What remain are the memories
Of yesterday’s careless deeds
On the sandstones of myriad hopes
Surge the mighty waves of life

Note: The last stanza is added by Prof. B. Panda

15 June 2013

ETHNIC CHANNEL OF WOMEN HEALTH INFORMATION IN RURAL MANIPUR


According to the 2011 census, about 68.8% of India’s population resides in rural areas. About 75% of health infrastructure, medical man power and other health resources are concentrated in urban areas, where about 31.2% of the population resided. It is also said that two-third of the population in the country consists of women of child bearing age and children under the age of fifteen years. This age group is considered to be the vulnerable age group suffering more severely from consequences of socio-economic development. Because of their ignorance of health, hygiene practices, and household responsibilities women tend to neglect their illness till their health problems get aggravated to the extent of becoming too sick to move around and attend to their normal household chores.
The government at the state and central launch a number of health facilities and schemes for women but these health services provided through a network of health workers, government hospitals, dispensaries, and primary health centers do not sufficiently reach the targeted beneficiaries. Consequently, the health schemes remain underutilized by women particularly in rural areas. One main reason for under-utilization of such essential schemes is due to lack of awareness. Lack of awareness also led to negligence and unfair practices that propel the whole systems into total obliteration. When the deficit in awareness has reach endemic proportion, the problem can be solved only with knowledge disseminated through effective information channels. Contrary to the general assumptions, all communication channels are not universally effective. In rural India, the effectiveness of communication channels is significantly decided by socio-cultural backgrounds. If this is the case, identification and usage of the effective channels of the grassroots level is a must. Only such channels will significantly contribute to the effective utilization of health schemes particularly of women in the rural area whose predicaments are further aggravated by various forms of socio-cultural barriers complicating their access to health facilities.
Most technology driven communication mediums are beyond the reach of the rural population in Manipur. The paradox between the necessity to put across government sponsored women health schemes on the one hand and the defective communication channels on the other hand can only be bridge, at this stage, by utilizing the existing ethnic communication channels. Most transaction of information among the ethnic groups in Manipur is largely based on the age old traditional forms of communication. Traditional ethnic communications are fairly simple and cost effective verbal protocols disseminating information through trusted channels. Being based mainly on trust, ethnic bodies like the village council, chiefs, parents, elders, religious heads, friends, persons from the same community and village are still the effective channels of communication. The disseminated information is adopted only if it comes through one of these trusted channels. Among the rural ethnic groups women health is not an individual issue. With decision on women health being taken by way of taking every members of the family into confidence, mere handing down of information to the concerned woman will not yield the desired effects. It is due to this deeply entrenched tradition, the formal institutions like health workers, health center and similar instruments are not capable of making much dent.
Besides the inappropriate forms of existing formal channels, the other mistake committed in the dissemination of woman health in rural Manipur is this failure to regard the unique culture and tradition of the various ethnic groups. The one-size-fits-all approaches of Delhi contribute a lot in decapitating the women health schemes. Fortunately, trusted channels of communication, by word of mouth, across the different ethnic groups are similar in nature and practice. Exploitation of this form of communication, in most likelihood, is the only viable means through which the rural women can be reached.
Women health is a family subject that concerns the community. Decision on women health is not taken individually but through a consensus involving the family and the community. Ethnic communication channels not only ensure reaching rural women with health information but also help in building consensus among all who matters in the process of making decision on the woman of the family. The ethnic communities valued communal consensus and most of the individualistic aspirations that affect the community are considered immoral. The individual is part of the community and community good cannot be sacrifice for the sake of individual good. Such value system calls for a community based approach even when the target is the health of an individual woman. Since individuals are only part of the community, the benefits of the community must be underscored to ensure mass acceptance and adoption. In such distinctive circumstances, the said ethnic channels of communication should be made the de facto standard of communicating women health information among the rural population of Manipur. 

Featured in "Eimi Times", a daily vernacular newspaper on 15th June 2013