If I were Laibi Oinam, I would also be surprised at the Award, for it was unexpected and never thought of. I strongly believe that when Laibi decided to ferry the Covid19 recovered patient from JNIMS to her home district, Kamjong, she would not have thought of any benefits coming her way. It was purely an act of humanity arising out of her sympathy for the forsaken patient. I am not surprised either that there is a Laibi in the society for it has always been my belief and trust that inspite of the extreme degradation of the society, there is a silver lining.
Our society has its own unique sense of Justice. The public opinion has always been a guiding force and if I go against public opinion, I may end up a scoundrel. But sometimes, I find too many scrooges in the society. On 4th May, 2020, in the midst of the lockdown, a scooterist met with an accident. The victim suffered injuries which might prove fatal if not attended to in a hospital. But few were willing to lend their car to take him to the hospital. At the end, again an auto driver ferried him to the hospital.
I have often read in many texts that the poor are poor because they are honest and generous. In doing any social or community work, who volunteers often belong not to the cream of the society. Without any single selfish motive, many contribute to the good of the society despite the hazards they face. It is better that rich housewives shed their sense of mocking humour towards these honest and social souls, and allegations of misdeeds and raising suspicions about their integrity.
I often find that people who are pushing up their social status from inferior positions are often heartless and cruel. They view an unemployed youth as the result of his own mistake, a poor man because of his own mistake of not working hard, and blame every ill of the society to them. I often find an attitude of disdain and looking down, which often causes friction in the society.
One word whose meaning I cannot fathom is’ Irang’. The present coronavirus pandemic is referred to as irang by some unscrupulous personages. Any protest rally, demonstration or anything the community takes up is considered an irang. It is the way the people enjoy themselves, as those who use the word put it. They say we are enjoying in doing the social work, so it’s an irang. For them it’s waking up at 3am and putting the child at tuition, cleaning the house, cleaning the car and off to work, returning late at night, studying, no time for enjoyment, and so they are what they are. So they abhor those who are happy as easy-going useless chaps.
But sometimes without Laibis, we may not continue the society. I feel that selfless souls who love the community must increase their number. A person who doesn’t love others is wrong in his perception. He must have been helped sometime or the other by others, if he recalled honestly. For me I love the community for it makes me what I am.
There are many who for the community relentlessly execute works.They willingly donate their personal wealth to provide food during the intense lockdown. Some women who have collected money for feasts and shumang lila as part of the Holi festival, voluntarily donate them to the Quarantine centres. Despite some incidences of indiscipline, I find the goodness of the society as exemplified by the awarding of Laibi Oinam, taking the centrestage to promote a good life though we live in an inhospitable part of the world.
The writer is a freelance writer and journalist