It has been 16 years and your apathy is not going to defeat my resolve. I am strong still- stronger than any army you choose to pitch against me, stronger than corruption and so much stronger than the fear you try to create in my heart. I’m not giving in.
Beyond the shackles of your inhumane desires, beyond the blinds drawn up by the media and the government, here I stand in an eastern corner of a supposedly ‘free’ country demanding freedom, demanding to be heard. I have come from a world where every person wears an invisible iron chain around their neck, thus restricting their movements, their thoughts and their voices. A world where fear takes up so much space in our hearts, it seems we have forgotten how to dream. A world where every family has a tragic story of someone lost, someone tortured and so many others living in horror. Staying silent is as fatal as fighting back, so I would rather fight.
I refuse to compromise.
I refuse to settle down for anything less than what I and my people deserve and if it takes a lifetime to change things then I will live. I want to live in a world that we can call our own, a place we can call home, a place of love, of laughter and peace. I long for a place where childhood is as carefree as it should be, where old faces wrinkle with smiles and not worries, where young lovers plan a future together without carrying with them any traumas from the past. I imagine a place where people talk of development and progress, where dreams are big and sky is the limit.
It’s been sixteen years and I still dare to dream of a world where children grow up listening to fairy tales and folk songs, not gun shots or painful screams of souls-leaving-bodies. Sixteen years and I still dream of happy and untroubled celebrations in my motherland, without me having to constantly watch my back for predators.
Sixteen years since I have been fighting this battle and there is enough fight left in me for a hundred more. There is a fire of faith burning bright in my heart and I carry it proudly like a torch that shall lend its light to tomorrow’s dawn. There is hope still, and as long as I keep hope alive, nothing can be lost.
I am brimming with dreams of a beautiful Manipur and these dreams, my friend, are contagious. Hope to see you soon on the side where the grass is greener.