Thursday. End of production day at work. Time to go through the customary filtering of mails and my most neglected yahoo account (after gmail came into the scene) is choc-a-bloc with over hundred unread mails from the Manipuri Diaspora egroup. Now the MD forum, my main connect to all world Manipuri, is filled with enthusiastic drawing-room intellectuals spread across the globe, mouthing platitudes about human rights, the politics of the north east, the imposition of the restricted area permit (in fact, a favourite topic with some), and about establishing a social intellectual force that can change the face of the state/region. Sometimes, interspersed with a few mud slinging here and there among those who agree and disagree with certain viewpoints, and the discussions go on and on to touch every facet of life.

Now, my little or no participation does not mean I am inferior or superior to the group, but I am still trying to establish affinity with it. That is because I am not so sure what the fundamentals of such a group are. Of course, the shared ethnicity of the group is exciting as also the history we share of coming from a region marred by insurgency and alienation from mainstream India. So in that sense, we are trying to achieve some cohesion, become one collective power in a bid to fight underdevelopment, corruption, et al. But have we done anything concrete so far?

Unless we insinuate our conscience with reason and will and less talk, nothing can come of the MD. We cannot be socially intelligent until we begin to socially experiment and take baby steps towards real development of our people, by, say, contributing whatever little we can in the field of education, sports or health. The diaspora community can wield that influence armed with the wherewithals -- money, expertise, etc. Until then, as somebody once said, "We shall only make a real beginning in intelligent thought when we cease mouthing platitudes."

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