A Call to Transform Manipur After the Election
Rev. Th. Mangthianlal
President & CEO, Glocal Volunteers
“Salvation will not arrive in Air Force One.” Chuck Colson
In a world where sometimes hopes are misplaced or things are misunderstood, having the right understanding and that understanding is on a right foundation is vitally important. The above statement of Charles Colson that, “salvation will not arrive in Air Force One” is a powerful reminder for all of us as we all look expectantly for the upcoming election. Colson, once a special Political Counsel to Richard Nixon (For some of us who do not know him: Colson was sent to prison for his Watergate scandal involvement. While in prison he encountered Jesus Christ and later founded the Prison Fellowship after a transformed life) reminded the American people at that time that the post of US presidency is not by itself capable to save America or to put their trust in the result of American political result will be a misplaced hope. I believe this is what the French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul called the “political illusion”—the idea that our problems are primarily political ones with political solutions.
Now that is something for us to learn here in Manipur. Whoever seats in the Chief Minister’s post (with all due respect to that post) and whatever parties come to power (with all best of regards to all parties) – they are not capable to save Manipur and the region.
Why is that so? Precisely because the level of Manipur’s sickness is so endemic and so prolonged, it will take more than a political or economic solutions. It will take more than a dozen universities or thousand of academicians to save it. It will take more than hundreds of unified armed groups to deliver our problems. It will need more than just a superhero or super party to turn around and transform the cycle of all spheres of corruption and cyclical bondage Manipur is in. Ours is deeply intertwined with a spiritual poverty – both the hill and valley people. Superficial manifestations of spirituality are abounding in our midst.
Cultural commentators and Christian transformational workers around the world have this agreement – that there are Seven Cultural Influencers that influenced the region. These are the 7 Mountains or Mind Molders that captivated the generation and plunged the land or nation (region) from all spheres of ruin to destruction. The longer this is happening, the deeper the people and culture is in bondage. And if one has to redeem the people, land and the system, the culture must be redeemed and transformed.
What are these 7 Mountains? They are Arts, Business, Religion, Media, Education, Family and Government (it can be Tribal traditional governance and administration or Village Authority and/or District Council/Municipal Council/MLA/MP/Law enforcers, bureaucrats and judiciaries). And they convincingly proclaimed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can only transformed the culture. Following the teaching in the Bible can bring about a heart-mind and cultural changes along with a personal relationship with Jesus. If we look at closely and understands transformational stories around the world, this is the truth – only Jesus Chris can transform Manipur. Even my life is a testimony to this truth about the transformative power of God. In the past I was a nuisance to the family and society, a gang member and a thorn in the State law enforcers (one of our friends even hit one of the Superintendent of Police with a catapult shot. Such was our disdain for the law and order and those who tried to enforced it. We brag about creating chaos and fear in the society and breaking the law). But after accepting Jesus Christ my life was transformed and I love to obey the law and started respecting the government and submitting under its authority as the Bible teachs me (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13) to do it – because my worldview, life and action are now guided by the Bible as I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord, God and Savior.
What are the take away from this article? First, to transform and redeem Manipur it will need more than a political party, Manipur Assembly, Centre Government, united armed groups, united intellectuals, armed forces, employments, development, super financial system and economic opportunity. Second, every politically elected government by default is opportunistic. Only few in history come to the side of truth, justice and common people’s welfare. They will do any means to come to power and stay there as long as possible, even if they are to sit upon the mountain of accumulated injustice, non-performance and corruption (It is the responsibility of the citizens to required transparency and accountability from their government). Third, in Manipur the public has been taken for a ride by our politicians, bureaucrats, special contractors and few armed group leaders for three decades or more. It seems we enjoy this joke and even entertained and amused ourselves almost to death. This abnormality has become almost normal. We must be very clear what is normal from abnormal. Fourth, our region is drowning. And if we all do nothing to save it, all of us will be drowned in the course of history. And fifth, only when we transformed the culture we will be able to transform the government, all other spheres of society and our generation.
Therefore, whomsoever we will vote, after the election let us all join hearts, hands, minds and all our resources so that we will be able to save and redeem the culture. And in the long run we will be able to transform ourselves and our region. This will be able to save our land, our loved ones and all of us. Finally one truth, it is not the government that ultimately transformed but the people. And that can happened if people are transformed by the Great Transformer – Jesus Christ – who is full of truth, love and justice! Unless we embrace Him, we will never truly experience a journey of love, truth and justice. Let us prepare ourselves to be transformational agents. God bless you and a happy-exciting-fair-vote casting!