Now, it is time for the public to wait and watch how the BJP led government will react to the Centre passing the ball down to the state regarding the removal of the disturbed area status. By Act 7 of 1972, the power to declare areas as being disturbed was extended to the central government but the winds of change seem to usher a brighter future for the state. As iconic folk singer and Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan puts in song, “The times are a-changing” and times certainly seem to be changing.
The Santosh Hegde commission in 2013 investigated 6 fake encounters and the probe reported to the Supreme Court that none of the victims had any criminal records. It recommended that the Act may be made more humane and the security forces made more accountable. The Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission too recommended repealing AFSPA- terming that the Act is a symbol of hate, oppression and instrument of high handedness and the Indian government has to take a decision.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked India about the constitutionality of the Act and how it can be justified a per the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, UN commissioner for human rights Navanethem Pillay asked India to repeal the Act terming it as a colonial era law that breached international human rights law. It is quite clear that AFSPA is an inhumane act.
In the case of the Indian government versus Extra-judicial Execution Victim Families Association of Manipur (EEVFAM), the attorney general had responded in the fake encounter cases that the armed forces cannot be held accountable in the encounter cases. However, the Supreme Court judgment on July last pronounced that “It does not matter whether the victim was a common person or a militant, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was a common man or the State. The law is the same for both and is equally applicable to both, this is the requirement of a democracy…” and the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to institute a special investigation team. The team is to investigate several cases of fake encounters involving the armed forces and the state police and charge-sheet the culprits, that also by December 31, 2017. It can be assumed that the state police and the armed forces must be in quite a fix and it remains to be seen how many skeletons will tumble out.
Getting back to the AFSPA affair, the decision of the Centre empowering the state to lift the disturbed area status seems to be an unavoidable affair, whether that the Modi government has given sanction to empower N Biren and emulate Tripura CM, Manik Sarkar to remove AFSPA and be made immortal in the annals of history, or that India wants to earn brownie points in the bid to become a member of the UN Security Council.
Anyway, it is a positive development and it is not within one’s ambit to say for sure. The coincidence of the Centre’s decision empowering the state couldn’t have come at a better time for Irom Sharmila. She had fasted for 16 years and broke her fast last year, she wed her lover Desmond Coutinho on Wednesday and the decision seems like a thoughtful wedding present, perhaps for all the angst she suffered.
Now, we wait and watch if N Biren will take up the Axe and be the one to finally slay the beast.
Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
August the 13th was Patriots’ Day. Thangal General and Bir Tikendrajit were hanged to death on that very day near the Imphal polo ground. The site is marked by a column named Shahid Minar. Cinema halls around polo ground used to screen Hindi films. Perhaps, the choice of the name of the column had something to do with this piece of history. The park where this column has been erected bears the name Bir Tikendrajit. Belinda Morse in her book “Calamity and Courage”, which traces the life and times of Ethel Grimwood, wife of the then British political agent to Manipur, Frank Grimwood, describes the event of August 13, 1891as one with ‘much drama’ attached. The execution was heavily guarded by 500 Gurkha Rifles. Both prisoners were escorted to the gallows by fifty riflemen. Tikendrajit climbed the ladder by himself, but Thangal General was carried from the jail as he was weak. The general was 86 years old then. The writer quotes an account of the event given by an English officer, of how the general laughed out loud – an unusual thing from someone to be executed. Tikendrajit and Thangal General were ‘convicted of waging war against the Queen’ by a special court. Convicted as criminals by the British; patriots to Manipur. This was when British colonialism spread across the globe and Manipur was a tiny kingdom. British colonialism is history; Manipur is no longer under monarchy.
Several accounts of the event have been written by many writers and historians. Adapted into theatrical plays as well, the All India Radio Imphal’s play on Tikendrajit has been one of the most popular among the listeners. Even after 126 years, we keep alive the story by re-telling them each year, to be retold to the generations that are to come. Year after year, the State has been observing Patriots’ Day. The day is marked by floral tributes to statues and monuments of the heroes. Patriotic song and poetry competitions in the schools and colleges are important events of the day. There is a danger of these acts of remembrance and tribute becoming perfunctory. A pertinent question arises: How does the present generation perceive the story of Tikendrajit – Thangal and their patriotism? Time brings changes in perceptions which in turn bring new questionings and interrogations. Active learning generation, particularly students who are also active on issues of the State would have many questions to ask, for they are born in a different time. This is a time, when our ‘identity’ is presumed to be on the verge of extinction. And ironically, it has been endorsed by many that our identity can only be saved by a regulation passed by the then colonial British or a similar law. This is also a time ‘othering’ is considered the easiest and shortest route defining the ‘self’. This is a time, wherein the army of a country where we belong to can kill anyone at mere suspicion particularly in our state. Or are we attaching too much ‘drama’ (to borrow Belinda’s words) into our patriotism without any substance?
Leader Writer: Senate Kh.
The recent controversies over the effort by concern authorities to over admit students in the state’s premier colleges, D.M. College and G.P. College in particular, were unfortunate but all the same they point to a serious malady in college education administration in the state. It may be recalled at D.M. College students opposed a move to admit more students beyond the college’s intake capacity, after the entire admission process was over. At G.P. College, a candidate came with a demi official letter from a legislator requesting the principal for special consideration for the bearer of the letter. These are not surprising given the fact that most other government colleges in the state are languishing if they have not already slipped into a comma, with practically no students to teach. In most of these colleges, on register there are students admitted, but their classrooms remain empty most of the time throughout the year. One of the reasons is, these colleges have ceased to be considered as teaching colleges by students, but as convenient alibis for those among them enrolled in coaching institutes for entrance to professional courses, so that if they do not succeed in their pursuits, they can come back to claim they have not wasted any year, and by hook or crook still manage a B.A. degree at the end of the third year of their leaving school. Exposed in the process is also the fact of how easy it has become to earn a bachelor degree from these colleges.
Another reason is that many students in the reserved categories simply enroll themselves in these colleges not for any interest in studies or attending classes, but to avail of the scholarships the state entitles them. These colleges have little other option than to admit all these categories of “ghost students” as without them they would literally become colleges without students. It is imaginable how frustrating this would be for teachers committed to the profession and a life in academics. It must however be added that there would also be teachers who are happy with their handsome pays packages for no work at all, and the number of this category seems not negligible at all. What is alarming is, things seem to be spiraling downwards with every passing year, and the fates of government colleges, with the exception of the few that can be called the state’s own “Ivy League” institutions, are getting condemned to a moribund and redundant future. The scenario is very much the same as in government schools, but unlike in the latter, here there have been no intervention by private players, in particular Catholic mission educationists of the likes of Little Flower School, to rescue the situation from complete failure by igniting an independent flame of private entrepreneurship in the field.
The fault lies at very many levels, but the corrective measure must first and foremost come from the government. Besides the old and familiar suggestions of tightening its grip on the administration of this sector, though with utmost care not to compromise on the academic autonomy of these institutions, there is another way that government can infuse some life back into the colleges which have fallen into such disrepute so that they are not shun altogether by students with any interest in the pursuit of knowledge in the different fields of studies and the careers these would open up for them. The government could for instance take the cue from the now standardized National Entrance and Eligibility Test, NEET, that the Central government has now resorted to in the highly competitive nationwide selection process for professional courses such as medical studies. The state could also have a common and standardized entrance examination for all students seeking college admission in the state. The best performing students can then be given the first choice to admission in the colleges they desire. The rest can then be spread out to the other colleges, with the better performing ones given the priority in choosing the college they want next. The intake in the “Ivy League” colleges must also be strictly as per prescribed capacity so that their own students do not suffer, but also so that the other colleges too get some quality students. Once this is done, the government must begin strictly monitoring the performances of the colleges, and take remedial measures wherever and whenever any of them are not living up to the responsibility handed to them. This is important, for the fate of the genuine students who are diverted to them must not in the end be made the losers. Hopefully, such a measure, and more such out-of-the-box solutions, will be able to instill life back into the state’s non-performing colleges. And yes, we would also like to remind the government on its pledge to have government employees, including staffs of these institutions, have their children study in government colleges and schools. This would ensure those given the important responsibility of education, have a personal stake in ensuring good performance by these institutions.
There is always a tendency for insecure societies to look for succour in the past. It is as if the past was ideal and never had any of problems, although any study of history will confirm how fallacious this presumption has always been. But somehow, the passage of time has always served to mellow and exonerate all the flaws of the past. In the span of a few generations, the past has always succeeded in earning a hallowed place in the society’s memory. While this is the way human nature works, sometimes such nostalgia of the past can take the extreme path to begin to resembling symptoms of regression – a condition defined in psychiatry as an ego defence mechanism in which the patient flee from reality by assuming a more infantile state. There are two very obvious problems with this. One, as mentioned earlier, no past is flawless as the patient tries to interpret it to be. Two, as the obsession becomes more severe, the patient becomes paralysed in his false world, failing miserably to deal with the present or look forward to the future. Ratan Thiyam articulated this problem beautifully in his celebrated play ‘Nine Hills One Valley’ in which he awakens the “Maichous” of the hoary past, the scholarly writers of the Puya and history, from their graves, to make them write Manipur’s history again. They end up writing virtually the same history as we know it today, reminding us of how all ages have their shares of heroism and courage, as well as flaws and foibles. While understanding the past and knowing one’s roots is vital, life’s challenge must be to leave the past behind and to always look ahead. Taking a cue from the Gita, American poet, T.S. Eliot calls for very much the same thing in ‘Four Quartets’ when he writes “…fare forward voyager. Not fare well but fare forward”.
It must also be said, writing history, especially when it is of prolonged conflict situations as in Manipur and much of the Northeast, would obviously be so much more simpler for those who won. In fact, it is often said, and convincingly too, that in wars nothing else matters but winning. A powerful outlook, not easily refutable, but nevertheless one which is behind very mean approaches to life, such as the conviction held by so many that the end justifies the means, or everything is fair in love and war etc. So much has changed ever since wars were the primary determinants of the progress and status of nations, and now, even the vanquished are back on their feet, writing their own histories and providing fresh perspectives on subjects which once were never given the place they deserve. The decolonisation process is complete now, at least physically and politically, and all former colonies are now liberated, although psychologically colonial legacies still remain as dark shadows. The abiding spirit in these modern democratised times is no longer one of ‘end justifies means’ but of equality and empowerment as guarantors of justice. But if historiography of the conquerors was marked by a general arrogance, the prospect of history writing by the newly arisen vanquished, is beset with its own problems as we have mentioned above.
The challenge before society such as ours is to resurrect a dead and defeated spirit and this can best be by overcoming the trauma of defeat, and to rediscover lost pride in the self. The understandable resort has too often been to lionise almost unconditionally past heroes and with the same brush vehemently demonise their vanquishers. The danger is, this path to rediscovery of the self may not be always truthful. Not only can this leave gaping holes in scholarship trends, but also make the resurrected self still not enough in grip of reality. True, overcoming the trauma of a vanquished past cannot by any means an easy task. For it to be successful, it must involve intense, even painful, internal discourses before the final liberation can happen. This liberation can come about only when the subject is able to face the truth without any camouflage and then build from that foundation. Few have argued this point more convincingly than Prof. Cathy Caruth in her book ‘Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History’. In the chapter “Literature and the Enactment of Memory”, as Thiyam has done, she also show us what it is to undertakes a metaphoric journey to the past, and how redeeming it can be to know the past is not as ideal as imagined. Perhaps, what is necessary for Manipur is also a metaphorical journey to the past and a date with the maichous for a fresh discourse on its past, present and future.
In the wake of the unseasonal cloudburst the state witnessed during May and the unprecedented flooding in the valley that followed, there has been a rising decibel of public voices of protest demanding the decommissioning of the Ithai Barrage. It is not certain how accurate the information is, but the public have now come to believe the Ithai Barrage is the reason for the flood woes the valley has come to be so prone. Quite obviously influenced by this public demand, even the chief minister, N. Biren Singh, has briefed the prime minister, Narendra Modi, on the matter and pleaded with him to have the dam decommissioned. All this is very well but as the sceptics that all in the profession of journalism are expected to be, we think some serious interrogation of the proposal is still essential. That the chief minister was being responsive to public voices is laudable, but the caution is, he does seem to have acted too impulsively and therefore hastily. The more rational approach would have been first to constitute a scientific inquiry and on the recommendation of such a team, to work out a blueprint of action to be taken. On such matters, NGO voices and public demands are important as alarm bells, but it would be imprudent to treat them also as fool proof scientific advices, ready to be implemented as public policy without further scrutiny.
Here are some of the reasons why we think caution is advisable. The Ithai Barrage, it may be recalled, was commissioned in 1983. The objective was to raise the water of the Loktak to an optimal level and keep it at that level constantly to the extent possible, so that its water can be diverted perennially to the Leimatak river of the Barak river system via three tunnels dug through the Lamdan-Laimaton hill ranges. This diverted water is designed to turn three turbines in these three tunnels, each with the capacity of producing 35 megawatts of power, therefore together peaking electricity production capacity at 105MW. Of these, Manipur’s share at the time of its commissioning was, if we remember correctly, 12 or 15 per cent. The rest was to be kept by the National Hydro Electric Power Corporation, NHEPC, the builder and owner of the Loktak Project. So much has happened ever since not just in matters of the health of the Loktak Project, but also the Loktak environment. Raising the lake water level and keeping it constant at that height has among others meant the lake area expanding, causing the loss of an estimated 8,300 hectares or 83,000 acres of farmland belonging to villages in the vicinity of the lake.
Loktak’s ecology too obviously would have changed drastically and amongst evidences of this often cited is the disappearance of migratory Ngaton and Khabbak fish. If we remember correctly again, like the famous Salmon’s life cycle, Khabbak swims upstream from the Irrawaddi and the sea beyond to the cooler waters of Loktak annually to lay its eggs, and the hatchlings mature into Ngaton to swim back to the Irrawaddi and the sea to grow to be Khabbak again, keeping the cycle going. Ithai Barrage obstructed this cycle. Like the Salmon, both were relished while available. But 35 years is a long time, and nature being resilient, Loktak would have adapted to the new normal, and developed and naturalised a new eco-system, supporting new cycles of life forms all of which too would have adjusted to the new Loktak environment. What should be also of concern is breaking this new eco-system suddenly too can mean disasters. Physically too, in the 35 since the dam was built, Loktak would have changed much. Constant depositing of silt carried from the denuded hills by the many rivers that flow into it would have raised its bed considerably, so much so that if the Ithai Barrage were to be removed today, the lake may not retain much of its waters and a great section of it may dry up. Foreboding of this was witnessed once about two decades ago when the barrage sluice doors were left open for longer than recommended at the insistence of a minister.
These are however only common sense extrapolations of what may and can happen if the Ithai Barrage were to be removed suddenly. It is likely, a scientific survey which has established the exact extent of the rise in the lake bed and the gradient difference between this new level and those of the Ithai’s release floor level etc., can have different and not so alarming projections, and removal of the barrage may be recommended. Our contention is, let such a scientific survey must precede any action on this question so that any possibility of another Ithai Barrage disaster as first which resulted in building it, and now in decommissioning it, is avoided.
The rate of crime committed against women is alarming. More than a decade has gone by with many cases of rape in Manipur. The situation is still getting worse day by day. Every single second is buffering to hear a new rape case in the state. Probably, women from other states of India must have assumed Manipur to be quite safe for them but the situation is just the opposite.
Though dowry death and honour killing do not happen in northeast India, crime against women never stops in this part of the world. Different cases of rape which included gang rape and marital rape have been reported frequently. Rape and murder is one of the most common crimes these days. According to the report of Women Action for Development (WAD), in the last 12 years, 257 women were raped while 33 were murdered after being raped in Manipur. There had been 24 cases of rape and four cases of rape and murder in 2012, 29 cases of rape and two cases of rape and murder in 2013, 45 cases of rape and six cases of rape and murder in 2014, 33 cases of rape and eight cases of rape and murder in 2015 and 28 cases of rape and two cases of rape and murder last year. As it followed, there had been 15 cases of rape and one case of attempt to rape from January 1 to May 7 of this year.
Concerning the burning issue, the chief minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh informed the House recently about the increase in crimes against women in the state and also announced that a fast track court to strongly deal with the cases. While social welfare and cooperation minister Nemcha Kipgen asserted for zero tolerance in connection with the recent rape of a minor school girl. On the other hand, a man was shot dead last month by the proscribed outfit UNLF for raping his 12 years old niece and recently another man was again punished by shooting three rounds of bullets by the outfit but survived in a critical condition. The latter was accused almost four years ago for raping a three and half years old minor. Additionally, a person was also sentenced for five years’ imprisonment under POCSO Act 2012, for his crime of raping a minor girl five years ago. Somehow, rapists are penalised either by outlawed organisation or by accepted legal system. But much needs to be done in this aspect. Many of the rape cases are dumped or not yet exposed and some remained as miscarriage of justice by compromising through customary law. Likewise, women are suppressed persistently. Manipur also had bitter part of history wherein the powerful and the mighty ‘possessing’ any woman of his liking. The consent of the woman had no place in front of the mighty. The same kind of practice was also followed by commoners in olden days. Abducting a woman to get married forcefully was never considered a crime.
In today’s contemporary society, people have better understanding on the evils of forcing women, but still the carnal desire of men remains uncontrolled and women are still vulnerable. While women of Manipur are already unsafe even with their uncles, there are also the security forces who allegedly contribute their part in rape under the shadow of the AFSPA.
NGOs and CVOs are reaching out to the locals of remote areas of the state to give knowledge about violence against women under Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). And despite of all the efforts, most of the local womando not really understand CEDAW while reports of the programme are sent to the higher level as being successful. The menace of rape can only be ended when the men’s mentality is rehabilitated. As truly said, ‘Generally, women are told not to go out at night. In fact, if men are advised to do the same, women would definitely walk freely at night.’ It is not in the cloth that women wear, but it is in the mind of man where beastly temptation germinates.
Leader Writer: Khogen Khoibam
Thirteen years ago, student activist Pebam Chittaranjan laid down his life against imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in the State. Chittaranjan self-immolated on August 15, 2004. Internationally acclaimed and national award winning film ‘AFSPA 1958’ directed by Haobam Pabankumar is worth recalling. Those familiar with the film cannot forget the last scenes of the 77 minutes long documentary film. Chittaranjan spoke on camera about his strong opposition against the Act, catching his breath in between words. The shot was taken when Chittaranjan was nearing his end from burn injuries. This is not to valorise the act of self-immolation by the young activist, neither to initiate a debate on suicide. But this is to put on record the act of resisting the Act, which is still in imposition in the State. Chittaranjan’s decision to self-immolate may be extreme. Yet he was firm with his opposition even during the last minutes of his life. It is important to recall that 2004 was a significant year in the protest history of Manipur against the Act. The alleged rape and killing of ThangjamManorama by paramilitary forces on July 11, 2004 evoked widespread protest against the Act. Women activist disrobed themselves in front of the Western gate of Kangla, which was then occupied by the 17 Assam Rifles, in protest against the atrocities of the securities forces meted out to Manorama. They demanded punishment of the personnel who were involved in the act, and also shouted slogans against the security personnel to come and rape them. This was when Manorama’s body was still lying at the mortuary of the Regional Institute of Medical Science. Her family had refused to accept her body in protest. A few days later, activist of Manipur Forward Youth Front tried to self-immolate in front of the Chief Minister’s bungalow. Protest agitations were seen erupting at different corners of the State; this was in spite of the curfews which were imposed by the authority to control the situation.
Chittaranjan’s self-immolation protest was very much part of the chain of events that had occurred. The then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh had promised to replace the Act with a ‘human Act’. Assam Rifles was shifted away from Kangla as a symbolic gesture towards fulfilling peoples’ wish by the government of India. A committee to review the Act, known as the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee was instituted. Ironically the recommendations of the committee was not made public, and it could have remained hidden within the confines of the Home ministry had not The Hindunewspaper published it for public scrutiny. The committee recommended repealing the Act. The government of India has been trying to sweep aside the recommendations. Congress or the BJP, whosoever comes to power has been maintaining an ambiguous stand on the question of removing the Act. Earlier this year the BJP government at the Centre had pleaded to the Supreme Court with a curative petition regarding the judgment in July 2016 that ordered a thorough investigation into alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur. The apex court declined the petition which sought protection of the armed forces in their efforts of neutralizing militants in the state. Subsequently, the court ordered a CBI probe into specific cases of fake encounter killings in the state. The order of the court is a shot in the arm of the human right workers of the state in their concerted effort to fight for justice. CBI is expected to submit the report by the year end. To be sure, the apex court in its ruling has set a new benchmark while addressing the issue of excesses committed by the armed forces. But what is best left unattended is the pressing need for a debate over the constitutional validity of the Act itself. Chief minister N. Biren in the recently concluded Assembly session assured to explore the feasibility of removing the Act from the state. Take the assurance peppered with ‘feasibility’ condition with a pinch of salt. The act of removing the Act is not going to be as simple as Manmohan Singh handing over the symbolic key of Kangla gate to the people of Manipur.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh.
Five months have gone by since the new BJP-led coalition government took charge in Manipur. The chief ministerial secretariat at the state’s official seat of power, popularly known amongst locals as Heinoumakhong (literally translated as “foot of the mango tree”, after the lush mango tree that grows in the compound of the chief ministerial office cum residential bungalow) seems to be witnessing some degree of freedom from tension, now that any chances of the ousted Congress seems quite conclusively thrown out of contention for power. Despite the fact that they were the single largest party at the end of the February-March elections, having won 28 seats against the BJP’s 21, thanks to the fickleness of MLA loyalty in the state which tends to gravitate towards whoever is in power. In trickles of one and two at a time in the initial month of the BJP government, altogether eight MLAs elected on Congress tickets have so far declared themselves as having joined the BJP. Although these defectors now are given seats on the Treasury Benches, surprisingly there is no official declaration of their status as members of the House yet, leaving people to conclude the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, popularly known as Anti-Defection Law, first introduced in 1986 and then modified in 2003, is a damp squib, completely powerless to control defection. But leave the manner in which our insecure legislators disgrace politics for the time being, though the matter is extremely important, for there are other pressing issues of public importance to also be addressed. The foremost of these of course is government stability so that the government of the day is able to freely pursue the agenda of good governance.
As die hard optimists, we have reasons to believe the current set of leadership, under chief minister N Biren, hold the good of the state at heart and if given the right condition they would persevere to work for the welfare of the state and its people. What is however doubtful is, ensuring such a condition may become a challenge increasingly as the government age and the Congress anti-incumbency wave they were riding on wears out and is no longer able to shield their own weaknesses from the public. The creation of the seven new districts which worked against the Congress; the hotly contested and stalled three immigration control bills; the contentious but closely guarded contents of the Framework Agreements with the NSCN(IM); the demand for separate administration in the hills; and now even the old issue of official corruption are beginning to resurface. Over and above these, there is also the ruling of the Supreme Court that Parliamentary Secretaries are unconstitutional. As in the case of MLA defection which is now accommodated in the Assembly with seeming impunity, would these Parliamentary Secretaries be also similarly accommodated without attracting contempt of the Supreme Court? All these and more remain as time bombs ticking away in the background, far from being defused. If Murphy’s Law that “if something can go wrong it will go wrong”, is anything to go by, the present government’s cup of woes can only be waiting to fill up again. This is also the reason why, leaving aside all other considerations, including the repulsive lack of moral amongst defecting MLAs, this government deserves stability to prove itself, by resolving the core issues of these time bombs before they accumulate their explosive potentials again. At least for the time being, if and until this government proves itself unworthy, let bygones be bygones and let all, ruling and opposition alike get down to the serious business of governance of this difficult, conflict-riven state.
For obvious reasons, the 2019 Parliamentary elections will be very important for the BJP government in Manipur too. The strength and confidence of the state BJP government will be reassured if the BJP is given the same landslide verdict as in 2014 and the Congress challenge remained dwarfed as it is now, although Gujarat has now proven how the latter can bounce back. Can the Congress revive would now be the worry of the BJP at the Centre. For a different reason, the question would be vital for Manipur too, with MLA fence sitters always ready to switch loyalty to where they think the political grass are greener. The chief minister ought also to be a little more careful about his social media engagements in the name of public outreach. Building a reputation of being seen as the people’s leader is all very fine but let it be heeded that pleasing everyone is an impossible task and attempting to do so can lead to disaster. A filter of truth and sound vision is the only effective moderator in such circumstances and the possession of this quality is what separates exceptional from mediocre leadership. Of this government, we will get to know the answer in the months ahead.