Crab Mentality


Crab mentality, or crabs-in-a-bucket mentality, is a way of thinking best described by the phrase, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor is derived from anecdotal claims about the behavior of crabs when they are trapped in a bucket: while any one crab can easily start to climb out, it will nonetheless be pulled back in by the others, ensuring the group’s collective demise.
The analogous theory in human behavior is that members of a group will attempt to reduce the self-confidence of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, jealousy, resentment, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.


Naga people seem to have an inherent predisposition to this mentality. Instead of encouraging and appreciating those who are “climbing out of the bucket,” we tend to pull them back down and in the process ensure our collective demise. This mentality is not limited to the individual level but can also be seen at the community level as well. When one community is doing better than the others, we depreciate instead of appreciate them. This crab mentality at the community level may be termed as a form of tribalism, the cancerous ailment that is ailing Naga society today.


This crab mentality is more vividly exhibited in the marketplace. Struggling Naga entrepreneurs are pulled down by fellow Nagas mostly, as if the competition from non-Nagas in the market is not a big enough hurdle for the Naga entrepreneur. We are ok with non-Nagas doing brisk business in our land but it just comes natural for us to pull down that Naga entrepreneur or petty businessman if he is remotely successful. It is your prerogative if you don’t want to support him but why hatch plans to pull him down? Crab mentality!



When neighbors progress



The news of the Sümi Hoho felicitating all the ten legislators from the Sümi community at Zunheboto Town Hall on Friday is uplifting. It can be argued that Zunheboto has long been a neglected district which otherwise is geographically located in the central regions of Nagaland State and ought to have been at the center of most development plans of the state. Like Mokokchung, Zunheboto is also perhaps faced with the problem of many of its productive citizens relocating to Dimapur, Niuland and elsewhere. Developing a district requires a collective effort and the involvement of various stakeholders, including government agencies, private organizations, and individuals. The people need to have a shared vision of what they want their district to look like in the future and develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve this vision. Infrastructure Development, Economic Development, Education and Workforce Development, Environmental Sustainability, Good Governance, and Social Development are some of the key development parameters that are of paramount importance. It is hoped that the platform shared by the elected representatives from the Sümi community today will not be just a one off event but the beginning of a new chapter of progress and development of Zunheboto district. A progressive Zunheboto will be of great benefit for the state, particularly the neighboring districts including Mokokchung.

20 thoughts on “Crab Mentality / When neighbors progress”
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