One day I got an opportunity to sit together with one of the former student presidents (Range students union) during a football tournament; we had also known each other for a while. Since I have the habit of asking questions to people relating to world politics, religion, Naga society and on life philosophies, while we were watching a football match I asked him who was the present president; then, trying to bring out a conversation, he pointed his finger to the person and added to the conversation about a funny incident that happened while electing that present president.
After a pause I continued to question him, “Why are people having so much ardor to be a president in this student body and sometimes even end up having rancorous between each other?”
“It is because when a person is elected as the president, he would be having the responsibility and opportunity to meet the top bureaucrats and State ministers for official work,” he replied. He continued, after giving a sharp glance at me, “Suppose if you were the president and you meet one of the ministers for official meet asking some help for student sports events like this tournament and if the minister give you Rs 10 lakh, you would able to get some benefit from that amount of cash, just say at least 1%”
We had a long discussion on that topic but what I’m trying to emphasize from the conversation which I had is that, are we Nagas really trying to be leaders having that mindset?
I’m sulking to see the current scenario of the Nagaland government because it is already corrupted and most upcoming leaders are growing with self-centered mindset. We need to have the mentality of “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country” but most of our Nagas lack the mentality of “what can I do for my people.” Whenever I asked my friends, why do you want to become a leader, most of their replies are ‘it gives you power to rule over people’; nobody said, ‘it gives me an opportunity to serve the people at my best’ or ‘I want to bring an impact to society’.
Most want to become leaders because of some eco-centric reasons .To be started, many leaders which includes from MLAs to every leaders of little organization have self-seeking desires and not to mention the MLAs, I saw in many villages the VDB secretary who don’t have any government services or business are richer and have better lifestyles than government servant and businessmen, government sanction him to develop the village but on the ground reality he is stitching a bigger jean pocket and everyone knows the crime but nobody raise a question because he distributed a CGC tin sheet to every family in the village as if he is a philanthropist, quite hilarious right!
Do we Nagas want to accept that egoism is also one of our identities?
In most of our Nagas folktales, we hear and talk about our legendary forefathers who were savagely brave, honest, patriotic forefathers who really gave their blood to save their own village. So we also identify as the people of perfect square because our forefathers and people left that footprint but our present genre is completely in dichotomy with what we identify as. Even today, between clans, communities and tribes are having disputes and misunderstandings if some clans or tribes tarnish or mistell the story about their forefathers’ noble deeds because everyone is proud of their culture and history; that’s good because that defines their community. But please just imagine your great × great ×great × grandchildren in the next century narrating about their origin and culture based on this current scenario. Will they also be proud of their forefathers and will they also stand against it if someone tells you that your forefathers and clans were liars and thieves?
We are proud of our forefathers and history but we are just embracing the past; we are not creating a legendary remark to be proudly talked about by our Naga people in the next century.
Instead of embracing the good deeds, we must follow the same spirit which our forefathers had. Of course I’m not asking you to become headhunters but I’m challenging you to follow the path of honesty and patriotic spirit. During the headhunting era, to live an honest life was the main principle in their society but today nobody cares about honesty. The rampant corruption became the reality.
Then reality cannot be reformed?
I had came across some prominent person and leaders and educated youths, whenever I asked the question about the rampant corruption in the state, some do have positive thoughts but most of them have lost faith in the broken system of Nagaland and the common reply I got was “Corruption in Nagaland is reality of Nagas and it cannot be changed.” Do you think that’s true?
We are in a society where people, even the leaders and educated ones, have lost hope but hope is not something we already have but hope means creating hope where there is none. So we Nagas need not despair but create hope. People have lost hope to witness a better Naga and so instead of trying to change they follow the same behavior. The best example is during election season; they tend to accept that corruption in Nagaland is the reality and cannot be changed, so they do malpractice and what agitates me the most is that educated youth and the most respected persons in the society are in the front of malpractice during election.
I’m mentioning elections since it is the season for change but I’ve seen educated youth playing dirty politics. But we are just brainwashed by this perspective because we have the power to change the reality because reality is created by people and why can’t we change the Nagas reality to a better reality; we have created this ugly Naga reality by us and cant we do it for a positive one? I’m not claiming overnight change but if one or two step out to change that’s going to impact a lot and I’m sure there are thinking men who want to genuinely change Naga society so why are we remaining silent? I believe that in some decades we can see the Change but as I mentioned before let’s create hope.
Leaders or public?
Let me get straight to the point. Our Naga leaders starting from the top pyramidal structure, who are MLAs, lack the concept of ‘leaders eat last’. In other parts of the world leaders lead and their most priority is their people but here in Nagaland leaders eat first and give remnants to the people!
Again we all know that Naga people are so decent to leaders that people ask their leader the road to hell and people are happy that their leader showed the way to hell. What I’m trying to say is that we the people don’t raise a voice against anything. If something goes wrong we public accept it as it is Nagas’ reality. We should understand that Naga leaders are a good slave but not a good master and every democratic government people have the real power to decide so we should be a good master to decide. It is rightly said that “The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of bad people but because of the silence of the good people.”
Let’s break our silence of truth and speak the truth… It is said that silence speaks the most but here in Nagaland, silence is really introverted to speak; so let’s break the silence because if we always shut our mouth, the mouth will have a pungent smell.
It’s high time for our Nagas to really take action against this rampant corruption; we should not just grumble inside. We the new generation should be in the front line; it really breaks my heart to see many youngsters are following the old fashioned mentality. We should make our leaders a good slave and not a good master .We should create hope to change the reality of Nagas because hope is not something we already have but hope means creating hope where there is none. Let’s leave behind a remark to be proud and remembered by the next generations, where they would be proud to talk about the honest and patriotic forefathers like we proudly talk about our legendary forefathers. Perspectives change one’s life alot, so let’s change our perspective and let’s change Nagaland forever.