Reflections (cartoon) on Monday issue, June 18, 2012 of the Morung Express is hilarious and perhaps it rightly depicts our Naga mindset as well as our action and behaviour when it comes to sports and the more serious game of life. So this particular editorial is inspired by the message in the cartoon where it says that “we Nagas will never win…because the Referee is going to get beaten up”. Perhaps this is in reference to our violent nature where during the ongoing Nagaland Premier League (NPL), even the poor referee has not been spared the typical Naga bossy behavior and the inclination to raise our hand i.e. to assault. Everywhere you go, we the Naga people seem to carry this disruptive behavior and to take law into our own hands. If we have no qualms about beating up even a referee or the mediator, just imagine what we are capable of doing to our opponents. It shows that we have no respect for law, authority, process and the sentiment of the other. The cartoon depicts a setting where a Naga family is gathered around a television set, waiting to watch what is being depicted as “Nagas vs Government of India”. The referee in this case could be the peace interlocutor of the Government of India or even the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), which is mediating between the various Naga factions to find lasting peace. Whether it is in the context of a football match or more serious business of peace and dialogue, the players will have to show respect to what the referee is trying to do—to ensure fair play, enforce the laws of the game, create order and a conducive atmosphere for a meeting point etc. Similarly the parties or players must be courteous, respect opinions, perceptions and feelings of the other and refrain from personal attacks, intimidation, threats and verbal or physical abuse. So we need to approach a game or a negotiation with civility.
The same cartoon can be used to highlight another message or perhaps a lesson for us to learn. “Nagas can never win because everybody tries to be a Ronaldo or a Messi”. In football parlance, no one wants to pass the ball around and create opportunities for scoring goals. In sports no doubt there may be individual brilliance or a stand out player, but at the end of the day, to be successful and to win requires team work. Perhaps if Nagas can work as a team, there will be greater success in whatever we do. However it appears to be that we are not as successful in our economic or political venture/s in the last fifty to sixty years and the obvious reason could be that instead of playing as a team we are competing with each other and pulling each other down. We try hard to show our individual prowess but this is okay as long as it is contributing to scoring goals or the success of the Naga team. We are simply unable to create enough opportunities towards winning for the team. Perhaps we are okay with self aggrandizement or to bring glory to our self or our tribe/clan or organization etc. But we seem to be lacking in working for the common good or to succeed as a people. Perhaps it’s never too late to start the process of team building among the Nagas and to feel like one. For this we need to reason together and reach out to each other.
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