Some have said that Hope is what threatens power; Hope is what drives the revolution forward. If hope is a decisive element that defines the line between status quo and transformation, between oppression and justice, then surely hope is what the powers that be would like to erase. But hope is what the voices of change should nurture and strengthen. The anti-thesis of hope is fear. There is a constant battle between hope and fear, and eventually, the one that succeeds defines the existential fate of how a nation conducts its affairs.
Just as it is the struggle between memory and forgetting, it is the struggle between hope and fear. While hope is life-giving, fear paralyzes life. Fear is not abstract, it is very real and has the capacity to rip families apart, destroy resources and obstruct the growth of a nation. It is the intent of the powers that be to ebb away any form of hope and create conditions that instill fear in people’s minds. Often it seeks to create fear that leads to hate and creation of the image of an enemy, and its dehumanization.
Nagas are at a time when they have to search deep within themselves and collectively decide what to choose – hope or fear. There is no doubt that fear as gripped the Naga heart and mind which has done more damage than good. It has further fragmented the society, sown seeds of suspicion and division, replaced critical thinking with complacency and most of all; it has induced a situation where people are no longer living. Consequently, people are becoming indifferent to the question of the common good, and have increasingly accepted the status quo as the norm.
For Nagas to grow as a nation, they require leaders that can bring out the spirit of hope and confidence. The common Naga person needs to be assured of hope and to know that any form of change that comes should represent hope and life. It requires a vision, a vision that embraces a dignified future, a vision that represents hope. The Naga youths are looking and yearning for a direction that will enable an understanding in which hope overcomes fear and assumes a critical position of determination.
The future stands on soft and precarious ground. Nagas cannot wait for hope to come to them, they must choose hope and commit themselves to attaining it through their actions. A starting point is saying NO to fear and YES to hope. The steps toward hope must be an active, energetic and organized process. Hope is the most basic need for Nagas to be transformative. For too long, Nagas have continuously lived in the past and it has reached a point of saturation. To move forward the present generation is dependent on hope, a hope that is transformative and visionary.
Naga youths of today must not be the generation that breaks faith with life. It must take responsibility of building upon an understanding of the shared humanity and passing on hope to the next generation. Never before has the peril of Naga survival been put to such test. An open-ended process of critically engaging in constructive sharing is required. Nagas must choose hope if they are to survive, flourish and realize their full potential as dignified human beings. Hope is the decisive element. Hopefully, Nagas will choose Hope!