I Choose…

As the Sunday issue (December 11) of The Morung Express (both print and web editions) made its way into people’s home both across the State of Nagaland and beyond, a sense of awakening among cross section of people could be gauged as countless number of telephone calls started to ring from early morning hours till late into the night at this office with respondents pouring in their choice for The Morung Express Peoples (Queen) Award to be announced on December 13 during the grand finale of the Miss Nagaland 2005 Beauty Pageant. The telephone calls was nothing compared to the sheer volume of endless SMS streaming in courtesy the ubiquitous mobile phones. Even the Web Manager at The Morung Express office had to regularly clean up the mail box in order to keep the flow of global participation unhindered. 

Empowerment as it is often been said “is seeing reality as it really is” and having a stake at the choices one makes. It would not be an under-statement to mention here that there is incredible power in the simple words “I choose”. Giving back to the people, the power of choice to decide for themselves and making them co-owners in a process was the aim behind having such an award in the first place. The Morung Express Peoples Award more than anything else ought to be seen as an acknowledgement of the self-worth of the individual which has so often being coerced by the socio-political system known for imposing its well oiled power-machine on a helpless and voiceless citizen. Any empowerment, socio-economic or political ultimately depends upon peoples awakening. Empowerment is about choices. Being victimized is about not having choices - about feeling trapped. In order to start becoming empowered in life it is absolutely vital to start owning one’s choices.  

Many people are not comfortable with or aware of this power of choice. It is because of this that Naga society has today become a people known for finding faults, playing the blame game and pointing fingers. This is because it has been allowed to happen! We have made the laws, voted and chosen for things to be this way. The choice to transform to a better way, if we so desire and the power to liberate, comes only if we choose. 

The countless people who have participated in this empowering process over the last three days is testimony to the fact that people have rightly owned up to what has always been their right, to make choices instead of just reacting to someone else’s set of rules or agenda. Rest assured, the one girl among the 23 beauty contestant who finally walks away with The Morung Express Peoples Award will be the empowered choice of the thousands who are the co-creator of this Award. Chosen of free will the award ought to be a special gift of the people, by the people and for the people. It is hoped that whoever is crowned The Morung Express Peoples Queen tonight will accept this award with an inner conviction that she is there less for the glamour but more importantly to be a role model of positive influence and social transformation.