Naga youths are in a time when some of them feel they are part of a misplaced generation. Their parents resisted the idea that they could not live as free people, for which they experienced the hardship of human suffering caused by low-intensity war and systematic forms of grouping that led to displacement and starvation. Whereas today’s youths are growing up in the MTV culture, playing video games; and really, feeling a little lost and unsure of what their future would be like.
Today, Naga youths are encouraged to care, but not to question. They are told to think, but not to speak out too loudly. Their acts of concern are applauded, but are told that the systems will never change. Their open mindedness is appreciated, but are told that the society is not yet ready to accept them, and therefore must slow down. They feel burdened by issues of corruption, unemployment, violence, justice and peace; and yet when they are moved to do something about it, they are discouraged, because it is too political. So, are Naga youths being too complacent?
Considering the magnitude of the challenges, it just simply is not an option for Naga youths to remain indifferent. After all, it’s their future at stake. It is therefore essential that Naga youths come together to consciously define the nature of the issues and challenges before them. Accordingly, a value based response can be prioritized in order of importance. While differences of opinion are natural, the more critical necessity is the need for youths to nurture some form of unity in purpose that would propel collective action towards transformation.
While the issues are diverse with varying degree of effect, and hence importance, it is nonetheless fundamental to find common ground. It is true that there are issues that may seem to only concern a small entity and yet these are issues that may involve broader values of democracy, human dignity, community, solidarity and shared humanity. It is precisely on these broader values that common ground must be strengthened; and to truly experience interdependence of humankind. It implies that one cannot remain indifferent and oblivious to the challenges that threaten a peoples’ survival, even if it seems not to be directly affecting you, at least for the moment.
Hence it is not only important to hold one another accountable to these values, but one must act on them. Every society, every movement has its youths who realize that they are potent when united in purpose, and that their voice matters. It is critical that the youths willfully uphold the voice of conscience and the reason of hope, so that they can with authority and clarity speak out against parochialism, corruption, civil religion, unjust customs and practices, political subjugation; and the isms that divide the people.
Bonded by a shared struggle, Naga youths are challenged to represent a vision in which as one people they can gather to reflect, to embrace and to celebrate by restoring the promise of freedom that will reunite families and communities. Individual action must translate to collective action that crosses barriers and build nations and, which together will be strong enough to shape the type of world they envision to live in.