Prioritizing Crisis

Today’s world for the Nagas faces no shortage of challenging crisis: identity, political conflict, militarization, HIV/AIDS, financial instability, corruption, water, electricity, roadways and transport, widening gap between rich and poor, unemployment, education, public health care, telecommunication, migration, sanitation, deforestation, development and democratic governance. Then there are issues of insecurity, indifference, patriarchy, parochialism, attitude towards work culture, and the many different faces that represent the ‘ism’ prevailing in society. 

Day after day, year after year, these issues raise dilemmas which result in affecting the life and health of a nation. The question therefore is how to confront and address these crises in an affective manner that will yield to constructive change. While the process of prioritizing severity of crisis and its responses is fundamental, the question remains, how does one conduct a cost-benefit analysis of human tragedies like epidemics, armed conflict and parochial politics?

Given the fact that there are limited resources, it makes sense for the government and other institutions to prioritize the degree of crisis and the response required, so that it results in a positive impact. Yet, just prioritizing is insufficient. The present response sheds light on a critical shortcoming in how Nagas themselves think about the crisis they face. While it is true to say that there is shortcoming in easy access to critical and decisive information that enables informed decisions, it is fair to say that information is already out in the public realm. What is lacking therefore is the, context.

While news media provides information, they are usually disconnected and fail to provide a useful context that helps arouse an understanding and a conscience which propels a society to respond proactively in addressing crisis. Non-government organizations, particularly those whose agenda and objectives are not defined by the local people, but are decided by projects and their funders adds to the confusion. Such projects overlook the context of the crisis and are prone to responding only to the consequences of the crisis and not its roots. Then there are the political parties and their institutions that derive policies not based on the context but, on its supposed ideological promise.   

When one takes into account these competing voices for influence, where does it leave the people? A truth that lies within the experience and historical context of the people is necessary to speak out against the power. An analysis that moves the discourse beyond emotion and electoral policies is required. 

Nagas cannot fix everything at once. It is a matter of fact that all institutions from the family to companies and governments operate within constraint of resources and hence it is unavoidable, but to evolve a democratic process that prioritizes crisis and their responses. They will have to get their priorities straight and maybe the process can begin with defining the context of the crisis in a non-partisan manner.