Public Opinion?

The process of formulating ‘public opinion’ is fundamental for democratization and progression of a people. ‘Public opinion’ is distinct from the ‘mind of a crowd.’ It is a systematic process of sensitizing people and represents the expression and wisdom of a nation’s experience and vision. Formulation of public opinion is a participatory dialogue process which exposes prevailing contradictions. It seeks to liberate the oppressed and those that oppress, for they too are victims of their own blindness. 

The irony is that people have not been able to adequately confront the state because of a created relationship of dependency and control. The state presents itself as the only ‘legitimate’ unit of organization to represent the people and the sole authority to provide ‘employment’ and ‘resources.’ It also systematically controls the mind of people. Subsequently, those ruling have tactfully managed their source of power through a system, which centers in the hands of a few people. Often power is defined in terms of money, gun and the ability to create fear; but these are only the tools to enforce their perceived power over people. In reality their power lies in their strategies, planning and action that are well-planned in promoting their own self-interest at the expense of people.

Ironically, while people desire to free themselves, they also feel an overwhelming perceived sense of powerlessness and hopelessness and are faced with a moral dilemma around the question of survival. The state and its bureaucracy have ensured that people feel powerless to survive without patronage from state politics. Inevitably, people fall victim to electoral politics, which has succeeded in deepening the many ‘ism’ that we see around us. It ‘freezes the mind’ from any creative thinking to transcend the status quo. Eventually, electoral politics is reduced to a state where a bag of rice or Rs. 500 determines the vote. 

This has grave ramifications since, what we often perceive as real, becomes real in consequence. Consequently, we have begun to have a false reductionist and parochial understanding of the realities that lie around us. Thus, politics has effectively been reduced to state politics, unity to uniformity, just peace to suffer peacefully, peace process to cease-fire, cease-fire to no fighting, the Naga movement to factions, Christianity to Baptist, reconciliation to forgive and forget and so on..... we can keep going. In the emerging internal contradictions do Nagas realize that its greatest threat is, ‘self-defeat?’