Stigma can be defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Dudley Jr. defined stigma as stereotypes or negative views attributed to a person or groups of people when their characteristics or behaviors are viewed as different from or inferior to societal norms. Stigma is nothing less than a derogatory identification attached to people or class of people. The viruses, sickness and diseases may go in time but stigma lies within and with us.
Man by birth has been stigmatized in terms of identity, race, religion, colour and so on by the society. American Constitution abolished slavery in 1865 yet the stigma in the form of colour is still present today in America as what we have seen in case of George Floyd’s death. Northeast people too experience stigma based on our ‘ethnic identity’ in different parts of India. Dalits experience stigma of their ‘social roots’. Stigma of one kind or the other somewhat became a part of our social experiences. Despite the complexities of our life, it seems we love to stigmatize while fighting against stigma. We even attempted to stigmatize our government which has been fighting tooth and nail to control this pandemic with limited resources and manpower.
Today Nagaland is crippled when it comes to the real problems, Nagas are at risk to lose in the track of COVID-19. Suddenly our entire attention seems to have been shifted from pandemic to some social media content uploaded by someone against failed government policies. As a student of Political Science, I was really wondering as to what is the need to level allegations in unparliamentary language and unconstitutional manner against the government when in-fact a proper roadmap has been given in our Constitution to the common man to get redressal for his grievances against the government machinery.
I think the time has come to become more politically awakened and educate ourselves about our own constitutional rights and powers. Let’s seek an appropriate approach to fight constitutionally with wisdom and spirit then only we can hope to have a good solution. Let us not stigmatize our government, rather if we have any issues, let us sort them out by invoking our own ‘Constitutional Rights’. Social media should never be used to create disturbance in society, but it should be used to initiate constructive discussion, dialogues and bring out positive solutions. Freedom of Speech which creates suspicion and confusion in minds, and takes the society to anarchy can never be justified.
Moreover, at the first phase of lockdown, we raised a big hue and cry when mainland people stigmatized our fellow own workers. Moreover, doctors and nurses have also been stigmatized. Now the stigma has been diverted to the Nagaland government. I wonder why? Just because someone is talking about something on Social media, should we allow ourselves to get carried away? What is more important at this point of time? Saving the lives of people? Or getting swayed by emotional speeches being uploaded on social media accusing our government? Moreover, the way we are taking up the issues over certain incidents and happenings in the social media seems dangerous and with that intention if it comes to ground level, it will possibly create havoc and confusion among all of us which may result in ‘anarchy’.
Everything has proper steps to deal with it. Once we are poisoned by our own mind it takes time to revive into a normal being. So let’s be wise and keep calm to the present situation and find the right way to deal with the matter. I know it has been hard for everyone but remember to think carefully over everything that is being shown to you in social media. Let us not jump to conclusions by getting emotional at every claim and accusations or ‘yet to be proven’ allegations against the system during these dark days.
Our ignorance will rise to more problems and beyond, our opinions may well relate to facts but facts alone cannot give the solution. Do you think blaming the government and stigmatizing the entire government machinery without the right approach is the solution? What we need is a properly devised, proper approach to the problem and that is the solution for now.
Please remember, we cannot afford to take our society to ‘Anarchy’. Our Country, our Society, our State and the People are under the Constitution, our government officers, our police, our ministers and everything that we have, we do and intend to do is under the guiding framework of the constitution of India. As learned and civilized persons, respecting the Constitution needs to be our first priority that gives respect to ourselves and to humanity because our Constitution is unique that guarantees all of us Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. Fundamental Rights reflect the godly principles of Natural Justice.
Let’s fight a good fight with the right approach, let’s not be Hasty and go to fight without a weapon. Following the procedure given in the Constitution to redress our grievances against the government is the right way for us. There is more power when we stand united under the protection of Law. Be a person to create a good environment when there is not.
This pandemic not only introduces us to new diseases but also to ‘complicated human nature’. Instead of fighting disease we witness rising confusion and enmity among ourselves and the ‘Government’. Why do we have to think that the ‘Government’ is always the solution? ‘Government’ alone can never be the solution, collectiveness and togetherness is the only solution to this pandemic. Also, Government does not fall from the sky, Government is born out of society and reflects the mind and character of it. I learned in political science that, “The seeds of character of the Government are sown in the character of the people”, and I believe it to be true.
I have been seeing the panic these days that has been created in Nagaland by some social media content. This type of ‘opportunism’ basically creates more confusion in society. Why opportunism, because when the constitution of India by virtue of Art. 32 and 226/227 has already given the commonest of the common Indian to plead their grievances against the ‘state’. What is the necessity to come in the media and stigmatize the Government?
When we speak about social stigma, discrimination in society at individual or mass level, we must understand that state too is a part and parcel of social endosmosis and equally prone to attacks. If we wish to maintain constitutional sanctity of state and democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing, as Dr BR Ambedkar ‘Grammar of Anarchy’ stated: “We must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.”
Government is us and we are the Government. Let us protect the government, let us protect ourselves. Let the constitution be our guiding light than social media. We want our Nagaland to be run by the Law not by The Baton of Anarchy.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Dr. Aniruddha Babar, Dr. Pfokrelo Kapesa, Webei Tsühah, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: email@example.com.