Tharoor talks polity, economy & life with youths of Nagaland

Morung Express News
Dimapur | February 23

Former Union Minister and Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday questioned where the Nagas have been in the 60 years of statehood that the State would be celebrating at the end of this year. 

Addressing the youths of Nagaland during the live show hosted by ‘The Lungleng Show’ at IMC Hall, Tharoor said that the basic things that everyone deserves to be “able to take for granted” have not been accomplished by successive governments, such as electricity, roads and drinking water. Despite all the talks between the government at the Centre and the State, he said that there are still no results.

Tharoor was disappointed that there is no medical college in Nagaland, while in his State Kerala, the aim is to have a medical college in every district. He also questioned where was the promised high court of Nagaland and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, and how the sports stadium in Dimapur is under construction since 2006. “These are questions that we are all entitled to ask and we have every right to reproach the government for not having done,” stated Tharoor while adding that these basic things should have been tackled much earlier.

Tharoor also said that the citizens are now seeing a “narrow-minded conception of India,” and that the prevailing slogan appears to be “one religion, one culture, one language and one leader.” What we need in our country is something that values and celebrates and respects the diversity and multiplicity of our country, and we hope that we share the same dream of a better India, and for those who are going to follow us, Tharoor added.

He pointed out the challenges of the non-performance of those who have been in authority at the Centre and the State as well. It was no accident that with the general election coming up in the State that a reference for the political solution is not even mentioned in the BJP’s manifesto for the Naga accord. The continual erosion of the special identity of the Nagas by the BJP is of concern.

In a state that is flooded with unemployment, the MP said that the young people of Nagaland needs pressing opportunity to be able to study a range of subjects, which will enhance their employability inside and the outside the State. 

He questioned what kind of democracy does the State have when all the incompetent allies are running the entire State and there is not one dissenting voice to be heard, except outside in the streets, with  Nagaland being the only state in the country without an opposition in the Assembly for the last five years. “It is so important to have our voice, raising an alternative view in the Nagaland Assembly.” Implying that everyone deserves a better administration, the impunity and lack of accountability makes it even more essential that you vote for change, he told the audience.

Tharoor further spoke on the importance of listening by the leaders of the people, and not just talking. 

The show also witnessed the star campaigner for the Indian National Congress talking about the logic of how people should be free to be themselves that every citizen needs to respect each other’s choice of food. He talked about the freedom of expression, the freedom of choosing the way we live our lives.  
On him not being elected president of the Congress party, Tharoor said that he believes in the party and the decision to vote for the current President.

When asked about his opinion on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, he said that the world will not let Ukraine collapse, that it has their support, while Russia which is dependent on China and being isolated from the rest of the world. He noted that it might not be easy for Russia by simply relying on China alone in the near future. India, on the other hand is doing good in terms of business with Russia, he noted.

Meanwhile admitting that the Congress has gone through a lot of difficult times in recent years, he noted that it is now ending with the Bharat Jodo Yatra in which Rahul Gandhi has not only transformed his own image in an impressive way but has also demonstrated the organizational capacity of the Congress party to organize the 3000 km march from one end of the country to the other, which has helped him to connect with the public at the grassroots. This has in turn revived the image of the party’s efficiency and revived the spirit of the Congress workers.

On a lighter note, when the host mentioned on his remark about the “funny and outlandish headgear” that Modi wore a few years ago, Tharoor clarified that he had made a political point. He argued that Modi had worn every conceivable caps and turbans, yet “he never wears a Muslim cap.” So his question was “what was the message of bias that our Prime Minister was sending to one community in our country. That was a serious point I was making,” Tharoor said, and apologized to the Nagas if he had upset them. 

The takeaway for the youths from the globally acclaimed writer was to “read and read.” He urged the youths to impart the habit of reading, that it takes effort to make it in life.

The hall with a seating capacity of more than 1500 was packed with young people as the live show went on for more than 2 hours and ended with a question and answer session.