Time to Introspect & Correct

As we enter the last month of yet another year gone by, there will be several reasons to celebrate and cheer about. The first week of December—the annual Nagaland Hornbill Festival—is something that people in general always look forward to—basking in the colourful tradition of Nagas rich culture and proudly showcasing the event to the rest of the world. There are many positive aspects about this particular event and things have only gotten better over the years. This is to the credit of the government. But even as we partake in this wonderful carnival, yet one should not forget that December 1 has other significant reminders, which likewise would demand our attention. This includes Statehood day and World AIDS day, both falling on December 1. Whether it is merely of a coincidence or a symbolic signpost yet it requires the Naga people to confront the issues posed by the question of Statehood as also the dangers posed by AIDS to the vibrancy and health of our society. The latter is a serious warning deserving the utmost political attention. Likewise, as Nagaland observes its Statehood Day it will be only fair to say that while countless number of challenges is to be addressed on the socio-economic front, the unresolved Naga political problem stands in the way of the aspirations of the Naga people. A peaceful negotiated settlement acceptable to all sections of the people needs the urgent attention of all concerned Nagas—from national groups, civil society to State politicians. The challenges are many but opportunities are few. This call for society’s collective wisdom and the leadership’s political will in rebuilding of a divided nation. 

At another level, Statehood is as much a celebration of our democratic experience as it is about the failure to improve lives of ordinary people who continue to live a life of uncertainty and insecurity, both in terms of economic and human wellbeing. Even though we may consider another year of Statehood as a feather in our cap—of democratically elected government, development & peace—yet if we smash the glasshouses from where we view—it will not take much effort to see that the fruits of development has not reached to the common people. Successive governments since Statehood have done more of sloganeering then doing real work for welfare of the people. We hope that the past and present politicians will not deny this—because there is evidence all around to show the ill effects of corruption, nepotism and pure manipulation. Even as we write, we know that there are those who have no proper access to healthcare; schools are in a debilitated condition because public funds have disappeared; there are absentees’ of teachers and doctors because they would rather be in Kohima or Dimapur. One can go on to list the inadequacies—of more than 45 years of statehood. Why should we only list the achievement/s? Why not also confront the failure/s? As we enter another year of Statehood day this December 1, it is time to introspect, correct and move on.