Sunday, July 14, 2024

Build confidence

There is a need for self introspection exercises among our political players as a new government is installed in Kohima today. And at the back end of this whole introspection exercise, governance should be the central point of debate. Of course, the debate must revolve round the youth. Our state is unique in all respects, be it our geographical location, social structure, economic scenario or for that matter our political scenario. Geographically it is remotely located, socially our structure is undergoing fast disintegration, where our social values are taking backseat, and economically we continue to remain backward despite huge reservoirs of untapped economic potential. And politically it has, most of the time, remained synonym to turmoil. We know governance as an all-inclusive concept entailing effective management of human resources, public institutions and natural endowments in the interest of good life. It implies the process by which the ruled are guaranteed the right to good life which inter alia include good housing, sufficient food, quality education, justice and fair play, security of life, liberty and property. But what happens when corruption becomes an abiding and accepted norm in a society? Indeed today our people’s confidence in the political class is at an all time low. The members of our legislative assembly, which not only represents people but also makes laws and sets the moral parameters of the socio-political discourse, is now finding itself so credibility challenged. People who are elected with whatever little or more electoral participation evoke little confidence in their integrity. True, this is a malaise that afflicts the entire political class in India but in Nagaland, the situation is more complicated. Here the issue is not only about corruption. It is not only about the institutional decay. It is about the decay of people, perhaps the most pernicious of all rots. In fact over the years, this crisis of confidence in our leaders or their lesser versions in the form of elected representatives has not remained limited to them. There is now no aspect of life that is not riddled with this malaise – the breakdown of trust among people in one another. And the damage to collective psyche seems so deep and endemic that even if a spotless leader exists or were to emerge, he will barely survive the whispers, murmurs and asides – the frenzied collective rush to judge and take him down. The absence of an overarching figure we can look up to, lack of an everyday role model and the sense of being betrayed by those we venerated has in turn undermined our faith in ourselves as a people. The sense of being let down by our own kind runs deep. But as a community we have chosen to deal with this problem in the most negative sense possible. Today everybody suspects everybody. In the past 1-2 months of electioneering, our society have undergone such devastation that it would take time to heal. But heal, we must and it is up to the new dispensation at the helm of power who must reach out to start the process of healing. Today we are living in a society in which humanitarian, liberal, democratic values have shrunk. Even more alarming is the fact that there appears to be no integrity among our elected representatives, who can change loyalties at any given moment. Hopefully, the coming days would be more promising, with more surprises for the better than continuities of the events of past. Nonetheless, the repercussions of disagreements among the Nagas, the economic woes, and the continued political turmoil are not expected to fade away that easily. We are today undergoing a period in which the cleavages and uncertainties of living have become clear. Yes, we do not know what the future holds. But if the decision-makers really want to reverse the slide towards permanent insecurity and conflict, they will first have to bridge the mistrust that the public feels on anything government. They will have to remove the reasons for resentment among all sections of the populace. They will have to pass down their wealth to the people at the grass root transparently and not through their corrupt elites who siphon it off. This requires a new kind of thinking. Hopefully this time we will see some real change.