The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed a few million lives globally and the second wave is determinedly walking on its destructive path. To combat, tame and trounce the pandemic, tremendous sobriety, thoughtfulness and composure are required, especially of those leading the fight against it. Nagaland itself ~ particularly Dimapur ~ is also on the pandemic’s destructive path ~ the increasing numbers of COVID positive cases and deaths here are evidence. Precious lives have been lost and infection rates are mounting ~ our healthcare system is on its last leg. So it is painful and discouraging to be constantly barraged with photo-ops, posts and quotes of those in charge of COVID related activities in social media with what comes across as messages of despair. And, the message “… we need to prepare for the worst”, as DIPR reported on May 16 last, sounds like a death knell. Yes, we need to prepare for the worst ~ everyone knows that ~ but to rub it on our face doesn’t inspire confidence in the district’s pandemic leadership and particularly in our Government, especially when the worst has already happened and is happening to so many of us. Yes, we need to constantly pray and be generous ~ something individuals and communities have been actually doing since last year hence we could provide succor to thousands last year in the face of our Government’s unpreparedness and helplessness. Prayers and contributions continue now too but the second wave’s severity in our homes is so stark that empathy prevents inconsiderate and immature photo-ops, as was done last year ~ something our Government could reflect on and instruct its employees accordingly. Dimapur is the hardest hit in Nagaland incurring irreparable loss of precious lives therefore empathy, solicitude and circumspection by those in charge of the pandemic management would be much appreciated. So, it is also time for our Government to review and reconsider the pandemic management here. We have a perfectly working district civil and police administration and three workable elected representatives (MLAs) ~ it is time to bring them to the forefront of pandemic management here. In fact, seeing the pandemic’s severity, if an “expert” needs to head its management here, perhaps a Public Health expert or even an experienced medical person could be designated Dimapur’s Nodal Officer ~ not just anyone with no medical background to deal with a pandemic in the State’s worst affected district. This may be misconstrued as a personal attack but deep concern about the pandemic’s severity supersedes pettiness. What matters is that Dimapurians’ extremely frayed nerves need to be soothed ~ this is not the time for pettiness or for panic-mongering and repeated reinforcement of a sense of desolation. As much as we don’t need small-mindedness, we also don’t need photo-ops of visits to cemeteries to haunt us further inducing revisits of nightmares we are already living with. Moreover, there are unwritten but adhered rules on media’s perspicacity on publication of sensitive and insensitive photos and alerts thereof, which may cause mental disturbance, especially to children. State Information and Publicity Departments and the social media must also respect that. At this moment, our people need a parent to help us find the strength inside us to brave the raging storm over us. We need words of solace, support, assurance, confidence-building and circumspection from our Government, our Chief Minister. In this silence and void, photo and publicity ops are insults to injury. The pandemic must be managed without a song and a dance ~ we only want to see reassuring results that safeguard, secure and protect us from the harm’s way brought on by the pandemic. Today social media rages over people’s time, energy and mind like a cyclone but like all cyclones, this too shall pass. Besides, the human mind is questioning and common sense is abiding. Our people have weathered numerous storms and will do so again because the Government will shield and shelter the people from these storms ~ this is the message our Government needs to convey to the people ~ unambiguously and in a calm and dignified manner. It is also time for our elected representatives’ visibility and leadership in each district, in each constituency ~ not merely sermons from the safety and comforts of their ivory towers. Bureaucrats cannot be substitutes for elected representatives ~ otherwise elections are meaningless in genuine democracies. Seriously, this is a time for sober and sensitive leadership, not an over-excitable one or a “Missing In Action” (MIA) one.