Sunday, June 20, 2021
Column

Coronavirus Cogitations: Dandavirus

Monalisa Changkija

Ayale, Wokha te aru dotor ekta marise juwa kali morning te!

Ayaa, kali-porsun heh ekta dotor Dimapur te mara nohoi? 

Tar khan tu kiman ter khan laga DGP ke apologize koribole dibole mon ase, ho? Ayakao, manu khan sob lockdown te takha time te, DGP kaam iman thakha time te, ter khan to ter khan laga Saab ke apologize heh kori takhibole diboley mon thaka nishina. DGP kay morom nalagey?  

Ayaa, ittu to keneka hobo? Amakhan kot jabo ineka holey? Iman sal chur-dokite aru dusura baya manu khan public ke iman digdaar diya time te, ittu khan kot thakise aru ke kori thakise?

Chur-dokite khan lockdown te chhup-chhap ghor te thaki ase, ittu nimitey police khan laga haat beshi khujuli lagi ase hobola aru dotor khan ke hey mari ase hobola.

Aru yatey amakhan tu haat dhulai dhulai kena pagala hoi ase. Etiya goshol koribolebee pani nai. Keneka koribo, ho? Garmen bee goshal kora laga eku kuwanai.  

Isu christa, keneka hobo na, amakhan laga Nagaland tu? Beshi mon dukh dey.

Sathini, hunishey, Wokha dotor laga ghor manu Police khan ke mapf korishey khobor paishey de.

Hey, amar mota kuwa tu, police khan eneka public khan ke mara-mari kora time tey, Home Minister hey mapf mangibole lagey.

Kot para Ministers khan mapf mangibo? Ter khan to ishor ase, nohoi?  

Hoishey, dotor khan tu mapf kori thakibee aru Police khan laga maar khai thakibee.

Ayale, manu khan laga dotor khan tu Coronavirus para mori ase, amakhan laga tu dandavirus para moribo dey, sai thakibee.

Ayale, amakhan laga police khan tu mara-mari hey jaana nishina. Ki bee kobo na? Ki bee nokobo, na?                                

But that is the incomprehensible thing, you see? Why should our Police be so quick with their danda? Why should our Police react with instant violence at violations of lockdown norms or any other breaches of the law ~ and that too, only by ordinary citizens? While not condoning any form of violence, why don’t our Police react the same way when our VIPs blatantly violate laws, say for instance, traffic laws? I won’t go into lockdown and other violations of laws by our dangor manu khan and some of their family members at the moment. At the moment, I will only quote HG Wells, who said: “The one who resorts to violence first is the one who has lost all ideas first”. And I leave it to our Police to ideate on that.

On April 17, 2020, the Eastern Nagaland College Students’ Union (ENCSU) issued a press release, which you may have read by now. I found it interesting that the ENCSU concluded the aforesaid press release thus: “Further, the ENCSU also appeals to the state Government to immediately setup all necessary equipment and materials at the Eastern areas Hospital (COVID-19) Covid-19 centres. It is a known fact that Eastern Districts are quite far from reaching any health care centre of Dimapur and Kohima in time. So, the ENCSU urge the State Government and the Concerned Department to kindly take up the necessary arrangement at the earliest.” It throws some light on preparedness of our healthcare delivery system in our Eastern districts, doesn’t it? As I wrote yesterday: “…our Government may silence its employees…”. And, “But in time, everything gets revealed …”, also: “the people’s voices cannot be stifled and silenced for long ~ human history is evidence to that”.

Yes, as have been repeatedly said, no one was ~ and still is ~ prepared for the deadly novel Coronavirus but if our successive Governments had paid undivided attention towards capacity-building particularly in the human development indexes such as health, education and infrastructure, today we would have been combating this pandemic from a much stronger position of strength in terms of human resources, technology, equipment, funds, a streamlined distribution of food and other essential commodities and all other requisites. Focusing on human development indexes also connotes anticipation of emergencies/exigencies and preparedness thereof. But it looks like our Governments, past and present, never bargained for the technological revolution and its corollaries, which provided a platform for our people to know and claim our rights and also enabled us to speak and be heard, doesn’t it? Looks like our political class, past and present, didn’t keep pace with the times and trends and didn’t keep their fingers on the pulse of the people, doesn’t it? The irony is that our political class continues to audaciously exhort the people to change. And, some even amongst the educated blame the people for having sold our votes ~ which is true to a certain extent but that doesn’t absolve Governments for not having fulfilled their moral and constitutional obligations.

Ittu issue iman simple nohoi dey. The issue consists of both ethical and economic aspects. One aspect of democracy hardly focused on is Governments’ roles and responsibilities as standard bearers of the value system in state and society, as well as to set and elevate the moral compass. Without morality/ethical standards, democracy cannot be vibrant. And, without value-systems and a moral compass, the economy cannot be vibrant. The ideals and principles of equality/equity are intrinsically linked to an ethical/moral value-system and moral compass. Our state and society provide ample evidence.

We have been receiving copies of very well-thought and well-articulated suggestions several individuals and groups of individuals have addressed to the Government on how to cope with the present situation and prepare for the future, which are published. I suggest you read them and add if you can think of more suggestions/advice. These are exactly the kind of inputs our thinking public, educated people and intellectuals need to continuously put forward to the Government. The Government must also give serious consideration to them. Towards the objective of state-building, a lot would depend on the Government’s perception of these suggestions and advice. Its perception could be purely from perspective of political parties’ interests and vote bank politics or it could be from the wider prism of laying the foundation of a sustainable and sustained state-building. This decision now would leave indelible imprints on post-Coronavirus Nagaland. While not equating state-building with economy-building, what would separate us from other states must be clearly understood. In the post-Coronavirus scenario, most states will rebuild their economies but in Nagaland we will build our economy. And state-building begins with capacity-building of human resources and social capital, which we have in abundance. Therefore, it is imperative that as many heads as possible are put together.

Oh, very cheering news ~ besides those guys that were harassing and bullying non-locals pretending to check their Coronavirus with a vehicle tape-recorder, the other guys who were thrashing some other non-locals including a woman, were also arrested. DC, Dimapur had informed me. Both these incidents occurred at Dimapur’s suburban villages and the videos of both the dastardly incidents went viral ~ I am sure you have seen them also. Dimapur’s DC and his team, and of course Commissioner of Police and his team, deserve appreciation, gratitude and commendation for stemming this kind of racism and blatant violation of human rights and all other constitutional rights and laws that guarantee and protect the right to life. It may not be brazen physical assault but if you come across any form of mental, psychological and verbal racism also against any person, local or non-local, man, woman, child, elderly and disabled, please inform your district administrations immediately. Let us behave like ishor jana manu.

The other cheering news is that national media has taken note of the endeavours and efforts of DC, Mon. Better India has done a very informative feature on how Mon’s DC has prepared the district to face the Coronavirus threat and the lockdown thereof. In the post colonial era, much thought was given to administration of the newly independent nations because independent states couldn’t and shouldn’t be administered as in colonial days. Since the 1960s, the concept of development administration emerged, the depths and details of which I will not get into now, but suffice it to say that creative, sensitive, sensitized and inclusive administration are major components of  development administration that was believed best for newly independent nations. Jawaharlal Nehru had clearly subscribed to the concepts and practice of development administration hence he hoped that India’s bureaucratic framework would be the “catalyst of change” in Independent India and defined India’s bureaucracy as such. Cleary, Mon’s DC has fully understood his role and responsibilities, and his brief, in a woefully neglected and severely under-developed region of the country and got down to work. DC, Mon, also deserves appreciation, gratitude and commendation for enabling Mon to stand up for itself despite all constraints, and for fully utilizing the human resources and social capital of the district thereby doing the needful capacity-building ~ leading to empowering Mon’s people to take responsibility for themselves. The feature is uploaded on our website (nagalandpage.com). Please check it out.

This is exactly what was done in the initial days of Statehood by administrators of the erstwhile Indian Frontier Administrative Service (IFAS) in the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) areas, comprising of Tuensang and Mon areas in Nagaland and some districts of Arunachal Pradesh, as well as in the rest of the State by our pioneer administrators. Left to themselves to get on with their jobs, without any political interventions and interference, our bureaucracy indubitably has the potentials and capabilities to change the human indexes and the development profiles of our districts. Oh, wouldst to God that our political class would understand how very direly we need this to happen! Oh, Absolem, my Son Absolem! (Apologies for re-phrasing King David’s lament at his son’s death in a needless and foolish war ~ allegories of which I am sure you will understand. If not, Bible purhibi.)

So, there was this Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) feature titled: “Humanity must prevail” mailed to the local media, which was uploaded in our websites. One sentence that caught my eyes was this: “We are a Democratic Welfare state which means that the Government is of the people by the people for the people”. Whoever the writer is, reading this sentence, 4 thoughts occurred to me: (1) The writer couldn’t have studied even basic Political Science; (2) If s/he did, s/he wasn’t paying attention to the teacher; (3) the teacher was a backdoor appointee; (4) or, the writer is a — apuni khan hey fill in the blanks koribi.

Aru na, Garmen laga kotha mani thakibee. Coronavirus etiyabee beshi zaga zaga tey barai ase. Tumi ke dhoriboley nadibee. Ghor te polabee.

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