Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Distorted narratives & sub-citizenship

Rarely our thinkers, analysts and scholars put into perspective and share well-thought and well-studied seemingly irrelevant issues with the public, which may directly or indirectly impact us ~ if not now, perhaps later. There would be disagreement and differences on these perspectives but they would also provoke minds and provide glimpses of issues from various angles. Dr. Salikyu shared one such refreshing perspective recently, titled: Nagaland and India’s Foreign Policy, on an issue rarely discoursed in the public domain, which was published in all our English Dailies on June 17, 2021. Dr. Salikyu’s perspectives on one aspect of India’s foreign policy, which has most relevance for us, also reflect our domestic issues, which our political parties and personalities have been colourfully wrapping in misleading propaganda for decades. And, because there are varied levels of cogitating and analytical abilities amongst us, we buy such propaganda unquestioningly. Inter alia the aforesaid article unabashedly asserts that the Northeast’s infrastructure development in the past couple of decades is not out of the goodness of any political party or personality’s heart but indispensable for the success of India’s foreign policy in this part of the globe so whichever political party comes to power at the Centre will continue with the same policies of infrastructure development here. Unfortunately, our political parties and personalities have distorted such aspects of India’s foreign policy into some kind of “charitable” act of the ruling dispensations just for electoral gains. The fact is: domestic and foreign policies of any nation are intrinsically intertwined and often domestic policies play the supporting role to the lead of foreign policies. All these are known to all regional and national politicians and their parties but they are not only concealed from the public but worse still converted into distorted narratives for obvious reasons. Hence, a well-informed public/electorate is crucial for a thriving democracy. Therefore, our thinkers, analysts and scholars must constantly update the public with perspectives to make independent and informed choices and decisions. In this article, pertinent questions are asked, which hopefully our public and political class will seriously consider but the public will need guidance on the issues the questions raise. So our independent intellectual class needs to provide the required leadership. But is any intellectual class uncoloured by political, economic, social and cultural ideologies? Indeed, an interesting subject to awaken us. Now, let’s look at some of the distorted narratives our political parties and personalities frequently dish out ~ on March 22, 2021, a new Power Sub-Station was installed at Dimapur, which the State Power Department said will help mitigate Power outrage by at least 40%. Advisor for the Power Department inaugurated the 33/11kv 2×10 MVA Sub-Station at Forest Colony Dimapur, which happened soon after the PDA Government completed three years. Media reports quoted the Advisor: “… the PDA Government has promised the people all-round development and is for the welfare of the people and committed to deliver the goods”, also “Under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio, we have witnessed that development is taking place”. Now, let’s put things into perspective ~ whether this or that Government promises all-round development is irrelevant; what is relevant is: all-round development, people’s welfare and delivery of goods is the moral and constitutional obligation of any Government. So, to turn Government’s job and bounden obligations into a party and personality-centric issue is a distorted narrative. What the Advisor also reportedly said: “… under the leadership of … we have witnessed that development is taking place” is not constitutional but a blatant assertion of personality cult boot-licking behaviour, which does not behove elected representatives of a self-respecting democracy. Moreover, any elected leadership in democracies like ours is obliged to make development happen ~ it’s his/her job; otherwise s/he has no business to sit on the chair. The Advisor then goes on to thank the Power Department (of which he is the head) “for making the dream project a reality”, which is surreal and reveals ignorance of developmental governance in democracies. It is the Power Department’s job to upgrade the necessary infrastructure ~ for which funds are allotted by the Centre and aren’t from the personal pockets of the Department’s ranks and file. And, there is nothing “dream”-like about a Power infrastructure ~ it is the people’s right. This is only one example of distorted narratives but they dominate our political, economic and social spaces ~ relegating the people to sub-citizenship. The imperatives to separate constitutionality from distorted narratives cannot be over-emphasized.