Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Faux pas & umbrage

So a few days ago, a television Anchor says: “Don’t worry, you are in Nagaland, electricity goes off even in India”, during a talk show, in which the Nagaland DG (Border Affairs) was a participant and had lost connection for a while due to power failure. The television Anchor apologized for the ‘slip of tongue’ and said he meant to say Delhi, not India. As usual the faux pas didn’t go down well with netizens. The twitterrati in Nagaland gleefully protested to underscore that even major media professionals need geography class ~ another invited the said Anchor to Nagaland to taste our culture, hospitality and beautiful landscape and make memories, etc. But actually what was all that noise about? A media person makes a mistake ~ or, maybe is genuinely ignorant about the geographical location of Nagaland or any place in India or elsewhere ~ so what? Possibly a lot of us couldn’t even find our way to Longkhim-Chare. Yes, we have had to undergo racism and other forms of bigotry because of various reasons but we have also heaped the same unto others, especially within the State. So, it is a matter of conjecture whether some netizens and twitterrati’s indignation at the Anchor faux pas was more because of ‘geographical’ reasons or because the nation could see the Power situation live on television, even if for a few seconds ~ therefore because of infrastructure developmental issues, which inevitably has political connotations. Moreover, isn’t it time we stopped over-playing our victim and getting offended cards and grow up particularly because our entire social, cultural, political and economic universe is based on tribalism? Too bad one or some media professional(s) or a lot of people in the rest of the country don’t know a thing about Nagaland or the Northeast ~ it’s their problem, not ours. And we shouldn’t make it our problem ~ much less an issue out of it. There are still people here who ask: “When are you going to India?”, “why are you going to India?”, “when you go to India, tell them …” It’s a figure of speech for us but if people from the rest of the country hear us speaking thus, what would be their reaction(s)? It is likely that people from the peripheries of huge countries face similar issues. Alas, geography seems to be a weak point of citizens of all countries. Besides, taking umbrage at everything someone says, does or thinks seems to imply not only immaturity but also intolerance of people’s human imperfections; as if we have none. For heaven’s sake we are in the middle of a pandemic ~ let’s focus on that. Furthermore, because we underscore our uniqueness so unambiguously that we shouldn’t fault the laity for being confused about our nationality and nation ~ though one expects better from media person. But media persons are also not infallibly all-knowing. Then there is this ‘little’ developmental issue, which cannot be cloaked by our culture, hospitality and beautiful landscapes ~ they were there for centuries and are the core of our being, which have nothing to do with our infrastructure development issues, or the lack of it so nothing to do with any Government either. Yes, Power disruptions happen in any part of the country and across the globe due to various factors but the point is because Nagaland is a State of the Indian Union, how well has the people of this State been served vis-à-vis constitutional provisions particularly in terms of right to life, employment, food, etc., which entails the totality of all infrastructure and human development? One thing always leads to another and a television Anchor’s error now leads us to painful political and economic ~ in fact, existential ~ questions. On the other hand, since Nagaland is the 16th State of Indian Union, it is actually good that we invite such media professional to see for themselves exactly how this State is faring in terms of human development while they enjoy our culture, hospitality and beautiful landscapes and make memories. It would serve us better if they come here and make several kinds of memories ~ therefore netizens and the twitterati here must now focus on facilitating such professionals’ visit to Nagaland. Those outside the world of social media would also welcome such visits because they too have their stories to tell and help visitors make a different array of memories ~ ones pertaining to Nagaland’s SDG goals and performance.