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Honesty, Corruption: Vizol-Hokishe era and 2023

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, MARCH 7: This piece can be taken as a humour or a piece that offers some lessons and also provokes angry reactions.
Nagaland scripts history on swearing-in day. Salhoutuonuo Kruse, Western Angami NDPP legislator breaks the male bastion, makes history by becoming first woman legislator and also first woman Minister in Nagaland.
72-year-old Neiphiu Rio storms back to power as he was sworn for a record 5th term.
The first round goes to Rio for the electoral win but the second round to some of us, who have been batting for a firm ‘No’ to the so-called opposition-less Government.
If the decision to confine the Ministry making only to BJP and NDPP was Amit Shah’s, he needs to be congratulated and also thanked. The so-called opposition-less dispensation did little to provide governance and also help expedite the peace talks.
Instead they ended up achieving the opposite in both the cases. In terms of development, Eastern Nagaland thought it is better to move away and for Solution, the less said, the better. Now the Centre is understandably still keen to resolve the Naga issue.
The real question is, what would the new Assembly and the new Government want. The craze and hurry displayed even by parties such as LJP (Ram Vilas) to join the Ministry shows everybody is keen now for a bigger slice of the cake ~ come what may.
Understandably, all candidates and parties have spent huge amounts and it is the natural desire of men (and also women this time) to ‘recover’ the losses. “Ki koribo na?” is a helpless cry plainly visible on the face of all legislators and the ‘big brotherly sponsor’.
Before we go into the corruption pandemic, it may be worth sharing an Indian folk parable here. This story recently figured in the Supreme Court and was raised by noted Counsel Harish Salve.
The story goes ~ during the ‘honest era’ a farmer finds a pot full of gold coins in a land he was tilling. He rushes to the land owner and tells him the pot “belongs to you as it was found in your land and my job is only to grow crops and fruits.” The land owner ~ also honest ~ says the pot should be taken by the farmer because it’s God’s wish that he found it.
Now the story moves to the modern era (Kalyug as Hindus say). The farmer now says the pot “belongs to me because I found it”. The new era land owner counters: “How come? It’s mine, the land belongs to me.”
Does this surmise the difference between the Hokishe-Vizol era of Nagaland politics and the later stage? In the 1990s, Late Hokishe Sema used to say: “Often I think I was not prepared for this generation of politics. I just do not have enough money to play games others are playing.”
Almost on a similar line, Vizol used to say, “We never came to politics or contested elections to make money.” Can the present day leaders say this?
What would the honourable politicians of 2023 and of course 2018 (experience) tell us about the pot of gold coins and the land owner’s tale? Can you guess?
My guess will be ~ firstly the farmer will pick up the pot and secretly run away from the land owner. He could even say, “My father-in-law expired, I have to go to his village.”
What would the land owner tell the media when confronted? Scared of ED raids he would simply deny that the pot ever existed in his land.
But most interestingly, what would the farmer say if he is confronted by the media after some years when he has become a rich entrepreneur himself, “I am too busy. I have to go the neighbourhood school to give away Teachers and Students awards for honesty.”
The second chance could be ~ he will tell his friends. “Well, I have not much advice for you all. The best job in this world is to play facilitator. I am trying to help establish a Facilitator Forum and the membership is for 5 years.”
Now, media persons, if asked to sum up his side of the story on gold coins, the pot and contemporary Nagaland could easily say ~ once a thief always a thief.
Wrap up
Whom should we call a model politician?
Someone who is detached from ideology and principles, intolerant of criticism, hungry for money and more money, fond of gimmicks and spins and eager to be assured about the ‘continuation’ in corridors of power. Occasionally he could be contemptuous of the media and he will prefer sycophancy.
Over to the new Government and new legislators. Good Luck.