Fortunately, Nagaland voted for the Lok Sabha elections in the first phase on April 11. No doubt, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has factored in the multiplicity of considerations for selection of constituencies across the country for each of the seven phases of elections to the 17th Lok Sabha and because we were selected in the first phase, we are done with it. And so, much as the voting “pattern” of elections in Nagaland ~ whether to the Lok Sabha or the state Assembly ~ this time too, the same “pattern” followed to a T. Low turn-outs but high percentage of voting ~ we were never good at maths, were we? Moreover, we have our own kind of maths ~ that which we can calculate only with the rupees; other than that maths have no meaning for us. We want money and all the good things in life without working, don’t we? Our “taxes” and “donations” are testament to that. Our penchant for profits overnight is another ~ never mind the quality and quantity of our goods and services. But then we have also conveniently shed our value-systems, didn’t we? So, we had the Deputy Chief Minister allegedly walking into the election booth as if he owns the place and does as he pleases ~ knowing fully-well that none will stop him and he can always claim that videos/photos, etc., are fake. Who really wants to invite the wrath of a powerful man? We have reposed so much power on our politicians that they think nothing of abusing that power to suppress and silence the people. In fact, we are made to believe that the power we have reposed on our politicians ~ through our sold votes ~ are their passport to repress, suppress and silence the people. But this isn’t democracy; this isn’t what our Constitution Fathers had in mind ~ and not what the crusaders of democracy had in mind. And much the same, when our forefathers laid down the foundations of Naga traditional villages and championed the customary laws, inarguably they never meant for leaders of Naga villages, clans and tribes, who were bequeathed the sole custodianship of Customary laws, to market Naga names. These are definitely difficult days to get by and power makes it convenient to market not only the names but also the people in so many different ways ~ the state of affairs in the state of Nagaland perfectly epitomizes that. Clearly, as a society, we have no nodding acquaintance with the kind of democracy imposed on us therefore we have no compunctions to distort it. And even if we did, the principles and values intrinsic to it are alien to us. However we are smart enough to realize that a very potent power can be derived from this kind of democracy ~ and that is the only thing that matters to us, or rather to the people who are “empowered” to derive it. It is pretty much the same as far as our adopted religion is concerned too. This religion is organized to acquire and wield power. The combination of an alien system of government and as alien religion has been the Apple we bit into with much relish ~ and consider this with the added blend of the organic in us, which is anything but perfect or even ideal, much as we would like to romanticize our hoary past. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if the man, who spent the maximum amount of money power, becomes Nagaland’s next representative to the Lok Sabha, as much as it doesn’t surprise anyone that the Church talks of “Clean Elections” but remains silent when the elections are anything but clean. Like attracts ~ so does power. Power centres in a not-fully-emerged society like ours are incestuous and marginalizes the most critical component of democracy ~ the people. This becomes most perceptible during elections. That the people become party to this incest and foster our own marginalization is our tragedy. But is it also our destiny? That would depend on how we perceive Christ crucifixion and His resurrection. Of course, the Good Friday and Easter Sunday weekend is a great break for us ~ never mind our non-existent work culture. But seriously do Christ crucifixion and His resurrection mean anything to us? If so, why are we lost in a labyrinth and show no desire to be found? Why are we so impervious to the power of the Cross?