Tuesday, May 28, 2024

It is done

There are talks in town ~ as they are wont to be ~which reveal that there has been so little change in the way elections are perceived and conducted in Nagaland. Here ‘conducted’ doesn’t refer to the Central and State Election Commissions’ conduct of the election process, as mandated by the Constitution but how the voters, the public, the political parties and personalities conduct elections, which basically translates to how they conduct themselves during elections here. There are reports of money and muscles power, show of strength and proxy voting, etc., on Election Day (April 19, 2024) also. This is a sad statement of ourselves and our moral compass because such anti-democratic, unconstitutional and yes criminal activities indicate that we are yet to fully understand and appreciate the essence and ethos of the principle of one-person-one-vote so intrinsic to a vibrant democracy and genuine peace, progress and prosperity. Such undemocratic behaviour also indicates that the future and destiny of our people, our State and our country are hijacked by those who create an un-free environment and indulge in unfair means. True, the fanfare of parliamentary elections nowhere reaches the pitches of State Assembly elections, if at all, nevertheless the importance of parliamentary elections cannot be over-emphasized because laws enacted in Parliament equally affects us as elsewhere in the country. This means though the stakes are different, they are even higher. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to understand this therefore allow those with power ~ money, muscle, etc. ~ to over-ride our conscience and dictate our voting decisions. This underscores that ignorance is dangerous to democracy. Simultaneously, there also seems to be no attempt and efforts made to curb and contain those who author and facilitate, as well as those who indulge in proxy voting, selling their votes and taking money to commit illegal, unconstitutional, criminal and immoral acts of stealing elections. These are the very same elements ~ the payers and the payees ~ that have ruined our people and State. So, our elections get stolen blatantly and there are no brave warriors to fight and defeat these elements ~ thus we make a myth of people choosing their own government. True leadership doesn’t need to garner people’s support by buying votes, flexing muscles, facilitating and encouraging proxy voting and stealing elections. As yet, we don’t know how the results of today’s elections in the State of Nagaland, will pan out but whatever the results, election wrong-doings must be acknowledged and the guilty taken to task ~ otherwise, these wrong-doings will always cast a long and ineffaceable shadow on the people and State of Nagaland. And, future generations will pay for it. Of course, power and all its concomitants are extremely desirable and irresistible ergo there are those who sell their souls to attain and retain power but any sale connotes a price. In this instance, the price is paid by the people and future generations. If our people are unaware or ignorant of this, then something is direly and deeply wrong with our understanding of democracy ~ in fact, with the entirety of our value-system and moral compass. Is it then not surprising that we falter and fail at the most severe times and serious tests of our lives, including our actions of selecting our governments ~ much like the soil of our hills that cravenly surrender to and collapse under the unrelenting Monsoon rains? Elections are so much more than a ritual of democracy ~ they are a test and a reflection of our integrity and our character. This is something that is imperative for our political, social, traditional, cultural, economic, religious and educational leadership to know unambiguously and educate our people. But if they are ignorant and/or indifferent about this, then they and we, the people, must question the credibility of their leadership roles and positions. It is never enough for leaders to adhere only to the letter of leadership. It is more important that leadership adheres to the spirit ~ and that spirit is rooted in prescience, value-system and moral compass, without which democracy has no future. We will know the consequences of our participation in the 18th Lok Sabha elections soon enough. So, for the next five years, it is done ~ we are done.