Nothing original


We, the people who lived through the second part of the 20th century and the initial decade of the 21st century, have witnessed the sudden rise and equally sudden denouement of all the intellectual strife and creative potential. In the past there was a time when a sort of renaissance set in our society. Diverse streams of thought, in consonance with the epoch-making world revolutions of the time, came into contact when enthusiastic Naga intellectuals and creative artists, conversant with the latest changes in human mind, started a discourse that enunciated iconoclastic ideas. But slowly over the years decadence in minds started when most of the prominent minds became a part of the state-sponsored version of the new awakening and they became cogs in the propaganda machinery. They prided in having close links with the highest echelons in the government and ruled the roost, and those who maintained a respectable distance from intellectual dishonesty were neglected and often pitied upon for being deprived of the prizes, scholarships, honours and other privileges like admission of children to job, MBBS, engineering, etc. Indeed today when discourse on all serious issues of thought has come to a dead halt, it sounds unbelievable that Naga youths in the past could defy coercion and attain heights in intellectual spheres. Yes, it is highly painful to note that today, because of several historical reasons, mediocrity, humbuggery and different hollow fads have inundated all aspects of life. Language that was expected to create thought has become in its excessive usage, a medium of spreading ignorance. All cultural and academic institutions are serving as breeding grounds of the hackneyed and clichéd ideas that aim at stagnation and silencing fresh enquiry and debate. Electronic media has nothing to offer but an endless repetition of nonsense. Can one think of anything meaningful in this all-pervading ambience of meaninglessness? Discussions, symposia and debates organized everywhere by expending huge money in terms of fees to the so called scholars are definitely more frequent than in the past, but the speakers, most often with higher qualifications, unabashedly say what has been said millions of times or plagiarize from books without acknowledgement. The institutions also prefer to invite ignorant people as the organizers are equally uninformed about the subjects that they choose for their programmes. The result is a suffocating repetition of the shibboleth and the trite. Even the unconcerned common audience hate the programmes and consider it as something nonsensical and gibberish. The blue-eyed participants never bother to be serious because they know how to make their way by having “the terms and conditions mutually agreed upon” with the producers/organizers. This day-by-day increasing vulgarization of all issues of learning seems to have no end. The number of poets and writers is also ominously multiplying and we have publications galore. Since critical scrutiny/understanding of literature is a thing of past and comparative study of literature is seen as an anathema to versification, our poets and writers are contented with their frenzied lust for producing books by repeating, plagiarizing and reproducing. As a corollary, the super abundance of poetry in our time is not surprising. And there is no dearth of unscrupulous scholars who make money by writing prefaces to the glut. Some of our friends have made good business by encouraging this kind of gratuitous printed material. The situation is more appalling when even ‘intellectuals’ have made it a norm to plagiarize from old forgotten volumes, websites and inaccessible journals. A large number of Ph.D and M.Phil dissertations and books authored/ edited by some are blatant cases of copying and as such sufficient reason for the termination of their “authors” from service if they did so in a sane society. But we have ultimately acquiesced in living in insanity and speaking a little truth is easily ignored as insanity. Wallowing in mediocrity and vulgarity has become a second nature of the “educated” populace of our time.