Saturday, April 17, 2021
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Now Walk the Road

‘WALK THE TALK’, this striking catchphrase has run through political vein of state politics since inception of statehood, more so with regional party in ruling. The talk was and is Naga problem but essentially a desired solution which has been phrased and re-phrased by successive state government in many decorated words from UDF’s ‘for Naga independence’ to NPC’s ‘solution not election’ to DAN’s ‘active facilitator – pave the way” and currently PDA’s ‘election for solution’. Seen from other prism we also observed reincarnation of hitherto branded hostile or puppet government of NNO, UDF, NNDP & Congress to a hospitable or pampered government of NPF-led DAN and NDPP-led PDA of the day and not forgetting U-turn in ‘pro-Naga regional party versus anti-Naga national party’ considering amusing present ground reality.
If not for Framework Agreement signed over 36 months ago the ‘walk the talk’ may still have some relevance worth walking extra mile even to see endpoint. But for the fact Framework is done, finished on 3rd August 2015 with broad principles unilaterally agreed, thereafter GOI now and then clarifying arisen confusion that nowhere in the agreement is mentioned sovereignty or integration, where is the logic for state government jumping into a settled ground now and cry integration? This way if one is to rescreen whole scene of “Walk the Talk” in reverse order or comparative order one will only conclude the entire show is only ‘Talk the Talk’ or doubletalk. Perhaps the starting note sounds skeptical but the background is reflected to illustrate swing role played by successive government and more importantly to pinpoint the oddity and lost priority of our constitutionally elected government.
Nagaland is problem state and that problem is of Naga problem. Gone too deep into it state government for few decades now seems to have willfully forgone all other confronting problems in the State despite urgent need for serious concern and concentration. No doubt the irksome unsolved Naga problem has become so overwhelming it has painfully impacted upon normal life of many Naga community scattered everywhere. Still then state government in biting more than can chew, has unjustifiably sacrificed the genuine interest of State and basic needs of her citizens beyond acceptable limit. Nagaland statehood is not a fixed milestone on the road to simply indicate the length and distance traversed or a signboard at crossroads; rather she is the road along which comes progress, development, employment, public distribution system, public harmony, security and all those lollipops-like promises written over and over in party manifesto before election and common minimum program after election. If statehood should be treated as fixed milestone, neighboring states like Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram should be many miles behind us but they have impressively overtaken us in many fields. Nagaland must move on with others or like others.
Whether State has actually ‘walked the talk’ or simply ‘talked the talk’ she has undeniably invested many years, huge financial resources and large human forces beyond calculation. State government extending logistic backup though non-state actor in negotiation process is indeed laudable but too much too long to the point of seemingly getting obsessed or suspiciously looking for perfect alibi to pocket public fund to the fullest meantime is totally offensive. We did not know and we do not know even now, how long it will take to bring a solution or implement it but we certainly know elected government goes for five years only or even less and same five years repeated again and again is actually becoming complete electoral mockery and wastage.
Every candidate, whether win or loss as well as voters know that beside large scale cash politics and some for party principle or development or employment only few settle votes for other issues during election. Nevertheless, public at large expect elected member and incoming government to bring home development, employment and other public benefits. Facilitating of present nature, I repeat ‘of present nature’ at irrecoverable expense of public welfare is never pre or during election commitment of individual candidate(s) or choice of representative by constituency. In other words it is never constituency mandate but post election suo moto arrangement and decision of elected government and unfortunately the apathy and absence of critical public give un-mandated legitimacy to government to act in order of present nature.
Now main point of concern; when will government actually walk the road to facilitate swelling problems in the state with same heart & soul, time, labor and resources? Wonder how much money is drained, how many people are dragged into it, how many non stakeholders are accommodated, how many times CSO/pubic consultation level after level is called, how many times Assembly/alliance/party/cabinet etc resolution is adopted, how much publicity is created, how many trips abroad and to Delhi and so on. Voice unheard down the corridor of power, we are passing through perhaps beyond recovery point: alarming rise and fall of personal and public asset respectively, ever spreading cancerous corruption from top to bottom, skyrocketing election expense, mushrooming unemployment amongst educated & qualified, lifeline roads turning into menacing potholes and landslide zones, spider hatched-like illegal immigrants pouring in, potentiality of splitting existing state into Frontier Nagaland, to name the worst few. Is government honestly concerned with these burning issues? If so, government should be convening facilitating-like Assembly sessions, cabinet & advisors, parliamentarians meetings, inviting one party & all party, CSOs/Hohos & public for consultations without excuses.
We are nobody to advise government if things are going well but we are somebody who will question when government blatantly ignores its priority and constitutional obligation. Precisely electorates elect government to accomplish set of priorities and definitely not for wasting precious time and strength looking for something akin to missing goose in wild bush. Maybe not the best of solution (1960) yet public endured many trials during first four decades, maybe with best of solution after long wait of next two decades or even beyond meantime pushing development, employment, corruption, illegal immigrant etc issues to the back row, how far can public endurance go? How far can elected government talk the talk? High time government ‘walk the road’ even if dusty or mud-sliding.
Vaprumu Demo
Upper Agri Kohima

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