Much have happened in 2019 ~ but then much have happened in all the years, decades and centuries that went by. Particularly in 2019, the events that unfolded have left a bitter taste in the mouth because of the deterioration of politics in India, and indeed elsewhere across the globe, the economic downturn especially in India, attempts to tear apart the social fabric of the country ~ which were beautifully sewn together by our freedom fighters, escalated brutality of rapes and other crimes against women, children and other vulnerable sections of society, increased ambiguous quality of education and healthcare, unprecedented rate of unemployment, demise of small enterprises due to demonetization and GST, farmers, students and young people’s suicides, attempts to “nationalize” universities, corruption that have brought down a number of our banks, CAB/CAA and the NRC ~ the list isn’t exhausted. However, despite them all, the last couple of months of 2019 saw the silver lining on the dark clouds that hovers over us ~ albeit in the form of protests across the country against the CAB/CAA and the NRC. Since 2014, it looked like the face and future of India was set to change irreversibly but if seeds of success are sown in failures, so are seeds of decline sown in successes. The BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre went ballistic over their enthusiasm to Hindutva-ise India and also ushered in a muddled kind of an economic system that favoured colossal corporations disregarding the livelihood and survival of the humblest of citizens ~ therein sowed the seeds of discontent. After it regained power in 2019, it hastily revoked Article 370 and enacted the CAA and determined to implement NRC. Seeing the way the country was becoming unrecognizable and moving towards as undesirable direction ~ unsurprisingly, citizens protested, and continue to do so, because the Constitution’s very essence and ethos are being trampled upon wantonly. Clearly, citizens are in no moods to allow a political party’s agenda and ideology over-ride the Constitution. This prioritization has re-awakened citizens to the adage that price of freedom, democracy and secularism is eternal vigilance. This re-awakening is also palpable here in Nagaland ~ although for the moment it is not as perceptible as in other parts of the country due to the festive season. But this reawakening will become more perceptible here because there is mounting dismay and frustration at the state Government standing still ~ consequently bringing Nagaland to a standstill. Our state Government has its own list of “achievements” however most of them are not fully realized to change the realities of our people. Even so, despite our State Government, our people’s efforts to change our realities need to be accentuated. These efforts are not along the lines of the Task Force of Music and Arts and other such state Government “entrepruenial projects” but individual and group efforts, outside the Government system, that are slowly but surely changing Nagaland’s political, economic, social and cultural profile. In the main, most of these individuals and groups are unheard, unknown and unheralded but they still persist ~ and it is them we must salute because they keep the un-oiled wheels of Nagaland rolling. It is them, who bring hope for us to look forward to another day, and another year. Today the award-and-felicitation culture is epidemic and it is normally those in constant public gaze ~ whether in conventional media or social media ~ that are this culture’s beneficiaries, but whether they have contributed more and are more deserving than the unheard, unknown and unheralded is debatable. My guess is that the One Up Above sees all and rewards. Besides, the individual rewards, the people and state of Nagaland too get rewarded in the process. We must always remember these efforts although we may not know what they are and the people behind them because they keep our hope alive to look towards tomorrow, the New Year and the years that would follow. The other factor that would make a huge difference to keep hope alive is for our state Government ~ indeed, all our political, public and church leaders, as also our bureaucrats ~ is for them to follow the leadership of the people because we have seen particularly in 2019 how miserable our political, public, church and bureaucratic leadership failed us. Hope revived in the reawakening of citizens ~ now it is for our political, public, church and bureaucratic leadership to awake and instill more hope in the people.