Sunday, July 25, 2021


Beliefs, political, economic, cultural, social and religious ideologies, ethics or moral compasses, biases, prejudices, bigotries, educational history, family ethos and environment, and several other factors make the persona of leaders at all levels, which greatly impact the country and beyond. In fact, human history is an inter-play of the kaleidoscopic mosaic of the personalities, preferences, pet peeves and pleasures ~ therefore, the priorities ~ of leaders. This inter-play has produced both positive and negative consequences evident in the oscillation of progressive strides and regressive lapses of countries and the global society throughout human history. Needless to go even as back as Hitler ~ the current pandemic is an example of leaders’ signatures on countries, which is spilling over to global stage. To cite a few instances, in the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen the United States and Brazil’s handling of the pandemic on one side and of New Zealand and Taiwan on the other side ~ in between were some European countries including UK, India, South Korea, etc. Last year, some countries learnt the hard way and made amends hence spared themselves of a severe second wave. India, which had done comparatively well in the first wave, unfortunately didn’t learn ~ either from its own mistakes or that of other countries ~ therefore we are under a severe second wave though numbers of infection and death are decreasing comparably in the past week or so. Besides the healthcare sector, India’s biggest weakness of the lack of social safety net-works stood starkly exposed since last year belying all claims of the country’s real development only since 2014. The fact is genuine sustained and sustainable development has always been India’s weak and sore spot, which has much to do with her leaders’ personalities and perspectives ~ besides numerous other historical, cultural, social and religious factors. Still, even looking at the United States before and after the change of leadership, Brazil and India ~ the three countries that have seen the highest rates of infection and deaths in the world till now ~ vis-à-vis leadership, there are serious life lessons to be learnt. It appears that over-confidence rooted in ignorance, arrogance and sense of cultural superiority point to regress in handling the pandemic in the case of India. Ultimately, each country’s handling of the pandemic underscores the beliefs, political, economic, cultural, social and religious ideologies, ethics or moral compass, biases, prejudices, bigotry, educational history, family ethos and environment, etc., of leaders. This is a factor the average ordinary citizen hardly pauses to mull over but the pandemic holds lessons for the citizen, the voter, too ~ not only leaders. In Nagaland, factors such as the family, clan, tribe, village, range, district, political party, money, etc., are normally the primary considerations in choosing leaders ~ whether to the Parliament, Assembly, Village Councils, Village Development Boards including Committees under communitization, etc., as also to various tribal, social, religious, women and student non-governmental organizations. We have always prioritized family, clan, tribe, village, range, district, political party, etc. over merit and the greater good of the greatest number of people, which denote that our survival and life and living in dignity, much less democracy and development, are secondary to us. And then we have the audacity to demand for democracy and development, rights, liberties, justice, food and employment, etc. We are asking for the impossible from leaders, who have not the least bit idea of these requirements of democracy, of leadership, of social contracts in the form of constitutional provisions. The central theme of the G-7 Summit at Cromwell, UK, is around building back greener, building back fairer and building back more equal. The objectives are laudable but not the most novel or original. They date back to post-War aspirations. The question is how much leaders at various levels cherish these objectives, legislate policies and implement measures thereof to attain them. More significantly, how much do individuals in functional democracies across the globe identify and embrace these objectives to dignify their own lives and livelihood by insisting on our leaders to act? No leader has been born ~ or will ever be born ~ in a vacuum therefore it is imperative for voters to place leaders in perspectives of his/her historical, ideological, political, economic, social, cultural and religious environment that determines his/her personality, preferences, pet peeves and pleasures ~ therefore, priorities. Surely the voter must know that no banana has ever come out of an apple tree?