Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The coming change

In the last elections to the Nagaland State Assembly, one of our Chief Minister’s major slogans was “Change is coming” ~ perhaps not in the way he meant or envisaged or imagined but he was right, change is coming. In fact, some of it has already come. Considering the events since our last Assembly elections on February 27, 2018, this slogan is almost prophetic but there is really nothing prophetic about change ~ either coming or going. Change happen, change comes or goes, whether anyone says, prophesizes, sloganeers or promises. Change is a fact of life ~ change is the very nature of Nature. Much of the economic, political, social and cultural change were attributed to the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 18th century, because it changed the entire world from the way people think, where they work and social structures. It transformed business, economics, society and politics. These shifts had major effects on the world and continue to shape it today. But the Industrial Revolution ~ the process of change from an agrarian and handicraft economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing ~ occurred because of the change of thinking, which can happen only in the human mind. This indicates that the human mind is constantly ideating to improve conditions and situations of human life. So, yes change will come and keep on coming because the human mind doesn’t stop ideating. However, besides the Industrial Revolution, historical events ~ the two World Wars, the Great Plague, the Spanish Flu, revolutions in several countries, etc., ~ also wrought great changes, which further added to the body of ideating. Hence today, we live in a world totally different even from the one of 30 years ago. For over a year, the Coronavirus pandemic is contributing to more ideating and effecting changes, which none of us foresaw. Now, we really don’t know whether our Chief Minister foresaw these Coronavirus changes and was talking about them in 2018. So, the moot point is whether he had prepared for whatever coming of changes he was talking about ~ in political, economic, social, cultural and infrastructural terms. This is crucial because we haven’t seen the kind of change we dream about since the last 50 years or so ~ of course, nothing really too ambitious about the change we dream of, just the changes promised by the Constitution, a written document on which all elected representatives to the Parliament and Assemblies swear on. If our elected representatives effect these changes, the people will make the rest of change come swiftly and we can make a revolution of our own, politically, economically, socially, culturally, technologically and in every other sphere. The Coronavirus pandemic and the wretchedness it has brought about are churning the hearts and minds of the people so change is inevitable. Whether the man in the street is ready or not for them, he will accept and adjust to these changes, as he has always done throughout history. But what about the man in his palace? The same history of the man in the street has also happened to the palaces that colonized, imperialized and reigned over more than half the world. The surviving ones are reduced to ceremonial roles ~ that too because they saw the coming change and they were powerless to build fortifications to prevent the tides of change drowning them, so they adapted to change. For those in any category of political power, survival is vital and the ability to survive is also their strength ~ that is why they are in the business of wielding power. But, as history is witness, change is no respecter of power’s survival and the forces of change are greater than power’s ability to survive. History is also witness to suppression of change, which is still happening in several countries and regions. Now, as our Chief Minister appears to be privy to change coming, is he ready to accept and adapt to whatever this change brings or building fortifications? More importantly, will this change, in whatever form or shape, be allowed entry into Nagaland without ILP, RT-PCR, TrueNat and RAT tests at our entry points and 7-14 days of quarantine? What about us ~ like the people coming from outside, would we also feel that change coming from outside is inadvisable? Also, would we suppress the change from within us on the grounds they go against the grain of our culture, traditions, religion, Article 371 (A), etc?