Saturday, June 22, 2024

Unanswered questions

There are probably more questions unanswered than questions asked. For instance, during campaigns to the 18th Lok Sabha elections for Nagaland’s lone seat, our Home Minister was recorded to have made a statement that goes against the very grains of the spirit and the letter of the principle of one-person-one-vote unambiguously laid down in the Constitution. The video went viral and our State Election Commission summoned the Home Minister, which we assume was for an explanation. Next, news and videos of our Home Minister merrily campaigning in Manipur for his party’s candidates went viral. After that we haven’t heard from either our Home Minister or our State Election Commission ~ much less of said summon. Even if the total strength of the local media, supported by the ‘national’ media, embarks on a ‘joint investigation’ in the best traditions of investigative journalism, it is doubtful if we will ever get to hear a word from either the Home Minister or our State Election Commission so we would only be banging our heads on the wall ~ and as we so well know, walls don’t have any answers; they never did. Neither does the wind ~ it only blows the answers. That this matter appears to have been allowed to die a ‘natural’ death is probably a consequence of having an opposition-less-Government, clearly underscoring that the absence of an opposition is an anathema, an aberration to and a perversion of democracy. What is surprising is the silence of the Congress Party, which may not have a single member in our State Legislative Assembly, nevertheless has contested these elections. The scenario is pretty much the same across the country, you may say, but haven’t we always asserted that democracy is in our DNA? For the general public, obviously April 19 has come and gone and have been consigned to the dust-bins of history. This space is too small to list all the unanswered questions of decades ~ thankfully, newspaper archives exists, if anyone is doubtful that here are more questions unanswered than questions asked. The numerous cases in the Kohima Bench of the Gauhati High Court, the reports of some of which Nagaland Page regularly publishes, are also examples of unanswered questions, especially those pertaining to matters of Government appointments, discharges, promotions, compensations, failure to pay pensions, etc. Clearly, despite laid down rules someone has ignored and circumvented them to commit ‘errors’, which are taken to the High Court for justice. Most of these cases against the State Government and its Departments become human rights issues because justice is the basis of human rights as much as human rights are foundational to the principle of justice. Now what remains unanswered is whether those culpable of ignoring and circumventing laid down Government rules are brought to book. It is the job of the High Court to pass its verdict of justice to victims of any Department ignoring and circumventing laid down Government rules but what about the State Government holding the individual(s) responsible and initiating disciplinary measures for such acts of commission and omission? It is, after all, individuals that make and manage a government and individuals that man a Department. So, will this question too remain unanswered, as in the past? How, why and when did this culture of unanswered questions emerge in our society and State? Perhaps, a look into our traditional tribal cultures and structures may throw some light. Perhaps the DNA of our traditional tribal cultures and structures seeped into our parliamentary democracy after statehood, as our elected members were/are Nagas. Can’t run away from our DNA, can we? And, then of course, there is this culture of not feeling the need to answer to anyone ~ so contradictory to the principles of transparency and accountability, the very hallmarks of democracy. There is also this culture of never being and doing wrong ~ so very aligned to the beliefs of super human-dom and/or super race-dom. Recall Manipur, our next door neighbor. Need more be said?