There are several perceptions and perspectives about our Statehood nonetheless the State of Nagaland
is our home ~ however incomplete, however imperfect. This State of Nagaland may have been birthed out of political compulsions but that does not preclude our development imperatives. And, irrespective of the characteristics of nations/states, they are meant to be for, of and by the people. Therefore, Nagaland is what we have made it and it will be what we will make it. The essence of this thinking was largely what propelled our people in the early days of Statehood to build ~ with commitment and dedication ~ a bamboo hut to live in, take refuge in and call it home. Slowly, the bamboo hut was complemented with other infrastructures however modest and whatever was possible at that time in what were popularly known as Outposts. People, with whatever level of formal education then, strove to make Nagaland workable. There was a sense of collective ownership of dreams, desires, aspirations and ambitions of a better place/home for our children based on values and principles ~ perhaps long vanished and now laying lifeless like the dead days of the past. So, in those days, for Government employees and their families, their places of postings became their homes ~ more than their own villages ~ so rarely they left their places of postings. For them, their brief was clear ~ they were entrusted to hold the fort and they didn’t abuse that trust ~ notwithstanding few rotten apples. Besides Government servants, Pastors and people outside the Government system from without and without Nagaland often doubled up as teachers and in numerous other vocations because the need was felt. They too embraced the same sense of collective ownership of dreams, desires, aspirations and ambitions, as much as these places. Today several of these places have become Sub-Divisional and District headquarters ~ some of them full-fledged towns with municipal committees and councils. Somebody had to sow the seed and nurture it ~ our predecessors did just that therefore today we are online with the rest of the globe. Though undeniably there are vast areas in Nagaland that still live in the early Statehood days ~ well, because we have let them remain there. Now, juxtapose the above with our State Government’s decision to monitor the attendance of Heads of Offices (HoOs) in districts daily, as our Chief Secretary stated on July 8 last. Apparently, several HoOs in the districts are/were absent from station without prior permission, which obviously affect functioning of public offices. So now the State Level War Room is monitoring district officers’ attendance because “public servants play a vital role in delivery of critical services which ameliorate the hardships of the general public during the time of pandemic” therefore “As such the active participation of district Head of Offices and other sub-ordinate officers/staffs of various Government Departments is very essential. Government servants also augment the availability of human resources in the district level which can be utilised in the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the State” ~ all this cannot be over-emphasized. But senior Government officials need to be told/reminded this? Apparently they do, so Administrative Heads of Departments are entrusted to ensure that HoOs in all districts attend office and not leave station without prior permission from competent authority. The situation apparently is bad ergo directives were issued to monitor attendance of HoOs daily through “Whatsapp groups or other electronic means”. The HoOs in turn are directed to ensure their subordinate officers and staff’s attendance in their own offices and in various parts of the district as per prevailing SOPs and regularly monitor and take action against delinquent officers/staff. AHoDs are also required to monitor action taken by HoDs on a fortnightly basis. Worse still, the Chief Secretary “warned of strict disciplinary action as per the provisions of the law and applicable Conduct Rules including suspension against any officer/staff found absenting from work without prior permission”. Unbelievable that “strict action” hasn’t been taken already. Yea gods, what could be worse, especially in these pandemic times? How low can we descend? What happened to us? What our predecessors have built is being destroyed ~ so, what are we bequeathing to our children? What are Government employees’ perceptions and perspectives of their responsibilities? Many more questions need to be asked and answered. Indubitably, time to reflect on why we are going so astray. But who will initiate this reflection?