Saturday, September 25, 2021

We chose life

To shut down our print edition from March 26, 2020 wasn’t an easy decision. We had to because the world was rapidly moving into a time and space unknown to us hitherto. The global Coronavirus pandemic hit us right in the eye and we too were caught in an unimagined and unimaginable situation. Although the print edition of Nagaland Page was suspended more than three months ago, we continued to serve online through our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to the best of our ability and we continue to be amazed at the response of our decades’ old loyal readers and our increasing new readers. Technology has certainly enabled us to reach a wider readership of all ages across the state and the globe. However, despite the increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases in Nagaland we resume our print edition from today because of the fervent demand for our print edition, especially from those without access to technology and those who know the special feeling of holding a newspaper’s hard copy. True, a number of Nagaland newspapers had resumed their print editions more than a month ago ~ however Nagaland Page couldn’t because we had our own set of issues to resolve. Moreover, we felt it was better to err on the side of caution. Besides, we felt that if ever there is a time for “your money or you life” situation, it was at this time of the pandemic. So, we opted for life. Now we are confident to resume our print edition ~ although, depending on the pandemic situation and Government decisions, we may suspend our print edition in the next few months also. That’s the reality not only of the pandemic but also of life ~ none can confidently assert with authority what tomorrow will bring. And life is having its say even more assertively during this pandemic. So, despite the threats of the virus coming closer home, we have decided to take a calculated risk ~ with the rider that we will take steps backward, if and when necessary, because human life is more precious than all of Solomon’s Gold. Ergo, we resume our print edition from today with fewer pages because resources are scarce, especially now that Guwahati ~ our main source of supply ~ is in complete lockdown for the next couple of weeks. Alas, Nagaland’s dependence on our neighbouring state cannot be over emphasized. The pandemic has brought home one too many truths about Nagaland’s reality and our overly dependent existence. Much as one would like to state that our Government must take responsibility, it would be an exercise in futility because responsibility is something that seems to be an alien concept to our Government ~ the past three months or so have underscored that in numerous ways. But we have also not held our Government responsible for so many things for decades, which of course isn’t a license for our Government to be irreverent and irresponsible towards its constitutional obligations and irresponsive to the people’s needs. One isn’t confident that the various shades of our electoral political history will not repeat itself over and over again despite the changes the pandemic have already wrought in our lives. That is one of the disturbing aspects of our people’s characteristics that make our reality. Be that as it may, Nagaland Page is a small endeavour to uphold the rights of speech, expression and information guaranteed under our Constitution and although much dissatisfaction have been expressed about Nagaland newspapers’ shortcomings, we will plod on ~ only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Besides, there is no reason for Nagaland newspapers to mould ourselves according to any group or individual’s image. In any case, we don’t need to for obvious reasons. Anywhere across the globe, there will always be people who believe that they know better about how the media should function but once in the driver’s seat their perspicacity too would be different. The point is that the print media in Nagaland has been in existence since the 1930s and warts and all, we carry on. Moreover, the print media in Nagaland is not a confusion of weasels that need to be boxed and herded. Therefore, please bear with Nagaland Page ~ indeed all Nagaland newspapers ~ for the individual decisions we make for reasons best known to us. After all is said and done, one must confess that it’s great to be back on print once again.