Time to speak and act

By: Kawoto Sheqi, New Minister Hill, Kohima (A concerned Naga Youth)
In a democratic set-up everyone is free to form an association or group, provided it is in conformity with the defined laws of that given society or state. Freedom of speech & expression & a free media are essential components towards the growth of a vibrant & liberal society. No society or state can really progress or develop when there exist threats, coercion & unchecked corruption.
Diversity of opinions & ideas is a vital trend since it allows us to view & understand things or issues from different & wider perspectives. According to sociologists, conflict/diverse opinions is necessary for resolving social issues & healthy for social growth & cohesiveness. But only to the extent that conflict/diverse opinions is of constructive & positive application for social growth.
In the present context of our state, efforts by the concerned citizens to highlight & express their views on different problems plaguing our society have met with lots of criticisms & opposition, even to the extent of a threat from some quarters. Where have we landed today? Is this mess our own creation or by the others? Aren’t we living in our own land that we are not even allowed to sell our own home-made products & goods in our own land. Why is some section trying to impose restrictions on our right to freedom of speech & expression, right to livelihood,& even right to life? Should we fight for two types of independence-political independence from outsiders & economic independence from our own brothers? Aren’t we free to form an association or group in our own state & land in a democratic way to safeguard our rights & interests?
Inspite of being burdened with lots of issues & problems we have been very accommodating & tolerant for the sake of the political process & for the noble cause of the common Naga brotherhood & freedom. Yet ‘gratitude’ is not the word we hear in return. No is concerned about thousands of our youths being unemployed, no one/NGO seem to be bothered about the cries of the common people for justice. In the backdrop of this, concerted efforts by the well-informed citizens in forming the pro-peoples forums like ACAUT is a welcome step & should be encouraged & supported by one & all.
History has shown that despots/tyrants were deposed; institutions which turned against the common welfare of the people, institutions which failed to rise up to the occasion to safeguard the peoples aspirations were discarded. Leaders without vision were replaced. Let’s learn from history. Let’s remember that there can be real peace & reconciliation only when we learn to respect & understand each other-big or small tribes, rich or poor, man or woman. Instead of trying to impose one’s will upon the others, diverse views must be thoroughly analyzed & channelized towards the positive effect.
The stance of the Naga Hoho vis-à-vis the Nagaland Tribes Council[NTC] in dubbing the latter as “ premature….not appropriate…”[Ref.02/10/2013,local dailies] rather reflects the image of the former in the way it chose to portray the latter. Regarding this matter, lets ponder on some following points:
1. There is a forum by the name United Naga Council[UNC],a body encompassed of  South Naga tribes under the Manipur state.
2. There is a forum by the name of the South Nagas Union of Nagaland[SNUN] in the Nagaland state.
3. So, can’t the Nagas of Nagaland too have a similar body or forum to represent them in the state of Nagaland?
The Nagas of Nagaland were not and are not against the formation & functioning of the different Naga unions, be they in the north, south or west or for that matter even the Naga Hoho. Like any other Naga organization the NTC has clearly stated that it was formed for the welfare of the people. In the same way we don’t think the Nagas from the south, north or elsewhere are against the formation of the Naga forum by the Nagas of Nagaland in the Nagaland state. We know that the units under the UNC are also components under the Naga Hoho, same can become the case with the units under the NTC. If however the Naga Hoho still persist  with the stance that there should be no union/body to represent the Nagas of Nagaland then it should go ahead with the same stance towards the ENPO & the CNTC as well. It should also apply the same yardstick towards the Nagas in the west, south or north as well.
Whenever there appears or arises an intense misunderstanding or crisis in any given society, intelligentsia are expected to step in to render their ideas & help resolve the issues or to help prevent the unwanted situation. However in our state excepting the very few, most of them seems to be in a deep state of meditation or have went into a state of hibernation. Remember the welfare of the people is too good a thing to be left to the thugs & bullies. In this 21st century, whether we want the affairs of our state to be run in accordance with the democratic ideals of justice, liberty or equality or to be run according to the whims & dictates of some vested individuals is a question which we need to ponder seriously & answer, the choice is ours. Even the church needs to wake up from it’s deep slumber & realize that it is the bounden duty of the church to speak & stand against injustice, corruption & tyranny. It cannot afford to remain complacent & indifferent towards the cries of its flock. Infact every Christian, man or woman, young or old is expected to stand for truth & to stand against injustice .If we don’t think & act now then even repentance would be too late for us.
We have witnessed that there are some opportunists who would not hesitate to barter the rights of their people at the drop of a hat in return for position & self-interests. Who can be placated & bought with the posts of chairman, secretary & vice versa. Let us not blindly support ideas or institution/s which is/are suppressive just because the chairman or the secretary happens to be from our group, tribe or likewise. Let us differentiate & identify between the value-based leaders and the interest-based leaders. We have also noted that whenever a person raises his/her voice against certain detrimental policies & actions, scapegoats from the same tribe or community are used to counter & suppress that voice. This negative trend is highly reprehensible & must be discontinued for a better Naga unity. No person or institution should try to mislead, distract, or resort to propaganda to divert or hoodwink the attention of the general populace from the important issues confronting us today because any such move or action would prove to be counterproductive. We Nagas today know who is who. We know the language of colonialism, we know the language of pacifism, we knows the language of communism. Today we are not oblivious to the events & situations around us & around the world.
We believe & know that we can really progress & develop only when there is peace, justice, equality & liberty. The greatest enemy confronting us today is not the guns; it is “OUR SILENCE”. Let us not fear. Time to speak up and act.
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