A new breed of citizens

The Voice of the Citizens – Are we using it in the right way?


P David Ndang
Kipeuzang Village, Peren Town

While understanding the very important aspect of the voice of citizens more specially in a democratic country where the government aims to work for the betterment of every section of the society and not just for some few rich individuals, sometimes, we are very illogical and bias in our approach and perspective to the government with very less understanding of its challenges, internal dynamics/nature, hurdles of formalities, and complications arising out of human relations.


We often tend to speak from the point of extreme dislike, bad-reasoning and the pre-conception that the government is always corrupted. We are outrageous to the government in many ways with our concept of the government being corrupted and deny the fact of what the government has done for us. In the process, we overlook the genuineness of some bureaucrats or even politicians who are trying to do their best for the society. And we make progress even harder with our lack of compliance to the system of government.


The notion and assumption that the government must be able to solve most problems in the society and that, it should function in its faultless system or perfect place is, by far, a lethargic man’s attitude and a less civilized man’s assumption. It means we forgo the notion of the sea of challenges that the government faces.


In this regard, I feel the voice of the citizens, especially the younger generation, can be more refined and fine-tuned. It should not always be filled with cynical comments, negative criticism and illogical complains. We should be wise enough to reason things properly, have logical opinions and speak in sensible way so that we could be of relevance in our voice to the functioning of the government in a proper way. I feel our complaints and opinions often go unheard not because the government doesn’t want to heed to the needs of the people but because, sometimes, it is not proper/appropriate enough in real terms or is not realistic within the ambit of the system.


As civilization keeps progressing, problems and challenges seems to keeps rolling along with it, and maybe it’s inevitable as long as human society prevails and maybe that’s the nature and design of life, if not, the society may cease to exist. Therefore, at this point where the concept of a utopian perfect society is a blurred concept of whether it is realistic in the real world or not, I believe the attainment of a better society, if not perfect, is more possible through appreciation and not through criticism.


I must admit some politicians or bureaucrats must be corrupted by so many measures which I do not intend to shield them. But from a humanitarian point of view, not to correct or justify the corrupt but to base ourselves on ground realities, we will never be able to judge them correctly until we put our feet and walk in their shoes. Just to understand the other side of perspective, when we, the citizens base ourselves on ideas which maybe corrupt and dishonest, politicians or people who speaks and acts on behalf of the citizens may sound and act corrupt because they, for the most part, represents and carry the voice of the citizens. It’s just to bring to remind this point that both are inter-related. We compare our society to other developed society/countries and keep looking down on our system of government. I suppose what we need to understand is that the process of evolution for the western or developed countries/society has started two-three centuries back and we are only about half a century old society. It is a process of growth and evolution with time. I believe they were also once like our own society.


If we look back in history, society has generally been, from some men and women living together in a group evolved into a larger, complex yet better society. And therefore, our society is not handed over to us in a perfectly formed system where everything functions perfectly. Our society is still growing; it is still to be perfected. And it is the responsibility of every one of us – the present generation to shape it and mould it into a better society, for us and for our future generation.


Therefore, to my opinion, the Nagas, as much as we say we need a change of politicians, we also at the same time need a new breed of Citizens. We say the citizens have so much power and I strongly believe in that, – in how we can achieve our goals and aspiration when we strive together towards a better cause, however at the same parallel notion, buried in that eloquent statement lies the fact that when we misuse our power and rights with bad judgment and very less reasoning, our society can turn into a disorder and disarray. More especially, in a democracy like ours, where the government and the systems is designed to function primarily according to the voice and opinion of the citizens, we ought to be very cautious and mindful of how we choose to voice our opinion to the government.


As important as it is for change to happen, like we picture it in terms of development of roads, bridges, buildings, etc. which are physical in nature, it is as well equally important for the citizens to have a change of mindset and attitude – an internal change which is abstract and may not be seen in physical forms but, that which I believe should form a much bigger portion of change. Therefore, the very word “change” is not one sided – it is a two way traffic inclusive of the government and the citizens.


I say this as a concerned citizen and not in support of any political government. I believe as important as it is for the society to have honest bureaucrats and politicians, it is as well equally important for a society to have sensible and civilized citizens, for progress.


In conclusion, tracking back to the heading of the write-up, “The voice of the citizens – are we using it in the right way?” The answer is up to each individual to reflect and decide if the voice of the citizens is used in the right/proper way or not. The whole write-up revolves around the calls for the voice of the citizens to be more refined, to have better reasoning and to voice opinions in ways which are reasonable and constructive to the society and not be guided by pre-misconception. We all want a better society, and that’s not possible through cynical criticism, it is possible through encouragement, support and a positive outlook.