The young as well as the upright legislators need to expose and end the practice of taking commissions and ending the culture of nepotism
In Nagaland State the need for change has reached saturation point. It is like a ripe fruit waiting to be picked. Unfortunately, no one seems ready and willing to harvest them.
Currently the public trust on politicians is at the lowest. Therefore, one needs to ask whether there are any honest and upright legislators in the present lot.
Hence, the question, can the young legislators stand up for the people. Since they are at the political helm, in the strategic position for influencing and shaping opinion, and are engaging with the system, can they be the change makers?
To narrow the trust deficit between public officials and the public they represent, the young as well as those upright legislators can take some practical measures. For instance, young legislators can expose and end the practice of taking commissions, and committing acts of nepotism and venal politics. This is at the heart of democratic ethos with transparent governance and accountable leadership.
Young legislators can engage with the people with respect and dignity, not by exercising power over the people. Follow a people-centered approach by consulting, discussing and dialoguing with people. Replace the dialogue of the deaf with a dialogue of active listening followed with action.
Young legislators can shift the norms. Rather than roping people in after a policy has been introduced, include them in the pre-policy phase of policy making. This will increase possibilities for people to take ownership of policies. Ownership implies that along with inclusion in pre-policy decision making, the structures for implementation need to be contextual, pragmatic, value based and culturally relevant.
The growing culture of elitism and the destructive gap between the haves and haves-not in Naga society must be confronted. This is both a political and a moral responsibility.
Hence, a paradigm shift is required in leadership styles. We need visionary leaders who identify with the people and can bridge the gap between vision and existential reality. So, leaders will be asked to transcend beyond borders, boundaries and the isms of exclusion, prejudice, fear and hate.
Nagaland needs young legislators to be honest and truthful to themselves. We need Leaders that will serve people with humility, dignity and respect. And so, our depressing situation calls for young legislators whose interest is in serving the people out of a sincere commitment. Not the other way round as the self-serving leaders they have allegedly become.
Do our young legislators have the courage to think and act outside the system? Are they persuaded to change, in order to be change makers in Nagaland?