Civil society as a body of resistance

Dr. Asangba Tzüdir

The present state of sad affairs which has affected the life of the people in the state in so many ways once again calls the attention of the civil societies and their role as a non-state actor. Though, yet in the process of realisation, its potential lies in it being a body of resistance, a resisting force.


Civil society being a resisting body is not something new, rather, throughout history, it has always been seen as an arena of resistance. Contextually, its potential forces as a resisting body needs to create a resisting model in order to break the shackles that deny good life of the people. Thus, civil society becomes a part of the strategy in creating a model that seeks to address the peoples welfare wherein they are being ‘governed-less’ but ‘governed-better.’


Coming to the existence and presence of civil societies in the state, though on the move, its status as a ‘body of resistance’ finds marred by the absence of a collective resisting voice, a responsible voice to unshackle the ‘mode of governance.’ It only highlights the absence of a genuine civil society as a resisting body.


Now, in a society which responds to its own interest rather than the larger whole but nonetheless holding on to duplicitous solidarities, its existence only legitimates the unprecedented power of those who ‘govern.’ It cannot also act as a resisting force so long as it is part of the ‘system’ to those who ‘govern’ and control.


Having said this, again, there are constraints within which civil societies comes into play. The constraints being the absence of certain concepts in operation starting with fear to issues of freedom, liberty and the absence of justice. While on the other hand, civil society posits themselves in a space between the state and the citizens or peoples’ and in a scenario where certain sections are enriched by those agents in power or the ‘powers that be’, it only propagates the silencing of the voice of dissent.


That, its operation as a ‘body of resistance’ calls for a democratic space. In no way can it function freely in any space which is contrary to the ideals of democracy. The absence of which is also complimented by the general attitude of the masses in refusing to come out of their comfort zone. Whatever the constraints, the articulation of a language of responsible dissent is paramount to the credibility and presence of civil society as an agent of resistance in countering forces that suppress the peoples voices, self-determination and identity, freedom and to live free from oppression, dominion and control.


Within the pressing realities that continues to deny ‘quality life’, more so, a ‘normal life’, civil societies in Nagaland need a fresh breath of life to go beyond the ritualistic norms and forms, and reorient the various values and ideals that not only push for a democratic governance but one that also ensures a good life and for the well-being of the people. An urgent need is a Naga Collective Voice that expresses the ‘language of suffering.’ Only then can a meaningful civil society emerge that stands against the designs that has for so long continued to deny a right to good life.


(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to