It’s going to be a dark Christmas this year for people in Dimapur; literally.
Six hours of electricity a day is the daily rationing on which people of the town have been left to cope with. It has been an epiphany on how dependent modern civilisation has become on electricity from the power company, which in Nagaland’s case is the state.
As I ration my electricity consumption at home, with a keen eye on the charge left in our inverter, my thoughts reverted to a fantasy that has been brewing inside me for over a decade—going off the grid.
It is the lifestyle choice of generating your own energy needs and being self-sufficient, a daunting thought at first, both financially and logistically. But such is the condition of our state and the people who helm its affairs, that perhaps it is time for individuals and communities to consider phasing out our reliance on the state for basic infrastructure.
Reading the press releases from the department,post the power catastrophe in Dimapur, exudes the utterly helpless situation into which the government has put this most critical sector. And add to this, the utterly dispassionate tone in which the state’s political leaders, including the department’s Minister, have reacted to this crisis.
There has been no acceptance of failure on the part of the state, and the present power crisis is only one symptom of the overall policy blunders on infrastructure.
It is understandable that politicians prefer to cut ribbons or launch shiny new projects than fix the basic things. It does no one any good, though, to neglect the less glamorous necessities that keep facilities working, and electricity supply is a key sector in this.
Any hope that our leaders might get past this mind-set is fast fading. And hence the thought of severing some ties with a state that has quite literally failed in providing its people with the basic facilities.
As the technology behind renewable energy evolves—and improves—more consumers have the option to cut ties with utility providers and become their own power source.
As we look up at the cloudless sky, we see nothing but the blazing sun. But it is also the same sun that can generate all the energy that our species will ever require.
We may not have the means and pedigree of communities from more ‘developed’ parts of the world, but we can always explore as individuals or as communities on how to go off-grid.
This is one way of getting back at the fat cats and politicians who have apparently made it their mission to aggravate the people with all their lies and empty promises, over and over again.
We can start with just enough to light up our homes, then slowly build that up to include appliances, one setup at a time; like life investments, because come to think of it, becoming self-reliant on electricitywould be an incredible step towards properly utilizing the prowess that exists in a community based society like ours.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org