Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
A man once said that the beauty of humanity is fading away. This seems to be true especially in the face of losing human values. Among the various forms of human values, values of truth and respect, of belonging and responsibility for the common good and for a meaningful life and living finds lost.
In Naga society, the transition from tradition to modern has not been smooth, and central elements of values informed through traditional culture were missed in the transition. Along with the transition, there was also a shift from ‘communitarian good’ to ‘individualism’ which adversely affected the sense of belonging and the larger ‘communitarian good.’
Living in a crucial juncture, the need of a sense of belonging is acknowledged as a human need that shapes lives towards a meaningful existence. It is in having such a sense of belonging that makes one sees value in life. This in turn creates a healthy relationship with the socio-political, culture, religion, ethics and moral contours.
The pressing concerns that are intricately related with everyday life call for a moral sense of responsibility which can only be generated through a sense of belonging. To develop such a sense is by way of inculcating a sense of ownership and to own what is rightfully ours be it cultural, political or social. It is also in having such a sense of ownership that the various forms of struggles and concerns which are aimed at the larger good of the community can be achieved. Until then, while one part does the ‘cleaning,’ the other part will ‘litter.’
Naga society has reached a desperate point where the people also need to reclaim their humanity by reviving the traditional values of truth and communitarian principles, and inject it on the power of the moral selves. This will give the desired impetus to be responsible and embrace the values that lie at the heart of human bonding, living and flourishing.
To reclaim humanity, it demands each individual to go through a process of self-realization and a subsequent moral assertion as a meaningful human. In context, it calls forth a simple yet profound philosophy that strives for meaningfulness of life and the very purpose of living. Values will then come alive where concepts like love, good, goodness, truth, justice, mercy, forgiveness, etc. will encounter its real meaning. The ‘bordered’ and the ‘othering’ of the ‘other’ will then find a common ground for reconciliation.
Even in the ongoing Naga journey of common hope, which has reawakened to the pressing need for Naga reconciliation, there is need to address the values that are being shared so also belong to. Learning and understanding of such shared values requires ‘truth’ telling because only through an honest realization of the truth can one know and understand the values that are not only shared but also belong to. It demands an unconditional acknowledgement. Only then, a sense of common ownership will develop over and above ‘individualist’ end agendas.
Coming in the way of Naga reconciliation are the various forms of ‘bordered differences’ and to unshackle such differences it is time to learn about the shared values of belonging by revisiting the journey of asserting the ‘Naga being’ that lies frozen in history, culture and identity. Even in the history of the Naga freedom struggle, the blood and the tears that has been shed over the years also forms a part of Naga shared value of belonging.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir is a Freelance Research Consultant. He contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)