“Our land, once so proud and so free, lies utterly broken and desolate today. Ravaged not just by the dogs of war, but now by our own, of proclaimed leaders and followers, all crazed by a greed that knows no bounds,” a female student lamented.
“How long will we keep licking the remnants of your lies…Marry veracity… Give us a dawn of justice,” intoned another.
“Please leave for us a future to inherit, and we promise to earn it with integrity,” stirred another female.
Amidst founded rhetoric and harangue from speakers, theses voices stood out as citizens of Nagaland sounded their bugle against corruption; on August 25, the battle cry was to ‘reclaim the land.’
Subjugated, literally and figuratively, by years of apathy, entrenched corruption, and patronization of different shades, people from varied walks of life headed to ACAUT’s public rally against corruption in one of the largest demonstrations witnessed in recent years.
The rally reaffirmed many narratives, discovered new definition and asserted new covenant. The government is a unique machine to cheat Nagas. The “industry of corruption” is the only thriving industry in Nagaland, run by politicians with technical assistance from bureaucrats and technocrats. The church, the government, and the Naga Political Groups – the alleged trinity of the present state of affairs, were equally derided and castigated.
The tone of the evening was aptly voiced by a representative from the border areas who said, “Etu to ase kua to, eku nai” (in context, he was referring to the complete lack of development in the border areas of Nagaland).
Overall, a state of utter despair and disconnect exists between the state and the subject, with no respite in the offing.
At this juncture, however, it is crucial to asked honestly why the children are crying out in despair?
The children are crying because instead of inclusiveness, they are gagged with exclusivity and patented prejudice.
Instead of shared humanity and common goods, self-interest and nepotism rules. An obscure existence devoid of transparency and accountability where one enters through back door but gets resuscitated via the front door.
The children are crying because instead of progression, they observed that we are regressing without a viable alternative to the current power structure to affect change.
Vitriolic politics for commonality, rhetoric for tangible action, narrow-minded vision instead of collective imagination have taken the lead in public life.
A world where one’s loss is another gains, a substitute for a shared future and collective welfare, which can derail even the most honestly intended movement.
Inclusivity was the theme of the evening. Ironically, neither by design nor curious coincidence, women’s voices were conspicuously missing by default. It reflected the existing anomaly in the societal norm.
As one looks for a better outcome in the future, one takes solace in the fact that the sanest, most effective, voices emerging from the evening were of the three young female participants – A pointer for future. Heed their rising voices.
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