A Recipe for Curbing Corruption in Nagaland: Empowering Children and Strengthening Oversight

Dr Aniruddha Babar
Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Nagaland

Corruption has long been a persistent challenge in Nagaland, hindering development, eroding trust in public institutions, and compromising the welfare of its people. Tackling this issue requires a comprehensive approach that involves various stakeholders, including government agencies, the church, and the community. In this article, we ‘offer’ a Naga special recipe to suppress and curb corruption in the state of Nagaland, with a particular emphasis on empowering children as watchdogs, strengthening oversight mechanisms, and promoting accountability at all levels.

Corruption is a pervasive issue that affects societies worldwide, and its detrimental effects are felt even within the confines of our homes. It is crucial to recognize the importance of empowering children as watchdogs to combat corruption at the family level. By instilling a sense of integrity, ethical values, and the courage to question and condemn corrupt practices, we can create a generation of individuals who actively contribute to the fight against corruption. Children possess a natural curiosity and an innate sense of justice. Encouraging them to question the source of money, expenditures, and suspicious financial activities within the family can play a pivotal role in curbing corruption. By creating an environment that fosters open dialogue, children should feel comfortable asking their parents or relatives about the legitimacy of financial transactions. This process enables them to gain a deeper understanding of ethical practices and empowers them to raise concerns when they observe questionable activities. 

Children should be encouraged to ask their parents, relatives, cousins and even grandparents about the source of money and express their disapproval if they suspect any wrongdoing. This act of questioning and condemnation will instill ethical values and promote transparency within households. Children should be systematically taught and encouraged to condemn corrupt practices within their families. They need to understand that corruption is morally wrong and harmful to society as a whole. By teaching them to stand against corrupt behaviors and refuse any favors or benefits derived from corruption, we equip them with the confidence and integrity to make ethical choices. Condemning corrupt practices sends a powerful message that corruption will not be tolerated, even within the family unit.

Empowering children as watchdogs involves developing their critical thinking and analytical skills. They should be taught to evaluate financial transactions, identify irregularities, and recognize signs of corruption. By nurturing these skills, children become vigilant observers of their family's financial activities. This heightened awareness enables them to identify potential corrupt practices and take appropriate action, such as reporting their concerns to trusted adults or relevant government authorities.

Schools and Colleges must play a role in cultivating the sense of right and wrong in the minds of students. Creating supportive networks within communities, schools, and social organizations can further empower children as watchdogs. These networks can provide platforms for children to share their experiences, seek guidance, and collaborate with peers who share a similar commitment to combating corruption. Such networks offer support and encouragement, strengthening children's resolve to take a stand against corruption and promoting a collective effort to foster integrity within families and society. Through their fearless actions and beliefs, children can send a powerful message that corruption will not be tolerated, fostering a culture of accountability and integrity in our family and communities.

Moreover, as observed, the church holds immense influence in our Naga society and can play a crucial role in combating corruption. Since the church plays a significant role in shaping the moral fabric of society,It should take a strong stand against accepting donations or offerings that are tainted with corruption or whose sources are unknown. By actively promoting ethical practices, the church can set a moral precedent and discourage the flow of ill-gotten wealth into its coffers. Sermons, awareness programs, and collaborations with government agencies can further reinforce the message of integrity and transparency within the community.

Moreover, the church should not only distance itself from corruption but also take action against its members who are found guilty of corruption by a court of justice. This could involve disciplinary measures, such as suspending or excommunicating individuals involved in corrupt practices. By holding its members accountable, the church reinforces the importance of ethical conduct and ensures that its members adhere to the principles of honesty and integrity. Furthermore, the church should actively engage in addressing and combating corruption in society. It can do so by organizing awareness campaigns, educational programs, and advocacy efforts to promote transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior. The church can use its platform to condemn corruption and encourage its members and the wider community to reject corrupt practices. 

Additionally, the church should collaborate with relevant authorities and organizations to tackle corruption effectively. It can work alongside anti-corruption agencies, civil society groups, and government institutions to develop strategies, policies, and initiatives that promote integrity and fight against corruption in all its forms.

By taking a strong stance against corruption, refusing corrupt money, taking action against corrupt members, and actively working to address corruption in society, the church can contribute to building a more just and ethical society. Its role in promoting moral values and integrity is vital in creating a culture that rejects corruption and upholds the principles of justice, fairness, and transparency.

Going forward, needless to mention, Government agencies, such as the State Vigilance Commission, Anti-Corruption Bureau and Enforcement Directorate, must take on the responsibility of closely monitoring the financial affairs of ministers, government officials, and their families. This entails conducting due diligence on their professional behavior, assets, liabilities, private businesses/industries and spending habits to identify any irregularities or signs of corruption. Moreover, agencies should conduct due diligence on all third parties i.e. agents, intermediaries, government contractors, consultants, associates-agencies and all other entities directly or indirectly involved with the state government of Nagaland.

Additionally, New Delhi should consider establishing a dedicated watchdog institution especially for the State of Nagaland that specializes in monitoring the public funding as well as financial affairs of those in power in the state.This proposed independent, unique body- a creation of the ‘Constitution of India’ to enable the Government of India to perform its financial duties and role under Art. 371 (A) as ‘Financial Guardian’ of the State of Nagaland would ensure impartiality and accountability, safeguarding the interests of the Naga people. In short, if New Delhi is taking care of the financial needs of the Nagaland then New Delhi should have exclusive, independent right to see as to whether every single paisa that is being granted to the state of Nagaland is being utilized for the right as well as constitutional and legal purpose. 

In the battle against corruption a common man plays an important role. To involve the community in curbing corruption, government agencies should establish a ‘Highly confidential/secretive Task Force’ at the block level. This “force” would consist of individuals from the local community who act as ‘trained’ informants, supplying economic intelligence regarding the professional, public and private lives (in the context of economic affairs) of government officials and their families. Depending on the quality and quantity of the information provided, agencies can offer handsome monetary benefits to incentivize participation. By involving common people in a constructive and creative manner, corruption can be effectively monitored and curbed.

It is pertinent to note that, Article 371A, designed to protect the interests of the Naga people, regrettably, corrupt officials and politicians have exploited the advantages offered by Article 371A for their personal gain. They have manipulated the system to their advantage, amassing wealth and power at the expense of the state and its people. Through illegal land acquisitions, misappropriation of funds, and abuse of power, they have violated the very principles that Article 371A sought to uphold. One of the most significant consequences of this corruption is the direct violation of the constitutional rights of the people of Nagaland. The misappropriation of funds intended for development projects, infrastructure, and welfare programs has hindered progress and hindered the overall well-being of the citizens. The corrupt officials and politicians, driven by their self-interest, have neglected the needs of the people and hindered the socio-economic growth of the state. Furthermore, the violation of Article 371A by corrupt individuals has perpetuated inequality and hindered the empowerment of the Naga people. By using their positions of power to favor certain communities or individuals, they have created divisions and undermined the unity that Article 371A aimed to promote. This has resulted in a sense of marginalization and disenchantment among various sections of society, further exacerbating social tensions.

To address this issue, it is imperative to hold corrupt officials and politicians accountable for their actions. The enforcement agencies should conduct thorough investigations, prosecute those found guilty of corruption, and ensure that they face appropriate consequences. Additionally, there should be a greater emphasis on raising awareness among the public about their rights and the provisions of Article 371A as well as rest of their Constitutional and legal rights, empowering them to identify and challenge corrupt practices.

Ultimately, the violation of Article 371A by corrupt officials and politicians in Nagaland undermines the very essence of its purpose. It is imperative to restore the integrity of this article and ensure that its provisions are upheld to protect the rights and well-being of the Naga people. A concerted effort from all stakeholders, including the government, civil society, and the public, is essential to root out corruption and rebuild a society that truly reflects the spirit of Article 371A.

NOW, the Time has come for the Central Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Bureau, State Vigilance Commission and Enforcement Directorate to cast their deadly ‘Magic Spell’ over Nagaland in the interest of the poorests among poor Nagas, invisible Nagas to help them get back their ‘annihilated’ rights by identifying and punishing the culprits who had stolen, eaten and digested the ‘money’ meant for them by various illegal means and methods. By ensuring compliance and accountability, the government can restore the integrity of Article 371A and safeguard the welfare of all Naga citizens.

Finally, it is important to reiterate that by any means Children should be encouraged to condemn corrupt practices within their families. It is essential for them to understand that corruption is not only morally wrong but also detrimental to the well-being of society as a whole. By instilling in children the values of integrity, honesty, and fairness, we empower them to make ethical choices and take a stand against corruption. Teaching children to stand against corrupt behaviors and refusing any favors or benefits derived from corruption is crucial. It helps them develop a strong moral compass and the courage to do what is right, even when faced with difficult situations. By conveying the message that corruption will not be tolerated, even within the family unit, we establish a foundation for a more ethical and just society. As said before, School, Colleges, Community Centers will have to play a role in cultivating the right mindset of the younger generation. 

The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita can also serve as a guiding light in this regard. The Gita emphasizes the importance of righteousness, and doing what is right without fear or favor. It teaches us that the righteous shall ultimately prevail, and truth will triumph over falsehood. Arjuna, in the Bhagavad Gita, faced a dilemma when he saw his family, cousins, friends and other close-distant relatives on the opposing side in the battle. However, he realized that it was his duty to fight for justice and uphold righteousness, even if it meant confronting his own emotions and personal attachments.

Inculcating these values in children helps them understand that family ties, tribal affinity, clan bondings should not hinder their commitment to truth and justice. They learn to prioritize righteousness over emotional attachments and make decisions based on what is right rather than what is convenient or self-serving. By nurturing this mindset from an early age, we can empower children to become responsible citizens who actively contribute to the fight against corruption and work towards building a more equitable and transparent society.

Curbing corruption in Nagaland requires a multi-faceted approach that involves empowering children, strengthening oversight mechanisms, and promoting accountability at all levels. By fostering a culture of integrity from an early age, involving the church as a moral authority, and implementing robust oversight mechanisms, Nagaland can take significant strides towards a corruption-free society. The active participation of government agencies, community members, and common people is essential in implementing this recipe successfully. While eradicating corruption may be a long and arduous process, it is indeed possible with a collective effort and unwavering commitment to building a transparent and accountable society in Nagaland.

It's high time for Kohima and New Delhi to rise above politics and take necessary steps in the interest of the people in the state of Nagaland to annihilate the roots of corruption in Nagaland. 

It is high time for officers and jawans of esteemed Nagaland state Police force to free themselves from the prisons of tribal affinities, tribal pressure, political suffocation, self/individual interests and social fear. Our Nagaland police officers and jawans should write a new chapter in the history of the state of Nagaland by initiating a fierce war against corruption-taking up investigations on war footing, registering FIRs at lightning speed, arresting the accused named in pending FIRs without any fear or worry. 

It's time to initiate investigation and register FIRs in current complaints about corruption, open up pending corruption cases and take the accused to ‘justice’. Unless and until culprits are tried and awarded punishments, common Naga people will continue to live in a suffocating dark era of hopelessness and political insanity.  

LET US NOT DEPRIVE NAGAS FROM THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. The Law of the land should take its course to punish the corrupt Officials, Ministers, MLAs and their associates without impunity.