Eternal Vigilance

The anti-corruption crusade across the country led by renowned social activist Anna Hazare is truly a people’s movement with a groundswell of mass support which, even the government could not ignore anymore. After four days of fasting, Team Anna did what not many others could not achieve, to push the government of India into acceding to their demands for an inclusive anti-corruption legislation. As much as it is the success of Team Anna, it is also a fine example of people’s power emerging victorious. In the last few months’ right across the world, we have all seen how the coming together of ordinary people for a just and righteous cause can bring even the most powerful governments or leaders to their knees. The writing on the wall is clear—the days of domineering authorities/governments is now giving way to people’s revolutions. Suddenly we see a new awakening of people’s consciousness. This is good for a just democracy. The great lesson to learn from the recent spurt of people’s awakening is this—eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. As Thomas Paine once said “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it”.
However it is a matter of concern that as far as Nagas are concerned a majority of us simply do not bother about the evils of corruption. Abuse of power and corruption has become a way of life here. Our people have become like drug addicts who cannot do without this daily dose. When the time suits, all of us may express our concern on corruption. However there is no will to fight this menace. We are far from being a society of ‘eternal vigilance’. Recently the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its latest report have exposed the high level of corruption taking place within the government system in Nagaland. However even the Naga public seems to have been co-opted into the corrupt system. There is silence all around. Edmund Burke famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. The point is that people must actively take part in the running of their State. Plato once said that “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." How true this must be, given the State of our politics and the kind of leaders we have produced.
 In places like Guwahati (Assam), Shillong (Meghalaya) and Aizawl (Mizoram) there has been visible support to Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade. The demand for a credible and strong Lok Pal Bill to fight corruption echoes in these places. Even in far away Mizoram, prominent citizens and activists have said that Lok Ayukta should also be set up in Mizoram so that people in high places, including chief ministers, could be investigated and prosecuted. However corruption is far away from the minds of the Naga people. This is the sorry state of affairs. Unless there is a people’s awakening we will not be able to fight corruption in our Naga polity and society. As for the rest, the right platform to tackle corruption has been won but the fight against corruption will be tough and victory is not certain unless the same will and spirit as demonstrated by people across India during Anna Hazare’s protest fast continues. Eternal vigilance is required for us to reach the goal post of a corrupt free society.