Leaders or Dealers

The English words ‘Leaders’ and ‘Dealers’ have the same six alphabets but it is the positions of the alphabets ‘L’ and ‘D’ that make the difference. In other words, we can turn one of these words into the other by simply interchanging the alphabets ‘L’ and ‘D’. And this is exactly what some of our so-called Naga leaders seem to be doing. We elected them to be our representatives in the government machinery so that they may bring about desirable changes in our society. Since they are our representatives, we refer to them as leaders but most of these so-called leaders have certainly interchanged the alphabets L and D in the word ‘leaders’ and have become more like ‘dealers’ in every sense of the word if we are to judge them from what they have time and again exhibited to us through their behaviors, utterances, disloyalty, impatience and hunger for power and money.  

Now, who is a true leader? A true leader is one who has utmost concern for the welfare and benefit of his people and who is ever willing to forego his own comfort and interest for the larger welfare and interest of his people and the society. When a true leader goes to sleep, the last thing on his mind before he falls asleep is how to ensure the welfare, benefit and upliftment of his people and society. Likewise when a true leader wakes up in the morning, the first thing on his mind is ‘what can I do today for my people and society?’ Of course, a politician has to be practical and diplomatic and do things to remain firmly seated in the government machinery and also think about the next election. A politician may also have many other obligations to cater to. But all these should not be done at the cost of the people and society. From what we are made to witness time and again in the recent past, it is obvious that most of these virtues of a true leader are not at all present in most of our leaders and they have become more like dealers trying to make the best deal for themselves.  

Who is a dealer? The English synonyms for the word ‘dealer’ are trader, merchant, seller and broker. Now we all know that a trader or a merchant thinks only about profit. We also know that a broker tries to get maximum benefit out of a deal between two or more parties. So now it is apparent to one and all that most of our so-called honorable leaders are behaving like dealers to make the best and most profiting deals out of the people and also amongst themselves. And when they make sneaky deals, they don’t want to be heard or disturbed, so they gather and confine themselves to hotel rooms for days where nobody (not even their own wives and children) can contact them. And when even hotel rooms are not safe, they dash off to the jungles to make deals and hatch plans because at least there the animals cannot understand their language. And to deliver on their promises and commitments made during their election campaigning are nowhere near their mind. And many of their enticing and rhetoric uttered on public platforms are also forgotten and thrown out of the window within no time. But they always ensure that these utterances get frontpage headlines the next day.  

Yes, here are some more reasons why it would not be inappropriate to call most of our so-called representatives as dealers. At the end of every 5 years, they make a deal with the people. It is a give-and-take deal and the deal is ‘take money and give me your vote’. And the public are also not far behind in this episode because we are ever ready to forego most things for a mere sum of currency. And once our representatives are able to procure the so-called mandate of the people by this kind of dubious means, they sit together and make deals amongst themselves. Those who are in better positions and hold upper-hands are able to make the best deals and become CMs, cabinet ministers and get plumb portfolios. And in sorting out these deals, the main target of most of these so-called peoples’ representatives is the same i.e. to be in the best positions to get the maximum share of the money that comes down from Delhi. Yes, they receive the money on the people’s behalf but the money seldom reaches the people.  

And since it is a matter of making the best deals out of every situation and everything, we do not know when they will change color. They are in one group today and they will be in another tomorrow. They say one thing today and they will say the exact opposite tomorrow. They will sing praises to one person today and the next day they will hurl the wildest accusations and unimaginably degrading words at the same person. They will bring in someone into their fold as their saviour one day but after sometime they will not hesitate to crucify that same saviour on the slightest provocation once their purpose is served.  

To make the best deals, they have also become an impatient lot. They say they are Christians but they have totally forgotten that one very important virtue which every Christian should exhibit is ‘patience’. ‘To wait humbly and patiently for one’s time’ is an undeniable biblical principle. After being anointed to be King of Israel, David waited for years for his time to come. During this waiting period, David wandered in the wilderness like a desperado and he was chased by the army of King Saul like wild dogs chasing meat. On occasions, David even got opportunities to kill King Saul and become king himself but he did not do so because he knew that Saul was also anointed by God and that his time had not yet come. But what about our so-called Naga leaders, forget about waiting for years, they are so aggressively impatient that they won’t wait even a moment to pounce on any available opportunity. Election is due early next year but most of them are behaving like election is due only next century.  

A true leader is usually guided by strong beliefs, principles and visionary ideas which are deeply rooted in the welfare of his people and their life, ideas, culture and history. Only such leaders can leave a lasting legacy for posterity. Mahatma Gandhi was one such leader. He was not a Christian but he was ironically guided by principles which can be considered as Christian principles. The world still remembers him with respect and reverence because he was principled and not an opportunist who would take advantage of situations for his own interest. To a true leader like Gandhi, his mission (the liberation of his people from colonial subjugation and the fight against any sort of injustice) was everything and no amount of money, power or fame offered to him could make any difference. On the contrary, even though most of us Nagas are Christians, most of us would not hesitate to let go of our Christian virtues and principles for easy money, power and fame.  

God through the Bible also says that ‘Vengeance is mine’. But for most of our Christian politicians, their ego and self-esteem is so strong that they can neither forgive nor forget misdeeds committed upon them by others. Once they feel they are mistreated, sidelined or humiliated, they never forgive but wait for their time to pounce on the assumed culprit and pull him down and destroy and finish him with all the resources at their command. It is really frightening and uncomforting to realize that our present Naga society is being run and managed by such kinds of crooked vengeful dealers (not leaders) who have no principles of their own, no vision for their people, no patience to wait for their time and apparently no thought for the welfare, sentiments and feelings of the people. Yes, dealers and not leaders are certainly at the helms of affairs here in Nagaland and so it is not surprising that what ultimately reaches the people is only the leftover rotten scraps and pieces falling off from the tables of these Naga dealers………