Col. Retd Neipfupe Venuh
Member, Collective Leadership, NSCN/GPRN
The situation of Nagaland is increasingly critical to analyze and its implications in society complex. Whereas the gift of land and its customary distinctions across the dominion of tribes holds pride particularly when their traditional systems are natural and unique, the integral face of land is reasonably grieved by its side of turmoil letting to grip the normal functioning of societal progress on all fronts. One may tend to offer these problems a fit run up to civility thereby look as a test of time. However, the human element responsible of establishing these problems is crucial in the larger objective of societal development and change. Interestingly, while the cause of problems is multifaceted and identical, the ultimate concern to these crises demands concrete understanding with logical reasons. Drawback against these issues might have developed mistrust and hatred between peoples in a way not easy as one thinks to coalesce and find cure. Our approach to solve emanating problems in society may be helpful to view into the heart of moral disarray amongst others. This representation bears conviction of introspective change and hopes to convey its worth to fellow cohorts and youngsters in the relative ventures of the Naga society.
It is understood of the heightened spurt of corruption affecting our systems today. Corruption in public discourse means dishonest use of resources with ulterior motive and vested gain against others. It is misappropriation of power, which application however does not limit to public systems; it evolves on personal conduct of life devoid of training. The irony is that corruption finds no meaning for many public leaders today, echoing that leaders are mandated to exercise power freely. But when authorities justify corrupt practices in the name of facilitating development, governance in such cases overrules public scrutiny and participation. One can easily question how an honest earning of a government official could afford luxury mansions, cars, immovable assets apart from maintaining their lucrative lifestyles - its corruption. An aspect of Nagaland for Christ which the land inhabits must include retrospection in governance of the state. The otherwise exclusive understanding of its proclamation can only shape narrow realms of polity and economic development, notwithstanding its religious concept. Nevertheless, given the breadth of corruption in our land, whom shall we blame and can actually single out the responsible agent? Public is the best judge and responsibly the enduring agent of keeping corrupt leaders. We must take a critical examination of our public systems and balance the findings too. Voicing anger against NSCN/GPRN, factions and waiting their reformation may not be the answer against contending issues of our land. Certainly, the NSCN can be reasoned in so far as they are to be solicited for the same.
A regular pattern of corruption is with state elections. There would be loud talks about clean election, once in five years. Does the church and public take serious heed of the holistic demand for clean elections, not to think of necessary steps with post-election? What mechanisms follow the preaching for a clean election campaign? Do elected candidates face any test by the church/public as a result of their clean or rather unclean election contest? Excepting very few, the elected candidates are testimony of their huge monetary power to purchase votes. Voters normally sell their votes, demand money, vehicle, favour from the candidate before election. Unfortunately, most of the demands vanish in thin air after winning elections. To no surprise, the winning candidates turn engrossed on how to recover their election expenses for the money blind folded to the voters, hence focuses priority to consolidating income for the next election investment. The cycle runs as an inherent practice of the land. Remember, election money is like ‘cursed money’ which serves no objective end of worth.
What standards of development can be seen in such a corrupt system of society? Don’t we realize that Nagaland bears sub-standard remarks compared with the development of other north-east states? Without doubt, the corrupt state of the art scenario has created tendencies not to broaden development perspectives beyond the state purview. Look at most of our youths seeking opportunities only in the state. Where have the political leaders in their decades of winning elections established adequate infrastructures for securing our teeming youths? The failure invites formidable investors outside the state to come and secure their businesses than our government creating infrastructures to attract fine resources from outside. Unless the leaders sacrifice today for their selfish interests, state resources would be usurped without prospective sustenance for the future generation. Consequently, the economy now takes a downturn in our state. Can we expect New Delhi to always bail us because of special provision? Even after 60 years of special packages from the Center, the state still cannot develop its economy. Only the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer.
On the religious front, the church must cut attention on the outward face. With due respect, we want churches to prioritize on soul winning and spiritual growth, recognize persons not of wealth but integrity, spread the word of God and reach the unreached. It is saddening to know how some church leaders exercise whims in a sense that permits them of such nourishment while on earth. It is imperative that sincere spiritual awakenings of the church must work on family institutions to further rebuild the broken homes of the Nagas. Humanity cherishes that a church leader is known for conviction of sharing God’s word, a testimony people can easily notice and develop trust. This integrity of the church commands unquestionable respect and strengthens the body of Christ as one. Virtually, our church organization today is disturbed by elements of politics, economy, leadership crisis, and obvious factors of insecurity that due to such an environment, the church leaders often want to listen to people’s voices rather than seek God’s counsel. Churches seek donations, good-will contributions from political leaders, officers, public leaders for construction of church building, activities and often fail to have security to take up one project. A striking record of the church organization is the unfulfilled declaration of the NBCC to send 10,000 missionaries to world missions, a commitment held at Pfutsero conference in 2018. Moreover, we need to examine how the church receives one tenth of public income and whether it produces its price for the members? On critical assessment, there are cases where the church environment turns leaders to promptly pray for the rich and attend their requests proactively, while the poor are faced with lackadaisical approach during their time so need – a reflection of money power in the churches. Frankly speaking, these type of religious leaders show disparity of respect between high and low class of people in the society. This is a corrupt system on the part of religious government. People are hungry for faithful church leaders who are humble to the core, well informed of the scripture and dignified with honesty to what is right and wrong. This certainly will see peace and blessings in our churches. Let us pray for our church leaders. Another problem is the back-door appointment in the government. It is learnt that for grade III and grade IV post, 2 to 3 lakhs of rupees are paid. Corruption has many layers; less corruption ensures more jobs which is the need of the hour. With the introduction of Nagaland State Selection Board (NSSB) we hope to facilitate fair system of recruitment. In so far as campaign against corruption by section of the public, it is desirable to let also check the mushrooming of private organizations and their objectives that however seek monetary gains and could divert the state resources.
Coming to Naga national groups, it is for the public to judge which group holds what record and vice-versa. In course of time, every group shall be screened vividly, as history does for all civilizations, whatever they do or not do for the Naga cause. In this context, issue remains for possible unison of the various Naga groups and its mission indeed is a common dream, may be in God’s best time. Let us not lose hope and therefore continue to extend support to the cause of Naga nationalism. Finding false is easy and when the Naga society faces crucial times of nation building, vocal tendency against one warring group or other may not hold commendable price. The correct record is inevitable before God and man. Let all groups do their bits in the service they can.
Nagaland state has for its own fate caused a situation where the paths of development have but turned a plummeting scene. Fellow brethren, we need change, we need to uproot the evils of corruption and re-dedicate ourselves to be honest and truthful; let us not sell our votes for instance, seek donation, demand money, or ask money for easy reasons. Let everyone do their lot of work and live. There’s a real task to reason together why development in Nagaland is weak compared to other states despite Nagaland enjoying a special status under article 371 (A). Corruption is probably the answer to why development stumbles and let people suffer. Let us take simple clarity for change – for the renewal of individual self and our families to dwell in peace. That’s the correct step to make an ideal society. In the attitude of prayer, think for the ones you know are responsible persons towards good governance and the nation at large. Let us try one step everyday to live in harmony with each other, in speech, in prayer, action, as much as we can. We must find new ways, for it’s a new day. It is not conclusive on how much we are corrupted, but important to examine how corruption is taking place and how Nagaland must develop ahead.
(Views are Personal)