Dr Asangba Tzudir
We live in interesting times. It may sound exciting but the word ‘interesting’ is caused by the waves of turbulences. Fact of the matter is, in context, these are chaotic times shrouded in a kind of a post-modern syndrome, a crisis. Like the now popular parlance ‘opposition-less’ is also a symptom of the post-modern crisis where there is no meaning, no morality and no truth. This is the context in which the idea of a change is so desirable. However, the idea of a change is not only amorphous but fragmented.
The amorphous and the fragmented idea of change is because the idea of change finds encapsulated in shortsightedness and which has also blinded the ideas associated with long term goals which are required to bring about real and desirable change for the people.
The idea of the change that is so desirable requires a roadmap and this begins from the public. The public as a whole first need to be empowered. Like Foucault challenged the top-down model of power, the public also needs to challenge the existing top-down model instead of getting entangled in the existing system.
The bottom-up model of power is the one that can truly empower a person and this requires freeing oneself from the entanglement. One way of empowering oneself and freeing oneself from the entanglement is by not selling ones vote. Each individual forms a building block towards this idea of change, and by selling ones vote, one is not only enslaving oneself but creates a hole in the system of change resulting in the system to collapse before it is even built.
One may patronize the high sounding statement, “If you want to change the system, you should eventually be willing to get into the system first,” but as contentious as it is, in context, fact of the matter is, those who have entered the ‘system’ having the idea that change is possible only after entering the system, have ended becoming a part of the system and have become instruments of promoting the system.
So, the process of change should begin by empowering oneself rather than trying to change the existing system either from inside or outside. Then, the empowered selves should come together within a collectivity. This requires shedding off one’s interests and placing the community above the individual’s interests and begin the process of solidifying the idea of change into a desirable concept which finally can be realized in praxis. Our own selfish interests have prevented the self empowerment.
That, the idea of welfare and good life are of paramount importance in the process of change because at stake is life and living. And therefore these are issues that need to be embraced rather than sacrificing it at the altar of money or govt. jobs and the like.
Today, the word politics is not only abused but is misunderstood. The term has been made to stoop low to the realm of dirty game. Politics is not about engagement in dirty games of politicking. Rather, it is engaging with the issues and concerns of the people in relation to the government and bringing the issues to a logical conclusion. The ‘idea of development’ too, which often finds in murky waters needs to be relocated within the fold of politics so that the issues of development transcends into a political issue in order for it to be conceptualized within long term holistic goals.
The most enduring of political dilemmas is the question: when do governments merit our allegiance? And when should they be denied it? Over the course of history various personalities like Socrates, Martin Luther, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, to name a few, have reminded not only of its vintage but has also underscored its continuing force.
However, is it really a political dilemma? As a catalyst to the process of change, an individual should self-empower oneself in such a way that one gets ‘dis-entangled’ from the ‘system’ and make oneself free to decide when to merit one’s allegiance to the government and when to deny it. Only then the system will change.
(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to [email protected])