Prisoners of Uncertainty?

Growing restlessness and lingering lethargy enveloping the Naga skyline is causing an uneasy sense of acute cynicism and unfocused anger, just churning restlessly for its release. The internal and external conditions that has a cause-effect relationship with this contradicting restless lethargic cynicism has potential to do more harm than good, unless constructive and positive interventions with painstakingly thought out strategic processes are made. Knee-jerk reactions to the problem would only prove counter-productive.   

Unmet needs to satisfy the human yearning for some semblance of a dignified life and the human desire to have some basic knowledge of where their future is headed towards, has created an air of uncertainty. The acute sense of uncertainty has resulted in an indulging rush for the exclusive survival of the fittest. The questions around uncertainty has in part been responsible for a climate of fear; a climate that is being manipulated by the ‘powers that be’ with detrimental effectiveness.  

The vicious cycle of the fear of uncertainty has the knack of causing and conditioning insular thinking and attitude. It makes a society stagnant, dogmatic and virtual prisoners of their past. The society ceases to be open towards new ideas and becomes resistant to any forms of change and is guided by emotions and subjective feelings. In essence, the ownership to determine its own future is usurped by the powers that be. Hence, the society draws more inward and exclusive. Insecurity compels it to rally around families, clans, villages, tribes and any other forms of human association where there is a perceived sense of security. 

As uncertainty grows and vulnerability sets in, fear is expressed in different forms. For instance, differences between individuals suddenly take the form of clan or village differences and issues are personalized; the social safety net weakens; growing tendency to exert more power and control rather than seeking the path of dialogue and understanding; historical and social narratives are distorted and there is an acute lack of space to deliberate about the future and to imagine a better world. All discourses begin and end with the past. With no room for imagination, hope is missing. Hence, the past is relived over and over again; the future is held a prisoner of the past.

When faced with the questions of uncertainty and insecurity, it becomes quite convenient to seek a paranoid strategy which involves denial of internal destruction, while simultaneously projecting it on others. It involves engaging in depressive self-blame and the society becomes unforgiving and punitive, with a sense of hopelessness and passivity. Furthermore, while feeling vulnerable, it also shows signs of being accustomed to being in control while also believing that its ownership is being usurped by others. It has a perceived sense of dichotomized emotion of feeling power and yet, powerless.  

In this defining moment in history, Nagas need to muster moral courage and political will to decisively refuse to be paralyzed by fear and despair. Nagas must face up to reality, acknowledge one’s own self-destructiveness and proactively act to contain its consequences, guided by a vision for the future. Through political action, Nagas have to begin the difficult process of transforming negative energy into a constructive force that builds bridges within and without, by creating value-based alternatives.

In perilous times such as these, Nagas have no other option but to transcend the past and the present and to confront with the realities of the future to create a society that is truly worth living in. History will judge whether the Nagas of today are willing to cast aside their fears and insecurity and to decisively live in a world of reality, of ambiguity and turmoil, but also a world of hope and life. 

Perhaps it could begin by setting free the prophetic imagination!