I wish to perceive self-criticism as a constructive praxis of critical introspection, self-discovery and self-examination that leads to new ways of action and reflection. The process of self-criticism has and will continue to assume a fundamental space in the progression of individuals and nations. No one can claim development without an iota of self-criticism. The very notion of personal and collective transformation is rooted in the praxis of self-criticism that liberates the human spirit. Nonetheless, it is very real to say that genuine ‘self-criticism’ poses one of the greatest challenges before each one of us. 

In a world that is increasingly filled with individualism, consumerism and narcissism, the praxis of self-criticism inevitably gets besieged in a myriad of self-importance oozing with a false sense of security. Subsequently, it influences the manner in which people exercise their personal and collective conscience. The lack of self-criticism thus prevents us from grasping the changing realities around us and transforming them according to our needs and yearnings. It therefore fragments our identities, cripples and freezes our capacities and our capabilities to handle the awesome impacts of changes within ourselves, our societies and our nation. It has led to a state where arrestation of structural hegemony and injustices at all levels of society has become the norm.

Nagas are at a crossroad between cynicism and self-criticism. Years of political subjugation; suspicion, distrust, humiliation and feelings of powerlessness as an object of history have caused acute cynicism amongst Nagas. Subsequently, not only have we become reactive but we assume extremely defensive, insular and rigid approaches to life and its varied problems. The internalization of cynicism has undermined our ability to be makers of culture and has eroded our faith to define and determine our own destiny. 

For Nagas to effectively demonstrate a living ethical and political vision we need to recreate space to allow free-will to re-emerge. This however demands a genuine process of individual and collective self-criticism of ourselves as a people. Is it therefore possible for us to critically reflect and take the necessary steps that we need to take to liberate our minds? It implies disconnecting the fear that restrains the core of our existence. 

I believe that the questions surrounding our ability to reconnect with our humanity that seeks to exercise the fullest development of human conscience and faculties is a political issue that requires a political task; and one that invariably leads to the question of human survival. The chains of fear need to be broken and maybe it can only begin when we begin working together to confront the roots of injustice, violence and inhumanity.

Is it not essential for Nagas to find life again and to rediscover the journey which is a living commitment to recreating our existence, regenerating our social support systems, modernizing our cultures and surging against the powers that relegates us as objects of history? We are now at the crossroads. It is our turn to make decisive decisions that can either hold us bondage or become emancipated self-determining beings by creating new realities for ourselves.