The Culture of Alliances

Dr Asangba Tzudir

One good speech or an expression of ideology or a ‘good deed’ by a person often exude confidence in that person not knowing the culture or background from which the person comes from. In perspective, when the idea of development is popularly narrowed down to building or repairing roads, any person that is at the heart road building becomes an instant ‘development icon.’ On the idea of development, everyone has their own understanding of the idea of development. That, in context, within the diverse ideas based on the general need, good roads have not only been seen as a priority but have become the panacea of development so also the parameter of development. However, what is missed is, the presence of good roads does not define development, but it is a very essential requirement for development to take place.

Coming to the election scenes around, it is indeed depressing. The only bright spot is that the manifestos of the various political parties are not dominated by the Naga Political Issue. This is a marked departure from the previous NLA Election. Election is not a time to be discussing about Naga Political issue.  Notwithstanding, the intent is also on the need to know and understand what is known as the root culture. Not knowing the root culture is the reason for the inability to understand the objectives and intentions for which, say a particular party stands, and therefore misinterpreted.

The dual party system like in the United States is such that one can easily identify a person to be either a democrat or a republican without the other saying their party affiliation. There is something about the root culture of the two parties that helps one identify. The same is not the case in Nagaland. Except for the ‘home grown’ parties whose culture one may know and understand to a certain extent, it is difficult to know and understand the root culture of especially the National parties in India. Each party has its own culture and that culture is something which we don’t fully see in their manifesto. Thus, failure to know their culture leads to misreading of their intentions. 

It is this culture that can aptly be defined as the underpinning political force which largely shapes a party. In context, there is hardly any party affiliation rather individual and other relational alliances which also gives rise to the so called ‘opposition-less’ government in the State. And therefore instead of trying to know and understand the culture, we rather end up idolizing certain personalities and their deeds based on certain parameters which can be seen as good and then build a support system. This only gives rise to many features of the alliances on various individual lines. These individual alliances dominantly work during election.   

Such alliances are also the reason for the failure of clean election in praxis. Enough of ‘Clean Election’ has been heard but beyond awareness the reality presents a depressing scene. The idea of ‘Clean Election’ needs to dwell on the specifics by going beyond the general. The message should be different for everyone. What would be the message for someone who does not know where the next meal will come from? For such people money becomes so empowering to get their next meals. The Churches in Nagaland today, especially the Baptists, has taken the form of Morung going beyond the ‘normal’ activities of the Church. It engages in trying to build a better society by running educational institutions; speak against corruption; involves in matters of legislation like prohibition, etc. yet often going off limits, like going against certain political parties. However, the impact factor will be negligible if it fails to understand the very culture that is in operation so also the alliances within which things gets passed off in silence. Nonetheless, the faith factor is something that needs to be urgently and primarily addressed.

On the whole, in consideration of the corrupt activities during elections, it is time to break free from the shackles of the alliances so that elections can at least become free and fair.   

(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)