It is a peculiar phenomenon that language lacks a proper word to express the aspiration of an individual. The title of "dissident" is revered, but it is earned through sacrifice and risk, not just mere disagreement. It has been sanctified by many brave men and women who have stood up for what they believe in. Although "radical" is a dignified term, it comes with certain warnings.
The other terms used to describe such individuals, such as "maverick", "loose cannon", "rebel", and "angry young man” are all viewed as endearing and diminutive, but they also convey a slightly condescending tone. Society, in a way, tolerates and even admires eccentricity, as if it were a benign family.
The term "iconoclast" is also rarely used in a negative context, instead, it suggests that breaking the norm is a harmless release of energy. There are even official expressions of approval for this tendency, such as "thinking outside the box", which is deemed as a praiseworthy ability. However, when an individual takes their dissent too far, they are met with vernacular that is much less forgiving. Words like "fanatic", "troublemaker", "misfit", and "malcontent" are used to describe such individuals.
The present news-entertainment scene poses another threat to the preservation of critical styles and the means of appreciating them. Words like "satirical" or "ironic" are now used to patronize, and the person described as such is seen as a fast-talking cynic or a sarcastic, self-conscious individual. The overuse of the word "irony" has become a lazy synonym for estrangement, leaving little room for originality.
Despite these challenges, it is unrealistic to expect to live in an age that is conducive to dissent. Most people prefer to seek approval or security, and that is perfectly normal. Nevertheless, there will always be individuals who feel apart from society, and humanity owes them a debt of gratitude, whether it acknowledges it or not. The life of an oppositionist is a difficult one, and it is unlikely that they will receive any thanks for their efforts.
Language may be lacking in proper terms to describe aspirations, but that should not stop individuals from standing up for what they believe in. Society may view dissent in different ways, but that does not diminish the importance of speaking out and making a difference.
The absence of a lack of politics of ideas in Nagaland may be affecting the meaning of critical styles and words, but originality and creativity will always find a way to flourish. The life of an oppositionist may be difficult, but their contributions to humanity are invaluable, and history shows that they are seldom forgotten. Perhaps this is something that our 225 individuals vying to rule can take something from.
Comments can be sent to [email protected]