Honesty versus Corruption in Nagaland – Mhasilie Koza – Asst Professor, Department of Commerce

India ranked 76th in the list of corrupted countries in the world, while Denmark was declared the least corrupt in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International (TI), a non-governmental organization whose non-profit purpose is to take action to combat corruption.  Denmark has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, and subsequently a high standard of life. Nagaland, on the other hand, is still struggling with corruption in many forms; backdoor appointments, proxy teachers, black market, truant officials, and fuel adulteration to name a few. We have a lot of catching up to do. It’s time to wake up and fight corruption in every form. 

     Honesty versus Corruption in Nagaland

Corruption! Corruption! Corruption! Everyone, everything, everywhere seems to be corrupted. We are all clear about what corruption is as educated persons. But when we are corrupt, how we can say that we are educated. All we can say is we are much more illiterate than the uneducated people with innocent minds.

What is Corruption? Anything that is not brought to justice is called corruption. Corruption, in one form or another, is a worldwide phenomenon. But everyone admits that corruption is something ugly, immoral, and detestable.

Wikipedia defines ‘Honesty as to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft etc.’ Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

Unfortunately, in our state, corruption has become a part of life. Corruption is everywhere visible in its unadulterated form: bad road conditions, mismanagement of government funds, non-payment of salaries for government teachers, and so forth. It has entered the very roots of Naga society. It has become so intrinsic in our society making it extremely impossible for anyone to be honest. Looking at our scenario, honesty seems to be the minority whereas corruption the majority. Corruption makes it impossible for one honest man to carry out the required task assigned to him/her smoothly. It has superseded honesty and plays a dominant role ruling over our Naga society today.

Clear evidence is seen from our local dailies, such as misuse and misappropriation of funds, backdoor appointments, pending of works, protest against non-payment of salaries and acquiescing to demands after strikes and agitations. Does honesty prevail in our Naga society? So when all these are clearly visible how can we say we live in a society where honesty rules. It is like a tug of war in the battleground between two different opponents: “Honesty vs. Corruption”. So who do you think will be the dominant group? This is a metaphor of our society.

We live in a society where the sweats and rights of the poor public are lavishly enjoyed in luxury by the unthoughtful, corrupt and powerful people. Public cries are heard but ignored. It seems justice is itself up for sale! The numerous schemes are sanctioned and given by the central government for the upliftment of the poor people living in rural areas. Yet, if we were to inquire as to who the real beneficiaries of the schemes are we find that the actual beneficiaries are the politically influential groups in the society while the targeted people for whom such schemes were allocated are denied of the benefits. The very existence of ‘ism’ in our Naga society is so entrenched that people become blind to differentiating between good and bad. The irony is that, instead of fighting against corruption our society sanctifies the corrupt officials simply because he or she belongs to one’s community or clan.

An example of corruption, given by a candidate (first-hand information): there was an advertisement put up in our local dailies for the post of ‘Dobashis’. The candidate happens to apply for the said position. But when he inquired about the selection process in the nodal office, ironically, it turned out that the post has already been filled even before the advertisement was put up. This is an unfortunate instance where aspiring and deserving people with no voice to raise and with nowhere to turn for help are slowly being deprived of all hopes. This is just a story of one candidate, but there are likely many more such aspiring candidates whose silent tears spilled go unnoticed. Is our state not a Christian state? All we can say and see is ‘Nagaland for Christ’ is being replaced by the word ‘Nagaland for Corruption’. It is us who are rearing and nurturing corruption into our younger generation. It is as if corruption is everything to us and we cannot live without it.

Brethren why let corruption chain us? Why can’t we unshackle ourselves from the grip of corruption? Living a life of integrity is far better than a corrupted benevolent and respectful person. Our individual commitment to honesty is a guiding light; our spiritual commitment to purity is a saving light.

Every politician represents citizens who have elected them so that they will carry out good policies for the growth and welfare of the general public. If a politician is inefficient but honest, then with the power of honesty he/she can uproot corruption from the system. At the same time, an honest politician needs the support of the public and the majority to overcome the enormous odds and challenges in our State. 

A spiritual development like love, purity, honesty, unity, empathy, justice, happiness, etc. among people is where we see no or less corruption. The reward of honesty is honesty itself, for there is nothing better than honesty. No one can be good or great without truth and honesty. No matter what, truth always triumphs.

Let honesty emerge victoriously against corruption in our Naga society. 
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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