Yet again, we Nagas stole the limelight in the last few weeks for all the wrong reasons. My head hung in shame as my fellow brethren considered violence as the only solution to a problem. I recall an incident when a couple of years back, the Nagas, who were not known to the world or even to our own fellow countrymen, created history as a result of a hasty, badly thought and planned course of action. Our state made international headlines overnight, with news of the lynching flashing in news media outlets around the world. Be it BBC World, Al Jazeera, The Times of India, all had images of our City Tower, a landmark which was now blemished by our actions. The Nagas made their entry into the world news as an anthropophagite for taking law into our own hands, and once again we have proven to the whole world we are nothing but barbarians.
We take pride in calling ourselves hospitable and peace-loving people, and zealously proclaim ‘Nagaland for Christ!’ But, the irony is that we are incoherent and full of vengeance. Is it enough to chant in a chorus that we are peace loving? Are we not contradicting ourselves with our actions? Our actions build our identity. What has happened in the past few days is most unfortunate and unexpected, because the ultimate result was not to sacrifice lives, but to arrive at an amicable solution. I am neither in favor nor against either of the two segments of opinions, but I am one among the many confused spectators, who in the chaos is trying to figure out what has really gone wrong. Could we have avoided the whole chaos?
There is always a solution to every problem, but violence is never the answer; it only aggravates the situation. Why do we always turn to violence and believe that ultimately it can only settle problems? We have experienced the outcome of violence in the past too, and I am saddened by the fact that we have not learned from our past. Like in the past, the social media has once again maneuvered the innocent Nagas. “One rotten potato in the basket spoils the whole basket”. In our case too, a handful of selfish half-baked cakes has succeeded in manipulating the minds of the masses. Do our youth comprehensively understand the issues they are fighting for?
In the battle between Good and Evil, Evil has triumphed once again in ‘The Land of Christ’. Evil here does not connote to any of the two rivals; rather, it implies that both have surrendered to irrationality.
I am reminded of my mother’s advice to always submit to our elder’s advice for the virtue of them being older than me. I disagree because I believe rational thinking can come from any generation, and not from elders alone. Sometimes it’s wiser to be kind than right. We are at a juncture where neither side wants to compromise. I stand on the sidelines and witness the hatred, and it pains my heart. How I wish that both parties had been kinder. Perhaps we would not have lost our two brothers.
Had the Government taken a wise decision, keeping in mind the demands and sentiments of the public, things would not have deteriorated to this extent. Our leaders have failed us, choosing power over their concern for us. The world has seen revolutions through non-violent protests. I wonder why we couldn’t do the same. What difference does declaring the elections null and void now make? What did we gain burning down public properties? Did it bring back the two precious lives?
What has been done cannot be undone. No amount of agitation and resentment shown through various means can ever bring back the two lives that have been tragically lost, and neither can the damage which was done to the image of the Nagas as a whole be reversed. We ought to realise that life is not a critical struggle between the weak and the strong, where principles of humanity do not matter. Everything simply does not boil down to victory and defeat. Having learned the hard way from past experience, we do agree on the futility of violence in every struggle; yet this incident perhaps has projected our true image: we are not what we proclaim to be- a peace loving community. We have fallen miserably. Violence is violence, and there is no justification for it.
“Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder Murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems.” Martin Luther Jr.
We Nagas today need to reflect on this quote and decide judiciously if we want to traverse again along the same path. At this crucial juncture, I can only hope and pray to God that He gives us the strength and wisdom to accept and reconcile with our past, and choose what is best for our society. Nagaland is our state, let’s love it and make it the heaven we want it to be. It’s never too late.
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 recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.