BY MONALISA CHANGKIJA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nagaland — a first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after twelve years — and definitely Modi’s first visit to Nagaland as Prime Minister of India, has been the main topic of conversation in the kitchen over dinner tables, offices, streets and in various media, including social media, especially in the past week or so. But the topic is focused on two main issues (1) that the Prime Minister should travel by road from Dimapur to Kohima for obvious reasons, and (2) whether he would announce a bail-out package for Nagaland and the amount thereof.
It is a pity that on the eve of Nagaland’s 51st State Anniversary, we have been reduced to this when we ought to have been on a celebratory mode. Of course, we are honoured and delighted that our Prime Minister has come all the way from Delhi to be with us today on our 51st State Day and we ought to also celebrate his presence at our state’s capital but most of all, along with him we must celebrate our 51st Statehood Day without bothering too much about the “gifts” he bears. Yes, the state’s finances are in shambles but we must not fear because Nagaland, India’s 16th State, will survive. We must not lose hope and be apprehensive that the Union Government will abandon us ~ after all we are a part and parcel of the Republic of India, so it is the moral and constitutional obligation of the Government of India to ensure that Nagaland does not suffer.
However, it is altogether a different matter whether the Government of Nagaland will survive or not ~ and it is not obligatory on the part of the Government of India to worry too much about the survival of the Government of Nagaland. So, what I am basically saying is that we must know the difference between the state and the government ~ basic Political Science actually. And knowing and fully understanding the difference between the state and the government, on this auspicious day we must celebrate our statehood and let tomorrow take care of itself ~ for tomorrow too, the state of Nagaland will exist and go one, perhaps sometimes under dark clouds and sometimes under a shinning sun, nevertheless till such a time when what is destined to change, do change, the State of Nagaland will go on. For far too long, we have allowed the political to overwhelm all other aspects of our lives; and as we can see for ourselves today, this has not served the people’s interests therefore, it is time that now we focus on the interests, welfare and benefit of the people. Definitely, sustained and sustainable development comes to the mind first when we talk of people’s interests, welfare and benefit, which would than translate and transcend into the state’s advancement, development, prosperity and progress.
Moreover, no state, no country, no society and no community can ever hope to move forward if only the interests of one or two minuscule classes or sections of people are served and the interests of the vast majority are sacrificed at the altar of these minority groups. Leadership connotes servant-hood and if we forget this we insult and do injustice to our ancestors who practiced the form of governance, which prioritized the greater good of the greatest number of people, which is also in consonance with the modern concept of democracy. And both our traditional and the modern concepts of democracy are aimed at preserving and promoting the community and the state, which is the modern manifestation of the village or the commonwealth of communities, towards the purpose of enabling and empowering the people to fully realize their potentials. This objective is defeated when only a handful of people prioritize themselves at the cost of the majority. The state is greater than the government ~ any government ~ so today let us focus all attention on our state and celebrate the State of Nagaland ~ warts and all. It is, after all, our home, our land ~ however imperfect it may be. And while doing so, let us also resolve to take it towards perfection. Yes, today, as we move into a celebratory mode, side-by-side let us also not forget to move into a contemplative mode. Contemplations add vigour to celebrations.
Happy state day!
Monalisa Changkija is the editor of Nagaland Page