Reconstruction: Imagining a non-political government

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The theme for this column is on ‘reconstruction’, inspired in great measure by the experience of Japan and its people who had to virtually rebuild their country from scratch after the devastation of World War II. The context may be very different but the State of Nagaland and its people are also in great need of a similar ‘reconstruction’ that the Japanese witnessed successfully. All of us are aware of how Japan faced devastating bombing attacks by the US Air Force, including the tragedy of two atomic bombs, which led to great human and physical destruction as never seen before in human history.


Here, we may not have been bombed like the Japanese, but Nagaland in the last 50 years since achieving Statehood has been destroyed by the deadly attacks of corruption on every facet of our life. No one, not even the Church, has been left untouched by the virus of corruption and we are facing the consequences of this disease, spread to every part of our body politic. And because of this, our State, society and people have been robbed of health, happiness, prosperity and justice. Yes it is true that an awakening is taking place in our society against the evils of corruption. We should use every opportunity to help cleanse and cure our society from the various ailments we have brought upon us so that we can regain our vitality and purpose to do what God has ordained us for.


Coming back to the physical and institutional reconstruction of Japan after World War II, let us learn some lessons on how this was done. General Doughlas MacArthur, who was Chief of Staff of the US Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role during World War II, was chosen to be the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), the authority that was to govern Japan for the immediate future after the war. MacArthur put together a team of American officers to fulfill that responsibility.


As public documents show, MacArthur’s priority was to carry out “a political revolution that would establish constitutional democratic government for Japan”. Also the economy of Japan was in terrible shape. Similar to our present situation it is reported that the “Japanese government had little in the way of financial resources” and also that the “tax system was not operative and the public had little to tax”. The rest as they say is history. MacArthur and his team helped to rebuild Japan, institute democratic government “and chart a new course that ultimately made Japan one of the world’s leading industrial powers”.


If Japan and its people could undergo such a reconstruction, why can’t Nagaland also do likewise? Of course we need to take some radical steps and have the courage to imagine for a better future. As done under MacArthur in Japan, we will also need to find similar leadership who can take the reins of governing the State and reconstructing the damages done by years of neglect and malpractice. We need leadership that can advance political morality, guarantee economic well being to our people and ensure social justice. Is it possible to form a non-political government under a few selected leaders or even some technocrat/s who can steer the State out of the present financial and political doldrums?


Given the near non-functioning of our State, if all political parties and civil society in the State can come together to help form such an entity, though radical and unconventional, things may improve. We know this formulation is near impossible but the point really is, we need someone like a MacArthur to inspire us and help reconstruct our State. It may be wishful thinking but we need to start evolving some far-reaching idea/s.

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