As we look ahead to the year 2018, the Naga people will be confronted with essentially two things—money and political power. And more so than ever before because there is Assembly election due for the state of Nagaland in early 2018 and the long awaited Naga political settlement expected soon.
And there is good reason to worry because realistically speaking; both these events ‘election’ and ‘solution’ will involve the two elements of money and power. The Government of India has been announcing a lot of development projects for the region. It is expected therefore that there will be large fund flow into Naga areas. Also, a political settlement when it takes place will be mostly about power struggle.
Will it be a Transformative year ahead for the Nagas?
How well therefore the Nagas use the coming opportunities is going to be the biggest test in 2018.
Reading ‘Our Daily Bread’ devotional on the last day (31st Dec 2017) of this year instantly connected some dots and thoughts. This year’s (2017) last editorial from The Naga Republic seems appropriate to share these thoughts with our esteemed readers, and end the year on a reflective note together.
Much like money and power, if there is a single pesticide almost everyone can name, it’s DDT, one of the first chemicals in widespread use. In fact, following World War II, it was promoted as a wonder-chemical, the simple solution to pest problems large and small.
Years ago, seasonal workers of the Malaria Branch of the Health and Family Welfare department used to spray DDT during summer. They were jokingly called the “Spacemen” or “Astronauts” because of the big containers they carried on their backs. Their task seemed rather glamorous and risky (akin to firefighters).
At first DDT was very effective in battling insect borne diseases like malaria, typhoid etc, which led to its massive use. However, as time went by, studies showed that its usage had very adverse effects on health (both humans and animals) and the environment. Its prolonged use led to reproductive disorders, liver problems, cancer and a host of other problems. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DDT:
1. is very persistent in the environment;
2. accumulates in fatty tissues and
3. can travel long distances in the upper atmosphere.
As a result, today it is labeled as a probable human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) and is banned in the US. Banned for agricultural uses worldwide by the 2001 Stockholm Convention, the use of DDT is still permitted in small quantities in countries that need it—to kill mosquitoes that contain the microbe that causes malaria- a disease that still kills millions of people worldwide.
So what is the symbolic equivalent of DDT for the Nagas today – the powder that has filled up our houses, clogged our drains, overflowed into our roads, cemented our bridges, watered our gardens , poisoned our rivers, damaged our health, burned our transformers, instigated mobs, confused our elected leaders and sowed seeds of hatred among us?
The powdery opium of the masses is:
MONEY and POWER or rather, the love of money and power is our DDT! Money and political power were very effective in keeping the Nagas happy for decades. But, as history unfortunately proves, it has caused such endemic and systemic rot in our society that we are all suffering the long term side effects of it now.
Love of MONEY and POWER and its related side effects like opulent lifestyles, gluttony, laziness, mindless entertainment, corruption etc ., has crippled and deformed us. None of us are safe from this seductive pull. Just like the peregrine falcon, which is valued for its beauty, swiftness and power but getting almost destroyed by the presence of the poisonous DDT in its food chain, Nagas were also valued for their honesty, agility (because of active lifestyles) and loyalty. But alas, these qualities are very difficult to locate in the Nagas of today!
This is the deadly consequences of our increasing dependence on potent pesticides—abuse of money and political power.
If DDT can be used in judicious amounts to save lives, so also money and power can be used judiciously to meet our economic, political and social needs. We moan and groan about the “other” people who have ransacked Nagaland’s coffers. We only blame the politicians, the bureaucrats, the freedom fighters or the church for the sorry state of affairs. But if we are truly honest and look into the mirror of God’s word, the person with the dirtiest face is the one looking into it.
Still, all is not lost. If we can conquer our love of money and power, more than half the ills of our society can be overcome. We can be restored back to health, both physically and morally. But it will take tremendous will power and God’s transformative grace to achieve this. Are we ready and willing to be transformed?
HAVE A TRANSFORMATIVE YEAR AHEAD!
Naga Republic View