Taking a leaf from President’s Speech on Independence-Day
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he address of the President of India on the eve of the 66th Independence of the country was on expected lines with the impending Lok Sabha polls. Pranab Mukherjee categorically said that before he addresses the people again on Aug 15, 2014, India would have had another general election .He asked people to vote in a stable government to ensure economic development even as he warned Pakistan that India’s “patience has limits” and it will take all “necessary steps” to protect its security. This was Pranab Mukherjee’s second Independence Day address as head of state after he took over office in July 2012.But there were many other gems that could help charter the course of development especially for Nagaland, caught in the runaway to Independence. The President’s speech when applied to Nagaland on a micro scale leaves much to be achieved especially on the anvil of celebrating 50 years of statehood . But the speech can also provide an opportunity, a sort of a road map which Nagaland must follow, even as the dialogue with Delhi of Naga political rights continue.
The President very early on to his speech said “Institutions are a mirror of national character”. And who can argue with that. Institutions regulate, and co exist with the needs of a changing society. They are meant to uphold, streamline and through the structures it sets up administer and achieve objectives for the welfare of the public. The question is, is there one such institute of excellence in Nagaland? When it comes to education the one and only central University is beleaguered with problems and politicking. The speech held up a mirror to the efforts absent in re-ordering society, through the educational system. His speech regretted India’s rapid decline from being the nerve centre which gave birth to new ideas and movements to the world. “We cannot aspire to be a world class power without a single world class university. History records that we were the cynosure of the world once. Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for eighteen hundred years beginning Sixth Century BC. They were a magnet for the finest minds and scholars in the world. We must seek to regain that space. A university is the banyan tree whose roots lie in basic education, in a vast network of schools that build the intellectual prowess of our communities; we have to invest in every part of this knowledge tree, from seed, root and branch to the highest leaf.” There is work to be done in Nagaland.
On a rather poignant note in his address the President drew attention to the natural disaster in Uttarakhand where thousands of pilgrims died in the worst flash floods the country has experienced. He cautioned that in the “race for development” we must be careful not to disturb the balance between man and nature. The consequences of which can be disastrous he added. It is advice that could not have come at a more opportune time.Nagaland prepares to open its ways to development. Multi lanes, bye passes, rail roads and dams, mining and exploration of Oil and Natural Gas are all on the cards.Our forests and wildlife are already depleted. Our rivers and natural water sources are drying up as deforestation takes place unabatedly and the run off on the hill slopes have begun to affect the productivity of the soil with the erosion of top soil. Every year landslips are increasing and causing delays and hardship to people as well as pushing up costs of essential comnodities as surface communication gets disrupted.
What the President states is something that planners for the development of the state may want to ponder over. Referring to Uttarakhand he said “This tragedy owes as much to the avarice of human nature as to the rage of Mother Nature. This was nature’s wake-up call. And it is time to wake up”
Can we? Will we? The choice for the future i s ours to make.