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Op-Ed

The Speaking Mirror

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By EMN Updated: May 13, 2014 6:48 pm
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The Sleeping Bigwigs

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]arthandam is a major trade centre in Kuzhithurai municipality located across National Highway (NH 47) in Thekanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. At the banks of Kuzhithurai River in Marthandam, there is a Lord Ayyappa temple. This temple is just by the side of National Highway 47 connecting Trivandrum with Nagercoil. This temple is known as either “Vettuvenni temple” or “Vedi sasthan Kovil” in the local language. The latter was so named due to the firecracker being burst at the temple as a mark of prayer to Lord Ayyappa.One summer, during my college days in South India, I, along with a few of my classmate friends, went to Marthandam to do our internship with an NGO known as Palmyra Workers Development Society. Every morning and evening, as we traveled to our workplace and returned home through the highway, a deafening noise of the bursting firework from the temple would stab our eardrums and greet us. As usual, one day as we were passing through the temple, I asked my South Indian friends why they had to burst so many firecracker in the temple. Their replay was that the god that was being worshipped by the devotees in that temple was in deep slumber, and so in order to wake him up and get his attention, the devotees had to burst several firecracker. Then only can prayers be offered. I don’t know whether or not their explanation was true, but I thought that was incredibly amusing.
My surprise is far from over as I get to see and hear more and more of such incredible truths from our home front. It is not only in that temple alone that the sleeping god must be awakened. Even in our own state, certain opinionated bigwigs who enjoy the rank of demigods have intoxicated themselves with wealth and power that they have slipped into deep slumber in the temple of public office. It appears that in order to wake up sleeping giants to their senses, a protest proportionate to the size of their insensitivity becomes indispensable. Is it not a contradiction for our leaders to wait for the voiceless to voice their concern when they have been appointed or elected to be the voice of the voiceless? Should every action be preceded by a protest? Where have our religious ethics and morality strayed away? Where have we lost our spiritual conscience?
With the monsoon season knocking at the door, roads in Nagaland are going to offer their motorists another round of nightmarish ride. Lately after a series of public outcry against the authorities on the depleting condition of road in Dimapur, gladly its citizens are at the moment breathing a sigh of relief as they have now paved road to ride on. Thanks to the concerned Minister for waking up to the cry of the city.
But how about other towns and villages? Don’t they deserve good roads? The roads in Nagaland are not fit to be called roads, irrespective of whether they are national or state highways. These roads are not just sick; they are literally dying with no Good Samaritan around to attend to their distressed call. Having cried their hearts out to deaf ears, they have arrived at the end of the road. In a situation such as this, we either first resuscitate a dying lifeline or put ourselves on the line and walk into the jaw of certain death. In the face of no visible sign of a savior making its appearance, people gamble with life every day by putting themselves on the road.
Of particular interest in this case is the near about 80 kms stretch of the lone national highly between Dimapur and Kohima. Every now and then one can spot vehicles, cars and trucks, old and new, without exception, stranded in the middle of the road. Drivers know best the ordeal of being left alone halfway through the road with a vehicle that has broken down. The rising number of motor accidents and death toll on the road due to apathy on the part of the concerned authority is a matter of serious public concern. Every single life counts in the eyes of God. Therefore, every single life that is lost as a result of somebody’s blunder should be accounted for.
Generally, Nagas are silent people. They are a people with few words. They rarely protest in the form of shouting slogans and calling names. If our leaders have sedated themselves with the comfort of life in their own cocoons and are not performing because the masses are not speaking up, it is not because they are satisfied with the state of affair. People may or may not take the issue to the street, but the government is duty-bound to ensure that the welfare and security of its citizen is made their priority. Before the life of another human being is put into jeopardy, let our leaders arise.
Rümatho Nyusou, SBS, Sechü-Zubza

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By EMN Updated: May 13, 2014 6:48:30 pm