The tragedy of it all
Benito Z. Swu
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n the surface everything looks as is and has been. The normality of the abnormality in conducting the day to day activities of life and business is as usual. The undertaking of any means to meet the ends and the abnormality of the means adopted no more is felt abnormal because of repeated repetitions that has already numbed anything that even remotely pricks the conscience. The unfairness of the plentiful and wastage when two square meal a day is a real struggle for many, the illegitimacy of the tax collector to literally snatch in the name of nationalism mostly by those self styled authorized individuals who do not even have an inkling of a knowledge about the legitimacy and actuality of what it is all about. The heirchary in the Naga Political Groups which earlier had a pyramidical outlook, and in reality as well, even if not exactly with a tapering point is today looking more and more like a cylindrical drum with a blunt short nosed pig snout that does not seems to be able to be doing justice either to itself nor its uniformly ever expanding cylindrical drum.We again have a new morality where the status consciousness of the tax collector has seen to it that the very act has been sub-contracted to the empowered local or non-local, legal or illegal migrant or immigrant belonging to any faith or denomination, but all in the name of Christ. And it does not stop here. Status and work load demands that the very act of collecting is further sub-contracted and equipped with a firearm and a verbal license to kill if situation demands. All these by no means is pretty to either hear, see, or experience for any common men in the street but is a stark reality which every individual be it a Naga or anyone from mainland India working or residing in Nagaland especially Dimapur has to endure.In this materialistic world of ours today, the very change and advancement in every sphere of living fueled by the sudden advancement in the field of information technology, be it there in Delhi, Bangalore, New York or Paris, does not discriminate us here in Dimapur or anywhere in Nagaland. But sadly it is not so with economics. There was a time in the late 70’s and early 80’s in the ghettos of America where an American black teenager would mugg and kill just for that pair of sneakers – the only way for him to get that dream footwear. The same seems to be happening here today in Nagaland chiefly in Dimapur, the cosmo boiling pot of our state. Spoon feeding in one way or the other and that too not exclusively to the younger generation of today, and having interpreted the bountiful blessings of our living God as something granted without taking to heart the lessons of the ungratefulness of the Israelites complaining to Moses about the non-variety of the Manna rained down by God which only needed to be lifted to their mouth without shedding a tear of a sweat, the damage has already been done. Work culture has eroded to that extent where we are forced to forfeit even our due share. We have become beggars who cannot complain about what is being given to us. Can’t blame nobody.
While all the nations of the democratic world are evolving and advancing in every sphere and definitely so as well in the per capita income of their respective citizens, where time in itself has become such a premium commodity that people hardly sleeps these days and where possession is only driven by necessity, we Nagas along with our politicians in Dimapur are left with all the time in the world. All the time for our mind to remain idle. And it is but natural and human for idle minds to become the devil’s workshop. For our youths and the Nagas in general, necessity in its true sense is not a word found in our dictionary. The latest change in technology is a must have and any means to achieve the end becomes fair game. Adding to this dangerous shortcoming of the young Naga generation is the pace of the change in technology which is too fast for us Nagas to keep pace with, and which we are failing to recognize and address the demerits of it all heads on.
When we parents ourselves have failed to maintain our self respect and the ethos of work culture because of our non-existent or lopsided pride, when we have failed to engrain in the minds of our children that it is only work culture, however menial it might be, where our daily bread and self respect is and should be, when we have openly flaunted our riches and the celebrations thereof, when we have been downright so shortsighted as to our sincerely hopeless reasoning of providing our children something which we did not have to enjoy or flaunt at their age, when we have been blind to the fact that our indulgence in downright UFC style violence has not escaped the eyes and minds of our children, when open extra marital affairs and downright gluttony of both food and wine have legitimated it all to be fair and normal in the eyes and mind of our inquisitive young, when the thin screen between forced and paid labor has become indistinguishable, when the most insensitive barbaric character has been licensed to instill discipline in another fellow Naga or the other through inhuman flogging, starving or chained confinements in the name of nationalism, when mainline state politicians enforce forced confinements and resorts to unconventional methods at the expense of the gullible victimized public as a means to achieve their ends, when even women, whatever the crime has not been spared from the barbarity of it all, it is all nothing but a pure reflection of the depths of the nadir to which we have fallen into.
Let us just for once keep the blame game in abeyance and face the truth and nothing but the bitter truth and the reality of it all. Rape as a crime is an understatement. It is more than just a crime. It dehumanizes a human being and stigmatizes the victim for life. But what happened in Dimapur on the 5th of March 2015 should never have happened. The incompetence of the District administration was in stark display. The District administration should have read the writing on the wall early in the day and in all seriousness and with the very commonsense should have put in place every conceivable measures possible, and there is plenty, to forestall the obvious just by judging from the simmering that was gathering steam with every passing hour. Once the volcano erupted, it was all too little too late. It is a tragedy that one innocent individual lost his life, but it was just providence that many more lives were not lost in the police firing that ensued. The snatching of the accused right under the nose of the District administration and the barbaric medieval inhuman treatment meted out to the accused leading to his death, and thereafter to the body of the deceased, is a blot which can never be erased from the dark chapter of the black book of humanity.
Yes, there is no arguing that illegal Bangladeshi immigrants (IBI’s as being termed) individually and in groups have for long been indulging in crimes of every hue and kinds, from petty thefts to serious crimes of household invasions, rapes and murder, the conviction rate of which has been abysmally and unflatteringly low. That something bad could happen at any time, sooner or later, was palpable but not as what was witnessed which was totally unexpected and unwarranted. With unemployment rising in the Naga society and the hijacking of business avenues by the IBI’s through corruption of paying and working more to and for the Naga officialdom, the tragedy of today’s Dimapur is more or less our own making. But again it is not as if the IBI’s pushed us all out. They simply occupied the vacancy – the space that was there for the taking. We shout from rooftops, but how many of us are willing to rough it out with that patience of picking and counting the coins. And another bitter truth again also remains that infact many of the business stalls which we so vocally are airing as to have been hijacked by the IBI’s in collusion with corrupt Naga officials are actually allotted to we Nagas which we have sublet to the so called IBI’s. Our impatience with honest work ethics and the compulsive itch for shortcuts have converted all the semblance and potentiality of promising business avenues and arenas into stinking liquor dens and the breeding ground of all filthy thinking and diseases which no precautions on earth can ever always prevent all the time.
Yes, there’s no denying. Nagas are on tenterhooks. Saddled with the dictates of the various NPG’s who makes no distinction in their respective self regulated imposition to all and sundry, except maybe to the tapering apex, the frustration of the common people has exposed the dark underbelly of the accumulated helplessness which has been taken advantage of, giving way to the raw inhumanity of what conscious pricking human beings can also become. Adding to this tinderbox is the insensitivity of the illegal immigrants, ofcourse not all of them but definitely many of whom are ever willing to undertake any legitimate or illegitimate work as long as there is something in it for them. The backing of some certain local populace and the availability of firearms to those who wants it for a price makes it all the more easier for crimes of all nature to be perpetuated with very little risk of detection. Having nothing to lose criminals have definitely taken advantage of the fluidity. So much and so well that many have even taken roots through the matrimonial way, outside of local and family sanction, cushioned solely because of the fluidity of the earning and spending capability, the source of which however illegitimate and invisible it may be.
Mention has to be made here that among the people and leaders of different communities settled in Dimapur and Kohima as well, it is those of the Muslim community who have always been in the forefront in preserving and maintaining social equilibrium and maintaining peace and harmony. It is to their credit that they are always there to take up the initiative and correct the wrongs transparently from within their community which otherwise could have even been enveloped under the carpet. It is indeed very sad and regrettable but in the light of the recent tragic happening, the Indian Muslim community in Nagaland and more specifically the Muslim Council Dimapur(MCD) needs to do some heavy soul searching. There is not an iota of doubt in the thinking and the fact that the legitimacy and reputation of the all together Indian Muslim community is being smeared by the illegal homeless wanderers. They have no stake, nothing to lose and therefore are loose cannons. They become easy fodder and very convenient instruments for the undertakings of criminal endeavors which will ultimately in one way or the other, sooner or later blow over bringing shame, pain and indignity to the muslim community as a whole. It is purely in the interest of the MCD to chaff off the husk in all seriousness and restore peace, dignity and social wellbeing back to the town of Dimapur which has taken a severe beating to its reputation as never before.
The tribalistic instinct of the people of Nagaland and the distinct variations in every aspect of living is a very unique characteristic in a race of people of so few a population anywhere in the world. This uniqueness of some two dozen odd Naga tribes for which our ancestors took pride in is today turning out to be more and more the other way round in this melting pot of a cosmo township like Dimapur – a no nonsense, very diverse mini India. Every tribe with its own set of customary law and very jealous and possessive of it, wanting no interference from any quarter whatsoever, every faction of NPG’s with their own set of ground rules, villages and colonies with their again own set of rules and regulations, the civil administration and the police adhering to the national rules and regulations as they should, and one can never be wrong to label Dimapur as the one and only township in India which can very rightly claim to be the “City/Town/Land of Rules”.
It is nature and natural that doing right hardly gets recognized but doing wrong gets recognized as much as that black sheep in the flock. One does not move about carrying a badge declaring that one is an IBI. It is the community that gets labeled. The MCD has to ensure that no legitimate Muslim citizen of India is caught in the crossfire as happened in the recent tragic incident. The belief that whatsoever it may be, we Nagas as Christians are different has evaporated in thin air, and very sadly that the basic instinct of human beings being even cannibalistic is appearing to have been proved right. But this does not mean that we should not be keeping the faith. That lynching of rapists is nothing new in the interiors of Nagaland, which hardly gets reported to protect the sanctity or reputation of a particular tribe, clan or village. But having a rapist lynched in a law administered District Head Quarter, and that too a cosmo town like Dimapur is altogether a different issue. It is for the social scientists and religious leaders to ponder and think over, to analyse, study, work and bring to light the many Why’s that need answers. And fast.