As a new year starts, Nagaland is also on the process to choose a new set of lawmakers in the forthcoming assembly elections. It is time for the people to critically analyse the current set of leaders that were elected during the previous elections in 2013. Lessons have to be learned and ways mended by changing the very criteria that defines who a good leader is. As repeatedly mentioned in this space, the present tenure would be the worst case scenario of the leaders that it produced. The society needs to understand one basic fundamental principle, that the amount of money used during elections is indirectly proportional to the morality of the people. It can be termed as vicious circle but when citizens stops to accept gifts and money the spending by the candidates decreases. The Naga custom that gifts are not returned needs to be revisited and redefined especially during elections. Moreover a person who was able to amass wealth need not necessarily be a good leader although his capacity to help and assist will no doubt be more. For Nagaland, a state with negligible private sector there are very few individuals and firms that can be considered wealthy who are assessed by the department of Income Tax. It therefore also raises doubt of the means used to amass wealth by such individuals.
There was a time in Nagaland when leaders were chosen for having the qualities in tune with the Naga ethos. The oratory skills and the statesmanship exhibited by the leaders of yesteryears were evidence of not only their knowledge but the ability to learn. On the other hand, the people were also more understanding of the shortcomings of the leaders keeping in mind that the people of the state as a whole were still getting accustomed to modernity and learning along with the rest of the country. However over the years, what was used to be genuine ignorance earlier slowly became an excuse to feign ignorance of law. This was the biggest fallacy that many of the elected representatives in the state indulged in even on the floor of the August House. The proceedings of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly over the last few years speaks volumes of the quality of the elected representative of the state. The future of the state is in perils if the lawmakers themselves do not understand the law they are making. So after more than 50 years since statehood the time might have come for redefining what a good Naga representative should be. It is time to stop romanticising the past glories one’s exclusive entities like tribe, village, khel and clan. Time has come to choose leaders relevant to the times.