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Looking For Heroes

By   /  February 14, 2018  /  Comments Off on Looking For Heroes

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As the election fever finally starts with weeks left for the poling day and the Election Commission announcing the final lists of contesting candidates the campaign fever has kicked in all over the state. The promises and declarations of agendas and manifestoes of the candidates and the political parties have also started. In spite of the frenzy of activity it is noteworthy that the elections this time is comparatively low key than previous election in state. The more stringent rules of the ECI and the late announcement of the elections added up with the confusion of probable postponement looks as a blessing. However as it is the case in Nagaland the next 13 days is also enough to polarise the society among various groups and sections that are part of the Naga society. For a state whose citizens have tasted modernity only recently but with a history of conflict resulting in either forced or self seclusion the people look up to their leaders for almost everything. Leaders who will speak on their behalf and work for the achievement of their aspirations. Every cohort therefore is constantly on the lookout for leaders and heroes who will lead them. These leaders used to serve the people voluntarily. However the last few decades have seen the increase in the population of the state along with rise in the literacy rates. There was decrease in population in the rural areas whereas the urban areas has seen a steep increase. However job opportunities in the urban areas haven’t seen any noticeable increase. The ratio of the number of literates to vacant jobs in the state is at its worst at present. During job interviews, the number of aspirants run into thousands for less than 100 vacancies. Therefore the various cohorts within the conglomeration of the 16 recognised tribes divided in sub groups and villages become hotspots for many wannabe leaders. What was once voluntary has now become a necessity for survival in the job starved state of Nagaland. In the course of time either the need for leaders or the want to be one has become so high that Nagaland today might just have more number of leaders than followers. In such a scenario elections unfortunately become the grand finale when all these players come together to stage the final act. Every cohort will look for a hero from among them to push that person to the next level and every so-called leaders will try to climb up that political ladder. A very unique social contract thus occurs that the candidates cannot just ignore these leaders and their cohorts. The usual polarisation based on issues starting from as minuscule as a family unit will be exhibited to the fullest- village issue, clan issue, khel issue, regional issue and tribe issue etc. Competition is so stiff that even the associations brought about by being in the same political party is irrelevant unless one’s objective for the benefit of one’s cohort and its leader is not achieved. Persons registered under the same political party will become stiff rivals and work against each other during elections in Nagaland. Whispers of cases where candidates work against one’s own party candidates in another constituency is heard in every election just to ensure a better berth in the cabinet if they are able to form the government. The thousands of leaders/heroes will play out the circus to elect the next members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. The season of such heroes has arrived again in Nagaland but this time the church has given the people Clean Election Campaign if only there are any takers for it. The state needs less of such leaders as heroes but more of workers and doers as heroes.

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