Politics without philosophy
Dr. K. Hoshi
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]olitics in layman’s understanding is a one word definition; “power”. Politics is both an art and a science in that, the art of politics have been experimented from practice and proved to be not only correct but also beneficial to mankind. The values of philosophical politics are principle, morality, ethics and ideals. Philosophical politics has a standard value code. The foundation of this positive politics had evolved from the ideals of political philosophers of the past in their own times. When there was philosophy in politics, there was welfare politics. Government was for the people and governance was welfare based. Welfare politics guaranteed equality and justice to all men and women. Politics, ingrained in philosophy gave peace and harmony to mankind. Value politics existed in that poetic society.Politics of present day has been greatly devalued primarily because; politics is no longer considered a philosophy but a game. Politicians no longer consider themselves philosophers. They consider themselves game-changers. Welfare politics is replaced on one side by populist politics and on the other side by corporate politics. In both the cases, power politics is the sole objective. While populist politics randomized the system and affected effective planning; corporate politics made the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. There is aberration in general social thinking. There seems to be something grossly wrong in our educational curriculum that are based more on knowledge banking than on values. In the transition from ignorance to literate, then to education; a society like Nagas’ with high literacy rate but low level of education is most affected.
India, as a democratic republic country; people are given the power to elect their representatives every five years. Nagas have been participating in this nation-wide exercise since 1964. Today, it may not be far from truth to admit that nothing has destroyed Naga society more than elections. In 1952, Nagas totally boycotted the first Parliamentary election of independent India basically for two reasons. The first reason was refusal to join the Indian Union and accepting its constitution. The second reason was the apprehension that Indian system of election would destroy the Nagas. Elections were unknown in the customary system of Naga village politics then. The visionary leader Late A. Z. Phizo had the foresight to see that and alarmed the Nagas of his time. As we see Naga society in ruins today, caused by corrupt elections, how very true was his vision! Up to early 1980’s elections were comparatively less corrupt, probably because of innocence or ignorance of candidates about election malpractices. From mid 80’s, muscle power crept in. Then from 2003, elections have become a strong combination of money, muscle and gun powers. Politics as a philosophy has disappeared and political game has taken over the arena.
The history of Nagaland State Legislative Assembly has been riddled with defections. No house has probably completed its term without defection in one way or other and; all for power and positions. In defection politics, Nagaland is known in setting precedence for other States in India and even triggering political opinion to evolve anti-defection law. Reducing the State politics to mere number game has had its own telling effects on Nagas, as social depredation and lack of developments proved. Nagaland State has completed fifty years. By age, it was the second oldest state in the northeast India. In economic point of view, it is the most undeveloped state as the size of our plan size; the lowest in NE-India, had proved. I refuse to accept that Nagaland is a liability state to India for the simple reason that Nagaland is a state born out of political agreement and the Government of India had promised as its responsibility, to look after the State’s development. It has the obligation to honor and fulfill that promise. The saddest part is that, Nagas are not honest to ourselves. We blame India for all our ills and create unwanted situations to give perfect alibi for India to say there could not be development without peace.
Nothing is going to change so long as politics is used as a play thing by elected members. Council of Ministers is basically a core group in a house of sixty who are expected to exhibit some level of ingenuity. Under the downsizing law, Nagaland Legislative Assembly is entitled twelve Cabinet berths only, including the Chief Minister. They are expected to be a group of people not only enjoying the confidence of the Chief Minister but also of men, preferably already refined in ability and capability in the given task. It is a loss to public when a Cabinet Minister is given opportunity to learn from experience or when he refuses to master it. One objective of downsizing was cost-cutting by limiting the size of the ministry. Another was probably for elected members to concentrate in the development needs of their respective constituencies. The objective of downsizing was defeated when all MLAs of ruling party are appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries or Chairman of public undertakings. Today in Nagaland, being a Cabinet Minister and Parliamentary Secretary are more of show-piece and status symbol of power than constitutional duty and responsibility. No elected member wants to be mere MLA because; both the elected member and his electorates have the negative notion that he will not be able to fulfill his election promises as MLA. This is the root cause of defection politics; a myopic one indeed!
If Nagaland has to move forward, abandoning political gaming and imbibing philosophical politics is imperative. So long as Nagaland remains the State in Indian Union, there is little or nothing that can be done constitutionally. The only solution is ‘attitude change’ within ourselves; appreciating political values as our ways of life.
Hope one day, Nagas will have a political system when elections and defection politics are completely done away with, as our fore-fathers were born with. No majority, no minority but all-jority like the one on 5th February.
(This is a personal opinion and in no way reflect the views of the political party this writer belongs).