By: Akummoa Nokdir
Nagaland is a so-called ‘Christian’ state wherein by law buying and selling of liquor and also its storage as well as consumption has been banned. Nagaland has exhibited a serious ‘policy phobia’ regarding the question of liquor/ alcohol consumption. Nagaland is also one of those states that banned liquor, which evidently recorded the highest number of deaths due to ailments related to alcohol consumption. One report (2013-2018) which is available in the public domain, says around 4,051 patients were admitted in various hospitals with alcohol related ailments and 479 deaths have been recorded.
Article 47 of the Constitution of India says that, “the state shall make every effort to ban the consumption of intoxicating drinks and substances that are injurious to health”. Though not legally enforceable, “Directive Principles of State Policies” set goals for the state so that the citizens can lead a good life. HOWEVER, what we have generally witnessed is that there is a great gap between theory and practice, and liquor ban certainly does not serve the purpose nor meet the objectives envisaged under Article 47. In fact, this hollow policy of liquor ban is responsible for actively encouraging the rise and shine of ‘Liquor Black Market’ and ‘deaths of people’ due to the consumption of contaminated alcohol. Moreover, since I have eyes and a brain, I can very well observe as to how the local/state leaders/businessmen/influential people are actively involved in the indirect, illegal business of liquor and allied activities. Illegal liquor business could not have achieved full-on prosperity had it not been blessed by the tribal leaders, state politicians and the government servants.
We Nagas are primarily the most cunning people, we know how to play with the system that we ourselves have created to achieve our illegal objectives, unlawful goals and sinful desires. The Government of India has been lawfully helping Nagaland to manage its economy and maximum capital as well as revenue expenditures under its legal obligations as per Article 371 (A), however, it is we who misused the beautifully created system, and this observation gives a lot of pain to me as a Naga student. In short, Nagas were never troubled by any outsiders or non-Nagas, it is we the Nagas who have continuously troubled and stolen rights of the other Nagas and dug a big, deep ‘CAVE’ for ourselves. The current development in our state, for example, an ongoing movement of “Frontier Nagaland” is also not just a result of state failure, but the result of a failure of the Nagas as individuals as well as a community too. I feel ashamed as a Naga and an Indian- a citizen of this beautiful, free country which runs on the Rule of Law and the Command of the Constitution. As a student, I do not see any Law, Rule or System in Nagaland.
I have lived outside in different parts of India with my educated parents and now I am living in Nagaland, I can see the stark differences. Here, we do not value Law and System. We do not follow traffic rules. We do not respect Police in Nagaland. We do not follow hygiene, we want to use washed-branded clothes but we shamelessly spit on the road and in the house. Furthermore, there are so many other things which otherwise may not be lawful or legal we do in the name of “cultural practices and traditions’’. For e.g. since the election season is going on- i would say, the practice of declaring “Consensus Candidate” by villages in Nagaland which is justified by people in the name of cultural practice and tradition, is the extreme violation of Law of the Land. There are people who manipulate/violate the right to vote of people by threat or money. When will Nagas wake up? We talk about the “Naga Solution”, but first we have to find a solution to our own corrupt minds, demonic hearts, lusty desires and selfish souls. We have to free ourselves from the clutches of undemocratic rule of village councils and invisible forces. We Nagas first have to free ourselves from our own selfish nature- that is, i believe-is a real freedom, that is real solution, that is real achievement for us Nagas.
We are living in an interesting time, an era of grand transformation. We have suffered a lot in the hands of our own. We have seen how politics is being played in the last six decades. We have also witnessed how the inactive nature of politicians, their lack of vision and selfish character, Nagaland has evolved into the number one corrupt state in India. How long are we going to tolerate this? Old generation of leaders is teaching and indoctrinating younger generations of leaders with wrong ideas, wrong worldviews and wrong politics. The legacy of corruption, political blindness and social narrow mindedness seems to have been passed from the older generation to the younger generation. We should stop this immediately.
The wrongs and mistakes (knowingly, unknowingly) committed by the older generation of tribal leaders, Ministers, MLAs and Government servants of the state of Nagaland should never be repeated. Older generation of Politicians and the Old style of Politics should be compulsorily retired from Nagaland Politics.
Generation of Politicians and all those members of Legislative Assembly of Nagaland (current and past) that banned (support/encouraged) liquor and transformed our beautiful, innocent “Christian State of Nagaland” into “Drunken state of Nagaland”, created fertile ground for corruption, kept people in the darkness, never created the culture of Rule of Law, never taught people/citizens their rights and duties, stolen the rights of the Eastern Naga people must be kept outside the political affairs of our state in the interests of all of us and our state of Nagaland. Time has come to initiate a cleanliness drive. This election is an opportunity for us.
Nagaland was created in 1963, since then nobody taught our people the meaning of Right to Vote or Justice. Today, nobody cares about choosing the right candidate. They understand elections as an opportunity to earn money. In Nagaland people take money and sell their vote. They do not understand that selling the vote is selling self-respect and honor. In Nagaland our leaders never taught us the meaning of “One Man, One Vote, One Value”, our leaders never taught us the value of our Constitutional rights.
As I see, many so-called leaders, intellectuals or people who showed courage to go against the system are being bought with a few thousands or lakhs of rupees or offer of a high position in Government and soon they too become a part of the bandwagon/evil gangs of jokers, power agents, power mongers and political Dalals. However, in all the darkness, I have also seen a handful of people who demonstrate to us through their actions the value of Self-respect, honesty and the true meaning of “Justice”, who are standing strong like a Rock of Gibraltar – all alone shining like an afternoon Sun. Corrupt and criminal minded people are always found in groups, but the Lion with Wisdom, Knowledge and Strength roams alone. As a young man, I was attracted to a Lion and refused to surrender myself at the feet of cunning Foxes and Vampire Bats in Nagaland.
As a representative of the young Naga generation I strongly feel that we don’t have to be that cheap for money. It is because of corrupt leaders that we elected under the lustful influence of money, Nagaland is suffering. What does Nagaland not have? We have natural resources, we have dedicated manpower, we share international boundaries, in fact Nagaland has a potential to become the richest state in India, but it is only because of the worst leaders, their supporters from the business community and the rotten system we have been dragged to the current situation.
As a young stakeholder, I want investment in Nagaland, I want international companies in Nagaland, I want Banks, I want insurance companies, I want Petroleum, agricultural as well as well-regulated Liquor industry in my state, I want international universities as well as engineering colleges, multispecialty hospitals, Research centers, IITs, NLUs in Nagaland. Why should there be no international manufacturing units in our state? I want roads similar to the roads of New Delhi. I want our Indian Railways to connect each and every district of Nagaland. I want public toilets everywhere. I want street lights. I desire and want everything that my Constitution of India guarantees me as a citizen of India. I will only vote for a candidate who is able to give me a guarantee to respect and secure my Fundamental Rights as a citizen of this country.
Due to liquor ban the government has thrown Nagaland in the state of perpetual drunkenness, however, “Alcohol of power and political slavery” has also put our Nagaland into the state of perpetual amnesia. Time for the Constitutional Revolution has come.
It is our cardinal duty to choose the right candidate. We need to send the right people to the state assembly to achieve our development goals and most importantly to achieve structural transformation in the state governance.
Every single vote can make a difference. Nobody in this world can take your right to vote away from you. No person, no organization, nobody can threaten you or force you or violate your right to vote. Let us have complete faith in the Constitution of our country.
You and I can be the agent of change.
Don’t sell your franchise in order to suffer tomorrow. Cast your vote fearlessly. Elect new leaders, young leaders, educated leaders, visionary leaders and most importantly elect leaders who can take you out from the darkness with their moral strength and character. We are modern young Nagas, architects of new Nagaland and New India. We will build a new world.
We young people are watching. We will make Nagaland Legislative Assembly members accountable for each and every action they take. The Law of the Land is with us. New generation is not mute, we know how to talk and how to act.
We “FREE” young boys and girls are the guardians of Nagaland. Beware of us.
[The author is a student of Class-XI (ARTS), Tetso College, Nagaland]
The Drunken ‘Nagaland’- Alcohol, Dirty Politics and Dawn of a New World
By: Akummoa Nokdir