It is told time and again that Nagas were simple, honest and trustworthy. So, in public speeches and writings, appeals are made to revisit that past and cultivate or uphold that past collective character of our forefathers. That past is also often spoken in the context of the present situation where the stark contrast is projected: That we have become opposites of what we used to be. ‘There is no honesty or integrity and we have become corrupt from top to bottom’, people say about the present.
How did it happen that we have become opposites of how we used to be? More specifically, who were/are responsible for this turn-around? We can blame the change in the environment – the influence of external social, cultural and economic factors – which shaped the transition. But there were people who were behind the change in the environment (anthropogenic) and there were people who succumbed to or decided to change from the former to the present state of being.
I believe that people who were responsible for the former good name have passed away, long retired, or grown too old to have significant influence in public life. Can we blame the new generation – the young and the reckless ones who are up to no good – for the turn-around? Are they responsible for the bad name that we are all identified with? I don’t think so. Restless, reckless, lazy, however incompetent and all the negatives added, the young ones are not at the helms of the society’s affairs to earn us the bad name. Resources are not at their disposal to corrupt. Major decisions are not theirs to take to discriminate and dominate. Not yet.
So, if those who were responsible for the former good name have ceased to be major players and the young ones are not up there yet to play a major part in the present state of affairs, we can have a guess of people (age group) who are responsible for this fall from grace: People currently at the helm of affairs including the recently retired. So, rather than lecturing the young ones at any given opportunity, they first require to tender apology for creating the present crisis and jeopardizing their future. It won’t be out of place if one of them writes a letter of apology on behalf of their generation to the younger generation saying,
‘We are so sorry. We strayed from the path of our forefathers. We corrupted the name of our people by our actions. We apologize for the mess we have created for you’.
But having said that, when I, a young father look at my son, I think if I will have to be the one making the apology too. We thirty-somethings are throwing up mixed signals. I am concerned for the world that my son and his generation will be growing up in. Can I make it better for him? Can we turn it around again for the generations to come? We must or else our children will continue to be in the streets or screens protesting for the sorry state of affairs.