[ Tongam Rina ]
We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.
– Mahatma Gandhi
As I try to make sense of what happened in the last one week, I was told about the strength of a mother who appealed for peace despite losing her child in the recent violence in Itanagar. It takes the courage of a mother to talk peace amidst violence, because only a mother will truly understand how it feels to lose someone so precious.
As it happens anywhere else in the world, it’s the mother who pays the ultimate price for violence. As Naharlagun and Itanagar slowly gather themselves and we start to process what went wrong, we must gather courage from the history of our tribal society which believes in reconciliation. As we pray and wish for peace, we must relearn from our tribal heritage of courage, solidarity, wisdom and righteousness. As we stare at those injured, on both sides, and the devastation of private and public properties, let us always remember that violence has never gotten anyone anywhere.
The time has also come to ask why so many young people were out there in the streets of the capital region. It is time to look inwards, to look at what we have become as people. The passage to recovery will be difficult, but we have to move forward, and move together, for peace.
It’s always the old to lead us to the war;
It’s always the young to fall.
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun;
Tell me, is it worth it all?
– Phil Ochs (I Ain’t Marching Anymore)