Mahatma Gandhi, the man who inspired human rights movements worldwide, all by living the simple nonviolent life he preached, once said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
To be the change means to want, to choose, and to commit your actions to do the right thing. Gandhi said whatever you do will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it because that’s the right way to live.
Today I ask you: what change would you like to see in the world? To figure that out, I ask: what bothers you? For me it is the digital divide, the economic inequality, the general disparity in educational opportunity, and the rising crimes and lawlessness. If nothing bothers you then I am saddened.
Today, as we set our lives back in order after the long, reckless, infuriating protests and movements, hoping for life’s best, believing in ‘maximum governance and minimum government’ as proclaimed by the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, what do we witness in our state? Yet again the unending trend of corruption, nepotism, red tape, outrageous price hikes of basic necessities and the interminably pathetic road conditions.
These were the basic amenities we voted for in the last assembly elections. Now are we enjoying our rights and benefits? In fact, the tale of our woes seems to be endless. Everybody is waiting for a miracle to occur or awaiting a superhero to swoop in and wipe out the evil from the society, but nobody wants to be the catalyst or the change factor.
In this cobweb of uncertainty, nothing inspired me, until I saw the character played by Charlie Chaplin in the movie The Dictator, where he tells the people, “You, the people, have the power; let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work; that will give the youth a future and old age security. Let us fight to do away with greed, with hate, and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.”
To a public fatigued by a sclerotic and scam-laden government, no matter how large its mandate, a democracy needs a robust opposition to function effectively. But alas, in a state like Arunachal Pradesh, only a lion can be the king of the jungle. It’s time that we pay heed to the reverberations from our once peaceful neighbouring states like Manipur and Nagaland where civil unrest has become the order of the day.
Now the question is, who are we going to hold responsible for this foreseeable social and moral decay? Is it us, or is it the politicians, or the bureaucrats, or the devious engineers who like to dance to the tunes of the politicians?
With political clout being wielded from the top, the common man’s hope is crushed over and again, and we are shrouded in obscurity amid a sea of self-serving mules who only react to the initiatives like cavemen. On the other hand, the hopes of the educated youths soar as high as the stars, only to sink to the depths.
Every freedom brings with it a responsibility, every goal brings with it a price tag, and if we think we are going to get political freedom and liberty without making some sacrifices, I think we are mistaken. The truth is that it’s all in our hands to bring about the change in the system. There are living examples like Aung San Suu Kyi, who stood firm in her ideals, even in the wildest storms, until she brought democracy to her country, and our very own Irom Sharmila, who went on a fast for civil rights since November 2000, which isn’t a joke.
If these people can, why can’t we? Along the way, you may be called an idealist or even stupid, but remember, those who have accomplished the most amazing feats were the ones who were once not smart enough to know that those feats were even possible.
To me, it means that I won’t always get an award or be rewarded for every good deed I do, but I should just do it; that’s how we build humanity in this mechanized world. A Herculean task is ahead of us; let’s not deter until we bring back the greatness of our once enchanted land.
So I am the next change, you are the next, and all the citizens of this state are the next change. I hope you listen, and I know you will listen. And it holds perfectly true that, “As is a tale, so is life; not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”