[ Tongam Rina ]
As we welcome a new year, with or without resolutions, yours truly just wishes that this state is at par with any other developed state, without compromising with our core values, identity and environment.
Yours truly wishes for a state that’s stable, peaceful, safe and healthy for each one of us; a state where everyone is accommodated and allowed to take a pick for the greater good; a state which has the heart to listen to the opinions of others; a state where everyone is given equal opportunities, and where hard work is appreciated and respected.
A state where citizens take the responsibility to shape it in a way that everyone would be proud of; a state where the youngsters do not go astray for want of proper guidance from teachers, parents and elders; a state where the government supports the people with proper policies; a place where our elders are looked after with respect and love; where children are safe and secure; where youngsters are given the freedom to dream and the platforms to achieve their dreams; where a professional is given the chance to perform and excel.
A state where corruption is not a way of life and healthcare and education reach every household; where water, power supply and roads reach our homes without having to play with nature; where basic essential items are within the reach of the common citizens.
Yours truly wishes for a state where policies are not imposed at whims and fancies; a state which is considerate of others’ needs.
Yours truly wishes that we are given the platform to make our own informed choices, devoid of anger, guilt, frustration, anxiety and selfishness.
The first 250 words of this article have been copy-pasted from a 10-year-old article that yours truly wrote.
Dear readers, forgive me for copy-pasting, but the things that I wished for 10 years ago remain the same. It appears that nothing has changed in the last decade. Or perhaps it has. Maybe it has only gone worse, as we have let go of the core values of the tribal society that believed in the values of fairness, justice, courage, and moral principles – a society that respected the environment and the forests because they are benevolent.
Community defined our society. It is not the case anymore. Increasingly, it’s the rich people of Arunachal who have everything. Today, class defines our society. I watch in horror as people with ill-gotten wealth and power dictate how the society should move ahead. If the class divide between those who have the money and resources and those who have nothing, not even a claim to community land, continues, we would have nothing left to be proud of.
Today the children of rich tribals have access to the best of schools, colleges and opportunities while the children of the poor continue to go to schools which have no furniture, no teacher, and no toilet – in some cases not even a proper school.
As community-based and other organisations talk about tribal culture and tradition as if such things could be bought from the modern markets, I often wonder about the massive unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities. How are we ever going to reclaim our society which believed in equitable distribution of resources if we deprive the children of basic educational facilities and what is rightfully theirs?
As New Year dawns on us, yours truly hopes for a society that respects children. Give them the facilities, even if they don’t vote. The choice as to how they make use of the facilities is theirs. Let’s make a new start where children, irrespective of where and in which household they were born, need not worry about something as basic as books, furniture and teachers. Happy New Year, dear readers!
[ Tongam Rina ]