On Dr Ashwani Kumar’s one month completion as Governor

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If we examine the performances of the past Governors in the state, they remained quite aloof from the publics, something like an “untouchable object.” They remained as ceremonial figurehead of the state. We hardly saw them having had much engagement in other sectors where, of course, they could play their roles. In reality, the Governor should be more people-friendly and approachable.

How does a Governor know what the chief minister, ministers, parliamentary secretaries and other government officials have been really performing in the state? How does he know whether the policies and programs of the government have really been implemented on the ground and reached the targeted? How does he know that the publics are really benefiting from the various Centrally sponsored schemes in the state?

The Governor can never get accurate answers of the above questions unless he interacts with the publics. He has to work out mentally his routines, may be on a weekly or even a monthly basis, to interact with the publics. He has to visit not only district headquarters but also the remote villages, rather remotest areas. He has to see whether the people living in the remotest areas of the state get electrification, proper drinking water, roads, health care, education, etc.

I feel the culture of secluded lifestyle of a Governor has not served the masses.
The new Governor Dr Ashwani Kumar who took over the reign of the gubernatorial position on March 21 completes one month of his gubernatorial job. When the dust of the money-muscle-election stories was yet to settle, he came in Nagaland and perhaps he knew what the state was. After two days of taking over the reign of governor’s job, he interacted with the state’s media fraternity where he had opened his mind and candidly shared what he wanted to do in the state. He was seen mentally prepared to solve one of the core issues that have eaten into the vitals of the state. This is none other than corruption and unless this menace is checked timely, the future is grim and bleak. Our values have been compromised through the evils of money and the integrity of every institution in the state is doubtful today and if this trend goes on, then we will not have moral courage to fight for our rights one day and question other’s wrong doings. Our future is nowhere.

While interacting with the state media fraternity, the Governor was seen quickly grasping the crux of the issues facing the state. Even after few days of his taking over the governor’s job, he could impress upon the key Union Ministers drawing their attention to the pathetic problems of the state. While meeting with the Union Health Minister at Delhi, he opened up an issue of not having a Medical College in Nagaland, which was rather put into cold storage. He narrated how the other northeastern states, which got statehoods much after Nagaland, got Medical Colleges. He also registered his unhappiness on the poor air services while meeting with the Union Civil Aviation Minister. There were positive responses from the Union Ministers. It is good beginning and the follow-up should be initiated.

Besides this, he even managed to meet the victims of child trafficking at Dimapur. His personal interaction with these children could be seen as a “healing touch” to the traumatized children. His visiting, without saying, will automatically wake up dormant and inactive minds of many towards fighting the social illness.

Mr Governor, try to meet hundreds of orphans who met such undeserving fates after their underground fathers were either died in factional violence or pre-ceasefire conflicts with the Indian security forces. If you travel to Naga villages and listen to the villagers, you will not only come to know whether they rightly enjoy their right to education, food, life, health, etc. but also many untold stories of their sufferings. You will also come to know how the Naga villages were razed to ground by the Indian security forces in the 50s when the virtual war between the Naga army and the Indian security forces broke out. If you travel in some Naga villages including Chakhesang region, you will be even surprised to know even the Nagas borne the brunt of the World War II.

Please be approachable and people-friendly and come out of the exclusivity of the Raj Bhavan and keep going to meet the Naga villagers living in remote areas and listen to them. You will surely enjoy and come to know what they really want. Sometimes, you will find these villagers will not know who their MLA is, though they must have given their votes for him.

Basically, Nagas are simple unlike other communities. To me, they were made to suffer because of the lack of political will by the decision makers of this country. It was also largely due to the amateurish bureaucratic handling of the issue at that point of time. It is very unfortunate that advanced and cultured people failed to solve the problems of the most simple and unsophisticated. The typical problem we face is: “We ask others to change their mindsets but we often failed to change our mindsets.” Unless we first have peace in ourselves, you cannot give peace to others. The changes have to start from us. It is hoped the new Governor Dr Kumar leads from the front. I want to share these words: “Umbrella can’t stop rain; it only makes us stand in the rain.”

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