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Xmas missive of change

Kohima, Dec. 19: People are unhappy with the recently emerged neo-political, bureaucratic elite who control the state and indulge in corruption at the cost of the people, the Catholic Church of the state has said.

In his Christmas message to the people of Nagaland, Rev. James Thoppil, bishop of Kohima, said many people felt that the new elite has made itself rich at the expense of the vast majority other people.

“If only the traditional tribal values were well integrated and practised, we would have had a better state and better standards of life. Today, one can only mourn the loss of opportunity and lack of vision,” the head of the state’s Catholic Church said.

Thoppil said on the first day of Advent Christmas — December 1 — Nagaland celebrated 50 years of its statehood. Many people had hoped that getting statehood would usher in an era of peace, prosperity, development and growth, he said. But the de facto reality and the actual contours of progress fall far short of the expectation and potential.

“Growth and development would have been better and greater if only the ideals on which the state attained statehood were put into practice and the benefits of progress percolated into the villages,” the bishop said.

“After 50 years of democratic statehood, some people ask: Has it made the people of Nagaland less industrious and idle — making them look for easy money? Has it made them less honest and more corrupt, making some people super rich at the expense of the masses that live in poverty? Have corruption and favouritism not become the norm? There seems to be a tinge of negativism and desperation today among the vast majority of people. In this condition of exasperation and pessimism, Christmas can become, and we should make it, relevant and meaningful,” Thoppil said.

“May this Christmas, that celebrates 50 years of statehood become an occasion for a new beginning for all people in Nagaland. Let us resolve to make this Christmas a new start for a better Nagaland. And, as people of faith, not only are we to see and judge, but to dare to act for justice — a task ever more urgent and ever more risky and demanding. If we are to discern wisely, speak boldly, and act decisively, we will build a new future, a bright future for our people,” he said.

The Bishop also called for people to respect life and root out corruption in the state. “May the light of Christ the Lord shine upon everyone in Nagaland with all his gifts and graces unite all with the joy of His Nativity, for he has been united with every person through his incarnation,” the Bishop said in his message.