Distortion of political tradition and changing ethos

While universality of the moral principle and history are often talked about as human aspirations, ideas such as “good and evil” are embedded only in the life-worlds – in specific cultural narratives and histories

While the process of constructing ‘creation myth’ is universal, their forms and contents do have definitive local variations. Historical encounters with other civilizational ethos have also brought in the idea of universality in a quite unique experience - transcending small and specific histories that seem to have controlled one’s immediate sensual tastes.

While universality of the moral principle and history are often talked about as human aspirations, ideas such as “good and evil” are embedded only in the life-worlds – in specific cultural narratives and histories.

These narratives and histories also do tell us extraordinary tales of people following the prompt of their inner sensibilities, be it political or social. Sometimes, these narratives become a counter model to the overarching political economy. Yet, there can also be multiple distortions of morality associated with politics and the practice of ethics.  

Although the ethical and moral values are produced and reproduced through inherited traditions, the question over the control and management of mass sentiments becomes contentious with the emergence of emancipatory demands. In contemporary times, there has been a total blurring of the common good while it is being juxtaposed with selfish ends and extra indulgence.

However there has been adequate clarity of thought with regards to the rights and privileges of people in the region despite the complete distortion of what is good or bad as far as one’s political culture is concerned. The enticing world of self aggrandisement had destroyed the ethics of the ‘ought to be’.

Over the last many years, the socio-political changes brought about have impacted the day to day lives of the people and have even shifted spatial location pertaining to their aspirations.

The communities have also critiqued changing sensibilities acquired as a result of changes in belief system or change in value system with the advent of modern institutions.

Observers have also given due importance to the socio-economic dynamics unfolding within the societies over the decades. Prominent historical markers like that of colonialism or the overwhelming encounters with external worlds and India’s nationalizing modernity have brought in tremendous changes in the very perception of the good, the bad and ugly of political expediency.

At times one is tempted to think that the communities have shredded the sparse links with what was believed to be traditionally good or positive. However, as one goes deeper into the realm of the ethics, even the world of what was considered as honest tradition was already neck deep in all sorts of political machinations and competitive rivalry. Thus, reading of traditional worldviews cannot be independent of contemporary concerns.

However, not much has been changed when it comes to the political disposition of the masses of the Northeast of India. Having said this, their positions cannot be reduced to simple rationalist and liberalist understandings of political or social positions. The desirable and undesirable ways of life visualised by different communities in the region have always translated into regulative norms and code of conduct, sometimes acquired and at times imposed.

First Published:June 20, 2020, 9:14 a.m.