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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sound and Silence

Friday, 12 January 2018 12:45
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Every day we wake up to the front-paged news that our NGOs and civil societies, as well as our elected representatives want "solution, not election" ~ strangely our NPGs appear to be quite reticent about it. Or, are they speaking through our NGOs, civil societies and elected representatives, as has been known to have happened on several occasions in the past? But in this din of "solution, not election", has anyone bothered to ask the opinions of the ordinary citizen of Nagaland? This is crucial because more than anyone, it will be the lives, the future and the realities of the ordinary citizen here that would be most affect whether it is solution or election. No doubt, the ordinary citizens too are whispering their opinions and views ~ whispering because speaking aloud opinions and views are not without hazards in our society and state ~ but it is difficult to hear whispers in the clatter of those who seem to have forgotten that only in silence the softest voices are audible. Alas, silence is not one of our strengths. Yes, our newspapers have editorialized the issue and several opinions have been published in them yet the space for consensus to agree to disagree is still to be created ~ evoking memories of the 1998 elections. Surely, this isn't a Naga characteristic ~ or is it? Now, since much of the parleys between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM), including the August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement, and now the parleys between the Government of India and the six NPGs, are shrouded in enigmatic silence, the question is what kind of solution are our NGOs, civil societies and elected representatives expecting as regards their stand of "solution, not election"? Do they have a clue? If so, don't they think that the people deserve to know what's in store for them and have a say in the matter? This may have occurred to you too that when our NPGs, NGOs, civil societies and elected representatives actually need to speak, they remain silent. There seems to be a problem with their timing with sound and silence, no? Be that as it may, the other question is since these worthies' stand is "solution, not election", and are expecting the Government of India to act on it, are they willing to accept whatever solution is offered? It is quite clear that the Government of India will not negotiate on certain demands such as sovereignty and integration, which are based on Naga nationhood ~ and was reiterated in the form of Naga Day at Kohima on January 10, last. In fact, the entire history of the Naga political movement is based on Naga nationhood ~ now, because the stand on "solution, not election" appears to give the impression that our NGOs, civil societies and our elected representatives, and obviously our NPGs, are determined for a solution from the Government of India at the earliest, supposing elections are postponed and the latter offers a solution that does not include sovereignty and integration and isn't "just and honourable" therefore unacceptable to them, what would be their reaction and response? In such a scenario, what would be the immediate fate of the people and state of Nagaland? That a solution to the Naga issue must be arrived at, at the earliest, cannot be over-emphasized but today's solution shouldn't become tomorrow's problem. This is exactly the point that our NGOs, civil societies, elected representatives and political parties need to focus on because like it or not, when anyone ~ be it of the church, NGO, civil society, whatever ~ takes a lead on political issues of any shade, s/he is playing politics and the hallmark of successful politics is realism and pragmatism. Moreover, politics is about resolving issues, not creating issues, so more than ever, after having traversed over seventy years of our political existence in whatever form, now is the time to learn and know the difference between when to speak and when to remain silent, when to ignore the din and when to listen to inaudible whispers. Besides, over the years, much has been said by both the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) but they are yet to say what everyone wants, and needs, to hear. Now, in their insistence on "solution, not election", our NGOs, civil societies, elected representatives and political parties give the impression that that is exactly what we will hear. Obviously, we are all ears. 


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