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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Repetitive Rhetoric

Saturday, 13 January 2018 12:09
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From today's newspaper headlines, it looks like the Nagaland state Assemble elections would be held on schedule. This shouldn't surprise anyone ~ well, except a few groups of individuals ~ because there is no way the Government of India could or would contravene constitutional provisions. And this is substantiated by what Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has said in an interview with The Hindu, "In the Framework Agreement we have made one thing clear that sovereignty, which the Naga rebels were asking for, will not be granted nor is it part of the discussions. The talks will be within the framework of the Indian Constitution" ~ the import and implications of which doesn't need to be spelt out to any Fifth Grader. This also means that whatever the Government of India Interlocutor or the representatives of the NSCN (IM) have been saying about the talks being in an "advanced" stage or "final" stages, in the past year or so, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt ~ well, because elections at this juncture means that things will continue as before at least for some more time. Elections scheduled for next month or early March, and the fact that the Union Home Minister is reported to have said "the negotiations of various Naga groups with the Interlocutor will continue" could also mean that perhaps the talks are not so much on contentious issues as much as on face-saving measures for both sides. No doubt, groups of individual will be greatly disappointed but what solutions have they offered so far besides the repetitive rhetoric? Yet in all this, it would be interesting to examine why the call for "solution, not election" gained such feverish pitch in the past few weeks. Who stood to gain from this call? This question must be asked against the background of a Cabinet Minister reportedly saying that he was ready to make sacrifice for the Nagas, etc., but as a politician he will file his nominations for the elections. One is not sure how anyone can have two legs on two boats and actually survive and thrive ~ this happens only in Nagaland, I guess. Secondly, the call for "solution, not election" also appears to be a seemingly clever time-buying measure, seeing that none of our political parties are really ready for electoral hustings ~ there appears to be too many power-struggles within almost all our political parties, perhaps except for a couple of news ones that are still struggling to become household names in the political and electoral terra firma of Nagaland. They say that every time countries' face elections, particularly the American political establishment, the incumbent Governments divert the people's focus towards foreign policies ~ well, here in Nagaland, on the eve of elections, all focus is diverted towards "solution". And, it must be said that the NPF takes the cake on the issue because state Governments of this party have talked more of "solution" than good governance, development and numerous other bread-and-butter issues of the citizens even when it is not facing an election. If there was an award for diversionary methods of governments in India, the NPF would have won hands down every year. Anyway, we still don't know who stands to gain most from this call ~ and it couldn't be our numerous groups of individuals going under the name of NGOs and civil societies because it is possible that even they don't know where they would stand if "solution" happens. In my Editorial titled "Subsistence" mindset, on January 10, 2018, I wrote "While the state of Nagaland was created for political reasons, it is a pity that even after more than five decades we are yet to realize that politics unsupported by economics is mere puppetry." You see, "solution" should mean economic responsibilities too, with the corollaries of accountability and transparency, as much as cost-cutting, shouldn't it? A Fifth Grader would get my drift. Be that as it may, the hard question we need to ask ourselves is: are we really ready for "solution"? If that sounds rhetorical, let me rephrase it: are we really ready for responsibilities ~ because solutions inevitably entail and occasion responsibilities. 


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