The Global Naga Forum (GNF) takes strong exception to the speech delivered by the Hon’ble Governor, R.N. Ravi on 58th Statehood day. The speech, to say the least is puerile, self-contradictory and misleading.
RN Ravi’s sterile narrative that glorifies the opportunistic educated middle class elites who betrayed the Nagas and became collaborators of the oppressors to create a truncated Nagaland as the “Founding Fathers” of Nagaland is oxymoronic. History bears testimony to the fact that the creation of the state of Nagaland in 1963 and the politics of betrayal machinated and executed through carrot and stick and divide and rule policies has not worked and will never succeed.
The speech sheds light on RN Ravi’s intent and inability to perform his role as the Interlocutor of the Indo-Naga political dialogue. RN Ravi’s unrestrained comments that the NSCN (IM) is a militia predominantly of the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Manipur, and the ‘ceasefire’ between the Government of India and the NSCM (IM) is a “reckless ceasefire” pushing the Nagas into a state of civil war (Nagaland: descent into Chaos, by RN Ravi, in the Hindu, 13th January, 2014) informs us of his lack of appreciation for a process that started through the Prime Minister of India and has continued through the various Indian leadership. In another, he comments that “India’s negotiations with the NSCN-IM have been driven by the belief that the insurgent group represents the people of Nagaland…that belief is simplistic, and remains simplistic” (Sushanta Talukdar & Praveen Swami, in the Hindu, 30th December, 2013). However, the history and the genesis of the 1997 ceasefire between the GOI and the NSCN (IM) was entered into for political talks to be held without any pre-condition at the Prime Ministerial level in a third neutral country. Perhaps it was this realization that made RN Ravi say, that,”Naga political issue belongs to the Naga people”.
Such contradicting positioning as against his position as the interlocutor seems to compel RN Ravi to further divide the people that on one hand, he talks of democratic dialogue and inclusive solution, and on the other hand insinuate that some people from outside the state inspired by Maoist ideology and tactics may use guns to intimidate or threaten the primary stakeholders which will invite the wrath and full might of the law of the land. Who are these “invisible people” that Ravi is talking of? The Nagas are nearly 70 tribes and the attempt to drive a wedge between the Nagas by reducing the future of a people to 14 tribes as primary stakeholders is an affront to the aspiration and intellect of the Nagas.
The centrality of RN Ravi’s speech that there can be no political solution above the present state of Nagaland is to advance this divisive agenda and by proclaiming that some people are standing as a road block to the aspirations of the people of Nagaland though the political talks have been concluded on October 31, 2019 harms India more than the Nagas knowing fully well that the talks have been dragging on because of lack of political wisdom of India. Ironically, RN Ravi seems to think that the regimentation of the truncated Nagaland which is the root cause of the endless armed struggle leaving the trail of blood, betrayal and bitterness is the solution to the Nagas’ aspiration for self-determination. Nowhere has a problem been handed down and accepted as the solution.
What the Indo Naga process need is a statesman as an interlocutor that will have the heart and intellect to objectively engage with the issue. We agree with RN Ravi that the heart of
Nagas/Naga-land lives in its villages. We dare the governor to call for a plebiscite in all the villages of Nagas to determine their political future.
Global Naga Forum (GNF)
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