On 1st March 2019, Mr. Ravi, -Interlocutor of Government of India- gave an Interview to a local daily on the continuing Talk between the GoI and the IM including the NNPG (Naga National Political Groups –Five of NNC + possibly three 3 of NSCN, together known as the ‘Working Group’).
For once in 22 years for the first time, the Negotiators without much fanfare of dancing with words, said all Issues have already been agreed between the Parties, except on Naga Flag and Sovereignty still in discussion.
Immediately after the Interview, a few oldest old concerned and worried Government Pensioners gathered in sharing opinions on the Issues listed below, fallen on the shoulders of the Naga Negotiators and ultimately on the shoulders of all in the Naga Public also.
The gathered Elder Pensioners, after much agreements and polite disagreeing on some others, ultimately in one harmonized mind, came to an undivided support for the on going Indo-Naga Peace Talk.
The Interlocutor Mr. Ravi must have communicated all the Issues in the Talks in detail to his Mentors in the Government of India for their awareness, information and consent. The Naga Negotiators have not communicated to the Naga Public -their Mentors- and the future Naga generations in general, who will have to bear the burden of the Agreement.
This is a serious lapse on the part of the Naga Negotiators and their substantive supporters.
We the old Pensioners have however, gravely considered all the items said to have been agreed already including a few other important collateral issues.
The Interlocutor said, – (quotation are all his)
i. “Final agreement must unambiguously convey the unity of Nagas with the Indian Union”.
That the Issue at (i), on -the Unity of the Naga with Indian Union- before final settlement, the Naga feels, is the core Naga Political Issue and needs wide democratic unambiguous consent, in view of their unique history of political position for nearly 80 years to which India has reportedly recognized the Naga stand. It means the Naga is neither ‘Scheduled Tribe or Separatist nor Secessionist, the Naga is simply just ‘Naga People’, nothing more nothing less.
The position on sovereignty that the Naga stand is not because the Naga is against or anti-India, they take themselves as one of the honorable neighbors of India by virtue of their unique history India recognizes. In addition, the plebiscite of 1951 and the demand of the Return of Forests transferred to Assam for convenience of Management during colonial period, be not ignored.
The Naga, from the earliest days of yore, lived according to their own unwritten culture of Equality without Caste System, Ethics of their own, Morals and Values of life. The civilized colonial Power recorded the Naga life as, “a form of the purest democracy which it is very difficult indeed to conceive as existing even for a single day; and yet that it does exist here, is an undeniable fact”, (i. John Butler, J.A.S 1875 Vol. XLIV, No.4, ii ‘Nagas in the Nineteenth Century’ Page 57 -Verrier Elwin)
The question of Sovereignty of India and of the Naga must be unambiguously laid down in black and white invariably in the Agreement before “the final settlement.”
ii. “All issues have been mutually understood and have been agreed”.
That on this Issue, the Naga Public has every right to see at least the key Issues brought out on the Table in black and white rather than leave them as has been “mutually understood and have been agreed” without listing any of the Issues. It is unconceivable an Agreement between two sovereignties is left simply as mutually understood and have been agreed.
iii. “Our (India’s) position is that the Naga flag should be located in the Pan Naga cultural body which would be a common platform of all the Nagas”.
The Naga Flag represents the State and its people, not the culture of the territory. The Pan Naga cultural body with different languages and Members from different political State territories can only have a Logo like in the Olympic symbolizing the common culture; the Naga Flag cannot but symbolize a unified political Territory only, not other.
iv. “Similarly, the final agreement, which would have to be duly incorporated in the Constitution of India, could be ‘the Naga Yehzabo’, the Naga negotiators are not agreeable to it”.
On the Issue at iv, the final agreement may have to be duly incorporated in the Constitution of India but an agreement cannot be the Yehzabo in the Constitution of India. There is no such a thing as shared Sovereignty.
v. “On the issue of sovereignty, both sides have agreed to a settlement on the basis of sharing sovereign power”.
The universal political understanding of the term Sovereignty is ‘Uncontrolled political power’; Sovereignty cannot just be something that can be divided or shared.
The Elder Naga Pensioner Commentators feel the Interlocutor and GoI appears to mislead the Naga Negotiators and the Naga Public.
Rustic Naga, in the nineteenth century Naga Hills, had foreseen before Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah had, at the peak of the British colonial power in India, that the foreigners would one day leave their Empire. The Naga was decisive to inform the colonial power that they (the Naga) have nothing to do with the Reformed Proposal of the British Parliament and rather demanded the colonial power leave the Naga “as they (Naga) were living in their land before the white man came to their land”.
Our ancestors in the 20th Century, though not educated had the native wisdom, foresight and vision to have made such submissions (Memorandum) to the Simon Commission.
vi. On the issue of Naga territorial Integration, the Government of India being agreeable to settle the matter democratically, and also aware of the sentiment of the Nagas from the beginning of the Naga political movement since the 9-Point agreement, the Naga and Sir Akbar Hydari, Governor of Assam on behalf of India, entered in 1946; there is a need to record the stances of both the present negotiating Parties, in the final agreement.
vii. The commentators feel both the Negotiating Parties respect the views and sentiments of FAITH and Belief of both sides.
viii. India is already one of the leading Nations of the world on Space Technology, she already has satellites stationed in Space and Mars for Peaceful purposes.
Therefore, the Commentators feel India commits itself in the final agreement that it would not station its nuclear Arms in Nagaland nor store its atomic wastes in the State.
Dr. L. M. Murry.
* Disclaimer. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Nagaland Page.