The Nagas have indifferently been trying to go forward on a back gear in our dealings with the Indo-Naga dialogue. We have only bickered amongst ourselves through these past 73 years of degraded ‘half-life’ existence. We continue to hypocritically invoke the name of Christ as Christians when it suits us even as we consort with the dark forces each day by way of our routine questionable actions. The scourge of the gun continue to afflict our entire populace with a State Government sitting idly by while its citizens miserably traffic each day in this highly compromised system of governance not merely complicit but fearful of the merchants of death who run a more volatile shadow Governments. How can we move forward with such a diversely out of focus divided house…both in the Overground and Underground setup…driven solely by power hungry greed with despicable depravity? Instead of zoning our complete collective attention on our identified common adversary, Nagas have been extremely busy with the preoccupation of cannibalising one another from within. Imagine: It is 2019…73 years of ignominy…sans dignity, honour or self respect! We ought to have been talking about anything and everything else, rather than continuously reverting to this cancerous rot within our vitals which should have long been operated and removed through sustained public opinion and pressure…to which I may add that FNR and ACAUT had done their fair share of opening up the minds of our people.
For those still nursing a healthy conscience within the community of Tribes with a modicum of commitment to the ideals of real peace…we need to rededicate our joint effort to help our people to focus on one matter and one matter alone: to get our house in order to collectively infuse a viable approach to end this 73 year old uncertain bondage. While honestly honouring and respecting our National Workers for keeping the fire of freedom burning, it is time that they too unselfishly think ‘out of the box’ and acknowledge that the issue of self-determination is not their exclusive preserve to dictate. It belongs to our foresighted fellow Nagas generation who willed it through a memorandum to the Simon Commission and reinforced it through 1951 Plebiscite as a starter to this National Movement that the present generation National Workers are now steering…but the true strength of our people has been negatively tapped for monitory exploitation rather than democratically harnessing this collective strength to mobilise a mass political momentum behind this movement. Such a momentum can only be generated by exemplary visionary action and sacrifice…starting with our NNPGs foregoing their respective egos and greed and be willing to set up a concrete unshakable United House like the one we had when it all began. Our National Workers must sensitively realize and acknowledge that their very existence and their service is inextricably bonded to the people they represent…most of whom they’ll never meet or ever know: but that they too have faces, families, hopes and dreams and their own stories of struggle in their lives just like each National Worker has. The bottom-line of a thought that our National Workers must also revisit is this: that ‘YOU and I’ are no strangers. We are all “Fellow Nagas” making excruciating sacrifices in our own respective ways for a common cause. Should this not command a modicum decent respect from your end too rather than continue this cult of heartless threat and extortion? By virtue of this mutual bond…we the common Naga people also deserve your honest commitment, your honest sacrifice and your honest service. Therefore, rather than continue perpetuating unscrupulous taxation (which has only spawned mass resentment almost to a crescendo of implosion), reposing confidence in the stakeholders instead by way of transparently and honestly sharing the essence of the Agreement with the GoI thus far enacted…would be a worthy beginning to regain the trust deficit for the greater good of all. No rational human being on earth will ever endorse an agreement that one has absolutely no knowledge of that concerns one’s own destiny…except our unscrupulous political leaders. This can only happen in Nagaland!
Having said this, let us start our thought process from our traditional social structure. We have our Village Chieftains (GBs) along with their Village Councils, who still administer the day to day affairs of their village like they did in the traditional past. Technically speaking, each Tribe has their respective Hohos duly empowered through this infrastructure; followed by an Apex Tribal Hoho known as Naga Hoho to which all the Tribes of Nagaland were affiliated. Given visionary leadership, this was the most viable traditional platform through which Nagas could have projected their collective opinion and concerns on any given subject under the sun. However, over the years, this collective forum of the Nagas of Nagaland was unceremoniously overrun by others beyond our immediate boundary due to short-sightedness on our part and thereby derailed the very purpose for its creation. The Nagas of Nagaland are voiceless as of now…resulting in the sprouting of a whole lot of fragmented NGOs seemingly singing a similar song in different voices that no one seriously listens or pays attention to. It is imperative that NAGA HOHO must be retrieved by the Nagas of Nagaland… and the present defunct Naga Haha be re-christened as PAN NAGA HOHO/FEDERATION. As the backbone of the Naga society therefore our Village Chieftains (GBs) of each Tribe should take the lead and direct their respective Hohos to salvage and restore the identity and dignity of the Nagas of Nagaland as any honourable people should…if their respective Tribal Hohos are unable to take this initiative on their own. We still can revive it. Through this Nagas Hoho forum Nagas can then generate a sustained mass movement behind our united NNPGs; remember that the State of Telengana was created through sustained democratic mass agitation. It is the only kind of language GoI understands and respects. Just requesting the GoI to speed up the process no longer appears viable. Nagas need to let GoI practically see the seriousness of our collective intent that the days of playing the Nagas like a worthless football is done.
The Government of Nagaland too should get its act together and come forward as a true facilitator by picking up the loose ends of the brilliant effort carried out by FNR. Without taking sides, the Joint Legislative Committee could play a central role for instance, to get our NNPGs to UNITE…without which the complexity of our problems will continue to multiply. The fact that GoI is sitting at the negotiation tables with both NSCN (IM) and the NNPG Working Group separately is generally seen with unnerving scepticism as to who will finally sign the mother of all Agreements. Even if it is jointly signed, the contentious question of ‘who took the head’ will still linger in the minds of the tradition bound Nagas with all the traditional ramifications in a complicated aftermath. In such a given scenario the Joint Legislative Committee could perhaps play a crucial role in helping the GoI to understand that such uncomfortable traditional matter should not be written off as “trifle” and should first be ironed out prior to the signing of such a momentous Agreement. Getting our NNPGs on board the same ship before the final event must therefore be given utmost priority to ease the hands of the negotiators on both sides. Setting up an inactive Joint Legislative Committee with unconcerned, indifferent, visionless members is counterproductive. A concerted proactive initiative on their part would be a welcome change.
In as far as our NNPGs are concerned…the fundamental truth is that Nagas are not searching for MULTI-COLOURED SOVEREIGNTY of different shapes or sizes…but ONE. Their ego driven fragmented Factions with a strong underlining intent of wanting to independently continue taxing the people dry in the name of Sovereignty is a foregone conclusion thoroughly understood by all…even by those with a pea brain. This simply undermines their efforts and the real sacrifices of the generation gone by. In a scenario such as this, NSCM (M) as the dominant force must make a very special effort to reconsider its principle of forgiveness…for the greater good of all the Nagas. A true genuine Christian forgives must usher in a healthy respect for one other as equals in its wake. That is the fundamental foundry on which a common House can be restructured with due acknowledgement and respect for one another. Nagas have suffered protracted, undeserved punishment beyond tolerance for several decades…not only in the hands of Indian Army but even more routinely so in the hands of our own ‘National Workers’. This must end. Sanity must prevail at all cost if Nagas want to stride forward from this ‘half-life’ syndrome to a full-fledged unfettered existence where the rule of law infuses complete transparency and accountability in governance and a fair playing ground for all. It is imperative that we wake up from our indifferent slumber so that whatever be the final outcome, our children and our children’s children may find a fair, peaceful and uncontaminated environment to flourish and bloom in accordance to their talents and dreams. I do sincerely believe that the Nagas are second to none…that our posterity can confidently compete with anyone around the globe one day…provided we give them this fighting chance now by getting our house in order. We, the present generation of elders, owe them that much in the least.
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd), 3rd Mile Thilixu Village, Dimapur.
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