By stating that Nagaland is overrun by armed gangs of extortionists, our Honourable Governor, Mr. R.N. Ravi, has stirred up a hornet’s nest of outraged rejoinders and protestations of innocence from the 9 “Governments” (State Government + I-M Government +7 NNPG Governments = 9 Governments) fighting over Nagaland. I have not included the NSCN (Khaplang) for reasons which will be explained later in the article. And just to get it out of the way, the State Government’s claim that Article 371A1(b) is no longer valid, because the State Assembly passed a resolution against it, is a lie. Under Article 371A, the power of the State Assembly is operative only in clause, sub-clause and sections (1)(a)(i)(ii)(iii)and (iv). Clause (1) and sub-clause (b) is totally outside the purview of the State Assembly, and hence the Nagaland Governor’s unique power over matters concerning law and order remains, no matter how many resolutions the State Assembly may pass against it.
There are three conditions for a legitimate government to exist (i) people (ii) land (iii) laws. Without any of these three, no legitimate government can exist. Only when you have people living in a defined geographical area, who subscribe to a set of common laws, can a government be set up. For the definition of government is, “A group of people with the authority to govern a country or state”; which sums up the fact that you must have people, land and laws to have a government.
Now that we know what is necessary for a government to exist, we now address the question of, “What legitimizes a government?” It is the will of the people that legitimizes a government. A government can only function according to the law, and as long as the people are satisfied with the laws of the land, the government exists. If the people no longer believe in the laws of the land, revolutions begin, to change the system of laws and the structure of government itself.
Then we have tiers or levels of government. In India, it is the Central/Federal Government which governs the Nation and the Union Territories, the State Governments which govern the States, the Municipalities and Rural Bodies (Panchayats and Village Councils, in the case of Nagaland) which govern the urban and rural areas. Each tier of government has only one governing body with powers and duties clearly defined by law. Having multiple governing bodies in one tier of government does not lead to governance, but its opposite, anarchy. This is exactly what is happening in Nagaland. For make no mistake, the Legislators, the I-M and the 7 NNPGs are all wielding power in one form or another in Nagaland, at the state, urban and rural levels. This has led to the chaos in Nagaland which has been so conducive to making Nagaland a cesspool of corruption. But are any of these three power grouping a legitimate government? No!
The institution of the Government of Nagaland derives legitimacy from the Constitution of India, which all the people of Nagaland accept (except for a few, who enjoy all the benefits of India but claim to reject its constitution) the people of Nagaland and its land. But the legislators that govern Nagaland have lost all claims to legitimacy. They have managed to grab power by purchasing the votes of a section of the people, but their inability to follow or fairly apply the very laws that give them power, de-legitimizes them. When you claim power from a set of laws, but break the very same set of laws which give you power, you lose all claim of legitimacy under those laws. The only reason why there has not been a violent uprising against the State Government is because of fear of the Indian Security Forces and the fact that the Constitution of India gives us the chance to change the government every 5 years.
The 7 NNPGs claim the State of Nagaland and its people, but together, do not have the support of even a simple majority of the people and the land they own. And what are the laws that govern them and with which they seek to govern Nagaland? The NNC/FGN factions in the 7 NNPGs derive their constitution from the undivided NNC/FGN Constitution, which was a federal democracy based on tribal lines. But any mandate that the people of Nagaland gave the NNC/FGN has long been washed away by the flood of factionalism and tribalism; and any attempt to reintroduce a tribe based democracy will find few takers in present day Nagaland. And do the NSCN factions of the 7 NNPGs even understand their constitution? It is based purely on the Mao Zedong version of Chinese Communism; with all assets and labour communalized and no concept of individual ownership. Without the support of the majority of the people who own the land of Nagaland, without any common law, and with 7 governments acting under a loose alliance of convenience, how can you claim to be a government?
Even in this cacophony of distorted governments, the I-M stands out. Like the 7 NNPGs, the I-M cannot claim support from even a simple majority of the people who own the lands of Nagaland. The difference is that the I-M knows exactly what it wants under its constitution:- control of the land, resources and opportunities of the State of Nagaland. But the paradox is that the I-M is controlled by people from tribes who do not have an inch of traditional land in the State of Nagaland. Instead of fighting for territorial integration of their lands with the State of Nagaland, to form a single administrative unit under the Constitution of India, it is trying to change the Constitution of India so that landless Naga Tribes have control of and access to the lands, resources and opportunities of the State of Nagaland. Their first step towards this being their stated intention that, “The State of Nagaland shall cease to exist”. So, under which earthly laws does the I-M claim to be a “Government”, in Nagaland? The fact that the I-M uses Nagalim does not alter the fact that it wants Nagaland.
The NSCN (Khaplang), by unilaterally abrogating the ceasefire with India, has established its claim as a rebel underground government. It is no longer restricted by the common definition of a government, and as such, it is a genuine underground government.
The I-M and the 7 NNPGs are no longer governments, but at best, pressure groups, trying to get the best deal possible (for themselves and maybe the people of Nagaland) from the Government of India, under the Constitution of India. I say “maybe the people of Nagaland” because there is no transparency about their negotiations with India. Don’t blame the Government of India or our Governor, Mr. R.N. Ravi for the delay in the solution to the Naga Issue. Instead, demand from the faction you support, what terms they seek from India. For it is control over Nagaland that all of them seek, and the inability to give control over Nagaland to any one faction is what is delaying a solution to our problems. All of them seek to be the Government of Nagaland.
God Save Nagaland
Kahuto Chishi Sumi
Akukau, Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range, Dimapur
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