Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Institutional Recommendations for the Naga Solution

On this World Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I would like for us to revisit the INDIGENOUS POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE NAGAS which was practiced before the modern concept of liberal democracy and before the electoral system was incorporated into our society which has resulted in all the chaos and corruption that we see around us today. Our need to revisit and understand why elections need to be replaced with indigenous Naga consensus based political systems until we are ready for liberal democracy.
Let us first revisit our Naga history:
When former Indian Chief Justice asked A.Z. Phizo, Phizo replied “We do not elect leaders, we select them’
In 1963, when our interim government had to be constituted, Naga tribes and villages chose their representatives through SELECTION and not through ELECTIONS but ‘by their own traditional methods’ (As documented by Ramunny 1993)
Even Hokishe Sema in 1964, when the post-statehood elections were scheduled, he said “I strongly felt that it was too early for Nagas to fight elections on basis of political parties….. The system of Tribal representatives was doing well and should have continued..”
Note that even as the first ever elections were fought in our state in 1964, it was when for the first time Nagas were introduced to this alien concept of PARTY-POLITICS ELECTION SYSTEM. Even as the first elections were fought along party lines, many Naga villages applied consensus-building and selected their leaders. In 14 out of 40 constituencies then, candidates were returned unopposed as ‘village leaders had met earlier and by consensus had decided who would be their representative.’
This is practiced till today in many families, clans, villages where the head of the village or family decided who they should VOTE for. Hence, our existing system – This “FUSION” of ELECTIONS combined with SELECTION has only resulted in “CONFUSION” and corruption.
(I am not propagating that our traditional system was perfect and ideal but at least it worked better than the existing party politics system we have today from a perspective of stability, community-well being , social/political harmony and rigid value systems. It is time to re-look into this traditional Naga institution and evaluate on how we need to incorporate this again into our Naga Solution.)
But since we were under India, Nagaland has to follow the election system as mandated by the Constitution of India and it is under Part XV of the Constitution of India wherein the Articles on Elections are prescribed.
Only if we can demand from Govt of India not to follow this incompatible political system but our own traditional system of CONSENSUS BASED political system to be inserted into our NAGA SOLUTION then this can contribute towards creating a better Nagaland than the one we live in today. Instead of demanding money or petty emotional fulfilments, both of which will perish shortly, we must focus on demanding practical, long lasting social-politial-economic institutions which can enable radical & impactful positive progressive transformation for our people.
This traditional system worked pretty well before the advent of liberal democracy where the selection is to be based on Consensus – starting from the Khel, Village, Tribe level to select the MOST COMPETENT, WISE, VIRTUOUS AND SELFLESS ‘REPRESENTATIVE’ who can be a good capable “REPRESENTATIVE” to “SERVE” the people and not be served by the people wherein both MEN & WOMEN must be allowed to openly participate equally. (Consensus as defined by Camdridge Dictionary is a generally accepted opinion or decision among a group of people)
Liberal democratic concept of election works very well in western societies where the individual is a free-thinker, self sufficient and has the capability to choose a leader at an individual level by assessing manifestos, policies, credibility and competency of the candidates. In short, this political system is compatible to their society, not in ours.
Look at the past 50 years and where it has led us today. Our state of affairs today in Nagaland is evident enough to infer that the political system installed to operate our society has destroyed the value systems, corrupted people from top to bottom and is going to only create more enemies between families, clans, khels, villages, tribes. This will further lead to rapid disintegration, confusion, dilution of values and indigenous institutions and ultimately lead to a state where all individuals become like prostitutes – with a price tag which can be bought with money like a commodity, like most of our government servants who no longer have any self respect nor integrity and can be bought with cuts and commissions!
The NPG’s and our political leaders must now engage with Naga youths, entrepreneurs, scholars, academia, thinkers and doers in our society on the below points :
· What is the political structure, mode of governance, administration, law & order with new legislation proposed with focus on digital governance to usher transparency and efficiency?
· Can we reform the existing election system and re-adopt our traditional naga consensus based selection system of governance in a modernised context?
· What is the proposition on the modernisation of land records, industry, investment & economic reforms for creation of jobs & wealth for the people?
· What are the plans for creating world class education & healthcare institutions in the state?
· What are the infrastructure development plans – roadways, airways, railway, gateway to south-east asia?
· If redrawing of state boundaries is not included then what is the alternative arrangement to bring all Naga tribes together under one umbrella?
With all these answers still lurking in the dark, how can people support anything blindly. It is only through Vision and Clarity of milestones & objectives to achieve our Collective Vision which can build a consensus to earn the trust and support of the masses. People like us cannot put our blind trust on leaders especially if their credibility is already smeared with only shady activities of killing our own brothers & extorting in the name of our hallowed movement.
Money will come and most of it will be consumed and exhausted without creating value, but institutions will remain for as long as humans exists hence we must place utmost importance on creating social-political-economic institutions and structural reforms based on the above questions in our Naga solution!

~ Yanpvuo Kikon