Nagaland and her political voyage


Dr. S.C.Jamir
Former CM & Governor

One can not but admire the exquisite beauty of our fair Nagaland. Nature had favoured us in a very special way by bestowing upon us with natural beauties. When we look around, we find beautiful mountains and hills, smiling with rays of morning sun and her jewelled-like beauty that does not fade away until the veil of darkness overcast the sky. When the advent of the dawn in the distant horizon, we see the green colour emerging from the world of darkness but now the mountain and hills stand still in silence like a young lady in a gloomy mood under the moonlit sky, when the world is silent, it seems they are telling something which is sad and grave and which the world can not understand. Such is the conditions and situation in which the people of Nagaland live. There is a feeling of grievous hurts deep down in their hearts that the priceless jewels of their way of lives have been devastated by the long years of political movement. They are facing today both crises of identity and crises of political pilgrimage. If we have to preserve and refine Naga indigenous on native Naga polity in tune with modern concept of democracy, the Nagas have to recognize the political reality of the 21st century and design their political polity with political foresight and wisdom. To build a strong foundation and fortress of this native polity, it has become imperative to have a serious look at our identity. If we allow the current attitudes and unbridled style of living in the land to continue without check, our progeny will be there, but identified with a pseudo foreign identity. They would hate everything that is native to the land and its past glories. Sooner we awake it would be better.
As a native of this land, I have a dream of my motherland and I have grown up with that dream of a vibrant, democratically stable, progressive, prosperous and peacefulNagaland a Nagaland which will be the role model of the whole country in the domain of democratic experiment and governance. The Naga society has all the attributes for this model. The foremost is the vibrancy of Naga spirit that despite all difficulties, hardships, sufferings and struggles the Nagas had gone through defending their own land and facing the wrath of Indian security forces in the fifties still remains as the greatest asset for the present and future of Nagaland. We had witness a generation of the Nagas had to live in blood, tears and sacrifices and the most notable is that not a single Naga soul left the land but preferred to die in defence of their land. It shows their attachment. This spirit is a special gift of God to Nagas.
Despite all these attributes to become a role model, Nagaland today finds itself embroiled in many difficult problems which needs greater introspection and soul searching for every Naga to put Nagaland on right tract. Here the question comes, What ails Nagaland today ? Where have the Nagas gone wrong ? Is there any glimmer of hope for the Nagas amidst this encircling gloom ? Are not the Nagas standing on a shadowy border lane to decide their future ?
Let us examine the causes of the present predicament in which Naga society is placed. The situation is not created in a single day. The conflict started in the mindset as the older generation of the Nagas felt that they were a separate people and a separate country. It got stronger and deeper as they were kept excluded by the alien rulers from the mainstream of Indian National Movement for freedom. Nagas remained untouched by the wave of independent movement. Passing of the Indian Independence Act 1947 made India legitimate heir of the British occupied India except Pakistan.The confrontation between the Government of India and the Nagas started over the sovereignty of Nagaland. It took serious turn with as sever armed conflicts erupted between the Nagas and the Indian security forces as a result of which the people of Nagaland had to face terrible sufferings and hardships in the hands of the Indian security forces. Fighting for long put the Nagas in a terrible predicament and they wilted under pressure with two options left either to surrender and go back to Assam as a district as before or find an alternative arrangement to salvage the hopes and aspiration of the Nagas under the Constitution of India. The Naga People’s Convention under the dynamic leadership of Dr.Imkongliba unified all the 16 tribes of Nagaland for a peaceful negotiation with the government of India . This resulted in the creation of the State of Nagaland as the 16th state within the Indian Union and it was indeed a masterstroke of the Naga political movement. The decision of course raised eyebrows and resentment from the underground but political foresight and wisdom of yesterday years leaders prevailed on them. The struggle for sovereignty by the Naga underground under the leadership of A.Z.Phizo continued till ceasefire in 1964. Six round of political talks during this period with the Government of India unfortunately ended in political impasse. This was followed by serious rift within the Federal Government (UG) and a group led by Khugato ,andScatoSwu formed Revolutionary group. This development had broken the backbone of the Naga political movement. The movement never regains its charismatic appeal rather it is marked by growing factionalism. The infighting among the factions became the hall mark of Naga independent movement and thereby completely distorting the Naga goal conceived and enliven by the Naga National Council.
It is important to discuss the peculiar features of political movement under the patronage of different factions:
1. All the factions want the controlling power in their hands. Every faction is functioning as a government with all the paraphernalia of a legal government without any defined jurisdiction. On one side they are demanding sovereignty from the government of India but on the other hand all the factions are celebrating Naga Independence day on 14th August every calendar year with much fanfare. Will it not be construed as the greatest paradox by onlookers ?
2. For quite sometime the general public of Nagaland were aghast to witness factional killings and rivalries who are suppose to fight for the same Naga cause. There is however a silver lining in the present move to include all political groups in the political dialogue. All groups involve in this ongoing political process should recognize that there is only one Naga problem and there will be only one Naga political settlement.
3. Factionalism had wrecked the backbone of the Naga movement and converted it into free for all game of politics. Let this dreadful cancerous disease must be totally removed from Naga politics. It equally applies to overground politics as well. Let us cultivate the spirit of unity and solidarity within the Naga family so as to evolve a strong and united future for Naga people.
4. The entire people of Nagalandare groaning under the yokes of multiple governments. There are too many babies just to suck the milk of a single mother as a result of which she is now under intensive care struggling for survival. Strangely enough, all the so called authorities for their survival had to resort to loot the resources of the common men. Time is ripe for all enlightened and right thinking citizens of Nagaland to rise up and to put their heads together and find a solution to redeem the people of this beautiful land from this menace.
5. Current politicaldictum which is lavishly used by many Naga political leaders is the uniqueness of Naga history. Have the leaders who are engaged in political parleys with the government of India succeeded in articulating the meaning and significance of the uniqueness of Naga history in constitutional language so that it can be incorporated as part of the agreement . The people of Nagaland are acutely alive to the political changes in the state and the country during the last more than six decades of Naga political movement and as such no political leader be it underground or overground can take them for a ride. Even today, some of the top underground leaders are shy of telling the truth about the status of the present Naga political talks. They simply resort to rhetoric justto cover up the real issue. It will be a futile exercise if the Naga leaders continue to harp on the past history while trying to resolve the Naga problem. Honourable and satisfactory solution can be hammer out only when we recognize the contemporary political, social and economic realities in the country and the world.
6. Decades of political uncertainty coupled with violence and bloodsheds in the land had adversely affected the normal lives of the people of Nagaland. Gun culture had created fear psychosis in the minds of the people and today no one dares to speak out for or against the prevailing distressing situation in the land. The Nagas once known for their bravery were made to be timid and docile in front of the gun dotting elements. This is the greatest and gravest damage caused on the Naga psychic by gun culture. Today we call Nagaland for Christ, wherein there is severe famine of truth. Should the present trend is allowed to continue, ultimately the very soul of the Nagas shall be destroyed.
7. After years of perilous political voyage, the Nagas themselves found that they have landed in a political quagmire. Because of their arrogant, greed and unrighteousness, the Nagas have lost the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire to guide and lead them through the tempestuous political pilgrimage. For a better and brighter future, the people of Nagaland in general and the leaders of public confidence are called upon to have a serious introspectionand retrospection as to why we are embroil in this situation and resolve to embark on a righteous path to fashion Nagaland as a role model for others.
8. The long years of Naga political struggle for a separate homeland in its bizarre train of events had deeply wounded the traditional values and indigenous polity. When there is absence of foresight and vision in any political movement, not only the people but the entire systems suffer and it is equally true to the kind of situation in our land as well. The heroes of the bygone days who spearheaded the Naga movement under the banner of the NNC were patriots in the real sense of the term but today it is being handled amateurishly and thereby reducing the Naga movement into a bubble gum.Posterity will blame the present Naga leadership if the great Naga movement be allowed to fritter away and bury in oblivion.
Fundamental issues to be addressed:
1. Let us honestly admit that sovereignty was deleted from the Framework Agreement of 3rd August 2015. We should be true to the agreement and to the people of Nagaland. It should be assumed that under the present political scenario in the country and the world, the present framework was drawn up and agreed by both the parties involved. The people of Nagaland need to understand and appreciate the sincere efforts of leaders engaged in the parleys. Similarly, integration of Naga areas no longer feature in the framework as this problem requires consensus among concerned states. In 1960 also the Government of India pointed out the same problem to the negotiating body of the Naga People Convention. The public should understand the position of the government of India in this respect.
2. The Naga political movement is no longer a monolithic organization but on the contrary it has become a fragmented organizations. The sanctity and sacredness of the Naga political movement was thoroughly sullied by factionalism within the underground organizations. The government of India had been patiently waiting to hear the united voice of the Naga people towards the successful and logical conclusion of the long standing Naga problem, which so far defied solution. Involvement and participation of several underground political groups in the on going political talk with the government of India is indeed a welcome development in the political process. It will be politically expedient on the part of all political groups to speakonly one common Naga political language while meeting the representative of the government of India.
3. There is a great deal of confusion in the minds of the Naga people even including enlightened citizens of Nagaland as to whether the people of Nagaland have landed in identity crisis or political crisis or both. To prepare for a safe landing of the eventual political arrangement for the Naga future, it has become obligatory for the leaders at the helm of affairs to remove all the accumulated errors and obstacles from Naga society in right earnest. It is an acknowledged fact that over the years partly due to unresolved Naga problem and partly abdication of constitutional authority by the leadership of the elected government the entire system of governance appears to be in shambles. Too many authorities both legal and illegal are allowed to have their hey day at the cost of the people. It has become difficult to make out what is what and who is who. Under such despicable and chaotic environment , how are we going to implement the much expected political agreement between the Government of India and the Naga political groups ?Is it not the biggest challenge for the leaders of all political parties including hohos to put their heads together and help restore normal administration by putting all wings of governance on the rails ? So far the people are indifferent towards this most important issue.
4. Now and in future, the most dreaded enemy of Naga society will be materialism and counterfeit modernity. These twin monsters havealready infiltrated into Naga society and the Church. Materialism had blinded and also deafen the people of Nagaland. Side by side modernity especially pseudo western culture had started changing the life style of the younger generation and at this rate they will be uprooted from the Naga way of life and culture. This dangerous and unhealthy trend will destroy both Naga identity as well as Christian identity.
Besides unresolved and complicated Naga political problem, Naga society is embroiled in too many difficult and negative problems, but the people by and large are insensitive to this menace. Let us hope and pray that the God almighty will sent down pillar of cloud and pillar of fire to guide the Nagas to reach their Caanan.