In recent times, numerous articles in our local dailies have frequently mentioned about the unique history of the unconquered Nagas and their historical rights to remain a sovereign Nation, as it was before the arrival of Colonial British power.
One finds little scope now, to argue whether Nagas have been conquered or not in its history or whether Government of India would recognize its sovereign status as staunch tribe oriented Naga Nationalists often lament on GoI refusal to recognize the 14th August declaration of Naga independence.
But I do find enough scope to argue on the topic, “Are Nagas ready to face its hostile neighbours?”
It is also a historical fact that hostile neighbours had in one way or other prompted many Naga tribes to fully support the national movement. And now the traditional hostile neighbours want to maintain its traditional authority over the Nagas and are hell bent on giving any administrative autonomy to the Naga tribes living in their GoI created states.
If the media reports based on press statements from negotiating parties are accurate, Nagas in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh would be given territorial council. Here the public have no knowledge on how much autonomy will be granted to these territorial councils. Yet, what we know is that the ethnic groups of the three neighbouring states would go to any extent to prevent any sort of administrative arrangement by-passing its state’s legislative assembly for the sake of Nagas living in their respective states. Forget about Sovereign Naga Nation, Flag, and Constitution, even little adjustment of the current status in terms of state boundaries and administration is bound to invite fire and blood from hostile neighbours, and these hostile neighbours are ever ready to face any eventualities.
On the other side of the spectrum, the regional minded Nagas still believe and hope their negotiating parties and GoI would give them the best solution by the end of November. It is time that Nagas living in three states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh move their hands and legs before regionalism and tribalism swallow Naga nationalism, for I see no other option. Wished I am proven wrong later.
Maybe for the first time in our history, the hardcore Naga guerrillas have given up some of their core demands and agreed to pursue their political goal, i.e. territorial integration through democratic process. In such reality, the Nagas left outside Nagaland have to rise up and keep moving until administrative autonomy is achieved.
The left out Nagas must think twice in the term of contemporary political realities as defined by some Naga stalwarts. History often than not have shown us that it is the people aspirations and joint efforts that ultimately continue to build new political realities. At the height of the British Empire, who would have imagined that someday the powerful British Empire would collapse like a house of cards? But indeed it was brought down by the joint efforts of people from diverse background as time passed by.
The first primary duty of left out Nagas is to struggle for administrative autonomy and it is worth struggling if the people want to live under their own administration. Taking the example of Manipur State, Naga people living in Manipur would be placed at great disadvantage to score any political gain once the Manipur railway project is completed.
The left out Nagas faces opposition not only from the hostile neighbours but even the Indian National Congress (INC) as well. INC have jump in with warnings that any changes to Manipur geography and any other north-eastern states will be opposed. It is also worth checking the reaction of interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi, right after signing of the 3rd August 2015 Framework Agreement.
In-spite of Congress opposition, if interlocutor RN Ravi does not mean what he said regarding the change in states boundaries, the people can sit quite, relax and fully depend on the outcome of the final agreement. But in politics, only a fool will fully depend on his adversary. Can one really trust a spy?
Therefore the time is ripe, and the people have to do more than burning candles to see Naga State emerged as a power house in Northeastern region or let the so called contemporary political realities hammered down the last nail in the coffin of the Naga Nationalism.
Samziuram Village, Peren, Nagaland
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