Respect the Voice of the People of Nagaland for Logical Conclusion of Naga Political Problem
S C Jamir,
former CM & Governor
Objectivity and systematic approach are the hall marks of any rational, pragmatic and reasonable analysis or understanding of the issues relating to the physical or social realm. This basic premise holds good if one desires to carefully comprehend and thoroughly analyze the entire gamut of the Naga political conundrum plaguing the hills of the people of Nagaland for more than six decades. It is a historical and political imperative that Naga politics was born shaped and nurtured in the soil of Nagaland under the patronage of the Naga National Council. The sanctity of this indisputable political genesis should be recognized by the Government of India while dealing with the Naga problem. To give a clear glimpse of the problem, the genesis of Naga struggle is herein stated.
Hope and aspiration flew thick and fast for the Nagas when it was evident that the British were preparing to leave Indian shores and hand over the rein of governance to the Indians. The Nagas were fiercely fighting for their freedom along with India’s dedicated struggle for independence. History is the witness to the fact that Naga-struggle had already gained momentum much before India became free from the British yoke. The Naga National Council formed at Wokha in 1946 became the sole voice of the Nagas. The struggle continued well after 1947 because Nagas, being simple, free spirited and valiant people, valued their freedom more than anything else. Now as the British were no longer there, the major players were the NNC and the Government of India. Both sides were eager to resolve the Naga issue and ultimately a formal political document known as the Nine Point Agreement was drawn up between the NNC and Sir Akbar Hydari, the Governor of Assam, acting on behalf of the President of India in 1947. All points were agreed upon without any objection except the nine point where divergence of interpretation between the NNC and the GOI and thus political deadlock and thence the Naga political movement continued through non-violence and democratic means.
But as a result of armed conflicts between the Indian Security forces and the Naga underground, the entire Naga areas of the erstwhile Naga Hills and Tuensang Frontier Division were plunged into violence and killings. Burning of villages and granaries and grouping of the remaining villages that were converted virtually as concentration camps were the common spectacle of the day. The entire population had to suffer in the hands of the army as well as the underground. The excesses committed on the people were unparallel in the dimension and magnitude but unseen, unheard, uncared and unloved by outside world.
To redeem the people from this abysmal hardships and miseries and also to salvage the hope and aspirations of the Naga people for their political identity, the leaders of the Naga hills and Tuensang Frontier Division , in their wisdom and political foresight resolved to intervene in the prevailing situation and formed the Naga Peoples Convention to take concrete political steps by involving representatives of the 16 tribes and through three conventions after full deliberations unanimously resolved to demand a full-fledged State within Indian Union.
There is another important feature. We should not run away from the history of human evolution and so we should not be blind to the evolution of Naga people. Nagas are in Myanmar and other States in the Northeast. And of course Nagas are in the present State of Nagaland. ‘Nagas of Nagaland’ as a phrase is also a political reality.
Recognizing the uniqueness of Naga political history, for the first time after India’s independence Nagaland State was created through a political agreement in 1960 whereas other States of the country were constituted on linguistic bases on the recommendation of the State Re-organization Committee. To safeguard the Naga identity and land and its resources a special Constitutional provision under Article 371A was provided in the Indian Constitution.
Since 1947, the GOI made its position vis-à-vis sovereignty and Integration very clear. It is amply clear that neither sovereignty nor integration appear in both the Agreements of 3.8.2015 and 17.11.2017. So why should we be confused unnecessarily?
The Naga leaders of the bygone years gave their lives for a united, strong, peaceful and progressive Nagaland. Naga struggle was not to divide but to unite the entire people. It will be most unfortunate if any group or organization attempts the unity of Nagaland which was sanctified with the blood of the patriots of Nagaland. The younger generation of the Nagas should think and work with broader and more enlighten vision to build Nagaland of our dream. Secondly, the present generation of the people of Nagaland should remember that a generation of the people of Nagaland had to live in blood and sacrifices to defend and preserve the land for the future but not to give away to outsiders. Naga struggle was for sovereignty but not for a piece of land just for settlement. Intanki or Ntanki Reserved Forest should not be a subject matter even remotely in political negotiation. This shall denigrate the status of our political issue.
The people of Nagaland should be reconciled with both Framework Agreement as well as Agreed Position because these documents had been drawn up and agreed on the basis of contemporary political realities. At the same time the signatories of the agreements should also adhere to the sanctity of their signatures in the true spirit of Christians and to uphold the spirit of Naga honesty.
The people of Nagaland anxiously and prayerfully look towards the Prime Minister for his final word “Amen”.