‘National Socialist Council of Nagaland’ [NSCN], is the Identity they used at the time of the Ceasefire Agreement with the Government of India. I am not good at remembering the Book, the Chapter or the Verses of the Bible and the Dates of events in history books, but I remember the day, the 27th of September 1997 very clearly, because shockingly the previous night, the popularly known Dally Mungro, the highest ranking NSCN Khaplang Group in Nagaland, staying at the Science College, Kohima, was shot dead by his opponents.
The correct name of the Leader is, -I am informed- TALIKIBA MONGRO, in Mungsen language of the Ao: Tali-Kiba meaning ‘Giver of More’ and Mongro, the forefather from whose name the Clan originated.
On that fateful morning of 27 September 1997, the phone rang at about 8:30 AM from the Residential Office of the Chief Minister of Nagaland asking the senior most Secretaries of Nagaland being collect at 9 AM in the CM’s Residential Office.
Being resident near the Office, I was one of the first to reach the place. I enquired from PA Verghees, the reasons for the proposed gathering but he did not know.
None of the Bureaucrats gathered knew anything about the purpose of the Meeting. So every few of the Bureaucrats and the Ministers sat quietly in silence in the Anti-room of the CM Office like persons gathered in a funeral.
Then lately famous Minister Imkongliba pushed the closed door open from outside and popped his head into the room, looked around at the persons inside in despondent faces and wearing a humorous face he asked softly:
Everybody laughed and the tension in the room evaporated and all started to talk and joke.
Soon Chief Minister SC. Jamir called the members into his Office room and without any ceremony said:
“The Government of India and the NSCM [IM] has entered into a Ceasefire Agreement.”
All of us were momentarily shocked in wonderment and silence and did not react for some moments!
So, I said:
“Sir, was Nagaland consulted?”
“No, they did not consult Nagaland”, the Chief Minister said.
After some thoughtful moments of quietness, I again said:
“Sir, what are the Ceasefire Terms?”
“We do not know, we were not informed; I am flying to Delhi tomorrow” said the Chief Minister and that was the end of the poignant Meeting.
So I remember the date of the announcement of the Ceasefire between GoI and the IM very vividly.
Nagaland passed decades of uncertain and anxious political situations bewitched in the fear of the barrel of the Socialist Gun. People in Nagaland were so cowed down by fear of the barrel of the Gun that most Elites found Silence the best Policy, powerful Government bureaucrats followed and co-operated tamely the influenced Instructions of their Political Masters.
The efficient Trader communities purchased their papers in the Files of the Government Offices with their connected go-betweens.
The State Politicians did not differentiate the Ceasefire from the Politics, the Government supported the Ceasefire without knowing what it is, the Naga Mother Association, the Naga Hohos, the NSF and the 8000 NGOs galore of Nagaland State led by the celebrated ecclesiastical FNR in its Journey of Common Hope of the Naga, were the noisiest supporters of what they did not know as long as they were paid for their Pilgrim’s Progress.
Nothing in Nagaland was of unshakeable Truth; every truth appeared transient. The Church Managers would explain away the preaching of political reconciliation under the Doctrine of Forgive & Forget, in conformity with biblical Teachings of turning the other Cheek and left the common ignorant, unlettered majority plaintive of the society at the mercy of the fluid situation.
Once, in an Association Meeting of the Angami Baptist Church, [ABCC] few members together with their youngest Pastor of a Church said:-
“If our National Workers do things contrary to the Teachings of the Gospel of Christ in the Bible, we should declare that the Angami Church would not support them.”
Then a prominent Reverend promptly stood up and replied:
“These days, things have changed in Nagaland and we must say things cautiously. If we do not speak things in a round circular manner, we may face difficulties afterwards”.
Everybody understood what he meant. Words of worldly wisdom like those from and ardent Reverends sufficiently water down the congregation’s whole enthusiasm and that was the end of the Association Meeting. The particular youthful Reverend wanted to live long and prayed earnestly for it but his Maker took him across the River rather soon.
In times like this, when the fabric of the Society collapses, the plaintive in the society seeks refuge in the moral rock of the Church. The leaders of the Church taught Justice, Love and Truth but would not do as much as touch any of them by the tip of their finger. Powerful Members, rich politicians help the Church ever with finance to maintain the honor of the Church Society!
During the 22 years of Political uncertainty and turmoil, the best policy of most in Nagaland, -Lock, Stock and barrel- was to sing hallelujah in the highest places for the politics of the armed in the garb of the Peace Talk and the Peace Process. People called the Political Talk as Peace Talk or Peace Process and any not supporting the armed politics -poorly camouflaged- as Peace Process were Anti-Naga or worst. They were daubed ‘ignorant of high political Principles’.
During the 22 year period Nagaland lost the capacity to distinguishing Right from Wrong, Proper from Improper and Government of India was misled to believe the most violent and the most brazen Terrorist Group as if it is the mainstream political reality of every sundry places in Nagaland.
What a tragedy for all of us the Naga. We have lost perception of Reality; we have lost the capacity to distinguish the Right from the Wrong, the Proper from the Improper and the Priority from the Negligible. We looked but we did not see, we heard but we did not hear; we could not comprehend. God stopped talking to the Church in Nagaland.
God did not speak to the Priest in the Temple at Shiloh, God did not speak to Eli; He spoke only to ‘the man of God” to tell Eli and boy serving under Eli in the Temple. “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions”. [I Samuel 3:1]
We all must share part of the responsibility for this large scale superficiality in Nagaland, but our brothers in the armed Socialist Camp must share more for the folly of being bewitched by Power of the barrel of the Gun.
My feeling is that Nagaland did not support the Politics of the IM; it supported only their Ceasefire but many in Nagaland, led by the celebrated ecclesiastical FNR could not distinguish the Political Process in the garb of the Peace Process from the hidden reality.
The GoI was bewitched to accept the most armed, the most educated, the most organized, the Trickiest, internationally connected the most and the most armed violent, as the only group for the final political Settlement.
Now, today, after perhaps one of the longest Peace negotiation, the day of final reckoning seems to have at last come and is standing at the door outside. And like it or not, Nagaland State have not been consulted for the future of its State. People from Nagalim appear to be deciding for the future of Nagaland?
The Writer asked Phizo, the Father of the Naga Nation personally in his Bromley House in London one evening in 1982:
“You have not said anything about Shillong Accord”?
[No, Shillong Accord dzé mhapuo rei pú mote?]
“Nobody consulted me before or after, I do not know what Shillong Accord is”.
The Writer did not dare to ask him more about it.
If there is anything in the final honorable Solution, [Nagaland does not know] to add to what we in Nagaland already have in the Special provision of the Constitution of India for Nagaland, we would be only too glad to accept it, but if the final honorable Solution is anything less than what Article 371-A already has, then, Nagaland would not be dragged into anything to do in the ‘honorable solution’.
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