By: Awungshi Angam
Nintheenth century French Social thinker, the Father of sociology, August Comte, developed a social theory called ‘positivism’. And according to it, there is an invariable law that governs the interaction among social phenomena as the natural law does to physical world.
To Comte, much of the chaos, conflict, disorders and squalor in the society is due to ignoring this basic law in the interaction among social phenomenon. When human interaction takes place in accordnace with this principle, problem in the society will be minimized and there will be order, progress and development.
There is a grain of truth in Comte’s philosophy. When human interaction takes place following certain step (social norms) the interaction is smooth and we get our desired objective.
A simple Mathematical principle of 1, 2, 3 will make Comte’s idea clear. Suppose we want to get the number 5, we must start counting from below, say, 1, 2, 3, 4, and arrived to 5.
This is basic rules or formula of mathematics. But if we ignore this rule and start counting from 6 then we will never get the targeted number 5 because we have ignored the basic rule of math. The same is the case in our social world.
Conflicts is a part of social phenomena and to find the desired solution the same law is applicable, depending on the nature of conflict, situation, (Social context) and time. In my opinion, Comte’s law of positivism can apply for the lasting solution of Indo-Naga political conflict.
Based on the nature and the past experiences of the Indo-Naga conflict, the basic step we need to take according to positivist law would be ‘reconciliation.
In other word, to arrive at proper logical conclusion, reconciliation among various conflicting groups within the Naga society, should be the first step. (Reconciliation should be extended to various levels of Naga society such as tribes, politicians, civil societies etc but due to lack of space here I am referring only with under ground groups)
British and the Indian have created Indo-Naga political problem and initially, Nagas struggled with one objective to be free from India. However, in the course of last almost a century struggle, many vested and undesirable elements have infiltrated in the movement and made the whole issue highly complicated.
One of the result of this have been ‘divisions’ among the Nagas into so many factions, to some extend, based on ethnic line, thus diluting the objective of the movement. The consequence is, Indian do not know to whom they should engage and talk seriously and thus keeps on playing ‘divide and rule policy,’
But the more serious consequence is, on the Nagas themselves; instead of fighting with the enemy with a focus mind, we fight among ourselves and wasted much of the energy, manpowers and time. Today many poor Naga mothers live in tears because of the lost of their precious sons and daughters, who died, not for a noble cause but due to meaningless fighting among ourselves. On the other side, the enemy looks on us with smirk and continue to play their game.
Thus the numerous factions among the Nagas has been the most costly game and the greatest obstacle toward achieving our cherished dream, NAGA NATION’. And as long as we remain divided we will continue to pay the cost and suffer no matter how long we struggle.
No Naga should live under the illusion that in such circumstances we will ever achieve our dream of ‘Promised Land.’ Based on the past experience, it may not be wrong to predict that, signing an agreement at the moment with New Delhi will bring more disastrous consequences to our society.
Hence, if Nagas have honest desire to solve our problem once and for all, we must follow the basic law that governs social behavior step by step and arrive at the proper conclusion. i.e, to begin from reconciliation and then move to the next .
Hence, in my opinion, regardless of the cost we have to pay, Nagas must cross the bridge of ‘reconciliation’ by any means in order to enter the Promised Land.
No matter how long we have struggled and how long we are going to struggle, how many sons and daughters we have sacrificed and how many we are ready to sacrifice, without crossing this bridge, it will be impossible for the Nagas to enter the co called ‘Promised Land,’ Because we know well, as of today, the problem is not outside us, but within us and that is ‘division’ inside our house.
The old maxim, ‘Strength in Unity’, seems to have lost its meaning but it is still relevant for Nagas.
Several individuals and groups have shared their opinion regarding ‘how to reconcile’. Let me also share some of my thoughts concerning the matter.
First, Situation demands that Naga hoho, Naga Churches and Naga politicians should play pro-active, positive and neutral and above all prudent role in this reconciliation process. We all know many individuals and civil societies including Nagaland Govt. have been trying since last a few years to reconcile different groups.
But to our great disappointment, till today we did not see any positive result, rather the matter seems to have become worse. We need to pause for a moment and check ‘if any thing has gone wrong in our effort’ and if necessary rectify it.
Naga hoho is the apex social cultural and political organization of 40 different Naga tribes. Thus the organization represents the collective will of three million Nagas living scattered across the country and the globe.
Hence at this moment of crisis, the only organization that can play decisive role and redeem our society is Naga hoho. Thus hoho should rise above the interest of any tribe, or groups and take very positive neutral stand and deal with the situation firmly. I) Hoho should not take side to any factional group, regardless of right or wrong, but be on the neutral seat.
Why? Standing with one group unintentionally hurt others group and pushes away from the table of reconciliation, whereas the need of the hour is bringing them together. We must understand the intricate nature of Naga politics.
Let us be honest, there are a lots of misunderstanding among the groups, besides, vested group, tribe or personal interest. This is an undeniable fact. The simple evidence is, while each one talks about ‘Naga sovereignty’ which is the paramount objective of the struggle, they refuse to come together and fight on one foot, which indirectly exposed their own hidden agenda.
Because of this, when Naga civil societies supported one group the other group feels the sense of alienation and ultimately fear that they would be ignore when the game is killed and become more aggressive. This is the very reason that NSCN( K) and NNC became more aggressive in the recent past when the negotiation between the IM and New Delhi seems to going on smoothly.
Honestly speaking, quite notice to Tangkhuls by the K, and threatening of Mr Muivah’s visit to Nagaland is the fruit of this. Thus Naga civil societies, especially hoho, must understand the sensitivity of the matter and stand firmly as a neutral body. II) As the depository of ‘Nagas Collective Will’, (NCW), hoho, on behalf of all the Nagas, should strongly urge the different factions to come to the table of reconciliation.
If any factional group or tribe defies the CWN, hoho should denounce the group with clear term and declare them as ‘betrayal’ of the Nagas. This should be followed by instruction to every Nagas village to boycott the member belong to this group, including denial for shelter, financial help and or any help.
Such a bold decision and stand by the Naga hoho would produce a positive result paving the way for the solution of the problem. Above all, at this hour of crisis, Naga civil societies such as NPMHR, NSF, and Nagas Mothers and others groups must stand solidly behind the hoho and back them for the interest of all Nagas.
What should be the role of the Church? Many are against the involvement of church in politics. But we must know that the Indo-Naga conflict is not only a matter of politics; it is much more than that; the issue has become a cancer in our society affecting each and every aspects of social and individual’s life. The matter needs to be treated differently and thus the necessitated the involvement of Church.
Church is the second largest social religious institutions in Naga society as about 98% of Nagas are Christian. Through the church proper and right information can be decimated to each every member of the Naga society and form public opinion about the issue. Down throughout the history church has been playing this significant role in the society. Naga churches can play the same role today as the time demands.
I) Church must clarify its stand on the Naga political issue based on the Biblical perspective. If the church is convinced that it is the ‘Will of God’ that Nagas should have “a nation”, then the church must seriously pray and support the cause with every possible means within its scope.
(Church leaders need no fear because there is no fear in carrying out God’s mission because God gives us not the spirit of timidity and fear but courage and boldness) Along with this, our Church leaders must teach on the pulpit clearly what is right and wrong before God and cleans up all the dirty elements within the movement. Many of our national workers are attending churches and meetings. They must be taught and reprimanded if necessary when they are wrong.
For instances, in the name of Nagaland for Christ, they should not extort money, in the name of Nagaland for Christ, killing one another can not be tolerated, in the name of Nagaland for Christ, taxes should not be collected and build individuals palaces, and in the name of Nagaland for Christ, they should not interfere in the village development program such as road construction, the life line of poor Naga villagers.
Such activities of the national workers reduced our national movement to mockery. The problem with Naga church leaders today is that they seem be confused on the issue. Confusion coupled with fear of the people, lead to helplessness to take any initiative & ineffectiveness of their voice. Our church leaders should not act like Pilate who surrendered the truth, Jesus to death, due to fear of the crowd. Let us know that we are carrying out the mission given by our Mighty Living God, who is above all the powers.
II) Naga church leaders must stand on one feet. Thread to church leaders by any group for reprimanding for their wrong behavior, should be taken seriously as an attack, not to the individual, but to the Church, and denounce with clear term. Naga churches should not be under the dictate of any group whether high or low except God. More over, church and Naga hoho should work hand in hand so that their struggle will be more effective.
Naga MPs & MLSs, along with Naga hoho and church, must play more positive role considering the long-term interest of the whole Nagas. No politician should play double standard game to save his or her skin. No political party should try to manipulate the situation to serve their vested interest and continue to sit in the seat of power and glamour.
Doing so is gamepling with the life of Nagas. They can have different views on the Naga political issue; to support or against it’ it doe not matter, but should not be double standard and behave like snake; changing their color according to their convenient. Such politics cause unrepairable damage to Naga society. The need of the hour is to take neutral stand with the Naga hoho and urge the different factional groups to reconcile.
When Naga hoho, Naga Churches and Naga politicians come together and urge all the factional groups in one voice, to reconcile, I believe, they will respond positively and that will pave the way for the lasting and honorable solution of our problem.
Second, situation demands honesty on the part of our respected leaders (Underground). Million of Nagas are eagerly praying for our leaders and are supporting them financially by paying taxes out of their meager incomes, sacrificing their desire to eat a delicious meal once in a life time.
Our leaders must be honest to them and to God, whether they are fighting for interest of the whole Nagas or they are fighting to fulfill their own hidden dreams. If they are honest, then they must come to the table of reconciliation because this is the need of the hour, desire of every single Naga and the only way to find solution.
Reconciliation involves forgiveness. Forgive is costly and painful but the fruit of forgiveness is wonderful. Jesus, in whose name we fight, Nagaland for Christ, cried bitterly on the cross and died- shedding his blood to forgive our sins. Forgiveness of Jesus reconciled us to our Holy God and gives us wonderful peace, joy and hope. This is not just a philosophy but practical truth.
South Africa could have been destroyed completely due to carnage of racial war between the whites and the blacks. But when Nelson Mandela, branded to be the heinous criminal and imprisoned for 21 years by the white regime, became the President, without any pre-condition, forgave them. (The whites) Mandela declared, ‘past is past, we have to look forward and build our nation; South Africa belongs to all, both whites and blacks’.
What a great man! The whole world watched with great fear anticipating; blacks would wipe out the whites within weeks. But because of one man, Nelson Mandela’s great heart of forgiveness, today South Africa is emerging as one of the most vibrant & dynamic and peaceful nation among the developing countries.
Forgiveness is painful and costly but the fruit is sweet like honey. We wish our Naga leaders to imitate the character of such a great man and forgive one another and reconcile among you. Though it’s hard and difficult, the day, our leaders come forward and shake hand with each other with big smile, every Naga soul, including our poor mothers who live in tears, also will smile together with you.
By doing this you would reveal your true greatness and love for us. Then Nagas will surely find lasting, honorable & peaceful solution which they have been longing for.
* Awungshi Angam contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org . This article was webcasted on January 05th, 2007.