Labyrinths of an Issue
By: UA Shimray
In short, the chronicle of Naga political movement is intermittent with Agreement, Ceasefire, Talks and Accord. Inspite of several rounds of peace talks with the Government of India, political solution is not at sight. Unlike previous peace talks, ongoing Naga dialogue opened new political dimensions particularly on the agenda of “territorial” integration [vis-à-vis integrity]. Integration seems to be unkind word at the moment. However, the issue of integration remains crucial as well as contentious for a variety of reasons. Today, such situation created “conditioning politics” for both Nagas and neighbouring communities.
As a part of Naga integration movement, many private schools in Naga areas of Manipur affiliated to the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE). In this affair, Naga civil societies have issued a statement explaining the stand made in this regard. The frontline Nagas organisations explained the various dynamics involved and the area of their “justification” is on the grounds of syllabi, educational policies and administrative concerns. Naga civil organisations joint statement state that: “In the first place, schools of the said areas opted for NBSE affiliation because of the varied and ‘innumerable’ reasons within the Board of Secondary Education Manipur (BSEM). One of the most damaging reasons is the imposition of Meetei-Mayek [Manipuri or Meetei script] and distortion of Naga history in the syllabi, the statement explained adding that schools of the stated areas are convinced that Nagaland’s syllabi is ‘undoubtedly far better’ than BSEM’s.” Unfortunately, the performance of private students from the four hill districts of Manipur in the HSLC final examinations (2007) is dismaying situation. A declared proportion recorded only 19.21 per cent.
One interesting development in the recent Naga political movement is departure from the earlier policy and commitment. Today, United Naga Council (UNC) extends its activism towards state’s politics with the formation of “United Naga Democratic Front” (UNDF) in Manipur. This political front emphasis to work outside the house for “Common Identical Programme” and “interest” of the Naga people…The total six UNC’s MLAs are essentially instituted to voice Naga Integration in Manipur Assembly [So far, no loud intervention is observe in Manipur Assembly regarding Naga integration issue]. In this context, the policy seems to endorse that the Indian electoral process could be “potential” factor for Naga integration [or solution]. Having said Naga integration is crucial agenda however; reducing Naga issue into a mere electoral process is uncalled for. In fact, Naga issue is neither Indian Constitutional crisis nor electoral representation.
By tradition, Nagas are proud people as well as stubborn too. Still proud to be Nagas however, come to “thinking and acting” part, it narrows down to mere self-community interest and narrow-minded attitude. Occasionally, this so-called “self-community interest” leads to ethnic-differences and hatred. Such circumstances even observes among “elite” student community particularly at the time of union election [Delhi illustrates good example]. The sphere where Nagas could not integrate is in the territory of “psychological integration,” call it emotional and attitude. For instance, quit notice being served to the Tangkhul Nagas in Nagaland state by the certain section of Naga people. This implies that the society is still enables to crawl out from the communal cocoon. On the other hand, this gives full advantage to those who want to sabotage the Naga politics.
Indeed, so-called “money culture” had done enough damage in Naga society. The culture reduces the society into a mere slave [to state tactical “kill with dollars”]. Such intervention created a kind of monster forces with “perverse” incentive to segregate the society into hierarchical structure and individualism. In other word, it can be interpret that money culture has become one of the main contributory factor to violence in Naga society.
Today, Nagas are in the state of transition stage. The transition is also incorporated with a wave so-called “globalisation.” This wave bears enormous and powerful forces that can kill not only the society but also drain the resources. In fact, it poses a big challenge to the Naga contemporary wisdom and thinking. Unfortunately, at the moment Naga wisdom hovers around inter-ethnic communalism, fratricide, extortion and “unholy nexus” [Also, insurgent’s interference in developmental works, favourism to certain contractors and partisan attitude]. The trends manifests of internal socio-political weakness. Such internal weakness stakes danger for the Naga politics. One can cite 22nd April Dimapur [Nagaland] incident, the “black Sunday.” Another unhealthy tendency is over indulgence of state’s politics and electoral process for instance, in Manipur where the Naga civil organisations participates Indian electoral process with catchy phrase “Lead Kindly Light” It seems like the civil organisations least bother the subsequent confusion created in the society [The explicit indication is Chandel Assembly Constituency where Nagas political maze paves way for the Kuki community].
Today, the dynamic of inter-communalism, electoral politics, intolerable senseless factional killings and money culture pose as unkind “apparatus” in Naga society. So, the question is what colour tag in Naga politics? Is it a communal colour or greed? In fact the mentioned factors could lead to self destruction. At this juncture, Nagas thoughts need contemporary wisdom, rationality, public debate and reasoning. Nagas are not lack in thinking; the problem is underestimation of “good thoughts” of the rational people. Conversely, Naga politics rather accommodate too much middle-man’s intervention vis-à-vis their suggestions [Those who whisper in the ear]. Moreover, Naga issue should not be solely depends on Naga civil functionaries and social leaders [or Middle-man]. But it needs to outsource contemporary wisdom and intellectual inputs. Nagas are no more isolated community, now there are several “capable” people who are either in government service, NGOs, research institutes, church organisations, universities, schools et al. If the trend of “middle-man” monopoly continues in Naga thinking then the real issue could destroy.