It was during the Naga peace convention held at DDSC Stadium in early March, where a lot of renowned Church leaders exhorted the people about the need of peace and reconciliation in the Naga society. The Joint forum of GB’s and DB’s espoused the same ideology about peace and unity among the Nagas. Every right thinking Naga citizen advocates the same ides, I believe.
But the question is would reconciliation and unity come just as it is. Is it that simple especially in the Naga context? Not that I hope so!
It has been a tiring journey for the Nagas especially for the churches and the Naga civil society in finding a ‘lasting’ solution to the Naga problem, and yet the problem lingers on and on. The journey to find a solution to the vexed Naga problem would go on. But for the moment, a question remains; can the Nagas find unity among themselves? Can there be something like reconciliation? Or can there be something like ‘Naganess’ which my friend espoused strongly in college days? The answers are hard to find but still there is hope.
It is indeed very sad to see the Nagas divided on tribal lines. It is growing day by day. The identification of people on tribal lines like Semas, Aos, Angamis etc shows that we still hold strong to our traditional tribal line. Indeed it is one of the biggest hurdles in the Naga unity or reconciliation process; the feeling of being alienated from one tribe though living just close by has contributed much to the division of the Nagas on tribal lines.
However, the biggest question that lies on front of the Nagas is the question of ‘reconciliation’.
The Indo-Naga political problem has come a long way. And the present younger generation has mixed feelings about “Naga nationalism”.
And yet there is conflict among the various factions of the Naga national organizations; but still without cause.
A few months back in January, in the media, there was reports about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, by Nathuram Godse. I read about the assassin of Gandhi a long time back in, younger years; however, I learnt only this year that, Godse the bad guy who killed Gandhi was an Editor. An Editor!
Surprised but still admiration filled my friend’s heart. For all this years, we thought that Gandhi’s assassin was a deranged ‘psychopath’ who killed the Father of the Nation with no reason at all.
However, when my friend expressed admiration about Godse, an editor and an intellectual who could not compromise on anything; his idea that he upheld, I am sure, was the most ideal and most suited for the society deep inside his heart. One thing that dawned is that when a person is convicted, there would be no turning back on his action, however drastic it might be. The best example might be about Osama bin Laden who blew up the Twin Towers in 2000, yet there is no word of regret from his mouth so far.
In this light, if we see at the Naga national workers, who knows there might be a certain conviction in them; perhaps a conviction of being independent and free, proud and dignified. So… if we see the killings being committed in the society among the different Naga underground factions, can we simply brush it off and condemn it and say that we need peace and unification?
I honestly wonder if Nathuran Godse regretted killing Gandhi on that December 31st night in 1948. Gandhi was a father figure for the nation and the world, and yet I wonder If Godse, he regretted murdering Gandhi. If he did so, well and good; but if didn’t, well he might have a good reason.
Looking at the second reason, then can the need of unity and reconciliation in the Naga society overcome the conviction deep in the hearts of the Naga ‘national workers?’
Who knows the killings of cadres of different factions by the different Naga underground cadres might just be a cause of that conviction about Naga nationalism which has been indoctrinated in the Naga national workers.
I remember, reading and hearing a lot of the Naga national movement, when many of the Naga youths and intellectuals were compelled to join the Naga National Council (NNC) and fight for the cause of the Nagas despite all odds. I have all respects for them.
But still, I also remember Patricia Mukhim, the popular Telegraph columnist opining that Nagas cannot live alone in this world of globalization which appeared in one of her columns in the Northeast Telegraph. And I also remember reading about the NSCN (IM) leadership saying that the ‘Nagas cannot live alone, which appeared a few years back.’
But the immediate question that needs to be questioned is; what is unity? What is reconciliation and what is peace?
Perhaps the answer might be far away. But, looking at the various initiative of the churches, the GB’s and DB’s Forum and the state government…is unity really possible after such efforts from different concerned quarters. The answer seems a bit distant.
But for the moment, unity, reconciliation and peace are too idealistic a thought, though a need of the hour, and to bring about unity in this Naga society won’t be like buying a chocolate in some shop. What we need is a complete change of mindset, of acceptance and pragmatic realization that we need to live as one. And to bring about that change of mindset, it does not necessarily mean preaching some sermon about unity among some empty chairs in a local stadium. It would simply mean going out of the way, of sacrificing and convincing people about the need of unity and reconciliation. It would be too late to believe in miracles.
The need of the hour is to dispel the conviction in the hearts of every Naga about the ill-feelings about other tribes, the need to live together, to help each other, educate each other and especially the thought that one tribe is against the other.
It’s only this, I believe, the Nagas can have true reconciliation, if not a sense of accepting each other. And, we need to accept each other and help each other; after all, we as Nagas have always done so without it the future seems bleak with a scene of a largely divided Naga society, not necessarily on ‘nationalism’ lines but on tribal line. And that’s the biggest hurdle to Naga unification.