Tribalism Vs Naga unity and reconciliation

Unity and reconciliation has been the catch word so far in the Naga society; it has been the yearning of the Naga people for the past many years given the volatile prevailing situation in the state. However, the question of reconciliation and forgiveness is too big a question to be tackled overnight. Unity of the Naga people, reconciliation, forgiveness and living as one people has obsessed the people of this trouble torn hilly state called Nagaland, but still the dream remains unfulfilled and unachieved despite the sincere efforts from many NGOS, churches, organizations and individuals. Is there something wrong in the approach of the Naga concerned individuals and groups? Forgive me if I may sound too cynical but as a staunch pessimist I tend to look at the bad side of things, in the vain hope of seeing at the brighter side of life.
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.

NSCN on Naga sovereignty

NSCN on Naga sovereignty 29/2

Like a sheep in a wolf’s shin, though sovereignty and non-involvement in the Indian state assembly election happens to be the pronouncement of NSCN (I-M) camp, the true colors are gradually emerging. The National principle of the Socialists of the Naga political issue is vividly portrayed through their divide and rule policy. Keeping the Nagas as political hostage, exploit economic avenues and resources and rehabilitate their displaced. May the proper conscience of the Nagas reign over all negative elements.

Khekuto, deputy secretary, GPRN/NSCN.

Nagas must act as one

Nagas must act as one  29/2

The Nagas are at the threshold of molding our future. Our decision today will formulate our tomorrow. Are we to languish in the internal turmoil and decimation unending? Or are we to shed our stubborn obstinacy and discard all difference with our common objectivity as our priority and concertedly stand for our rights?

All justifications to gain political mileage have today reverted to displeasures of the Nagas. Nagas want to reconcile and unify and approach the protracted Indo-Naga political issue for a lasting solution once and for all. It is today the bounden duty of all the Nagas, irrespective of communal or tribal affiliations to away all apprehension and qualms, and to unitedly shoulder our respective responsibilities so that lasting peace prevails in our land.

Toluho, under secretary, GPRN/NSCN.

APO on Naga unification

APO on Naga unification  28/2

The issue of the ongoing unification initiatives in Nagaland continues to be more crucial and it is vital that the tribal Hohos maintain understanding about the issue.

The Angami Public Organisation (APO) hold the view that Naga unification is the need of the hour to ensure the survival of the Nagas as a people and a nation, and welcomes any initiative for the Naga National reconstruction and unification based on the national principles of Naga brotherhood, tolerance, peace and reconciliation which is acceptable to all the Naga tribes and the political factions.

The APO firmly holds the view that while the goal of unification is most important, the means to achieve the goal is no less vital, if not more. It is necessary that all the Nagas tribes join hands together in the task because the Naga tribes must be equally represented in the initiative. Unification envisages peaceful co-existence with mutual respect for one another’s traditional territories and boundaries because there is no territory known as “No man’s land” anywhere throughout the breadth and length of the Naga contiguous inhabited areas. Unification cannot be imposed, dictated or forced upon the people by anger, threat, extortion or by barrel of the gun, because unification is part of the process of healing the souls of the Nagas. Any national dream not fueled by God cannot stand the test of time.

Therefore, while the APO stands for unification of the Nagas, the APO firmly believes that:

1. Initiatives of unification should be broad based so as to include all the Naga tribes and uphold Naga brotherhood.

2. Peace and reconciliation among the political factions must precede unification initiatives so as to stop all forms of violence and fratricidal killings among Nagas.

3. The Naga tribes must have mutual respect for one another’s traditional territories and boundaries so as to restore hope and confidence among the people.

Mhiesizokho Zinyü, president, APO, Mhasivilie Nagi, assistant general secretary, APO, Ruokuohei Miachieo, secretary (Administration), APO, Vipose, adviser, APO.

Sumi Hoho support Naga unification

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The Sumi Hoho facili-tated and supports the ongoing Naga unification to bring all warring factions under one political organization so as to completely stop bloodshed and fratricidal killing.

Gen. Zuheto Swu in his Patriot Day speech on 4th August’2001 stated that from 1954-1964, 485 Naga national armies were killed by the Indian Security Forces. These people can be called patriots, because they were killed by the enemy for the cause. He said that he has recorded the names and where they were killed by the Indian Security Forces.

From 1964-1990, there was silence in the Naga political movement and peace prevailed in Nagaland. But again from 1990, another new political dimension erupted among the Naga underground setup. Because of this factionalism, Naga underground were fighting among themselves, killing each other. We Nagas professed ‘Nagaland for Christ’, but taking the name of Christ, fratricidal killing started unabated. The Nagas claimed that thousands and thousands had sacrificed their lives for our motherhood and called them as patriots? I would say, we are murderers; no one will kill his own brothers.

If you trace back the revolutionary history of the world, there has been always two groups struggle for sovereignty. To take few examples, in Russia, there were two revolutionary groups, one under the leadership of Lenin, ie, Bolshevik. Bolshevik wanted to secure freedom from Czardom by means of non-violence. Another revolutionary party was called the Menshevik under the leadership of Kerensky wanted to achieve their goal by means of violence. But though they had different approach for their freedom, they did not fight among themselves. Both the political wings fought against Czarist to attain their goal. Same is the example of Indian political struggle. Mahatma Gandhi followed the path of non-violence and Satyagraha which ultimately brought freedom for India. But Subash Chandra Bose wanted to attain freedom through the means of violence and organized Azad Hind Fauj. But there was no record that they fought themselves. But we Nagas though our ultimate goal is the same “Sovereignty”, we fought among ourselves in the name of sovereignty.

Now what is the political salvation for the Nagas? It is only through the unification of all Naga underground factions, peace tranquility and prosperity will prevail in Nagaland. There are only two choices for the Nagas. We have to choose between bloodshed and peace. If we want to live in peace and harmony, we have no other option than “unification of all factions”. With this end Sumi Hoho and Sumi public are working hard to bring peace in Nagaland.

In 1793, one of the organizers of the Girodin Club, Roland was suspected to be traitor and she was leading her way to Scaffold remarks: “O Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name”.

The saying goes, “A troubled mind often the product of a troubled soul”. Our souls are in trouble but we blame our mind. Let us clean our souls then our mind will be in peace.

Hokishe Yepthomi, president of Sumi Hoho.

Unification: Desired goal of Nagas

Unification: Desired goal of Nagas 26/2

The Ao Seden understands that there seems to be confusion on the matter of present Naga unification move in different corners. Infact, unification of all Naga communities irrespective of territorial location and organizations is the most needed of the hour because without this we cannot achieve our goal as desired by the Naga people.

In this regard, the Ao Seden recalls its earlier declaration made in a joint meeting of Ao Seden and ABAM on 20th July’1993, wherein, we have passed three historic resolutions on peace and unity move in Nagalim as stated below:

1. To work for peace and unity move involving ourselves for its complete success.

2. To discourage all forms of violence, factionalism and such, appeal to all concerened to declare unilaterally; the cessation of hostility between different groups at the earliest because peace and unity can be achieved among different groups only through negotiations, mutual understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation.

3. That a competent body consisting of reasonable members acceptable to all concerned to form through the auspicious of Naga Hoho/NBCC in order to achieve the goal of Naga unity.

Further, we wish to keep our record and commitment clear recalling our earlier statements dated 8th February’07, whereby, we have appealed to all Naga National workers, their factions, civil societies, NGOs, Churches and individuals to sincerely respond to the call of the National proclamation made by Isak chishi Swu, the Yaruiwo of Nagalim NSCN (I-M) on the matter of “forgiveness and reconciliation” issued on 13th January’07.

After this crucial juncture, the Ao Senden feels that the on-going peace process and political negotiation under the collective leadership that have been endorsed by all the Naga tribes, civil societies and churches is the right perspective that needs to be strengthened by one and all. The Senden feels that forming different groups taking different nomenclature may simply add more confusion among the people.

While reiterating our previous stand, the Ao Senden feels that the Naga unification, reconciliation and peace making process should pave the way towards successful political settlement on the on-going political negotiation.

Temjenkaba, President of Ao Senden.

Temjen Paul, Secretary of Ao Senden.

NSCN (I-M) objects statement

NSCN (I-M) objects statement  25/2

Ironically, the government of In-dia is speaking in different tone of political terminology, sending a diabolical message that it will have no qualm to obliterate the hard earned achievements of the Indo-Naga political talk that has seen more than 60 rounds of talks. The statement of National Security Adviser (NSA), MK Narayanan on the Indo-Naga solution during his official visit to Kohima, Nagaland on 18 February 2008 has come as a bombshell. This is bewilderingly obnoxious, but such duplicity on the part of the government of India is not going to go down well in the future course of the peace process. For the Nagas cannot be subjected to accepting what is not right historically, and India have no political morality to decide the political destiny of the Nagas. It is the Naga people who will determine their political fate.

Seriously focused, 10 years of Indo-Naga political process is long enough for India to exercise a high level of lateral thinking and speak on the issue conscientiously. But choosing to take potshots at NSCN is not a good sign of sincerity, given the long wait of the Nagas that India will not change colour in the manner that reflects outrageous undermining of the Indo-Naga political issue.

Despite the unwarranted utterance of MK. Narayanan on the contentious issue of the magnitude of Indo-Naga political talks that has withstood pressure of vilification for the past ten years the Nagas are magnanimous enough to wait, for the Nagas have the propensity to wait as demanded by the nature of the Naga issue that cannot be expected to produce result in hurry. But if India thinks that Naga’s aspiration will eventually wear out it is just delusions of grandeur.

There is time for everything. And this is no time for India to retract on its commitment for an honourable Naga solution. To speak on the Indo-Naga solution from the Indian constitution point of view is not an honourable solution for the Nagas. India cannot afford to act sanctimonious on this sensitive aspect. The fact that India, on July 11, 2002 recognized the “Unique History and the Situations of the Nagas” does not warrant seeking solution under the Indian constitution. The NSCN Collective Leadership in consultation with the Naga people have time and again reaffirmed that apart from the Nagas history, there will not be any solution.

At this juncture of the new situation it will be absolutely preposterous for India to put the proposals of the Nagas into cold storage, and with more than 60 rounds of Indo-Naga political talks India cannot feign ignorance of the stand taken by the Naga people. Naga people’s political aspiration cannot be suppressed by India who is already showing the colour of using Machiavellian policy against the Naga issue. During the talks with India, the Nagas have made its political stand very clear though India may have treated it as intrusive. But at the same time Nagas have considered with due respect of what is best for India and what is best for the Nagas. But when nothing was forthcoming in the direction expected it is left to wonder where the government of India is leading the Nagas to. But the moot point is “what have the Nagas not done to bring an honourable solution”? Given the long period of peace process India need to be more realistic and not take shelter by inventing one pretext after another. This is against Nagas’ expectation from India to act in accordance with historical proprieties.

Ever since Indo-Naga peace process was started in 1997 Nagas have been conspicuously patient hoping that India will at last go for its tested wisdom and translate its humanistic ideals into action. But unfortunately, India has totally failed to attach any value to Naga’s patience. On the contrary the government of India is already playing a dangerous game of setting its own terms to the Nagas to accept. But to the Nagas who stand by its avowed political principle this is not the road to solution, but surrender to the constitution of India as the basis for the Nagas solution.

Pragmatic to the approach Nagas are willing to do all for a mutually acceptable solution. But India is conditioning the Nagas to surrender and this is never the solution. And for all practical purposes Nagas are not going to surrender to Indian terms.

The level of Indo-Naga political talks is on the basis of “Unconditional Terms”. But all of a sudden, conditioning the Nagas to come under the Indian Constitution to pave the way for Indo-Naga political solution is unbecoming of the Government of India that has appended its signature to the terms and conditions where accepting the Constitution of India does not arise. Where is the political morality of India to stab the Nagas on the back?

For all intents and purposes, the absurdity of the National Security Advisor (NSA) MK Narayanan’s remark on the slow down of the Indo-Naga peace process is a total reflection of the congress’s future scheme of political arrangement on the Indo-Naga issue. But in the process MK. Narayanan has turned himself to be the bete noire of the Nagas, and his irresponsible utterance is thus condemned.

National Security Council, GPRN.