The Unending Uncertainty of the Manipur Nagas – Part I –

Tahamzam (Senapati) a politically centred district (at least for the Naga Community with the active existence of the United Naga Council (UNC), All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), Naga Peoples’ Organisation (NPO), Naga Women’s Union, Manipur (NWUM), Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR-South) and most importantly, the Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC), of course the highest authority of the Naga people) in Manipur.

Their prowess is unquestionably respected and honored with a high tune. Nevertheless, the uncertain future of the Tahamzam is: Would the Tahamzam, one of the Nagas’ political hubs churn out to be a historically patriotic dwelling, or would it only, only yield to the perennial and consequential combat zone of the epoch? Organizational history is fair enough to enlighten that many organizational workers dream to model themselves to political professionalism sooner or later. But take a look at and reflect the pain and thrashing on the front-runners of the UNC and the ANSAM, an atrocious treatment meted out to them, dated 7th June 2010, wherein, arrest warrants were issued against them by the Government of Manipur giving a price label to their arrest.


The Declaration (Tahamzam), 1st July, 2010 in the 3rd Naga Peoples’ Convention, by its first point reads as; “… there shall be a total political non-cooperation movement against it (Manipur).” While by another Declaration dated 18th June 2010, (Kohima) point No.1 reads “The meeting endorsed the United Naga Council’s decision to declare the imposed District Council Elections in the Naga areas of Manipur as ‘null and void.” Point No. 6 of the same Declaration reads “It was also decided that the agitation program of the people will be continued in different forms and at different levels till the Aspiration of the Naga People is fulfilled.” (held at Kohima represented by the Naga Hoho, UNC, NSF, ANSAM, NPMHR (South), Naga Women’s Union, Manipur, the entire yet the highest ranking Naga personages. More than the above, the unceasing and multifarious gossips by the Naga people as well as the non-Nagas on the pro-people services and sacrifices of the highly spirited flag-bearers of the UNC in particular, cannot go unrecorded. However, eschewing to the fact, a few non-fictional evidences transpired in the recent past, whereby any perceptive observer or a third eye cannot miss to read may be necessarily briefed herein.


In the year 1999, the Naga Community boycotted the Parliamentary (Lok Sabha) elections. In 2004, the Naga Community as a whole mandated and represented a member of parliament to the Lok Sabha. Instantaneously, after two years, the frontal Naga organizations i.e., the UNC and the ANSAM acted deadly against the national political parties particularly, the Indian National Congress (INC) in the Manipur state assembly elections held in 2007. Nonetheless, by the next immediate year i.e., 2008 during the trust-vote motion at the Parliament, the lone Naga representative voted in favour of the Congress and its allies in the Nuclear-Deal Issue. Yet to people’s surprise in 2009, during the Lok Sabha elections, all over again, the Naga pinnacle bodies were in tooth and nail hostile to the INC.


What made the worst was that the Autonomous District Councils (ADC) elections were conducted in a dreaded manner in the midst of the demands for necessary amendments in the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (3rd Amendment) Act, 2008 were then energetically underway. In other words, after yearningly necessitated for long 20 years expecting to acquire the Sixth Schedule status, and before accomplishing the mission, both the demand for the 6th Schedule and the demand for amendments were aborted at the eleventh hour. Because, many hungry political workers more visibly the INC twisted to believe the philosophy, “A living dog is better than a dead lion”, rather than believing that “Every dog is a tiger in its home.” Additionally justifying that through participating in the constitutional empowered decision-making-body, they would raise the issue and secure the aggrieved tribal people. And the INC did subdue others with its edge of rulings both at the Centre as well as the State.


Neither any space nor any option has been left for the next progeny, but only to eat the humble pie of the divided Nagas based on Factions and Political cards will minimally remain as victims of the predecessors’ legacy. Very sadly today, a Naga sees another Naga as a black Naga and vice-versa which is like the ‘pot calling a kettle black.’ It is pertinent to note, the Hoi polloi of the Naga Community are perplexed beyond comprehension to make out who is / are the true leader/s of the Nagas? Moreover, several unanswerable questions have cropped up with the new financial year, when the incumbent ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) under the aegis of the Naga Peoples’ Front a total pro-Naga political party has gifted a political seed of the Nagas by the Nagas, and for the Nagas, which is still an undecipherable written on the wall, has emerged to have engraved another feature of unrest in the political history of Manipur.


Prior to the up-coming state assembly elections, some simplest but incredibly indispensable and obligatory answers to the public are instantly and exigently awaited from whomsoever.


Who / What decides the political fate of the Naga Community; whether to participate or not to participate in Indian electoral politics?

Will / Can the UNC and the ANSAM unseat the ADC elects by hook or crook to retain their credibility? Keeping in view of: “Ceaser’s wife should be beyond doubt.”

Or will the UNC and the ANSAM be able to condone the ADC elects as brethren and start afresh in all prospects? What should be expected for the people, by the people from the policy making organizations of the people? Will the sacrifices (service, time, energy, money, career, etc.) of those Nagas who had filed the nominations for Autonomous District Councils (ADC) elections but withdrew in obedience to uphold the interest of the Nagas as a whole be left unrewarded and forgotten? Will the new regional party NPF nurture the young but dynamic political party called the Peoples’ Democratic Alliance (PDA) or will it hamper the growth of the PDA?


Who are likely to be their loyalists both in short and long term? Since both these political parties tend to manifest and address the Nagas’ grievances holistically. What are the opinions / compliments / aspirations of those thousands of Nagas settled in metros, cosmopolitans and abroad on the issue of ‘Sovereignty and Integrity of the Naga Community’ who appear to convert their genext to global netizens?


A serious issue which is left unattended, unheard, unrecognized, and undiscovered. What guarantees the UNC and the ANSAM to have general public mandate and legitimacy while manifesting capital declarations? Or could they demean the history of these prestigious organizations? Will the UNC be a taker in the upcoming assembly elections of Manipur for the Naga Community’s interests? Doesn’t Nagas’ participation in every Indian Electoral Politics give birth to faction-ridden effect more than uniting the Nagas? By the end of this decade, what effects would be caused by the tentative Indian Electoral Politics viz: Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Autonomous District Elections of 2015, State Assembly elections of 2017 and … if the present trends continue? Remembering a few words expressed by the ADC’s elects before they were elected, they campaigned that if they were elected to power, they would initiate a rightful fight against the Government of Manipur for the necessary amendments of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (3rd Amendment) Act, 2008).


How far have they proven to their words? Today they are the busy-bees for him or for them. What suitable actions would be acted upon the ADC’s elected Nagas by the UNC, is merely an issue to be waited and watched upon. For the truth is Nagas are pitted against Nagas by the Nagas, wherein, the primary opposing people are not the non-Nagas but exclusively, just the Nagas. At this conflicting juncture, the fray is between the opportunists and the so called non-opportunists. More than the above, an open secret if not many yet a very few Nagas could be doing their home-works to partake in the upcoming Manipur assembly elections. If timely stoppage is not meted out to them before political temperature rises up, could it cause to reinforce the anti-Naga political bug? Besides the prevailing different factions, Nagas political groups trigger the embittered relations amongst the politically aspiring Nagas.


One of the most sterling factors for the up-coming elections according to a commonly and frequently uttered could be: Naga Issue/s Vs Jobs + Bread and Butter + Benefits + Political Enmity amongst the Nagas. One needs to remember, If multi-political party system is to be idolized by the Nagas, its beauty has come to test the taste from the general public of the Naga population today. The PDA which is waving the Flag of the Nagas for the Nagas has been sprouting up gradually is suddenly put to speechless circumstance. Yet, did the NPF authentically foresee the productivity of the NPF to give a helping hand to withstand all the hurdles in Fulfillment of the aspirations of the Naga Community or has the NPF lorded over the PDA and thus shows the interest to overtake the latter by acting as better, smarter and more efficient approach politically?


The explanation is still unending and unproven, if and whether the Nagas are thoroughly in need of another political party at all, purely for the Nagas. Tomorrow, if the third political party XYZ comes up with the banner ‘For the Nagas’ who will follow whom? For instances in the present day, any Naga political animal who dislikes INC might stand for PDA but if he / she still does not like both the INC and the PDA he / she is compelled to join the NPF and reversely. An apolitical Naga God-fearing Nagas only prays that Nagas are united in all fields and no exception to politics. So it is prayed that the PDA and the NPF be merged to one. Another commendable chapter to address is regarding the ‘Tripartite Talk’. Isn’t it more than provocative to read that both the central and the state governments’ promulgating statements that the demands of the UNC for Alternative Arrangement is not Clear? Who has become the laughing stock amongst the three? Is it the Manipur government or the Central government or the UNC?


It once more stands uninterpreted. While Manipur media are allegedly called the communally paid news, there still lies the long inconsistent and unending notion of one community calling another communal. Could the postponement of the tripartite talk aggravate the issue out of fire into a frying pan? What does UNC mean by Alternative Arrangement? Point No. 2 of June 18th Declaration, (Kohima) reads “…the meeting demanded that the government of immediately make alternative arrangement for the Nagas in the present state of Manipur.” Specified definition / elaboration is yet to be available to the general public some days if not today. The HYPOTHESIS that Manipur government in consultation with the Central government will grant the Alternative Arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur state, is yet to be proved or disproved. Only keep finger crossed and…to be continued.


(This is only individual opinion of the writer, a student of Mass Communication based in Tamil Nadu)

by Danii Hiikhani ( Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu)


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