Dr. S. C Jamir
The greatest dream in the heart of every Naga is for a better future. Their greatest desire and pursuit is to achieve this dream. And for this sacred and noble cause the Naga people at their own volition gave their mandate to the original NNC through a plebiscite, and perhaps at present all the factions of the underground are claiming the ownership of this plebiscite. It should be recognized by all concerned that this is the common property of all the Nagas, hence without contesting the ownership of the same, this historical fact should be accepted ungrudgingly by all. Human beings of all ages, genders, nationalities and ethnic groups are in the search for purpose and significance. Similarly, the Nagas are in search for their identity and significance in human society, their identity.
The quest for a unique, optimally developed and respectable self-identity is one of the basic pursuits of any evolved person, community or a nation. As distinctive people, a cohesive tribe and a flourishing human community with a glorious long and cherish history and prolific cultural heritage, the Nagas too have the fundamental right to protect, preserve and promote their inalienable social, political and cultural endowment and to nurture and realize their unique socio-economic dreams and genuine political aspirations.
The Nagas can not afford to undermine the changes that are taking place in the world. We do not live in ordinary times-we live in extraordinary times and extraordinary change. Changes are more rapid and more radial now than they ever been. Change is now a fact of life. Rapid change, Radical change. Unless the Nagas response to this positively, history may pass them by. They have to live and march with the times. It is a common parlance that “change is the only constant in the universe.” All great thinkers, philosophers and visionaries of the past have explored, cogitated and eloquently expounded on the inexorable forces of change that impinge on all spheres of human and natural environment with the ceaseless passage of time.
The mighty mountains are ground to dust over time, powerful empires rise and fall, civilizations flourish and decimate, societies learn and mature and humanity as a whole perpetually evolves and incessantly progresses. The frontiers of our scientific knowledge, technological expertise, social and cultural attainments, philosophies and arts are constantly pushed further and further as the human race breaches new and hitherto unknown barriers of physicals, mental and intellectual progress. Out knowledge, ideas, thinking, attitudes and outlook are reoriented, reshaped, reenergized and refresh in consonance with the changing times.
History bears testimony to the fact that any individual, organization, group, society, empire or philosophy that attempted to ignore, resist or block these progressive and powerful forces of ageless change were ruthlessly obliterated from the face of this earth. Communities and nations have succeeded and attained greatness, not by stonewalling progress and positive changes sweeping their social, political and economic spheres, but appropriately adopting, remodeling and recognizing their activities, attitudes and mindsets to be in perfect tune with the rhythm of the changing times.
The great and pivotal lesson to be learnt here is that change does not mean submergence, tuning with modernity does not imply inundation and progress does not mean the death of the unique identity. On the contrary, change is synonymous with positive reorientation, intelligent reassessment, cogent revaluation and harmonious assimilation and seamless synthesis of the old with the new. The process of change requires us to carefully analyze and investigate the entire gamut of our social. Cultural, historical and political heritage in the fulgent light of modern ideas, progressive thoughts and dynamic ideologies and discard all dysfunctional, distorting, vestigial, and incongruent elements, which are thwarting our collective growth and progress.
But we must resolutely and diligently preserve, promote and protect the gems of our core values, pearls of our traditional wisdom and inviolable credos, which not only project our unique identity and place in the modern world but also facilitate in our socio-cultural and political progress. It is in this inescapable realization that has dawn on our contemporary Naga society, especially the vibrant younger generation of Nagas, who have to awake and arise from their somnolence, shake off the dust of despair and frustration and take their destiny in their own hands. The entire cross-section of the Naga community, including tour Naga brothers, have to thoroughly reflect and introspect with care, caution and meticulousness on our past, as it compares with the present and how it aligns with our future goals and ambitions. And in the process, we must jettison the burden of the past and the dreariness of yore, and reshape our ideas and outlook to suit our present needs and further requirements.
It is immensely agonizing that the picturesque and verdant hills of Nagaland along with its simple and gentle people have been woefully sucked into a tormenting vortex of violence, fratricidal killings, corruptions, political immorality, intrigue and betrayal for several decades in the name of political movement. It is extremely difficult to highlight the plight and pitiable condition of the common people, who in the name of sovereignty were short-charged and played around like pawns in the great game of political opportunism, crass self-interest and naked personal aggrandizement by their leaders. The people of Nagaland have been shocked to witness and unwitting party to the precipitous decline in their entire polity and political movement from the dizzy heights of ideological purity, ethical commitments, clarity of purpose and courage of convictions to the deplorable depths of intellectual bankruptcy, ideological atrophy, pernicious opportunism, moral neurosis and all-pervasive confusion of thoughts, ideas and goals.
In fact, the unvarnished ground reality is that the entire polity and political system in Nagaland have been rendered totally defunct, devastated and distorted by the relentless barrage of violence, corruption and inaptitude and ideological dystrophy of the collective of the Nagas as a whole. The original Naga movement, inspired by the towering personality and sterling leadership of A.Z. Phizo and his compatriots, fueled by pure convictions, moral strength, vision of ‘sovereign’ future and unflinching dedication, is today, all but finished and consigned to the scorching flames of personal ambition, greed for power and illicit wealth. The whole body politics of Nagaland is today lying diseased, infested and wrecked, unable to respond to the challenges of the modern times.
Because of the virus of petty politics perniciously dwarfed the imperatives of promoting human resource development of the Naga people so as to enable them to compete confidently and successfully with the rest of the world. Rather than facilitating the exposure of young mind and nascent brains to the refreshing winds of modern thought, scientific temper, liberal ethos and culture dynamism, the Naga mindset is compelled is to remain cloistered and closeted within the four walls of their narrow ism.
It is high time that the collective leadership of the Naga society has to alight from their fairy castles and lucidly and unambiguously understanding that the need to focus on real, pertinent and practical issues confronting the masses. The people are clamoring for economic development, welfare activities, progressive schemes and governmental intervention in kick- starting their moribund economic and industrial sectors. These are the contemporary challenges staring us in the face.
Most propitious time for solution:
When time comes for any eventful decision, all stakeholders should be able to bury their hatchet and reap the fruits of, their unremitting struggle with blood and tears. The Naga problem which had continued for more than six decades have to come to a logical conclusion and that tryst with destiny is now. Long years of Naga political pilgrimage have brought tempest as well as sunshine. It will be a folly for the Nagas to indulge in blame game at this crucial and critical period, when historic and landmark political decision is at its final stage. All the leaders who are either involved or engage in this political process should remember that there is a native or indigenous Naga polity which is even superior to the western concept of sovereignty in many ways. Any political arrangement should safeguard should provide sufficient space for the growth of native Naga polity without disturbing the basic structures of the Indian constitution.
The problem as I see it:
Uniqueness of Naga history and honorable solution of the Naga political problem have become the household words of Naga political leaders of both underground and over ground in the state. Apart from the high sounding English phraseology, the Naga leaders have to understand the core issues involve in the Naga polity. One mark difference between the older generation and the younger generation is that the former were concerned with the roots of the matter, whereas, their present-day descendants seem to be concerned with the fruits. It will be prudent on the part of all enlightened citizens of Nagaland to start analyzing and studying the basic and fundamental structures of the Naga polity vis-à-vis political, social, economic, cultural and even including the new complexion of Christianity in Nagaland today, before we embark on initiating any serious steps towards fashioning the political future of the Nagas.
The thinking process of the Nagas should neither be influenced by rhetoric or political demagogy or unattainable idealism. It is incumbent on the part of the Naga leaders of public confidence to examine and consider the problem with political foresight and sagacity.
Dreams of the Nagas have to be translated into contemporary political realities. Instead of indulging in alien political terminology and phrases, it is time to turn over a new leaf to our native polity. We should understand what we want and where do we stand in order to determine our political futur . Both the government of India and the Naga, are about to take their last voyage, but with a great leap in the dark. It should be understand that throughout six decades of Naga political pilgrimage, they have always search for a political framework that would give meaning and direction to their lives and their future. Hence the following political imperatives should be the guiding principles for the leaders who have to decide the future of the Nagas.
We should recognize the all underground are inalienable part of the Naga community and as such they have a say in the final political settlement. Whatever may be the outcome, they have made supreme sacrifices for the cause espoused by them.
In a democratic like ours, the Naga people have got the right to know the kind of issue involve, to determine their political future. Bentham says: “The first principle (popular control) is underpinned by the value that we give to people as self-determining agents who should have a say on issues that effect their lives: the second (political equality) is by the assumption that everyone (or at least every adult) has an equal capacity for self-determination, and therefore equal right to influence collective decisions and to have their interests consideration when they made.”
As long as the agreement is honorable for the Nagas with any of the group or groups, the people should support. There is no other way except to have agreement on the basis of contemporary political realities. The Naga will have to reconcile with whatever settlement or solution is made by the leaders of the underground.
1. The political agreement between the government of India and the representatives of the Nagas should be exempted from the ambit of any Amendment of the Constitution under Article 368, unless consented to by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly by a specific resolution.
2. Article 371 A (iv) shall continue to be operative in the state of Nagaland and other areas inhabited by the Nagas. It should be clearly state that petroleum and petroleum products are included in land and its resources without any ambiguity.
3. Representation of Nagas in Embassies/Consulates abroad, especially in the South-East Asian countries should from part of the agreement.
4. A fresh review of the composition of the Nagaland State Assembly, representation in the Parliament and composition of Council of Ministers shall have to be work out.
5. A special financial arrangement for the state of Nagaland and other Naga areas should be made for a period of twenty years and at the expiry of the period, it can be reviewed.
6. Economic Safeguards and Preferential Allocation of Resources: it is widely acknowledge that six decades of protracted insurgency, internecine warfare, insidious lawlessness and many such factors had adversely affected the social, economic and political fabric of the state; leaving the state’s economy and finances in absolute shambles and weak. The present pattern of funding can never achieve the desired results and the region would continue to be plagued by the constraints of economic, social and infrastructural asphyxiation.
7. The need for a special financial dispensation/package for the state of Nagaland and other areas inhabited by the Nagas is absolutely necessary for a period of at least 20 years. This proposal emanates from a meticulous and incisive analysis of the achievements of the existing financial arrangements for the North-east region through Ministry of DONER and Non-lapsable pool of Resources, which can never energize the pace of development in the region to bring them at par with other progressive states in the country. A special High Powered Committee may have to be constituted by the Government of India to formulate a comprehensive strategy for multi-sectoral economic development of Nagaland. Highlighting, inter alia, the detailed infrastructural needs and resources requirements of the state during the next 30 years. An all inclusive blue print socio-economic development of Nagaland, keeping in view of its connectivity neighbouring states and also the Southeast Asian Countries.
8. All the major projects such as major highways and roads connecting most of the border states adjoining Myanmar should be fully funded by the Central Government.
Air ports, power generation projects and specialized health care institutions should be accorded special priority under the Central Schemes.
Border Security Scouts:
To guard the Nagaland’s long and porous border it is necessary to raise two or three battalions of Border Security Force. The newly formed BSS can constructively absorbed many underground cadres who are physically fit and positive them a worthwhile and wholesome repartition and resettlement in the normal society.
Pan Naga cultural and Traditional League:
This unique organisation will be necessary whereby the Nagas wherever they are become part and parcel of this league. There should be a head quarter preferably located in Nagaland where all Nagas can meet for traditional and cultural exchanges. There should be a Research Institution to study the history of all Naga tribes. It is time to start research on the languages of various Naga tribes with a view to evolving a common Naga language. May be after fifty or hundred years, there is possibility of a common Naga language out of such research.
Despite, under different political boundaries, participants in their cultural and traditional meet under the banner of Pan Naga League, the Nagas, will surely promote and develop better understanding and feeling of oneness among themselves. This will be stepping stone to preserve, promote and safeguard their common identity and thereby evolving a common future. This arrangement should not be construed as super state or the like. In the event of extreme rightist Party takes over the rein of administration in the country, the very survival of the tribal and other minorities will be not be secured. It may or many not happen now but the Nagas should always remain vigilant over the political developments in the country.
In a democratic country like India with so much of diversities, there is possibility of changing the political complexion in the distant future. It is sure and certain that one day or the other, all the Naga tribes will gather together in their promised land and live under the some roof as a united and harmonious family.
Conclusion: Any agreement between the Nagas and the Government should be based on the recognition of the genuine political aspirations and urges of the Naga people, and thus it should be honourable to all sections of the Naga community. Those who lived through blood and sacrifices for the cause dear to every Naga heart, should return to their respective home sweet homes as heroes but not as villains and for this sacred mission all agencies even including the Churches should do everything possible to generate an idea environment in Naga society in the spirit of Christian love and compassion. A unique opportunity stares at the Nagas to usher in a new era of peace and stability in the land, so let it not slip away from us.