A call for new strategies for the oppressed Nations of South Asia

By: Kaka D Iralu

All the smaller nations that were forcefully stuffed into the British created modern Nation States of India, Pakistan and Burma are now fed up with peace talks and negotiations for a solution to their political problems with these three Nations. These smaller Nations are- in the context of North East India- Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. In the Burmese context, they are the Kachins, Karens, Shans, Mons, Wa’s etc. In the context of East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh, the victims are like the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
In ancient South East Asian history, these smaller Nations were never a part of the British created India, Burma or Pakistan modern Nation States. For example, in the case of Burma, prior to the Panglong Agreement of 1947, there was no union of Burma. Up to this point of Burmese history, three quarters of the present Burmese territory which comprised of all the mountainous frontiers were inhabited by non Burman ethnic peoples like the Kachin, Karen and Shan Nations etc. As early as 1922, the Karenni and Shan territories were recognized by the British as sovereign States. Central Burma or the predominantly Buddhist Ava Kingdom existed as an independent kingdom only up to 1886 when the British after three wars completely defeated the Burmese kingdom and added it as a province of their empire in India.(Information source: “Life under military rule,” A report by the Naga youth organization, Burma, 2010 and other historical documents).
However, all these independent Nations in South Asia were just dumped into the belies of this British created, post colonial Nation States in 1947 and 1948. The British on their departure also armed these modern Nation States with a lethal arsenal of modern weaponry which included light armored tanks, aero planes, heavy artillery and heavy machine guns. This arsenal of weapons sealed the fates of the smaller Nations from asserting their rights to independence.
When they protested against this historical injustice done to them, they were simply silenced by the overwhelming populations and military hardware that were bequeathed to these newly created Nations by the departing British Government.

And as history rolled on from the 20th century to the 21st century, the story and plight of these smaller Nations have been a story of “Beaten up Nations.” Yes, their villages were burnt to ashes, their women raped, their young man tortured and they were forced to flee their own ancestral lands ending up as pathetic refugees in neighboring states like Thailand, China and even the West. Back home, their ancestral lands now lie sodden with their ethnic blood and uprooted broken lives. Just visit some of the refugee camps in Thailand and India and any white foreigner will see the reality of what my pen is trying to paint.

And now we hear the white races are coming back again to their former colonies for a second exploitation of south Asia’s mineral and economic wealth. This second incursion will come through the “Look East Policy” sponsored mostly by the Indian and Burmese Governments. Now, if these smaller oppressed Nations do not collectively assert their national rights, this new policy could disastrously end in a second rape of South Asia where only India and Burma will gain from the adventure. Presently both India and Burma are committed to building international highways that will connect Burma and India to the rest of the world.

Once these roads are built, our gold, our precious stones, our metals, our decorative marbles, our forest wealth, our horticulture, agriculture and herbal wealth will all steadily disappear from right under our feet. They will be shipped away to western countries by foreign multi millionaire companies in collaboration with the Governments of India and Burma. They will also eventually build giant dams across our Chindwin and other big rivers to tape hydro power to their own countries. Such plans are already under consideration and execution. Our rich irrigable and agricultural lands will be submerged under such gigantic hydro electric projects presently being undertaken by Indian, Burmese and even Chinese Governments.

Fellow oppressed Mongolian Nations of south Asia, know this fact that this wealth does not belong to some Bihari or Tamilian politician in Delhi. It also neither belongs to some Burman Princely descendant or a Burmese General. These gold and silver are our God given and ancestral protected wealth that rightfully belongs to us and our children.
For the moment, these second Colonial powers are dolling out a lot of their money for our so called development. But mind you, in the long run, they will eventually reap back hundred folds of their spent money through doing business with western Nations exploiting our economic wealth. (Unfortunately, some of our present political leaders are lavishly enjoying these dolled out money and think that their fenced walls and the accumulated wealth within, is the end of economic growth in south Asia) !

But despite these short sighted and day dreaming political leaders, when this second economic invasion of our lands come, we all must stand together as a federated Union and confront the Western European Nations and collectively say; “The land that you now tread with economic interests is not Indian or Burmese lands. We are the rightful landowners of this portion of south Asia. Therefore if you want to do business, talk with us.” Such a stand and confrontation is historically, politically and legally valid and viable. It can also be defended in any international court of law. Such an act on our part may also politically rectify the historical injustice inflicted on us by yesterday’s European Colonial powers. Fellow South Asians, sixty years of political oppression caused by a collaborated act of the Indian, Burmese and Pakistani politicians along with the British Colonial powers of yesterday must finally end through such a concerted act and stand on our parts. Indeed it is high time for us to make a collective stand and free ourselves from both colonial as well as post colonial tyranny.

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Nagas and Chin are two separate entities

DIMAPUR, MARCH 13, 2013 (MExN): The Eastern Naga Students’ Association (ENSA) has strongly condemned the statement of U Win Myint the Deputy Union Minister for Immigration wherein the latter had stated that Nagas are one of the 53 ethnic minorities in Chin state.

According to a press note from ENSA, the controversial statement was made during the first session of Parliament on 27th February 2013. The Deputy Union Minister was responding to a question put up by U Aung Thein MP who represents Ywa Ngan constituency of Shan state. “Who are the 135 tribes in the country?” was the question put forth to the Minister. In reply, U Win Myint included Nagas under Chin State in his statement which was termed as “shocking and an insult” to the Nagas particularly in Myanmar.

“It is not only insulting to the Nagas but also an insult to the article 56 (a) of Chapter II of the constitution of the Government of People Republic of Union of Myanmar which clearly stated about Naga Self-Administered Zone under Sagaing Region”, said the ENSA.

It was informed that following this controversial statement, the Naga MPs had also sent a letter addressed to the Speaker Lower House of Parliament for clarification on March 5.

However, due to non-response, the Naga Student Youth Federation Yangon organized press conference at Hotel Yuzina Yangon on 11th March to express solidarity and also to show that Nagas and Chin are two different entities and that Nagas are not Chin.

In this connection, ENSA urged upon all Nagas wherever they are to be aware of our unique identity and rich history and called upon every sensible Naga to condemn such unbecoming and immature move to belittle the identity of the Nagas.

Meanwhile in a separate press note, several Naga organizations have reiterated on the identity as a peoples. “The Naga people are the Indigenous people in Myanmar and India and we have our own dialect, culture, customs, long history and distinctive identities”, stated a joint statement issued by Eno HninWa (Chairman), Naga Tradition and Culture Sub-Township Committee, Yangon; Eno ZawWint Phyo (Secretary) Naga Hills Development Network; Eno Naw Aung Sann (President) Naga Student Youth Federation, Yangon; Rev. Eno Sein Maung (General Secretary), Naga Baptist Convention and Rev. Eno Tsimuthong (Pastor) of Naga Baptist Christian Fellowship, Yangon.

According to the joint statement, the region in which the Nagas are residing has been recognized as the “Naga Self-Administered Zone” in the 2008 Constitution of the Union of Myanmar as per their “cultural distinctive identities, geographical territory and population ratio”.

As such it stated that including Nagas among the 53 tribes of the Chin ethnic group cannot be totally accepted. “The baseless, unacceptable and non-logical reply of the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population can impact on national unity and reconciliation”, it stated. The joint statement has asked for an addendum on the nationality lists legally issued by the State.

Full Joint Statement on Naga People’s Proclamation is given below:

Naga People’s Proclamation with Respect to 135 Nationalities of the Union of Myanmar
Published on 14th March, 2013
The PyithuHluttaw, Lower House of Representative U AungThein from the YwaNgan constituency in Danu Self-Administered Zone, Shan State raised the questions about 135 ethnic nationalities of Myanmar in 20th day meeting of the sixth session of the 1stPyithuHluttawheld in 27th day of February and Deputy Minister U Win Myint for Immigration and Population replied to these queries. The desire and proclamation of Naga people on this reply are as follows.
1. The Naga people are the Indigenous People in Myanmar and India and we have our own dialect, culture, customs, long history and distinctive identities.
2. The region in which the Naga are residing has been recognized as the Naga Self-Administered Zone in the 2008 Constitution of the Union of Myanmar according to their cultural distinctiveidentities, geographical territory and population ratio.
3. The reply in the parliament in which the Naga people are included and put in the 53 tribes of Chin ethnic group can not be totally accepted,
4. The baseless, unacceptable and non-logical reply of the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population can impact on the national unity in the time of trying to get the national unity and reconciliation.
5. The recognition of Naga people as the tribes in the other nationalities that is opposing the reply of the ministry of Immigration and Population are seriously rejected.
6. We deeply and seriously request to re-issue the making amendment and addendum on the nationality lists legally issued by the State.
7. Besides the Naga people are being displayed and featured as the tribes of Chin nationality in the Union National Races’ Village the Naga traditional appurtenance and utensils are displayed as the Chin national races’ traditional objects. Seriously requested to remove and withdraw these displayed and disclosed items and materials like that as soon as possible.
8. We seriously demand and request any person, any organization or any business institution not to mention, describe or refer the Naga people and Naga Region intentionally or unintentionally as the tribes or region being under other race’s or region’s
domination.
EnoHninWa (Chairman)
Naga Tradition and Culture Sub-Township Committee, Yangon

EnoZawWintPhyo(Secretary)
Naga Hills Development Network

EnoNawAungSann (President)
Naga Student Youth Federation, Yangon

Rev. EnoSeinMaung (General Secretary)
Naga Baptist Convention

Rev. EnoTsimuthong (Pastor)
Naga Baptist Christian Fellowship, Yangon

‘Cock’ grows; ‘Hand’ shrinks

NTIMES 11MAR: ‘Cock’ grows; ‘Hand’ shrinks

DIMAPUR, MAR 10 (NPN) : NP Election Statistics
Nagaland assembly election 2013 had fewer candidates-185 as against 218 in 2008 and 225 in 2003.

The NPF in its maiden election in 2003 set up 54 candidates and won 19 seats, polling 2,64,534 votes (29.76%) ; in 2008 it set up 56 candidates and won 26 seats, polling 3,80,964 votes (33.62%); while in 2013 it set up 59 candidates and won 38 seats (after one was adjourned) polling 506025 ( 46.89%) and showing a remarkable increase in vote shares in subsequent elections.

Success and Failure percentages

Success and Failure percentages

In contrast, the Congress in 2003 set up 60 candidates and won 21 polling 3,18,671 votes (35.86%) ; in 2008, the Congress set up 60 candidates and won 26 seats polling 4,11,100 votes (36.28%). In 2013, the Congress set up 56 candidates (election in one was adjourned) and won 8 seats and its vote share plummeted to its lowest at 276742 ( 25.64%).

In the 2013 general election, the NPF which won 38 of the 59 seats contested, scored 64.4% in success rate while the Congress won a lowest ever tally of 8 of the 56 seats it contested with a success rate of only14.5 %

In 2003, the NCP contested seven seats but drew a blank and polled 17,726 votes(1.99%).In 2008 it won 2 out of the eight seats contested polling 45,397(4.01%) and in 2013 it won 4 of the 14 seats it contested, polling 63026 (5.84 %).

The fortunes of the BJP, which contest 38 seats and winning its biggest ever tally in the north east with 7 seats in 2003;showed a consistent dip in 2008 when it won only 2 of the 23 seats contested. In 2013, the BJP won 1 of the 11 seats it contested.

The JD (U) had won 3 of the 13 seats it contested in 2003 and in 2008 it drew a blank in the 3 seats it contested. In 2013, JD (U) won 1 out of the 3 seats it contested.

The United Naga Democratic Party (UNDP) which entered the fray for the first time in 2008 and then in 2013 drew a blank.

For the independent candidates, the number ‘7’ appear to be ‘lucky’ as Independent candidates won 7 of the 17 seats contested in 2003 and seven of the 33 seats contested in 2008 and again winning 7 of the – seats contested in 2013. NPN

Allied in War, Divided in Peace The Future of Ethnic Unity in Burma

Briefing Paper No.12
February 2013

On 20 February 2013, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) an 11 member ethnic alliance[i] met with the Burmese Government’s Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC) at the Holiday Inn, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The meeting, supported by the Nippon Foundation, was an attempt by Government negotiators to include all relevant actors in the peace process. The UNFC is seen as one of the lastremaining actors to represent the various armed ethnic groups in the country (for more information see BP No.6 Establishing a Common Framework) and has frequently sought to negotiate terms as an inclusive ethnic alliance.

 

The alliance was formed at a time of serious concern amongst ethnic ceasefire groups in relation to the Border Guard Force issue which many believed threatened their existence. Consequently, two former ceasefire groups the KIO and the NMSP allied with non-ceasefire groups like the Karen National Union to form an all-inclusive bulwark against the Governmentwhich was to includethe formation of a single federal army.

 

After the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army – South (RCSS/SSA) held its first meeting with the Burmese government on the 19 November 2011 and agreed to a nominal ceasefire, a number of other armed ethnic groups followed suit. While the RCSS/SSA had not been a member of the UNFC other groups that had been founding members, including the Karen National Union (KNU), Chin National Front (CNF), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP), soon made individual agreements with the Government.

 

While the UNFC had agreed, albeit begrudgingly, individual members could negotiate as single entities, the various peace processes began to fracture the unity of the organisation as individual members have been unable to find a truly common consensus in relation to negotiations with the Government. While the UNFC could have assumed the mantle of consolidation and promoting ethnic unity, it has primarily relied on issuing statements supportive of ethnic unity but has failed to act to cement it.

 

Perhaps one ofits most important actions, in relation to unity, was its participation at a conference of armed ethnic movements held from the 26-28 February 2012. The conference, attended by members of the KNU, KIO, KNPP, CNF, RCSS, NMSP, and PNLO, agreed to a common framework to guide members in the negotiation process.[ii] The participants agreed a three stage peace plan:

1.       Ceasefire,

2.       Implementation of agreements

3.       Political Dialogue

It was also agreed that a working group would be formed to further develop a common set of principles and plans for the peaceprocess. As a result, the Working Group on Ethnic Consultation (WGEC) was formed in June 2012. The WGEC consists of representatives from the 7 states plus advisers and, following an EthnicNationalities Conference in September 2012, representatives from Civil Society Organizations (2each from youth, women and issue-based CBOs).[iii] The group, which is supported financially by the Euro-Burma Office, meets monthly to update members and discuss the peace process.[iv]

 

As a result of the various WGEC meetings, UNFC members ostensibly agreed, at a September 2012 ethnic conference, that the following six points would need to be addressed for the peace process to move forward:

1.       Meeting of armed and civil society organizations to lay down points to be included in the Framework for Political Dialogue.

2.       Meeting between the Union government and the armed movements’ representatives to establish the Framework for Political Dialogue

3.       Conferences of the ethnic people in state and regions

4.       A national conference of the ethnic nationalities

5.       A Union conference held in the Panglong Spirit and participated by equal number of representatives from the ethnic forces, democratic forces and the government, to agree and sign the Union Accord

6.       A Precise timeframe for the peace process

The UNFC finally met with Government negotiator U Aung Min on 9 November 2012 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. At this meeting an informal agreement was reached that stated:

1.       Resolve political issues by political means

2.       Government should hold political dialogue with armed groups collectively and not separately

3.       Discuss the following topics during the upcoming formal meeting in the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) in Yangon: framework for political dialogue, “talking points” or agenda, timeline, technical assistance and logistics

According to peace negotiatorNyoOhnMyint , discussingthe most recent meeting, in February 2013:

Primarily they will discuss framework for starting the peace process, beginning with: addressing ways to advance political dialogue; the division of revenue and resources between the central government and the ethnic states; and how to maintain communication channels for further talks.[v]

 

KhunOkker, who attended the meeting, suggested that the February meeting was primarily a trust building exercise for the UNFC and the Government. While individual armed groups had spoken to U Aung Min throughout their negotiation processes and some had already built up trust with the negotiation team. He believed that the UNFC would be more cautious in its approach in relation to the peace process, especially considering the continuing clashes with UNFC members including the KIO and SSPP/SSA

Divisions within the Armed Ethnic Resistance Movement

While all armed ethnic groups have participated in the WGEC meetings and generally agree with UNFC policy, many are unwilling to risk their own separate peace agreements in the name of ethnic unity.  Since it’s signing of agreements with the government, the Chin National Front has gradually moved away from the UNFC. According to UNFC Joint General Secretary 2, KhunOkker, the CNF agreement was designed to be a model for all ethnic groups, and, had the agreement failed, the CNF’s strength politically and militarily would not have been a serious issue for the Government. However, he notes, that realistically the model is not suitable for much larger groups.[vi] Regardless, the CNF have seen their agreement with the Government as relatively successful, and, unlike other groups, the emphasis for the CNF is primarily the need for development as the state has seen only limited armed engagement with the Burma Army over the past decade.[vii]In fact, no representatives of the Chin National Front were present at the February meeting due to the celebration, for the first time, of Chin National Day.

 

The UNFC, and perceived ethnic unity as a whole, was alsodealt a major blow at the end of December 2012 at the KNU’s 15th Congress. Hard-line leaders who had been supportive of UNFC policies were replaced by more moderate leaders who would shift their position away from the alliance. The UNFC’s Vice Chairman 2, David Thackerbaw, who had previously been Vice President of the Karen National Union, lost his position in thecongress, and, while still holding the portfolio of alliance affairs, has no real political mandate within the KNU. General Mutu Say Po, the newly elected KNU Chairman, is seen by some as being too close to the Government, and, it has been suggested, that the Government might try and use him to sway other ethnic leaders and therefore further decrease the influence of the UNFC.[viii] According to a Government statement, General Mutu had after meeting with the Government in January 2013:

. . . expressed KNU’s strong desire to build peace on ceasefire and negotiation, guaranteeing that KNU has no plan to reverse.[ix]

 

In addition, the new Karen leadership have acted as mediators between the Government and the KIO. On 4 February 2013, a meeting was held in Ruili, China, attended by both KNU Chairman Mutu and General Secretary KweHtoo Win. In addition, the meeting was also attended by Brig. Sai Lu of the Restoration Council of Shan State and, HarnYawnghwe and U Victor Biak Lian of the Euro Burma Office. While no solution has been found to the on-going conflict, there is strong evidence that armed ethnic groups already within the peace process will act outside of the UNFC to persuade the KIO and SSPP to find an accommodation with the government.

 

Perhaps one of the biggest threats to unity however, is the inability and inexperience of UNFC leaders to be able to adapt to negotiations. After decades of conflict and military rule in the country, leaders have failed to recalibrate to the current situation, and consequently have failed to implement new strategies in relation to working with the Government. While the UNFC has consistently been able to put forward a veneer of unity, individual members are now beginning to distance themselves. For the UNFC to remain relevant and to ensure that ethnic unity is maintained, the UNFC leadership has to reassess its position. As UNFC Joint Secretary 2, KhunOkker, explains,

It’s always the same, whenever the Government talks peace; we [ethnic groups] begin to separate.[x]

Backgroundto Armed Ethnic Alliances in Burma

 

In November 1952 the Zin-Zan Agreement for a ceasefire was reached between the CPB and the KNU and the first substantive alliance formed by the armed ethnic groups was the National Democratic United Front (NDUF) which was created on 16 May 1959. The NDUF united the Kawthoolei Nationalities United Party, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and, much to a numberof right-leaning KNU leaders’ consternation,who refused to have any part in the alliance, the Communist Party of Burma (CPB).

In May 1970, the National United Liberation Front (NULF) was formed comprising U Nu’s People’s Democracy Party (PDP and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army), the KNU, and the New Mon State Party. Thailand allowed the NULF to set up covert bases on its side of the border at Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang and Mae Sot. However, one major stumbling block was the fact thatthe NULF was demanding a ‘Federal Union Republic.’ Many ethnic leaders saw this as counter to what they were, at that time, demanding which were their own autonomous states. In 1972, after Karen and Mon requests to have the right of secession were finally agreed to by U Nu,he resigned and went into retirement, leaving the PLA to fend for itself.

 

In May 1973,realising that there was still a need for a committed ethnic nationalities resistance the Revolutionary National Alliance (RNA) was formed by the KNU, Shan State Progress Party, KayanNew Land Party and the KarenniNational Progressive Party at Kawmoora, Karen State, Its aim was ‘to establish a genuine federal union of independent national states based on the principles of equality and national self-determination.’ By the end of 1973, it also included the Arakanese resistance movement, the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) which based representatives in Karen areas. The KNU began training the new forces at Kawmoora where they would join another joint nationalities organisation, the Federal Nationalities Democratic Front (FNDF). This superseded the RNA in 1975 and was an organisation which specifically promoted separate nationality states and refused any ‘Burman membership.’

 

10May 1976, saw the formation of the longest surviving combined ethnic force – the National Democratic Front (NDF), formed at Manerplaw, the KNU’s new headquarters on the Moei River. The front initially consisted of the KNU, the NMSP, the KNPP, the ALP, the KIO, the Shan United Revolutionary Army (SURA) and a number of other smaller organizations. Mahn Ba Zan was elected president while other KNU members of the NDF’s EC included Padoh Baw Yu Paw, Secretary, Lt. Gen. Tamla Baw and Bo San Line. The main objective of the NDF was ‘to establish a Federal Union based on the right of determination for all nationalities.’[xi]November 1988, saw the formation of the Democratic Alliance of Burma comprising the National Democratic Front (NDF), and several pro-democracy groups that supported the armed struggle or had taken up arms (chiefly the All Burma Student Democratic Front).

 

 


[i] The UNFC consists of 11 armed groups: Chin National Front (CNF), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Karen National Union (KNU), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Arakan National Council (ANC), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Lahu Democratic Front (LDU) and Wa National Organization (WNO)

[ii]Present were Gen Mutu Say Poe, KNU, ZipporalSein, KNU,NerdahMya, KNU, KweHtoo Win, KNU, KhuOoReh, KNPP, Gen N. Banla, KIO, Dr Laja, KIO,ZinCung, CNF, Dr Sui Kha, CNF, HkunOkker, PNLO, Nai Han Tha, NMSP,and Gen YawdSerk, RCSS/SSA,see ‘Answering questions on WGEC’, SHAN, 9 January 2013. In addition, also present as observers were representatives from the KloHtoo Baw Battalion, the KNU/KNLAPC, the non-BGF faction of the MNDAA (PengDaxun, son of ousted leader PengJiasheng), the KNLP and the KNPLF (BGF) see ‘Deciphering Myanmar’s Peace Process’, BNI, January 2013

[iii]Resource Persons are KhuensaiJaiyen (SHAN), Daw Shirley Seng (KWAT), Saw HtooHtoo Lay (Karen), SalaiLian H. Sakhong (ENC), Col. KhunOkker (PNLO), CBO representatives, Women: Daw Moon Nay Li (KWAT and WLB), Saw San Nyein Thu (Rakhine Women Union and WLB); Youth: NawSeng (SYCB – Student and Youth Congress of Burma), Kya Yi Shay (Nationalities Youth Forum); Environment: KoShwe (KESAN – Karen Environmental and Social Action Network), KoSaiSai (Burma River Network). State Representatives:Saw MyaRaza Lin (Rakhine), Sin Wah (Kachin), NawZipporahSein (Karen), Nai Han Tha (Mon), KhuOoReh (Kayah), Dr. Sui Kha (Chin), Solomon (Shan), Col. PengFa (Shan North)

[iv]‘Answering questions on WGEC’, SHAN, 9 January 2013

[v]‘Myanmar govt wants ethnics to agree three-step plan’, Phanida, Mizzima,19 February 2013

[vi]Personal conversation with KhunOkker, 27 February, 2013

[vii]Personal Conversation with LianSakhong, CNF Supreme Council Member, 12 February 2013

[viii]Personal conversation with KhunOkker, 27 February, 2013

[ix]‘TheinSein meets new KNU leadership’, Mizzima,7 January 2013

[x]Personal conversation with KhunOkker, 27 February, 2013

[xi]KhaingSoeNaing Aung, ‘National Democratic Movement of Ethnic Nationalities.’

http://burmaethnicstudies.net/pdf/BCES-BP-12.pdf

 


Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies
PO Box 49
Chiang Mai University
Chiang Mai, 50202
Thailand

A Very Sad Picture Of The Election Story In Nagaland

By: Thepfulhouvi Solo

The colorless black & white picture of charred CGI Sheets strewn forlornly haphazard on the ground of what was once a respectful NPF Office in Dimapur burned down to ashes, and the wantonly opened Cupboard with Files and Papers vandalized and strewn on the floor in the NPF Office at Kohima City on 7 March 2013, were of late the saddest picture that were to appear in the Nagaland News Papers; much so because it is not only the Offices of the Naga People’s Front, a political Party of the Nagas that recently made a thumping victory in the Nagaland Assembly Election but because it portents very bad precedence in the Political life of the Naga in Nagaland.
How is it that a victorious State Party that has seriously beaten the great Congress Party of India in the latest of Nagaland came to such a painfully ugly picture? Who has dared to do such a thing to the all powerful Party at such a pinnacle of its glory? What an embarrassing picture to all of us Nagas or Are we also becoming like the Hebrews of Josiah’s time Prophet Jeremiah has described so severely as:
“they have become rich and powerful……, they do not defend the rights of the poor. The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority. They have no shame at all; they do not know how to blush”(Jeremiah 6: 15)
It appears earlier also such things have happened in Congress Bhavan and in the Party’s internal Election. It is squarely on the head of the Party Politicians for causing such ugly incidences which may become ingrained the political culture of Nagaland. History repeats itself usually on the same people and a People who can not control itself will be controlled by others.
Are we starting the journey of a thousand Miles with a single one  Step into an unruly senseless mob of frenzied dehumanized meaningless group who have no sense of reason and who have no God? It is surprisingly enigmatic that most of us are not struck by the horror of the latest educated vandalism and its apparent senselessness because most of us seem to have deep in us a queer view of it is the direct consequences of the shameless favoritism to someone undeserved and for the shamelessness of discriminating against those that have a need for consideration.
I am not very sure whether we as the Spectators of the Vandalism have our feelings Right or are the perpetrators of the vandalism Right? In any case, I strongly feel the people who caused such actions to happen are to be blamed equally in the first Place.
The shamelessness of not doing: to the fatherless, to the poor, to the deserved and to all the people in Nagaland that have a right to expect from their Leaders, a sense of ‘acceptable probity’.
We believe God has ordained the Government to maintain Peace, to prevent Chaos, to do welfare for the People. The Leader, even at the top is not expected to satisfy the wants of every Dick and Tom in the Society; there would always be some disgruntled ones, but everybody understands things not possible to achieve from the things possible.
The Chief Minister is selected by his Party because of the trust he has earned from his Party. He has the prerogative and is expected to make the appointments of his Cabinet and his Ministry solely on ‘In Public Interest’, not in Personal or Family Interests. It is the universal wisdom of Democracy, not the personal wisdom of Chief Minister.
The latest Ministerial Appointments of the Chief Minister appear to have been done with great political arithmetic. The Chief Minister has shown great political dexterity and ability second to none in the present Nagaland context. It gives us a measure of the man and what he deserves.
However in a few points, he seemed to have revealed to us all his innermost fiber. The overwhelming majority of Nagas irrespective of Party affiliations, irrespective of differences in Language, irrespective of profession, irrespective of people in politics or not, view the Chief Minister should have  steered away from Personal or Family Interests and should have given consideration for the poor, the unrepresented smallest often neglected communities and nobody would have any ground for complaint. He has not been able to do such; it discloses a measure of him.
Had the Chief Minister been a little more magnanimous to the poorer sections, to the less cared and a little more self sacrificing personally, Nagaland we all like would have begun the first steps of a pleasant journey of a thousand joyous miles.
Political dealings and behaviors have tremendous domino effect on the future of the Society and how the Nagas, particularly the fortunate, privileged and educated class react to it, will determine the quality of Man and Woman we are and shape the quality of the future Naga Society.

 

Burma Nagas optimistic about DAN-III government

DIMAPUR, MARCH 6: Naga MPs in Myanmar and the Eastern Naga Students’ Association (ENSA), while congratulating the DAN-III government for its victory, have expressed optimism that the government will “continue to safeguard the spirit of oneness among the Naga brethren irrespective of territorial demarcation.”
A joint statement stated, “Without realizing the importance of unity among the Nagas, we will be a lost nation and one of the most pitiable ethnic groups on the planet.” It expressed hope that under the leadership of the Chief Minister, the Naga people will experience “prosperity, unity and peace in the state.” It also added that the ENSA and the Naga MPs in Burma look forward for “co operation” from India at this “transitional point of time” in Burma. The joint statement was issued by ENSA president Michael Kaita, vice president Mankhat Konyak and general secretary, Y Khomong Khiam and by U Hla Tun, U Myat Ko and U Zin Wan on behalf of the MPS. MExN

Nagas are looking for future

– Rh. Raising, Executive Member, Steering Committee, NSCN

We all talk of peace, but it seems genuine peace is far from our reach. Peace is believed to be the language of God, not that of man. It is the will of God that there should be ‘peace on Earth’. Peace exists not only in human kingdom, but it also exists in the kingdom of animals and vegetation so long as there is a harmonious interdependent relationship among them. The hard reality is that we are not independent of the will of God and nature. We are indispensably interrelated with the Lord, our neighbors, animals, vegetation and the Earth. And when this institutionalized divine law is transgressed, commotions, fighting and killings take place.
Why does a baby cry? We know a baby cries when it is hungry or when it is thirsty or when its security is threatened.

Why the Nagas are groaning? We Nagas are groaning for our political future because our future is threatened. Since day one, we have been defending our future with tears, sweat and blood against the aggressors. We know that the branches of a tree, its leaves, flowers and fruits die a natural death the moment its roots are cut off. Likewise, we strongly feel that our identity, culture, history, land and institutions will never survive when our future is murdered. There is nothing to doubt about it that our national future lies in our national principle as everything by nature comes from its own principle and nothing comes accidentally or from nowhere. One can never part with one’s principle. That principle, according to our understanding, is nothing but the Word of God. Admit it or not, all people and nations come from that principle and the Naga nation is no exception. The Naga nation does not exist by the goodwill of its neighbors or at the mercy of the aggressor state. Nation is the creation of God who works independent of the wishes and will of men. Ours is only to sail in tune with that Law. Rulers who go against that law bring commotion, crisis, fighting and bloodsheds in any given society.

Every problem, it says, has its own solution. Political problem calls for political solution, legal problem calls for legal solution and spiritual problem calls for spiritual solution. The problem of the Nagas is political in nature.

No one denies that the Indo-Naga problem is created by India. It was started the day Government of India (GOI) begun imposing its constitution upon the Nagas suppressing their rights. Consequently, the Nagas resistance movement was started. The constitution of India is the roadblock to the Indo-Naga political solution. The Nagas too have their own laws, homeland, history, identity and culture to belong. They are fully aware that there is no politics apart from their belongingness. Merger of one’s national identity with the other is an artificial commodity. Nation is a natural entity. Dictated accord or peace is no solution, it is a time bomb. Imposition of one’s will upon the other is the philosophy of tyrants and imperialists. Nagas never believe in that kind of political philosophy. Truth is always truth even if people in power do not recognize it. Our solution as we understand, does not necessarily lies in the subjective decision of the majority. It is in the nature of the problem as ‘the Oak tree is in the acorn’. It does not lie in total isolationism too.

It is in the politics of harmonious co-existence based on the principle of interdependent relationship among people and nations. Existence of all people and nations together in the same world in accordance with the doctrine of mutual cooperation, not confrontation, mutual support, not opposition, mutual consent and agreement, not dictation and mutual respect of right, not suppression are imperative to peace in the region and the world as well.

No solution sells anywhere if it is imposed. History is no history if it is twisted. Solution must touch the heart of the issue. Why our solution is elusive? Is it because we are digging only in the surface? It must be understood that we are not confronting the colossal forces of India & Burma out of hatred or hunger for other’s land, but it is a matter of survival politics for us. We are for solution. The spirit of political solution inspires our confrontation. Our negotiations are aimed at solution. Our politics is centered on solution. Our diplomacies, policies and strategies are focused on solution. All the Naga civil societies, the churches, the people and political parties are oriented to solution. NSCN is formed to spearhead the resistance movement of the people for solution.

Solution must come at all costs and by all means. If solution is miscarried, the irrational monster of war will fill the void. If the monster returns, we are sure, people of both parties will be the common victims. Their lands will not be safe. Their developed cities and towns will not be safe. Their institutions will not be safe. And above all, their children will not be safe.

The government of India has poured money into the so-called Nagaland state with the intention of dampening the revolutionary spirit of the Nagas. But it was found to be a wrong prescription. It has deployed hundreds of thousands of its armed forces in all Naga areas, however, military atrocities breed more fighting and killing in Nagalim. It created a puppet state embracing only one fifth of the Naga homeland with a view to legalize its illegal occupation, but that brought no dividend. It created bogus organizations called factions and engineered them to fight a proxy war for India, but that magnifies the problem. Its appeasement policy fetches no desired result because it does not address the issue. Its developmental programs and policies are but to fill the coffers of its sycophants and military operation commanders. Its colonial policy of one nation and one culture has no taker in the region.

Nation grows it is not made. The Nagas have their own unique history, identity, culture, social values, established laws and land to belong. They can never part with their belongingness. At the same time, they too admit of the fact that they can never stay away from the law of harmonious interdependent relationship with their neighbors and the world. NSCN will stay the course even if situation turns for the worse or the better.

Let this be known by the whole world.