Whether we like it or not or whether we are aware of it, human beings are political beings and can never run away from that identity and responsibility. In my own case, I tried to run away from that identity and responsibility for 41 years of my life (1956-1997). I took up my pen and got involved only when my own life and that of my daughters were nearly snuffed out from crossfire in a fratricidal shoot out right in the middle of Kohima town in 1997. The above statement however is not an assertion that politics is the most important thing in life. Besides the many other responsibilities of life, I personally think that salvation and eternal life is the most important thing in life. But the inescapable fact of life is that even if one gets saved, one is not automatically transferred into heaven. Saved or unsaved, we still have to live our whole lives in a political world-Pastor, Reverends and Evangelists included!
When the political world in which we live is under oppression or anarchy- our family lives, social lives, economic lives and even religious lives are affected. Now, the present crisis in Nagaland is not a religious crisis. It is not at all a RELIGIOUS EMERGENCY. In my humble opinion, it is a political crisis that has led to an economic crisis. And here, I do not believe that a heavy dose of religious fervor or evangelistic crusades is going to solve either our political or economic problem. On the contrary, I believe that only a political solution will bring an end to our economic crisis.
Having stated that, let us now try to analyze what political crisis in our land has led to our present economic crisis. To be systematic in our analysis, let us first address the political crisis and then address the economic crisis that has resulted from it.
1. The Political crisis:
The Naga political world burst aflame in 1955 when 53,000 Indian troops invaded Nagaland on the false claim that Nagas are Indians and Nagaland is Indian Territory. The then inhabitants of Nagaland who were our grandparents and parents most nobly and honorably took up the defense of our lands from this foreign invasion. Most of these defenders of our land were uneducated peasants and farmers. They died in their hundreds and thousands. As for the few educated among these generation, they opted for a State within the Indian Union and settled down as Ministers and bureaucrats. Their sons and their daughters followed in their footsteps and are today, our Ministers and Bureaucrats. Other educated Nagas like me also did more or less the same thing. We all turned our backs to the national crisis and desperately tried to build our own economic futures. We left the fighting and the defending to a few dedicated national workers who had to slog it out in the jungles until 1997.
Tragically, among these dedicated national workers, the more educated among them, split the defense and the struggle into 7 splinter groups.
2. The resulting Economic Crisis:
As the general Naga public turned their backs and tried to evade this political crisis that had overtaken their history, their indifference ultimately led to the present economic crisis. Some 10% (Perhaps) of the Naga population tremendously benefited from both the State enterprise as well as the Naga national enterprise. These ten percent Nagas became corrupt “State” as well as “National” millionaires from the political crisis that had hit the Naga nation. Those on the State side carried on a semblance of law and order business but could not check even skyrocketing prices of basic essential commodities not to talk of real development in road constructions, water supply or even electricity. (Even after 50 years of statehood, the writing of my present article has been interrupted twice due to power failure in the capital)
On the other hand, besides massive accumulation of wealth by some national workers in the name of Naga nationalism, the national struggle even went overseas which necessitated huge finances to maintain all these foreign offices. The result was an UNABATED eight parties- 1State and 7 national- taxation on every Naga citizen that is today threatening to squeeze the very life out of the nation. As stated in the beginning, even at the end, I still believe that the present crisis is an economic crisis which was caused by a political crisis. The crisis has developed to its present dangerous situation because some of us exploited the political crisis while the majority of us were indifferent to it.
Now, as this political and economic panoramic mess stares back at you, where do you find yourself in the picture? Please don’t say, “I can’t find myself anywhere”. Please don’t say that, because this is not a foreign picture but our own picture staring back at us. NPN