Elijah Chara, Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.: 31 Oct. 2014 2:57 AM IST
Contemporary Naga Nationalism is dominated by politics of factionalism and divorce of people (Nagas) and power (NPGs); which makes the independence dream even more dramatic, especially to an outsider (non-Naga) who are ready to confused the ever doubtful Nagas with more doubts in an attempt to shield the Nagas of their desires: and the result being, we fail to think out of the box and we fail to see ourselves standing in our own feet rather than depending on false charities showered to us by the adopted parents (India and Myanmar). I don’t deny that Naga Nationalism is an exhausted demand synonymously linked to Money-Money Bang-Bang: enough researches and surveys here and there are done to understand the path of this nationalism which turn bloody, instead of peace and prosperity; and the sudden awakening among the Nagas who started to question the power of gun and greed for money rather than trying to thwart the system that makes us helpless and dependent, which are the evil roots of blood money floating in the Naga society. Yes, helpless and dependent are the Nagas; because we the contemporary Nagas don’t want to help ourselves, we depend on NPGs to wage war with India and Myanmar to deliver Nagas to the promised Land- Naga Homeland/Nagas Lands/ Nagalim and our unwillingness to start a civil revolution for Independent Naga Homeland rather than depending on these (since 1947) NPGs’ guerilla warfare using gun and bloody negotiations which not only divide the Nagas and create intra-hostilities because they prefer ‘hard cash and power’ over ‘independence’ but has also exhausted Nagas of positivity. Because of total dependence on the NPGs to negotiate with India/Myanmar, Nagas are easy prey both to NPGs, India/Myanmar and unexpected ‘side show’ fear psychosis created by world’s capitalists political economy on the Nagas by diverting Nagas attention from Independence to Darwin’s ‘Survival of the fittest’.
They used to say if Nagas get independence how they will survive because there are no economically viable natural resources in Nagas Lands which can feed the Nagas; and this is one of the main point when India always scare the Naga leaders of Nagas future: without India’s economy Nagas won’t survive a year. But to me, Nagas Lands are rich in resources, resources which can make Nagas prosperous, unless greed overtook us. If there are no economically viable natural resources in Nagas Lands, why is the Govt. of India so adamant over ‘Oil exploration and drilling’ in Wokha, Tamenglong and Peren? Is it that India wants to extract all the oil resources from Nagas Lands when there is still time, and only when the oil is exhausted and oil wealth drained to India that India will think of giving Independence to Nagas? This speculation cannot be ignored considering the day to day statement made by Indians (since our primary school history books) that ‘British came to India, took all the wealth to Britain and gave Independence to India only after all the wealth was drain leaving India in poverty’: so India does not want to part with Nagas because Naga Hills is rich in oil.
The Govt. of Nagaland can be clubbed together as an agent of Govt. of India if it fails to protect Nagas resources and future development by simply obeying New Delhi’s flimsy development packages. Again, Nagas Lands is rich with hydro power, no wonder India is adamant over construction of Tipaimukh Dam (tri junction of Manipur, Mizoram and Assam) and Tamanthi Dam (Myanmar), both of them together will generate more than 2,500 MW power, but will the wealth generated from these power plants ever make the Nagas rich? Now, oil and hydro power are the assets of Nagas which can bring economic development to Nagas: so, how can we say that Nagas Lands are devoid of resources? Did India ever tell to Bhutan ‘your country is poor so merge with India and become rich’! If our nearby country like Bhutan can survive of its own by standing on their feet, why are we Nagas so worried if parting from Indian/Myanmar will makes us poorer. No doubt, the giants (India and Myanmar) are just scaring the Nagas that we will be poorer, in fact, they will be poorer.
Of course, we will be poorer which is the case with every newly independent countries but if we are wise and crafty enough, we can turn the poverty into prosperity: even Nagas dream model countries like Israel and South Korea are never born rich, they are made from scratch and little resources; in fact Nagas Lands has more natural resources than in Israel or South Korea, but the only thing we lack is ‘man power’, because we Nagas are ‘maybe’ too lazy to study, that is why we fail to make use of modern economic tricks. Of course I won’t deny Nagas are hard working and intelligent, but we don’t put much labour for better success that ‘now’, in fact, we tend to keep our books and pens aside once we reach our destination (pass exam or get job or retired). We are bad in economics that explains why most Naga Markets are very expensive and unaffordable: our bad economics is also reflected in the use to ‘gun’ to make money, rather than hard work. A good Naga leader will not think of extracting money from the Nagas, but rather think of how to protect the Natural resources of Nagas so that Nagas will benefit from it and proof to the world that ‘Nagas can do it’, but our good leaders are just like Tantri the Mantri, always hatching plots to make more money: I won’t be surprised if any Naga names appear in Swiss Bank Account holders lists for Black Money.
Considering the political scare that Nagas dream of Independence is impossible, there is nothing in this world that is not possible. Armenia and Moldova, countries much smaller than Nagas Lands declared independence from the USSR, the Super Power; Timor East, a country of about 14,000 Sq. Km (1/4th the size of Nagas Lands) declared independence from Indonesia after decades of fighting. Even Israel a small country of just about 20,000 Sq. Km fought single handedly four countries to safe guard its independence. This brings to the question, is guerrilla warfare enough for the Nagas? No, in fact Guerella warfare brought bad image to the Nagas, terming Naga Armies as Insurgents, Militants and Terrorists. Of course, Marxist type or Leninists type or Maoists type or Che Guevara type revolutions saved many countries, but we must not forget that those countries were already independent before the revolution. Maoist Revolution in China was possible because China was already an independent state, and Communism-Maoism only replaced the existing Chinese Govt,, so was the case in Russia, Cuba, Vietnam and Latin Americas. So, when NNC went to China for help, the Chinese only doctrine them with ‘how to over throw the govt. using violence’ rather than ‘what Nagas must do to gain independence’, because the Mao himself deny Tibetan Independence. Enough of external political ideologies in the Nagas, because none of them are helping us: it is time to develop our own Naga Political Ideology just like the English has their own political philosophy, the Germans their own philosophy: but it is danger for the Nagas to develop their own political ideology because it will be filled with ‘ism’ and ‘hatred’, because of our intra-xenophobism: we always aspire to become classy like the westerns, so it is high time for the Nagas to do away with ‘tribalism/barbarism’ and think like the westerns.
Tribalism is never going to save the Nagas, it is like caste system and purdah system hampering social and political development. Oh, coming back to the political dilemma, it is interesting to note in the Naga society how disunited the Nagas, the people, politicians and NPGs: Nagas as a whole are never united (so much hatred among us), Politicians are lined up to impress New Delhi and Naypyidaw and gain some favours while NPGs are never united but fully united when it comes to ‘tax’ issue, everyone wants their share. Concerning Independence, most Nagas shun away from this independence topic, we assume that the responsibility of Independence is for the NPGs, and only the NGPs should do the movements and revolutions. NPGs are claiming that they are fighting/negotiating for Nagas Independence, while the Nagas themselves are not even willing to stand up and shout ‘we want independence’, or are too scared to do so: let’s turn to Indian history, the Indians never said ‘oh, the responsibility of Independence is Gandhi and his friends, Bhagat Singh and co., and INA, so they will fight for our independence while we live normal life’; but no, the Indians actively participate in the movement: but, what about us? Do we participate? Just feeding the NPGs with money and grumbling does not account to participation, unless we also physically shout and demand: so that world might know that Nagas struggle for Independence is the Nagas demand, not Militants’ demand.
Yes, Independence is a must debatable topic: but I want to hear a Naga talking about independence sans NPG’s role. It is necessary for a civilian revolution, rather than Arms revolution and arms negotiation. I am not against NPGs, but just expressing an alternative movement from the peoples’ side because, Nagas Right to Self Determination should stem from the People, not from the NPGs; and the people should demand their rights, not used the NPGs as a medium: otherwise, where is the Right to Self Determination when they (NPGs) always take decision for us as per their whims. But to start an alternative movement sans NPGs, we Nagas need to develop our own political thoughts and economic principles, where unity, equality and prosperity, rather than tribalism prevails.