A layman’s analysis on Indo-Naga talk

By Z. K. Pahrü Pou, Mission Colony, Pfutsero.

Naga freedom movement is considered to be one of the longest people’s movements not only in Asia but also in the whole world. This movement is also one of the strongest movements that had survived the onslaught of mighty Indian armed forces as well as violent conflict among the various Naga groups. It has secured a revered place in the hearts of many indigenous people. Nature (type) of settlement that is going to arrive at will not only decide the destiny of the Nagas but also the fate of many other indigenous people’s movement both in India and abroad because the powerful empires are likely to use the same yardstick in dealing with the colonized people. For this reason, many indigenous people are looking with curiosity at the final result of Indo-Naga talk. However, the talk that begins (in 1997) with much hype and hope has been mired with confusion and ambiguity after more than 20 years and nearly 100 rounds of talk.

Is the GOI playing various cards to confuse the Nagas? The present Indo-Naga talk begins with three conditions: that it will be held in the third country, at the highest level and without any pre-condition. Whether the Government of India (GOI) is faithful to the promise they made to the Nagas is opened for all to see. But that cannot be considered a surprise as GOI has been doing the same thing again and again even in the past’s agreements/accords with the Nagas. In more than two decades of talk, the GOI has been playing with various cards and trying her best to downgrade Indo-Naga talk from sovereignty (as two separate entities) to ethnicity to a tribe and to factional level. This has created lots of chaos resulting in fear and suspicion of each other within the Naga family. In the name of inclusivism (stakeholders), the GOI has put various NPGs and civil organisations to compete and fight with each other.

This has been done intentionally so as to turn Naga political issue into internal ‘law and order’ problem and make the unique history of the Nagas meaningless. Today, respected interlocutor and Governor of Nagaland continuously talks about ‘corruption’ as the main problem of the state.

Few Nagas sincerely believe this ‘deceptive sermon’ without realizing that it is just a ploy to divert people’s attention from pursuing political freedom. During these many years of political lesson given by the GOI, many Nagas including some intellectuals were convinced that according to ‘contemporary reality’ the only way for the Nagas to survive is through total submission to Indian Union. This ‘reality’ says that ‘either you accept monetary assistance and be quiet or face bullets, bombs and death fighting for your rights.’ As a response to this threat, many Nagas have probably approved that India has the legitimate right to continue colonizing Nagas while the Nagas should surrender her right to exist as a free nation.

Is Article 371-A qualifies to be the crux of Indo-Naga political settlement? We were told that the Nagas have been denied of sovereignty. We heard that the Nagas were denied of physical integration of all Naga inhabited areas to live under a single administration. However, we were told that there could be the formation of the Naga Regional Territorial Council (NRTC) in Naga inhabited areas. It is likely that NRTC will be empowered by extending Article 371-A which at present the state of Nagaland is enjoying. Although this is purely under the purview of the Indian Constitution, it gives certain powers to the state/people especially in regards to customary laws and practices as well as ownership of land and its resources. If Art. 371-A is to come as part of settling Indo-Naga talk, it needs serious deliberation to correct the flaws and also make more powerful than now.

Art. 371-A with its main clause ‘customary laws and practices,’ has been used to discriminate women in the decision making bodies. Because of this Article, 33% reservation for women in the decision making bodies was denied in the state. Naga patriarchal society has made this Article to protect men’s interest at the expense of women’s right. It should be amended or interpreted so as to make inclusive and people’s friendly Act where no one is discriminated on the basis of sex difference.

Art. 371-A needs to get strengthened with autonomous power. In its present form, it has no power to protect its citizen from cruellest and draconian laws especially AFSPA & NSA. This means even after the final agreement, Nagas will be completely under the control of Indian armed forces and will face arrest, torture, frisking and detention without any warrant and on mere suspicion.

It is also true that Art. 371-A does not give full freedom to the Nagas to explore and extract oil and mineral resources in their own land. Oil and mineral resources are crucial towards developing one’s economy and Nagas should get 100% ownership right.

It is equally important to analyze to what extent Art.371-A can protect us from CAA as it might automatically pave the way to the introduction of UCC in the near future. Some Naga political leaders, instead of strengthening Art. 371-A, think that it is a stumbling block to development in the state. Hence, the signs of the time predict that Art. 371-A will gradually lose its strength and completely vanish in due course of time unless it is back up by a strong Naga Constitution.

Pan Naga Hoho as the apex authority body. In the absence of full independence or sovereignty, Nagas need to have a strong common political body. All Naga Political Groups (NPGs) seems to have understood that the present settlement is not going to be the final agreement. It is also understood that the right to self-determination will be pursued through ‘democratic means.’ However, after inking the present peace accord, all the members/cadres of various NPGs will be rehabilitated by the GOI and placed in their respective state where they belong. Majority of them will be absorbed into Indian armed forces. With this development, Nagas will be kept in pieces and a huge vacuum will come into existence in the Naga freedom movement. This is where the Nagas need a strong common political body to continue the dialogue with the GOI to recognise and grant the full rights of the Nagas. In this context, PNH is necessary. It should be properly established before signing the present deal and empowered to inculcate and foster the spirit of oneness and unity of all Nagas. It can be endowed with full power to oversee the administration of all the Naga inhabited areas as well as act as the custodian of Art. 371-A. Even NTRC will have its strength and will be effective only when there is a binding mechanism such as PNH. In the set up of PNH, there should be fair representation from all NPGs and various tribes of all Naga inhabited areas. It should become a brainstorming platform for Naga intellectuals where not only the welfare and development of the Nagas will be taken care of but also that of neighbouring communities and India as well. It is a layman’s fear that without having a strong PNH as a common platform, Nagas will be broken into pieces after the present Indo-Naga talk is over.

Conclusion: It is expected that GOI recognises and respect the unique history of the Nagas despite disunity among the Nagas. Trying to downgrade Naga political issue to economic issue or to solve from of ethnic perspective (e.g. Bodo Accord), will not bring a lasting solution. GOI of India should stop dealing with Naga’s issue solely from her security and international trade perspective.

It may be difficult for GOI to digest the idea of establishing PNH with full power but it is the only way forward for the Nagas in attaining their aspiration of living together under one administrative umbrella. Whatever accord/agreement is going to be inked this time; every party should honour and abide by it in letter and in spirit. It is hoped that India will not cheat again the Nagas as in the past. On the part of Nagas, we must transcend geographical division and tribalism, come together and stand in unity as one nation for there’s nothing to lose in unity but gain abundant life in freedom.

Naga Flag and Constitution in our Identity


Everything has its own name and identity. Every nation has its own Flag and Constitution. We recognize and acknowledge different entities through their distinct culture and identity. What is the Naga identity as a Nation without a Naga Flag and Constitution? A flag is a national symbol. A national flag represents and symbolizes a country. It will be difficult to name a country without its flag and a constitution. Every country has got a specific flag as their national symbol. The Constitution is the fundamental blueprint of a country; it helps the government operate and also protect the rights of the people in the country. It explains their obligations. For Nagas, the people have a unique history with the Naga National Flag and Constitution as our identity and that is the reason why our Naga national movement continues to live on and it is why the Government of India recognized our unique history.

Naga National Flag (Zhie-ralha) and Constitution (Yehzabo) is our identity and also our road to sovereignty. The Naga Flag was first hoisted on 22 March 1956 at Parashen, near Sendenyu village, Rengma Region, Nagaland, when the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) was formed. Unless we get our own Identity there is no reason for the Nagas or for any Naga negotiator to accept any kind of economic package. Nothing less than the Naga Flag and Constitution should be accepted by any Naga negotiator or by the common people. We Nagas have our National Flag and Constitution, and if the GOI is sincere and committed to their Framework Agreement in recognition of Naga unique history, they should also recognise the Naga flag and constitution.

Both Nagas and non-Nagas have talked extensively about the Naga integration, and some Nagas presume that a Naga Flag and Constitution without integration is meaningless. However, what would you prefer – Naga integration under the Constitution of India or a Naga Flag and Constitution outside the Indian Constitution? Obviously, its always better to have our own Naga Flag and Constitution with integration outside the Constitution of India – which means having our own national identity. Our Naga flag and constitution is our identity – the symbol of our Naga nationality. Economic packages and Naga integration cannot be our Naga identity.

Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution

Accepting Naga Integration without Naga Flag and constitution could lead to the Naga national movement dying a natural death. Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution would be the same as the present state of Nagaland or like forming a state with same commumity or like the state of Mizoram where all the Mizos live together under one unit under the Constitution of India (their national identity is lost). A temporary Naga physical integration is insignificant without the Naga Flag and Constitution. Accepting Naga integration within the Constitution of India as a Naga political solution will be a suicidal step for the Nagas and a big blunder for the GOI as well.

Naga Flag and Constitution without Naga integration

The present artificial political boundary is not a serious problem or threat as Nagas want to live unitedly under one administrative unit. Nagas can always come together when our national identity represented by the Naga Flag and Constitution is duly recognized by GOI. The reason why GOI is always apprehensive of bringing the Nagas under one administrative unit is because that could unite the Nagas and pave the way for Naga sovereignty one day. Which is why GOI always strives to divide the Naga using various means and will continue to mislead and break up the unity of the Nagas so as to weaken and smother the Naga National Movement (NNM), but it is also the responsibility of our Naga people to stand strong regardless of the adverse weather they may encounter.

In conclusion, our Naga leaders and the common people should clearly understand and know that no Nation has ever negotiated for its Flag and Constitution after the Peace Settlement, and one needs to understand that it will be unfeasible to negotiate further for our rights to self-determination democratically when our Naga National Flag and Constitution is compromised by the present peace talks. It is also important for the Nagas to remember that it took years to come around to creating a Framework Agreement and to reach the present stage of negotiation because our leaders never compromised on the idea of sovereignty (Naga National Flag and Constitution), otherwise the Indo-Naga strife could have ended within a few years simply by accepting some economic packages or integration of Naga people under the Constitution of India. Our Naga national workers have had peace talks for the last 22 years, and we should be ready to continue to support the peace talks for another 22 years if the present talks could not bring about an honorable Naga Political Solution.

NCST to do away with the category any Naga tribe in Arunachal Pradesh

NEW DELHI, Aug 16: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has issued a no objection certificate to the Centre in considering the Arunachal Pradesh government’s proposal to amend the list of Scheduled Tribes of the State.

The Arunachal government had proposed doing away with the category ‘any Naga’ tribe and instead recognising the tribes of Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa and Wancho. It has argued that this would be in the larger interest of people belonging to these tribes. 

According to the minutes of the meeting there are no other tribes “under the umbrella of any Naga tribe”. So, the “state government’s proposal to replace Naga tribes with Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa and Wancho should be accepted,” the state government has proposed which the NCST has now given a no objection certificate to. 

The State government has also proposed the deletion of Abor tribe from its list of Scheduled Tribes claiming there is no such tribe there. Among the other amendments, the state government has also proposed, replacing the tribes of Khampti, Mishmi from its list and replacing them with Tai Khamti, Idu. According to the government, there are no Khampti and Mishmi tribes.

The entity of Momba – another categorised Scheduled Tribe in the list should be replaced with the terms Monpa, Memba, Sartang and Sajolong, according to the proposal.  

According to the modalities, the state government has to refer the proposal Register General of India and NCST before it is sent to the Cabinet.

The state government has declared that there are no tribes by the name of Abor, Khampti, Mishmi and Momba in the state and so the proposed amendments should be approved. newindianexpress.com