Support for Nagaland Tribes Council

By: Charles Mhonthung Ezung, River Belt Colony Dimapur

The creation of Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) should not have attracted so much brouhaha, since it is within the prerogative enjoyed by every tribe to come together and form a larger platform where we can meet and discuss issues of mutual interest. It is not an organisation created to destroy another organisation but in fact, judging from the statements of the leaders of the NTC, it is created to supplement all the existing Naga organisations in their purpose to protect the interest and rights of the Naga people across Nagaland State and particularly the people of the state of Nagaland.

The issue of whether the existing Naga organisations did anything worth while for the cause of the Naga people and the people of the state of Nagaland is matter of intellectual debate. I have my justifications whether I say that they did or they did not. The points highlighted by our respected Thepfulhouvi Solo are surely valid and needs deep pondering upon by the different organisations mentioned by him. They also should admit that in some way or at some point of time they had failed the Naga people of Nagaland state. We the common people had been suffering for so long, groaning under the yoke of our own brothers, where were these organisations to lift up this unjustified yoke? The creation of ACAUT is a welcome development, but don’t you think this should have been done long time back? Also it should have been under the aegis of the Naga Hoho, which is the apex of all the Naga organisations and it would have carried more weight and its reach would have wide spread. We have our own kith and kins who are unemployed and at the same time do not posses enough capital to start self employment.

Now should I think of my own immediate kith and kin or my distant kith and kin. I believe no one would condemn me just because I have given priority to my own kith and kin who are in need. In the same manner what the NTC is planning to do I believe is to serve the interest of the Nagas of Nagaland State first, since we have so many needy people in our own land to take care of.
Let us not bicker but come together and work together. There may be hundreds of organisations within the state, but it doesn’t matter as long as there is mutual understanding and cooperation between us. Personally I feel the more organisation exist the better for us Nagas because we will have better opportunity to express our interest and also platforms to represent them.

A point of view for NTC

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd), Forest Colony, Kohima.:    26 Oct. 2013 1:50 AM IST

Mr. G. Gwangphun has poured his heart out condemning the 16 Points Agreement and the formation of NTC. Indeed there may be many who would perhaps subscribe to his philosophy. As an Activist and a Researcher, I would presume that he has his facts in hand to qualify his statement. If so he also ought to appreciate and understand the circumstantial realities that had otherwise dictated the destiny of our people at that given point of time. 16 Points Agreement was born out of one such circumstance. It is easy, yes sooo easy, for us today to pass judgement painlessly from a safe distance discounting the excruciating pressure of the generation that had to take such momentous decisions against all odds and at the cost of their own lives. There is no denying that this agreement left out our fellow brothers beyond the present boundary of the State of Nagaland despite the statement of integration of all the Naga inhabited areas under one umbrella being an inclusive point in this agreement.

This emphasises the fact that other Naga brothers were not forgotten, but that practical non-inclusion was the price the Nagas of Nagaland had to pay just so as to survive the onslaught of the occupational forces. For that generation of elders, this was perhaps by far the most painful decision they had to take with very little option afforded to them. The harsh truth of the matter was that the Nagas of Nagaland were the only ones dying in their thousands and not the brother from beyond the border who maintained an indifferent distance from this ‘life and death’ struggle. Remember that the majority of all the present day brave heart Tribes from out-State joined the fray only after ensuring that the worst of the dangers had passed… after the cease fire agreement was finally enacted. Nevertheless the then leaders of the Nagas National Movement welcomed them all as brothers into their fold without any reservation. It is all the more incumbent upon our brothers from other States not to dishonour this good will shown by spitting on the hands that stretched out to them in brotherhood. The Nagas of Nagaland are who we are because of the 16 Points Agreement no matter how much one may want to demean it. This is our reality. We have both the negative and the positive aspects in good measure as is the case with all communities anywhere else around the globe. It is much too  late to be dissecting what might have been but together focus on what can be.  Anyway the 16 Points Agreement is not the issue of contention at this time  but NTC is, so let’s get a move on.

Mr. Gwangphun may not necessarily agree with me but this is a point of view I have maintained from the beginning. It is not a question of Nagas of Nagaland not caring or bothering about the other brothers in other states. It is simply a matter of the present realities that we all need to pragmatically adhere to. The Tribes in other States are entitled their democratic rights from the State they belong as much as we are in ours. Claiming  whatever is theirs from the area they belong and at the same time expect equal rights and privileges  within another territory does not sound like a fair  deal to me. Being open minded and helpful to our brothers elsewhere is an entirely different matter which the Nagas of Nagaland have in abundance. It does become a different issue altogether when equal rights and privileges are also claimed by others within our fold. It would be selfish to safely stow away your bowl of rice and put your hand in another’s plate.  Beyond this perspective however, the issue of Tribal integration  is one of the fundamental agenda of the present conflict with India under the overall claim for sovereignty. That is the common aspiration that ties us together, needing a common Pan Naga platform. The manner in which this was achieved however, is the area of my questioning.  Way before the present Naga Hoho transformed into its distorted Pan Naga posture, the Tribal Hohos had been formed with its apex body called the Naga Hoho, which represented the Nagas of Nagaland exclusively.

This was the starting point. The mistake lies in the dubious conversion of this body into a Pan Naga forum instead of creating an appropriate identity of its own to define this broader/wider representation of Naga Tribes from everywhere else. With the ENPO walkout the Nagas of Nagaland became an absolute minority in our own backyard thus losing a platform to address our own kitchen issues. For quite some time the need to have a forum to address the most pressing issues of the common man was felt by many, since the present Naga Hoho reduced itself to a spineless lapdog of the Govt. and the factions. They lost credibility in the eyes of the people to the extent of losing their tail, unable to even satisfy their natural urge to tuck it between their legs. NTC  therefore emerged as a by-product of this sentiment to fill up the vacuum.  Our ‘ brothers beyond ‘ must understand that every community has its own localised problems that needs to be taken care of and it is best solved through an apex forum of our own, which we do not have. Why should it provoke or hurt the sentiment of anyone when we try to help ourselves where no one else will? Most of all, The Nagas of Nagaland does not require the blessings or permission of the present obsolete Naga Hoho to set up any organization that we feel we need to deal with our internal problems. In fact it would be more of an insult to receive it. They won’t touch the crippling issues that a common man is burdened with and won’t allow anyone else to deal with it. The audacity of their outlook is truly disgusting. The other ‘brothers beyond’ must exercise their intellect to sensitively realize that the ripple effect of a strong Nagaland would be to their advantage when the chips are down. Throwing garbage into our backyard can only destroy our common environment and should be avoided.

The point of contention is this. It has been my considered opinion that the Naga Hoho in its present form is a misnomer. Since it encompasses all the Nagas living in different States it should rather have been christened as “Pan Naga Federation” or a “Pan Naga Hoho” or any other name but Naga Hoho should have been left alone as a pure apex institution of the Nagas of Nagaland as it originally was and ought to have been. It is perhaps too much to ask but the present Naga Hoho should deliberate on this and redeem their image. It is still not too late. The need for a  Pan Naga organization is in no way being understated. It should exist but by a different name that fits and describes the conglomerated union of Tribes from all over. Define the common objectives and purpose of such a forum to avoid fumbling into territory they do not belong. The present scenario is downright unacceptable and insulting to have a Pan Naga organization in the guise of Naga Hoho dictating terms to the Nagas of Nagaland in our internal affairs.  Based on this, it was also a sincere suggestion that instead of creating more platforms for confusion, confrontation and ego trips, which would become a natural outcome, the NTC should first explore the possibility as a “conscience platform” for reclaiming the Naga Hoho for the Nagas of Nagaland through brainstorming with all the Tribal Hohos inclusive of the ENPO.

Naga Hoho exists by virtue of all the Tribal Hoho’s affiliation without which its very existence will evaporate into thin air. This is the strength the Tribal Hohos have which NTC should have cultivated. I had attended the launching function of the NTC on the 12th Oct 2013 and I could see that my kind of opinion was much too late for them to consider it seriously. They had travelled much too far ahead with their preparation, for a possible slow-down. Yet, for a greater purpose I only wished they had paused for a moment of cool contemplation instead of being in such a tearing hurry. According to the information circulated in this meeting, a whole lot of consultation had taken place with ‘various organizations’ and ‘concerned citizens’ before arriving at this conclusion. It may be so, mostly on an individual or sectoral basis but  perhaps not on the scale of recognized forum representation like a joint Tribal Hoho/ other NGOs sitting together which would have accrued greater credibility and would have been more upright and meaningful. I had requested for a time to express some of my views along with a word of encouragement during this meeting but the organizers seemed to have felt uncomfortable about it. With the whole day and time ahead of them, it was difficult to fathom what their ‘hard pressed for time’ really meant other than to conclude the function early. They just did not have time for a constructive thought sharing and was therefore denied time. I sincerely hope I am wrong in deducing that NTC could turn out to be another constipated forum that may not necessarily welcome conflicting ideas. I left only after the President and the Executive members were sworn in and prayed over, as a way of endorsing my solidarity for NTC formation despite my serious reservations of unintentional conflicts that now will become a part of our lives. It saddened me somewhat.

A more matured effort could have altered the course of events to a positive end and solve problems rather than create more of the same. At best it is better of the two evils  to have our own home-grown platform to deal with our internal problems than have none at all. However, ominous signs of potential conflict zone seems to be in the making when the Organization says “membership should be from the tribe directly and not from the Tribal Hohos.” Clarity seem absent from this stated objective. Read it carefully…”and not from the Tribal Hohos.” Does this imply an outright rejection of the Tribal Hohos’ participation in the NTC? Technically speaking, all individual are a part and parcel of their respective Tribal Hoho. Therefore, how are we qualifying “from the tribe directly”? Whether individually or as a group the shadow of the Tribal Hoho will remain omnipresent. Yet one is accepted and the other is not. This is a rather confusing picture. Conversely this could provoke the Tribal Hohos to excommunicate any of its members who joins the NTC. It would be within their prerogative to contemplate such an action even if the individual may be prepared to ignore such a dictate. Thereafter, the conflict of identity will generate a conflict of purpose. What then? It would have perhaps been less contentious and more preferable to keep the door opened by encouraging the Tribal Hohos to actively participate in the NTC while also allowing  individual direct membership. But would this also imply that NTC will have one central platform without its District/grass root branches? The need of the hour is to have a strong  organization which has its tentacles way down to the village level for a realistic feedback on any given issue. I have often harped about a second plebiscite on key issues such as “one tax for one Naga National Government” etc. A vibrant organization could enact such a   referendum that could impact our future but I guess this is all in the realm of a dream.

NTC needs to honourably and maturely chart out its future course of responsibility and action. Above all it should keep all its doors and windows opened to allow fresh air to filter the thinking process. The first ripple of differences has begun to appear between the NTC and other NGOs from an unfiltered statement of NTC. Good or bad, every individual or an organization has a pride without exception and rather sensitive about it too. This should implicitly be given due consideration. Mr. Gwangphun is right. There will never be an organization on this planet which would be capable of addressing each and every problem of mankind and solving them. Neither can NTC.  It is more to do with selectively picking up critical issues that the masses suffer from and need attention. This too is subjected to an individual or an organization’s perception of criticality which others may not necessarily agree. Lofty proclamations will also have to be followed by lofty deeds. As an organization it should either temper it down or live up to it. The challenges ahead won’t be easy but that is what NTC has opted to face.

Take the case of our present Naga society: it is in the ICU afflicted by a malignant cancer of excessive corruption and taxation in both the major fronts: Govt. of Nagaland and the underground factions, needing an urgent surgery. The scenario is as dangerous as having to face an oncoming tsunami. ACAUT has initiated a small but significant step to generate this awareness about our terminal ailment braving the torment and threats thus far. Their efforts are limited to Dimapur and needs to spread their wings in all the other dormant Districts. However they need a parental body to shelter under  and be guided to ensure future activities have the desired impact. I harbour no doubts in my mind that with a sustained effort something positive will emerge from this. Does NTC have it in them to firstly  pick up this yoke and provide a parental directives and guidance to the ACAUT? Does it have the capability to set up its infrastructure in all the Districts and at the same time  adopt ACAUT to enable them to go forth with more courage and matured coverage? Without doubt this is ‘top of the shelve’  burning issue that  every breathing Naga is yearning for it to end. This would be the litmus test. Consider it or reject it. After all this is also just a point of view.  – NPN

NTC: A Tower Of Naga Babel

By: G. Gwangphun, Social Activist/Researcher
The so called 16 Points agreement proposal of 1960, and the subsequent birth of Nagaland as the 16th State of Indian union on 1st December, 1963, had sown seeds of contentions by politicians dividing the house of the Nagas. The people and the land of the Nagas were arbitrarily drawn apart to suit and serve the purpose to the advantage of those who wanted to exploit the people, land and resources of the Nagas. The Nagas are scattered in Assam, Arunachal, Manipur and Nagaland of Indian Union and a similarly large chunk of Nagas are left out in the neighboring country of Myanmar. Unfortunately, these physical divisions have adversely affected the unity of the Naga people. The present deplorable shambles and fragments of evil design are at work benumbing the minds of the people with honey laden words and enticing false hope. No matter how sweet or needful, the formation of Nagaland Tribes Council appears to be, It is seen as a bowl of discrimination, to further break apart the fragile Naga society. Let us analyze and reason what went wrong with the Nagas.
The truth is, Nagas by name as a people are not Indian either by blood or by looks. Therefore, NNC was politically formulated and stood against the foreign forceful occupation and imposition on Nagas’ land and the people. Nevertheless, the Nagas were hypnotized, befooled or made drunk with the wine of Indian political gimmick. Consequently, the 16th Point Agreement of Bondage has made the Nagas, Indian since then. Now Nagas are accustomed to Indian political ethics and fully baptized as Indian-Nagas. That is the point where the Nagas fall tumbling into the Indian political dungeon/pitch. Here, the Nagas’ vision and aspiration for Freedom is lost sight-of or laid-off by some Naga-Indian politicians, not of willing decision but of compulsion under the spelled circumstance of India.
Reasoned that, the recent creation of NTC is seen as a good tool and ground to divide and confuse the Nagas at the expense of the good-willed Naga citizens and aspiration to live together.  The rationale of NTC formation, as put forth by Solo is childish and outright denial of the left-out Nagas as per/by act of 16th Points agreement of bondage.  The seed of separatism sown by Naga People Convention (NPC) has grown to a full stature in favor and wisdom of the husband; Indian. The rest of the Nagas outside the Nagaland state were detached to their own fate. Many Nagas within the purview of the 16th points Agreement were maddened with the alluring and appeasement provisions and captivating prospects in the form of article 371(A). With so much expectations and assumptions, from the given Article, some few Nagas of Nagaland are bewildered and blinded by greed-based attitude. They don’t care or bother about oppressed fellow Naga brothers who are struggling and suffering in great pain and humiliation under superior and dominant powers in the neighboring states. No right word can be found to adequately express the heartless and blindness of the Nagas. It’s too inhumane and shameful to describe the state of Nagas as a people. The eyes of reasoning, the heart of discernment and the ears of conscience must be opened to see, feel and hear the voice of God if Nagas want to live in peace, harmony and prosperity under the unfailing provision of God in their land. The fate of the Nagas outside the present Indian state of Nagaland is determined and left to themselves. The treacherous act of denouncing the Nagas by Nagas at the face is expressively displayed at the recently created platform of segregation. The motive of NTC is judged as a matter of antagonistic, sheer defensive, apprehensive, arrogancy, and unquenchable greed based political initiation.  Should the face of the whole Nagas of Nagaland be carried by NTC?  It is taken that the NTC has drawn the line of distinction and barred the Nagas outside the state by the divisive state boundary. The fate of the Nagas of Nagaland is determined before God and He will judge and deal accordingly.
Understood that, the Price of Nagaland state was paid not only by the so called Nagas of Nagaland. God knows. The precious lives, blood, sweats and tears and the pangs of the past Naga dreamers, patriots and National fighters from all the sections of the Nagas was the ransom, the cost and the price paid for their land; The DREAMED NAGA SOVEREIGN HOMELAND.  Shri. Lt. Hokise Sema the then Chief Minister of Nagaland noted that the state of Nagaland was realized by Nehru to be given at the earliest as a solution to the Nagas’ insurgency problems. He stated that, “the Nagas also fought in the freedom struggle… Gaidinliu is the living witness to the fact”.  Nehru also once mentioned that Nagas also took part in the freedom struggle of India in the figure and person of Gaidinliu, “ Rani of the Nagas”.  therefore Nagas deserved to be treated as part of India and protected. She was then put in the heart of the state capital and cared for by India till her last breath. However, the changing political climates have defaced the mind of India and even Nagas dimming the history into misty clouds of corruption of all kinds. Sad to mention that the Nagas are dividing among themselves on the basis of Indian state boundary and Indian classified scheduled tribes’ provision. Now the Nagas’ mentality is engrossed and subjected to thinking in term of getting bread and butter from India, never think of producing or developing the resources within for sustainable and self reliance development.  The Nagas are still failing to make their History proud and firm. Funny to picture that, today Nagas are repeating the history of ignorance, obscured living and a culture of Head hunting in the modern form of tribal distinction, classification, factional fights among themselves. All these ugly dramas are greed based motivated politics. We must shun it soon or we will soon be overwhelmed by it. What amazed me most is that, the general publics and many Naga leaders are seemingly being hypnotized and are silent by the drum beat and magical propogation spell of Thepfulhouvi Solo and Azu Newmai ‘s politic culminating to the formation of NTC. The concept sounds good but the motive spells corruptive and divisive. Should the Nagas subscribe to such projection? Let the concerned Nagas answer. Many innocents Naga leaders are being beguiled by his twisting and hypnotizing words. Many have been drawn toward his line of thinking. Solo said in his 8th commandment, that NTC is non-political Organization. What then is political organization?
The Motive behind his masterminding NTC is to oppose the Govt. of Nagaland under whose Govt. he has been working for long, fed and nourished by it.  His own people’s Organization APO and now seemingly getting along with again, Tenyimia Organization where he belong earlier but condemned it recently, Naga Hoho because Naga Hoho knows him to be the clandestine player unstable in his principle, ENPO because ENPO stands contradict to his Interest in the state affairs and now gathering them around his ideology, NMA on women rights issues, NPF where he could not go well with, Nephiu Rio the CM he knows him to be trouble maker, NSCN IM, K, Unification or even his closely attached NNC  because they knew him well to be self styling in his  irrational confrontation against the Naga Nation. The last refuge is now to bloom in full, his resentful motive against the Govt. and people’s Organizations   in the disguise spirit of welfare concerned for his branded termed word, “The Nagas of Nagaland”.  In this term and spirit, there are many logics one can establish to form a mood or mind against any established understanding on unity, integration and solution of the whole Nagas irrespective of arbitrary state boundaries that divides the Nagas into pieces. The sweet sounding word of division, “The Nagas of Nagaland” the child of 1963 impregnated by Indian politicians is now shaping to form a separatist organization against all established Nagas organizations. Now gaining his ground, he has also established the rationale of NTC formation. His directives; “Membership should be from the tribe directly and not from the tribal Hohos” “NTC should not be political body…”, “The Nagaland Govt. could not safeguard the interest of the Nagas of Nagaland”, “The Naga Hoho, NSF, NMA, NPMHR could not protect the interest of the Nagas of Nagaland”, “Disgusted with the behavior of Naga Hoho…”( Quoted; Nagaland post dt. 3/10/2013). I don’t know why, ZPO the composed tribe organization dividing at home and  is seen in the picture of NTC as piloting figure.  Let us reason together on the above points and know for ourselves.
Regret and sorry to state that, NTC was impregnated by such cheap grumbling words consonant with some logical ideas and born as the legitimate child of the state of Nagaland in such a time they think timely. The reality is that, No govt, or NGOs be it DAN Govt, Naga hoho, ENPO, NSF, NPMHR, NMA or tribal Hohos cannot please every individual interest or for the matter all the people in every issues. Even the new formed NTC can never do so.  God knows, the time for every right action to be attended to or blessed. No better Govt. or Organization can come up in such a climate of peoples who act irresponsibly, making good citizens silent in fear of confrontations. Any good govt. cannot run properly when popular opinions take the place of wisdom and insightful reasoning. In such climate, the ruin is in sight.
The Nagas see their stomach-size world demarcated as Nagaland state fed by Indian appeasement provision. What a sorrow to know that the Nagas of Nagaland have blindly forfeited the God given resources within and lazily feeding on the husk of Indian production or the crumb or leftover portion given them. Further, the Nagas till today are still blind to the fact and even goes on to roar or barking like dogs over the little left over portion even refusing to share with the marginalized and underprivileged group or communities of the same Naga family in the state of Nagaland. Apprehending that, their share of food would be eaten away by others whom they think are better-of than they are. What an absurd notion. The world outside the Nagas are looking at Dogs eat dogs culture displaying on the platform called Nagaland state.
The Character of NTC is seen as message or index of who the Nagas are at home. At the appearance of NTC, the omen of ruin of Naga society is made more visible. Nagas’ attitude toward fellow human being is made to be misread. It is viewed as devoid of morality and the distant past savage era of head hunting culture returned. Lament over the fact that the Naga society is suffering the pain and pang of destructive politics blindly being played against the conscience and moral of Naga humanity and society. NTC reflects the depth, the height and quality of Naga people; its immaturity and shortsighted politics. The motive behind the formation of NTC is purely political and not a tint of morality is considered. When one think seriously on it, he or she will conclude that, it is against the Govt. of Nagaland, the good will of the respective tribal Hohos, the Naga Hoho, the ENPO and the Christian Church at large. My question is what if these leaders are given the place, power and free hand to lead the Govt. and the people?   If our Naga Hoho and Naga Govt. or NGOs cannot function or administer well as expected for the welfare of the Naga people, do you think NTC or any other Organizations or political party can? If the Naga society is ringing the bell of alarming because of the present Govt. or Organizations, we all must act responsibly to correct and strengthen the hands instead of toppling or dragging our own established Govt. and Organizations. Where does pragmatic logic gone out from the Nagas?
How can we grow and progress together as a people under wrong mental perception about humanity? Sorry to state that NTC reflects the social classification, discrimination, political dissatisfaction and conservative outlooks within and among the Nagas. It’s too narrowing a word or term to state by ourselves such as Nagas of Nagaland, Nagas of Manipur, Assam etc when we are all living defeated as Nagas of India and Myanmar. My opinion may hurt some readers, but this is how I am prompted to speak out the truth cautioning the Naga society of the impending grave danger posing the Naga society.
Concerned Naga thinkers and citizens are appealed to consider the matter as serious, implicating and endangering the Naga present society and future generations. Let us see farther and perceive the beauty of living together in Freedom as a humane people with the rest of the civilized world. It is possible and indispensable. The article is solely the personal view of the author. The intention is to strengthen the fiber of social growth, unity and to foster integrity, creating a conducive environment for early, lasting and acceptable settlement of the Naga political problems. MExN