A Divided Land
It is obvious that people will not stop talking about the protracted Naga political issue till a final settlement is arrived at. This is understandable as the Naga struggle for self determination predates Indian independence from the British, and the bloodshed witnessed during the peak of the movement is still fresh in the minds of the people. But interestingly, the buzz gets louder towards the end of every year and the months leading up to an election, be it state assembly or Lok Sabha. No wonder the civil society organisations have started pitching the issue in the media more aggressively, while the Naga political groups (NPGs) resort to paper war, as the year is coming to an end. And with the crucial election to the lower house of the Indian Parliament not far away, murmurs about the Naga issue may not stop even after the festive season. Perhaps, the hope given by political leaders about a possible solution arriving as a Christmas or New Year gift, or the assurances made during election campaigns could have triggered this trend. But allowing such seasonal talks and promises to evoke emotional outburst will prove costly as it causes confusion and widens the cracks that have developed in the Naga social fabric over the years, instead of bridging the gap and forging unity. The more divided a house is, the more difficult it is to reach a consensus, which is a pre-requisite for a solution to a common cause.
Currently, the house is clearly divided. Various Naga political groups are in their own worlds, fragmenting into further pieces instead of reconciling and uniting. They continue to use unparliamentary language against each other and hit below the belt. The civil society organisations are no better as they remain divided. The government of India too seems to lack the political will to solve the long-pending issue, as a solution is still elusive even years after the much-publicised signing of Framework Agreement in 2025 and the Agreed Position in 2017. This goes on to tell that we have been trying to find a meeting point without clearing the decks all this while. It is time to go beyond the year-end hype, paper wars and political rhetoric during elections, but rather engage in constructive dialogue with an open mind. Besides the NPGs, civil society organisations and leaders across the Naga-inhabited areas should sit across the table and find a common ground on how to approach the political issue and reach the common goal. The government of India too should go beyond just acknowledging the unique history of the Nagas. It’s not a good idea to end each year on a sour note.