A new Nagaland vis-a-vis Article 371 (A)
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]n interesting article has appeared in “The Nagaland Post” (March 8, 2014), “Naga Hoho View on Article 371 (A)”, prepared by the publicity wing of the organization, is an eye opener to all the stakeholders and has not only amused many an old-timer but also many present day intellectuals who finally felt somewhat vindicated that those who were beating their drums could indeed see through the darkness of ignorance. The much maligned and criticized 16-Point Agreement of 1959 is slowly yet surely releasing the hidden treasure contained in it. That Naga Hoho has openly admitted that “ ….. our own people without compunction pour out their perceptions thereby unconsciously narrowing the scope and provisions of Article 371 (A)” is in itself points to dawning of sanity and pragmatism as well as realization of the fact, that all along the functionaries of various organizations have been missing the bull’s eye. Naga Hoho’s stand to “make its views clear that Article 371 (A) which may be viewed as collective view of the Naga as a whole”, is a welcome step in the right direction.This article does not aim at either rebuffing or endorsing the views of Naga Hoho on Article 371 (A), but alternately, is a sincere endeavour to focus on the spirit of Article 371(A) and the 16-Point Agreement that was the edifice on which the destiny of modern Nagaland was visualized. It was indeed the visionary approach of the Naga leaders of yesteryears that ultimately culminated in the 9- Point Agreement and later, the 16-Point Agreement. The fault was not with the provisions of the Agreement; rather it was with a small section of people who could not see the writing on the wall, or rather, did not see it intentionally. However, a phrase in the article in question, “we must also realize that Article 371(A) is not the Alfa and Omega for the Naga solution, but we may consider it as an intermission in the midst of our journey in search of political settlement” is somewhat intriguing, whereas the next one “the provisions of Article 371(A) correlates with Naga history and therefore it is in the fitness of things if one treads cautiously while speaking or writing on this very provision and avoid his or her own lofty ideas” is much nearer to ground reality and truth. The only contention here is that two almost paradoxical views lead the people no where, rather is a little bit confusing. Yet it is absolutely refreshing that Naga Hoho is spreading the right message.
Revisiting the historical events which led to the Memorandum submitted to the British Statutory Commission popularly known as Simon Commission in 1929, then the Nine Point Agreement of 1947- also known as Sir Akbar Hydari Agreement, then the subsequent developments during 1950-1962 that signified hope and despair, love and hatred, peace initiative and violence, hypocrisy of leaders and faith of the common man, activities of the under as well as over ground, appearance of some great Nagas including the inimitable Phizo on one hand and the many misguided youth on the other; all these leading ultimately to the 16-Point Agreement. So it is evident that years of struggle and lots of tears have gone into the making of the 16-Point Agreement. In fact, each Point or for that matter, each word was carefully chosen after much deliberation and midnight rendezvous. Today’s generation or those who are bent upon criticizing Article 371 (A) are holding the wrong mirror where reality and truth get deflected and dark clouds of mistrust and suspicion, in stead of getting blown away, continue to breed more pessimism, mistrust and violence. Some recent happenings would substantiate to the above line of thinking. All of us are aware of these mind boggling violence and all of us dream that Nagaland would be heaven on earth which indeed she is ! Yet mindless activities by some destroy the dream itself.
Analysis after analysis, criticism after criticism, interview after interview, overt and covert meetings, repeated hectic political parleys have made the clean water in Nagaland murkier, so much so that the all round progress of Nagaland is nowhere in anybody’s scheme of things, but only personal gain has become the one point agenda. Who indeed suffers? It is the future generation that suffers in the absence of visionary long term planning.
The article in contention, by the Publicity Wing of Naga Hoho seems to have grasped the essence of the 16-Point Agreement when it says, “ …… one can easily understand that there was consistency in its approach in the minds of the Naga leaders in protecting the inherent rights of the Nagas. In other words, the provisions kept for us in the Article 371(A) are neither a sudden outburst of an individual nor an imposition of others’ will on us but it was a spontaneous flow of collective thoughts and aspirations of the Nagas as a whole”
Wise people say better late than never. Now that wisdom has prevailed, all factions should join hands and chalk out strategies for future – a future that has been beckoning the Nagas since long, but has always eluded us. Nobody ever introspected, neither analyzed, as to who the ultimate sufferer was. The ultimate sufferer was Nagaland and her people. As priorities got misplaced, Nagaland’s progress was slow, and as Nagaland moved slowly, the rest of the country marched ahead. Industry, health, education – both general and professional, investment, research and innovation became the buzzword everywhere. India as a nation overcame two economic recessions and her resilience culminated in her elevation as a global powerhouse. Other states of India made long and firm strides, yet Nagaland refused to see the changes, the youth instead of being encouraged and inspired were misguided and engaged in fruitless pursuits.
Of late, another strange development has baffled many. Ironically the ruling dispensation in Nagaland at times indulges in criticizing Article 371(A) in a passive way and the 16-Point Agreement in a very active way. May be, the think tank behind such a move is either callous or complacent, or may be even worst, short-sighted! Or else, how does one explain Nagaland’s stagnation? How does one explain that Nagaland has failed to attract major or medium investment? How does one explain the fact that brilliant Naga boys and girls have to travel hundreds of kilometers for pursuing higher studies in professional and technical education? How does one explain the fact that despite enormous potential, Nagaland is miles behind in projecting herself as a major tourist destination of the north-east? How many leaders have been proactive in
(a) Projecting Nagaland and Naga Culture to the outside world?
(b) Making attempts to invite private educational participation to set up centers’ of excellence in Nagaland?
(c) Exploring possibilities and convincing interested private players to come forward to establish some sort of industry that would generate employment? Or
(d) Being sincere to lead from the front to evolve permanent strategy to identify the core strength areas of Naga-society and thereafter, exploit the same for the benefit of Nagaland?
In stead, the hallmark of Naga society as well as Nagaland ruling dispensation has been bickering, parochialism, protection of self interest, overlooking the positives and more bickering! This has not only baffled all the Nagas irrespective of local or tribal imperatives, it has bred disillusion, distrust and desperation!
So, it is high time people stop criticizing Article 371 (A) and the 16- Point Agreement and focus on other constructive aspects of Naga development. Much time has been wasted and more wastage would lead to chaos.
Time has come when all should join hands and look forward to transforming Nagaland into a major hub of economic activity in tune with the world-wide economic, industrial and scientific advancement. Looking beyond the sluggishness that has engulfed the Naga society and Naga psyche should be our sole objective. It is indeed true that the future of all Nagas and the state of Nagaland has already been there in the letter and spirit of the Constitution, we only need to draw inspiration from it and march ahead into glory in all fields. The Nagas are capable of that!
From:- T.Yanger. Imsong Dimapur.