Views & Reviews
Fostering Trust and Unity Within the Naga Community
The Naga community, encompassing diverse ethnic groups, resides in the Northeastern part of India and Northwestern Myanmar. They are of myriad tribes, each with a unique identity, traditions, and cultural heritage. Notwithstanding the ferocious headhunting culture and intertribal enmities, they have always flocked together throughout history. They have demonstrated a cohesive social cohesion that transcends such adversities. The robustness of Naga unity is prominently displayed through their collective resilience against foreign forces, such as the Burmese, British and Indian forces. Despite facing a shortage of ordnance, they bravely and fiercely fought, standing their ground. This historic resistance is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Naga community. Their sacrifices underscore the depth of their commitment to securing the future generations. Therefore, their strength and courage clearly depict the true spirit of trust and unity.
The Naga community is a cluster of people hailing from diverse backgrounds. It is a melting pot where individual accommodate and intermingle. Aristotle said, “Humans are social animals.” One cannot survive in isolation. They need one another on a daily basis for survival. Humans need one another to express their thoughts and feelings. Aristotle posits humans as political animals. They were endowed with speech in order to communicate moral concepts. Those who did not participate in society were either beasts or gods. Consequently, as members of a community, they share common interests, values, and goals. They seek assistance, share resources, and provide emotional and practical help to one another. Through interaction, they cultivate a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Continuing, trust, and unity are indispensable elements for uniting the Naga tribal communities. It plays a fundamental role in the socio-cultural fabric of the Nagas. These are integral components of fostering the resilience and cohesiveness of the Naga community. Our history is crystal clear that only through trust and unity, we have defeated formidable challenges. Without them, such victories would have been impossible. Sociologist Anthony Giddens asserts, “Trust is the glue that holds modern societies together.” Indeed, a community without trust ceases to be a community. Instead, it devolves into a community of falsehood, animosity, and division. Trust becomes essential to bridging the cultural gaps, promoting inclusivity, and pursuing the aspirations of the community.
Similarly, unity is very important for a society to function in peace and harmony. It serves as a protective shield, sustaining the community. It upholds the community and facilitates a common goal and aspiration. Despite the existence of numerous tribes with distinct identities, the Nagas share a collective history. This homogeneity fosters unity. Interaction and relationships among the various Naga tribes have contributed to building unity. As Martin Luther King Jr. correctly put it, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Practically, the Naga community is experiencing a gradual erosion of trust and unity.
Skepticism and division are insidiously permeating daily interactions. Doubt, fear, and suspicion are overshadowing what were once strong communal bonds. Disunity and division are evident among the Nagas. It is harnessing more confusion and problems with the proliferation of hundreds and thousands of organisations. Ranging from religious to political spheres, we had enough organisations. Paradoxically, instead of providing solutions, it is exacerbating the existing problems. The question arises: Is there a genuine need to establish more organizations under the banner of freedom, peace, and reconciliation? How long and how many organizations are required to end up this unending drama? Are we not done yet? Are we not fatigued by this ongoing cycle?
Instead of fostering unity, it is perplexing and disheartening to witness the Nagas being fragmented on the basis of regions, tribes, languages, clans, and socioeconomic status. For instance, the Eastern Nagas are advocating for a separate State that is best known to them. Similarly, more organisations will keep popping up, clamoring for their rights and privileges. However, the crux of the matter lies elsewhere. The pertinent question is: Who bears responsibility for the prevailing chaos and division? It would be facile to blame any political party, organisation, or individual. Rather, the imperative lies in introspecting and questioning oneself.
Now is not the time for accusations, but it is time for change through repentance and forgiveness. The metamorphosis of society, progress, and affluence occur through the transformation of its people. Instantaneous transformation-falling down from heaven or coming out from the wood-is an unrealistic expectation. It lies within us. Self-realisation is the catalyst for both inner and outer transformation.
Therefore, to foster trust and unity, it is imperative to trust oneself. This act will subsequently extend to trusting the family and the community. Nagas must develop the essence of trust. Lack of trust is disintegrating the Naga community. It is trending that the Nagas trust and depend on non-local entities rather than their fellow locals. The paradigm shift is palpable in various facets, starting from the house rent to shop rent. Most of the caretakers are non-locals. Thus, securing a rented dwelling or a commercial space has become a formidable challenge for the local populace. The dominance of the non-locals in the business sector is shaping the landscape of the regions. Aspiring local entrepreneurs find themselves relegated to the outskirts, an unfavorable location for conducting thriving businesses.
In conclusion, by reinstating the aforementioned, it is imperative to reconsider and deliberate for the common and highest good. The Nagas must transcend the boundaries of political ideologies, tribalism, regionalism, hatred, nepotism, and various stratagems. Only then can Nagas genuinely embody the vision of being called “Nagaland (Nagalim) for Christ” and “The Switzerland of the East.” Nagas should shift their focus towards global competition rather than engaging and dividing among ourselves. While the world progresses, we keep disassociating ourselves by forming new churches, factions, and organisations. All these factors have hindered our advancement, signifying a lack of trust and unity within the Naga community.
Paul N Rengma,