Liberating The Naga Spirit - Eastern Mirror
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Op-Ed

Liberating the Naga Spirit

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By EMN Updated: Feb 18, 2024 10:38 pm

Wati Aier,
Convener,
Forum for Naga Reconciliation.

In the history of human civilisation, seemingly small and insignificant events have often caused transformative effects. Today’s small happening here in Kutsapo village is going to produce significant opportunities for the Nagas. In his message to the Romans, Paul addresses something astounding. It is about all creation longing for liberation from the powers of alienation (Romans 8: 18-25). The New Testament speaks of liberation from the power of sin. Sin is a negative power before it becomes an act. It is a negative power which determines individuals at the centre of their being and isolates them from their true selves, from their community, from their people, from history and from God. Sin does not only determine us in our hearts and our actions, it becomes concretely manifested in systems of people’s thinking and action. It is in such a culture and worldview that Paul points out how “we (are) in slavery under the elemental spirits of the world” (Galatians 4: 3).

Today, the Naga spirit of belonging as a nation is held captive. It is in the “Babylonian captivity of the Naga nation” that we long for liberation. We must honestly read the signs of the times and immediately act according to the Word of God by naming the negative powers that have alienated us from one another and have held captive of the Naga nation.

 In the Bible, liberation always begins from within. In the case of the Nagas, we must also look at ourselves from within. We must do this in order to pursue a renewed Nagahood with one another and with God. How shall this renewed Nagahood be seen and felt credibly and concretely by the people? We must first demonstrate and practice the liberation of the Naga spirit through Christ. We must consciously accept the wounded Naga nation and cry for liberation from the badly disfigured Naga spirit that is the result of our hypocritical justifications and the undermining of our fellow siblings with whom we share the same roots. We must drive out this evil of self-righteousness today in this place that is God’s domain.

The Naga nation is tormented by the idols of suspicion, hate, and rage. By deciding not to “sit and talk” with people of common humanity, we are only isolating ourselves. This self-isolation is a deep symptom of fear, anxiety, and guilt. We do not want to hear of inclusive language as this makes us angry and we automatically position ourselves in a different level of political sanctity.

 Further, symptoms of defensiveness that “they are pointing their fingers at me” or “they are all wrong” are imprisoning many of us. We must believe in liberating the Naga spirit through God’s work of transformation. It is only through Christ that we can be truly human and free as individuals and as a people. Truly, in Christ no boundaries are set. Through him, we must break through defenses of anxiety and walls of isolation. Christ breaks through walls that we ourselves have set to distinguish ourselves as “purer” than other groups. Today, let us accept God’s offer of wholeness by removing the boundary of our solitude in which we have hidden so that no one will come near us. Let us leap over the boundary of groups that cause us to feel intense dislike and hatred for others. May the Naga spirit be released from captivity by placing our hope in Christ, the source of our freedom.

As we think about liberating the Naga spirit, let us not forget the Naga historical achievements that have an abiding significance. Let no Naga forget the Naga National Council (NNC)—the soul of Naga nationalism. This soul must remain vibrant and exercise graciousness by building creative-bridges between divides. By corresponding token, Naga political groups must accept that their roots lie in the NNC.

Along historical landmarks, the “Cease-Fire Agreement” of 1997 between the Government of India (GoI) and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN/GPRN), and the subsequent “Framework Agreement” of 2015 must be marked with heightened headings in the historical context of the Nagas then.

  “The Agreed Position” worked out between the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and the GoI in 2017 is another historical record of Naga historical and political rights.

Besides, Nagas must acknowledge with high definition the sacrificial resolves of thousands of men and women whose commitments to the Naga nation have given us today to continue sustaining our history contemporaneously.

 We must not leave this gathering without providing a roadmap of the Naga Journey of Common Hope. The law of life of a Christian community, however, is not uniformity, but the acceptance of differentness. I have often said that “birds of the same feather is dangerous to any society” and an advantage to the status quo. The more people of different feathers come together the status quo will consider that as formidable. Let us make our choice now!

Naga leaders need to dive into a deeper political analysis of the geopolitical headings. In juxtaposition, Naga leaders must accept India’s “understood difficulties” vis-à-vis Naga identity and rights. In this case both sides are called to exercise “creative-tension” a categorical necessity of politics.

With changes taking place at a rapid pace, Naga people must find its place in the contemporary world without obliterating the “Historical and Political rights of the Nagas.” This will entail moral and political integrity, a test of civilised maturity that requires both the NPGs and GoI to shun self-superiority and hatred.

Liberating the Naga spirit is not a liberation of the few. With Christ, the justification of all Nagas is different from the justification of the few. Liberating the Naga spirit is to conquer the evil of divisions and to let go of pride and hate. Liberating the Naga spirit is not for revenge, but for liberation from the clutches of evil domination in man and woman. Liberating the Naga spirit is not for seeking supremacy over others, but for the reign of God in the lives of all.

Our God in Christ invites us in order to transform us from being captives of evil designs to free daughters and sons of love and trust. Let us stretch out our hands and hold each other firmly. That is the offer of transformed Nagahood with God and with others. We will experience liberation and overthrow the power of slavery. AMEN!

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By EMN Updated: Feb 18, 2024 10:38:20 pm
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