Views & Reviews
This may be belated but surely not irrelevant. For, the past moulded the present and the present shapes the future. But first, why Moron? I was once dubbed ‘tokolok metsüh’ (brainless) for forfeiting a fully earned chance of advancing materially by rather stubbornly sticking to my principle of walking the talk, and another time ‘shisaü maka’ (foolish) for swimming against a tidal wave of Naga Christian hypocrisy and unchristian hate campaign against a politician over a small urn and some ash! My disapprovers could have certified me a ‘MORON’ had they harboured the intent to disparage me, for ‘moron’ is defined as someone with a lower-than-normal IQ (brainless), foolish etc.
A minnow in the turbulent sea of Naga national politics, yet a full-blooded and conscious Naga of Nagaland, I sometimes cannot fathom what many brainy Naga leaders, over and under, and intellectuals apparently well-versed in Naga political craft expone and aver in public. Thus said, I beg to comment on some contentious issues dominating the space of local papers in the recent time. I admit that many will take my views as a reflection of incomprehension and poverty of awareness but I feel inspired and emboldened in the assured presence of a few bold and seasoned intellectual navigators in the Naga boat adrift in a tempestuous ocean of expedient politics rife with contradictions, confusion and deception.
a) The shape of ‘solution’ to come-Are we to trust India now?
A ‘permanent’ solution to the Naga political problem, honourable and acceptable to all sections and factions of Nagas has been ‘imminent’ for the last twenty-two years and ‘impending’ since Aug 3, 2015! RN Ravi came as the Governor of Nagaland with the avowed mission of solving the ninety-year old Naga political problem (1929-2019) within three months, repeat three months, meaning, by the end of this month. Wait, there is a fly in the ointment-a top BJP functionary is reported to have extended the date-line for Naga salvation, rather solution till this Christmas! And ‘Rejoice, permanent solution round the corner’ is now the theme tune of the rather incoherent Naga orchestra consisting of we-know-who. But alleged morons like me ask ‘solution for whom?’ The ‘impending’ solution the negotiating parties have in store may not be what Nagas desire or need. Remember the 9-Pt. Agreement/10-year Agreement. Revisit the 16-Pt, Agreement with particular reference to Points 2, 12 & 13. RN Ravi (I refer to RN Ravi, the Interlocutor, not His Excellency, the Governor of Nagaland Shri RN Ravi) has given an unambiguous assurance that there is absolutely nothing to worry about Art. 371(A) being abrogated as it was a ‘solemn/sacred Agreement. We wonder if the 9-Pt. Agreement/10-Year Agreement was a frivolous, profanatory exercise and Points 2, 12, & 13 of the 16-Pt. Agreement a joke. The Interlocutor/Governor’s assurance on Art. 371(A) seems to have made him the darling of many of our overground leaders and learned intellectuals. I, for one, want to believe that he is serious. But Nagas will be all morons if we forget the past.
Review the chapters of the history of Naga struggle for defending/restoring our sovereignty and political freedom: 9-Pt/10-year Agreement, Jawarhal Nehru, Sir Akbar Hydari, 16-Pt.Agreement, Morarji Desai (I will exterminate the Nagas) … Contemptuousness, arrogance, tergiversation – this had been the name of the game India of the Congress party, read Nehru, had played with the Nagas. Can we trust Narendra Modi? A review of the sequence of progress of the ongoing political negotiations will tell the tale.
i) The Govt. of India-NSCN (IM) Cease fire and political negotiations-old policies die hard?
I was proud to be a Naga when the NSCN (IM), henceforward, IM, assured us more than two decades back that it would negotiate with the Govt. of India, henceforward GOI, for Sovereignty and Integration, as two separate (logically equal) entities, at the top/highest level and in a third country. However, like many non-partisan Nagas I felt let down when the Naga Ato Kilonser (Prime Minister) was compelled to negotiate not with the Indian Prime Minister but with retired/serving Indian bureaucrats (No disrespect to the successive Interlocutors) and not in a third country but within India.
ii) Signing of the Frame-work Agreement and its aftermath-What’s framing?
My Naga pride and self-respect had a massive downslide on seeing in television four years ago the signing of the Frame-work Agreement (FA) by the Naga Prime Minister and an Indian bureaucrat while the Indian Prime Minister watched with a benevolent (condescending?) countenance. Then a nagging apprehension that something was framing when the negotiating parties, GOI & IM, astoundingly could not trust the Nagas with the details of the F.A. for four long years despite the fact that the IM claims ‘mandate’ of (and by implication, accountable to) the Nagas and that the FA-based permanent solution, if and when it materialises, would drastically and irreversibly affect the Naga public and the future of Nagaland.
iii) The FA details – A magnanimous favour for the Nagas?
Obviously because of the insistence of the Nagas of Nagaland that the contents of the FA be divulged, we seem to have been favoured at last with some sketchy information as deduced on the basis of the recent 2-part write-up by Khekiye K Sema. In fact, they said write-up is my only reference in attempting this piece.
The first deduction is that the hitherto much secretive FA contains only as much details as what had already been told to the Nagas – uniqueness of history/problem, a permanent solution honourable and acceptable to all Nagas, separate entity/identity etc. Thus, there is practically nothing new – the connotation of ‘unique’ can be traced back to words of Mahatma Gandhi uttered seventy-two years ago, solution, honourable and acceptable to all Nagas was explicit twenty-two years back and separate entity/identity? Well, it is precisely because of this that we have been struggling and sacrificing for restoration of our birthright for ninety years now. In sum, the FA virtually does not envisage any change in the status quo. Agreed that there obviously is a plethora of propositions on a whole range of other matters and aspects in the CC but we tend to conclude that most of them will not be entertained by the GOI and that is it.
iv) Nagaland shall cease to exist – Really?
No, Nagas of Nagaland are not likely to passively acquiesce with this callous and audacious conjuration which is nothing short of an affront to us. Meanwhile, IM has reportedly claimed that GOI has by-and-large agreed for implementation of the Competency Clauses (CC) while the GOI Interlocutor/ Governor has asserted that the same has no value, if newspaper reports are to be believed. This contradiction raises two questions for the Nagas of Nagaland. Has the GOI contrived an ingenious ploy to provoke the Nagas to go for each other’s jugular, thereby keeping them (us) engaged in unprecedented internecine conflict, fratricidal killings and self-extermination while maintaining cease-fire with India till Kingdom comes, or has the IM unwittingly revealed its true/real agenda? Whatever, the world’s largest democracy and the ‘mandated’ Naga nationalist organisation owe an explanation to the Nagas of Nagaland. In any case, to the naïve Nagas of Nagaland such as I, what is enunciated in the couple of clauses in the Competency clauses is potentially apocalyptic for all Nagas across imposed geographical boundaries, East or West, North or South, and in case any attempt is made to cram this giant mesh of ambiguity, intricacies and confusion down the throat of the Nagas of Nagaland, it will be a sure recipe for another ninety years or longer of strife, unabashed and unabated taxation, self-decimation and political slavery for Nagas everywhere.
Nagaland shall cease to exist! Fellow Nagas from across the Nagaland border, are you really bargaining for this? If no, kindly clarify. If yes, how can you be so unrealistic, heartless and impudent? Yes, we all long for the day when the artificial boundary shall cease to exist and all Nagas live as one people, one nation and one country. But until such a day dawns (if ever) we are Indian citizens of Nagaland and you Indian citizens of your respective states. Therefore, please do not forget that, as of now, you are guests in my fair Nagaland.