Views & Reviews
Nagaland Sparks in India’s Democratic Twist – Critic
Historical roots of India’s electoral mission in Nagaland evolved out of experiencing brutal confrontation with the people. The first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was formed in 1964 as a result of the state’s political union with the nation in 1963. The fragile state not only gave birth to a new authoritarian machinery in the frontier division but sowed the seed of further contention. The governmental commission mandated role to deliver constitutional mechanisms and formulas of rule. The operational system was never less strenuous while facing opposition from the land’s tested might. The right to freedom, however threatened by terrible forces in the past, had provided for the people a source of strength. India legitimized military attrition with the invincible race, signalling at all justifiable gruesome of the AFSPA provision 1958, with sanction from the constitution. Considerable ways have now Nagas attempted its objectives with India, and continue movement within the embers of freedom. The community truly deserves rightful attention and seriousness towards solution with the Indian state, for which the earlier NDA rule categorized recognition on the uniqueness of Naga history.
Democracy in India largely serves a contested domain. Almost every quarter of the nation’s issues and problems are tapped in the formal treatment of legitimizing action by the term ‘democracy’, or in manner where democratic upsurges consolidate popular ruling. It may also consider that there are other solidarity movements in India which claims to be revolutionary, or could be so; yet their objectives are relatively being conditioned on the basis of how popularly it attracts the political classes in society and the governing state. This confirms how democratic elements of the Indian nation are pulled in favour of the ones with able power. Sections of the public familiar with the loopholes would integrate into the stream of exercising rights to align with the ‘rules’. Several issues of governance are therefore been left out in the preferred list of the government’s attention. This has led to ‘democratic overrule’ of certain interests in the name of democracy. This democratic uproar in India classifies – whereas certain influences tries to overrule key issues of the people as less important, the government has termed people’s movements like the Nagas as anti-national, or as unwanted elements trying to threaten Indian democracy. It rules that the objectives of movement confronting state rule are placed outside the legal framework of the nation. On regular interface in India, the government records tremendous remarks of formulating concerns on electoral measures. This was evident in its routine demonstration of additional concentration to states with larger vote share, which possibly determines power structure at the Centre. Similar trends of power politics are at play across governing structures within the state circles. This very setback of democratic liberty harped upon India’s political gimmick has affected intolerable confrontations in the Naga society. Nagaland crisis with “election havoc” as the civil societies has critiqued, is a glaring act of this maneuvering, great Indian “tamasha”.
Marx termed elections in America unnecessary to deliver people’s need. Election was described as a twisted form of democracy, a scheme to qualify state conduct. He argued the state to a regime serving capital interests of the selected few, and for which a new state would be realized from the lower class involving the working groups. The scholarship of state manifestation around these Left notions is widely prevalent in India today, attributing on the normal processes of democracy. Along this line of concern, it notes that electoral mechanism recently ushered by India amidst Naga situational urgency is a free democratic ride. It is understood that given strong political power at the Centre, the political leadership takes less concern in causing societal rage in Nagaland, thus pronounced freely .Back in Nagaland, some political leaders are caught in the popular pressure and alarming decry of this India’s ‘twisted democracy’. The problem is hardened by a system channelled to exercise democracy as part of Naga’s constitutional privilege. The quest for election over these situations marks an ultimate instance of normalizing actions around the mandate of power, and not more. Having said so, it is not to rule out the universal values of elections which Nagaland certainly requires on its own term. Various organizations and civil societies stooping against current “election malady” reflect India’s inadvertent mistakes since its dealing with the issue. And out rightly being pointed by the Naga leaders, constitutional obligations of elections are not to roll on the stakes of the people at this point of time. India is a democracy with collective responsibility of government. The Prime Minister is elected and required to address and act upon any matter facing urgency before the nation, in consultation with the council of ministers. The constitution mandates the Parliament in this regard to ensure desirable outcome the government machinery, which has included constitutional bodies and institutions like the Election Commission of India.
Appalling State Conduct
Government’s decision against Naga bodies’ ardent appeal and representations to defer election for possible solution only endorses its overruling tendencies and utter negligence to sincerely pursue with the people. The nation’s leadership did its easy way of finding another exit without in fact expediting the representations brought appropriately with the state’s constitutional provision. Nagaland enjoys exceptional autonomy on customary ground which amounts to not toe all obligations of the constitution in uniform pattern with other states. It was also not actually more competent for the parties to look for solution even while away from election times. The situation at hand to resolve holds more questions than to mandate democratic halt of a state’s election for its good. The confidence of people and momentum for talks may not be same as tried to frame by reshuffling stake holders in the state with election. The implication would not remark for a faithful lapse of governance. It accounts for a perceived dishonour not to credit a striking Naga movement to have affected Indian election on record. All this hardly squares with the Indian state’s declared commitment to democratic functioning. Indeed, the hype about democracy obscures the imposition of what can be called a “structured democracy” that denies rightful participation to certain sections of society. This approach of the state machinery to justify laws that appears inadequate and unfriendly to the people, have created confrontations for people as a necessary movement against the state. Skeletal conduct of institutional ruling has ruined the political spectrum and values of the Naga society for ages. It requires human component and aspects to be instrumental for democratic functioning in India. The absence of these elements in the government has witnessed regular instances, the degree of issues surrounding the marginalized like the Nagas to go diluted in twilight of India’s roaring consent- rule of the powerful. On humble submission however, the coming together of Naga ‘over ground’ representatives on such state is highly commendable. Nagas are not to contest power with India’s outlook of state. The need to stand with the people underlines its cause, and will certainly pay off. Being reminded of India’s blatant atrocities on the Nagas, as well as perceived negligence at resolution, should be hard lessons to tread with caution. It is not unaware of the Indian state of its painful record for the untold miseries committed on the community, which lingers sadly, inhumane crimes on the women folks and poor villages. Interestingly, even on rough assessment of the democratic upsurge and their impatient hordes against government’s action/inaction in India, the Naga issue and its sufferings has invited fairly thin solidarity from political classes of the nation state.
Given the “unsolicited response” by India to the Naga problem, there is an obvious need to demonstrate remarkable opposition against such governmental activities. It highlights the contradictions whereby the state views Naga movement with its splinter groups as a nightmare of cultural manifestations with outside influences presumably threatening democracy. Political implications on the society are indicative of what can be regarded as feeding into a wrong democracy. They serve in this sense percolations of endorsing India’s brute state towards rightful struggle. It is alarming for a liberated nation with neo liberal participants to let inadequate mechanisms reinstate traditions set by pioneers of independent India. The patterns of struggles around the Naga movement are to be understood in the context of historical maneuvering of Central occupation and rule and, to its refusal to recognize what is in many respects a just cause pursued, in defence of their right and freedom.
University of Delhi