Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Now or Never

By EMN Updated: Nov 28, 2014 11:05 pm

Benito Z. Swu

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]orrowing some words from Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, “the youthful outlook and the freshness of Neiphiu Rio and K.Therie ignited our minds” in 2004. The Congress party had formed the government in the state in 1998 without a ballot being cast, but anyway legitimate and no harm caused to the constitution since the other political parties boycotted it. But the aftermath of the tenure was not exactly sweet and hence the freshness and youthful appeal of the duo was one prime factor which motivated like-minded people to root for the NPF party that trumpeted itself to be a cadre based party. Political alignment or misalignment in a triangular contest saw to it that the NPF candidate of 36 A/C of Satakha got defeated and thus the heartbreak. But the euphoria was not dimmed as the NPF came to power. Stability of the government and the compulsion of democratic representative power politics made it possible for certain elected legislatures to cross over to the NPF, which we, the original NPF party workers wholeheartedly welcomed. Yours truly was appointed as the Zunheboto Divisional Youth President by Shri Kughavi Shohe, the then Divisional NPF President and the defeated candidate of 36 A/C. And there and then began the road to nowhere, in the wilderness. It was but words all the way. The mother hen had one too many roosters to woo her, and the step chicks all but scattered. There was not even a formal or informal, “By the way, thanks,” as one by one the old guard were all unceremoniously stripped off. Nobody came to the rescue. The one single factor that pinches even today was the complete indifference of the higher ups in the party at the central level. Not that the old guard did not cry out. It remained unheard. Cadre based party? Where were you all those time? When you, yourself has not been forgiven, from where does the question of forgiving others arise? We, the old guards are not divine apparitions but just mortals. If at all there is any part or thing of the old guard which resembles an elephant, it is the memory. At last count, it took some four to five years to partially forget, and that too without bringing forgive into account.
However and what-so-ever, the one strand of thread that remained intact was the deep satisfaction and appreciation of the bold and broad policy of the NPF leadership, and in particular, the then Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s, towards solving and facing head on the festering Indo-Naga political stalemate. A patient close look and we see that it was N.Rio’s brilliant diplomatic skill and approach which culminated in the recognition and appreciation of the same by the BJP government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Yes, action speaks louder than words, and the action of Rio was being reciprocated in equal measures by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
It was to the great misfortune of the Nagas that the BJP led NDA lost power in the general election that followed. With the coming of the Congress led UPA Government in India, the painstaking groundwork that was laid by Rio here in Kohima and the BJP in Delhi was completely turned over on its head by the UPA Government and everything that was achieved got nullified. From then on, for the last decade, the Congress led UPA adopted the exact replica of the British Raj policy of subjugating India – the Divide and Rule policy – in dealing with the Naga issue, to which the Naga nationalists fell for, hook, line, and snicker. Had the Congress party or the UPA come to power this time too, no single Naga, young or old, would have been surprised to deal with another faction going by the nomenclature NSCN(B).
Today, Nagas are again at the crossroad. As of today, every Naga should praise our Living God that a decisive doer like Narendra Modiji is at the helm of affairs in India, who knows exactly where we stand, who knows exactly as to why a strong regional party in Nagaland at this point of time is very crucial in the greater interest of the Nation.
Here, it must be mentioned that Rio has to be there in the churning of the unreal and the realities to come, in the greater interest of the Nagas and the Indian nation to which Nagaland is a part and parcel of. Rio knows the fabric, the roots, the sentiments of the diversity of the Nagas. And equally the consequences thereof. Let this be clear. Without the participation of Rio, a breakthrough will not be a breakthrough. Having been bitten once too many, Rio knows exactly where the landmines are, and as such, better than the best among the current crop of Naga leaders today, if not one of the all time best. Make no mistake about it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has shown the diplomats of the world about what the diplomacy of the directness of facing any situation in maintaining diplomacy is all about, and the world is saying ‘amen’ together. It is imperative that we live up to him. This is an opportunity. An opportunity indeed to put an end, once and for all, this crazy merry go round.

By EMN Updated: Nov 28, 2014 11:05:45 pm