Views & Reviews
Post Covenant of Reconciliation: What is the Goal of Forum for Naga Reconciliation?
Post Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR), what is the goal of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR)behind pursuing reconciliation among the Naga people? FNR has to be very précised about its goal, what it wants to achieve, and most importantly let its goal known tangibly to the common people. Theme such as reconciliation though important and much needed in our Naga context, is too abstract a concept to be discussed unless it is made known to the common people in black and white. Although, reconciliation is a process and open ended; what FNR needs is to let people know the ultimate goal of its engagement in the reconciliation process. One cannot just linger on reconciliation and unity without having a clear vision of its end result. In any case, every society has conflict and in fact, conflict is a necessary tool for any society to grow. The important thing is that one has to look at conflict from a positive lens: how to nurture conflict positively and how to harness conflict and channel its power in the right direction. It is in the differences of opinions imaginative negotiation and consequences can be envisioned. In a democracy one cannot talk about reconciliation and unity as the only way and debunk conflict. That will be possible only in a dictatorial kind of setting.
In a society there are usually three important sectors: public sector, private sector and civil society sector. However, I would like to disturb that neat organization of a society and argue that in Naga society there are four sectors.
1.The Public Sector: The government and its machinery. To be fair it was wrought in when Nagas were in dire situation but it has to be noted that this is a brainchild of Delhi. Today, this sector has created a menace in Naga society through corruption. It is a failed project for the Nagas but a desirable instrument for Delhi.
2.The Underground Sector: At least in theory this sector runs in direct opposition with the public sector because of its objective for free Naga-land. But what has unfolded of it today is literally a dark unknown entity. One can assume it has its string attached to the public sector whether for profit or otherwise. Moreover, today after the CoR there are still two groups sitting with Delhi negotiating for Nagas’ freedom. Starkly these negotiations have little or no connection with the common people. What power do they have then? Isn’t that an obvious advantage for Delhi?
3.The Civil Society Sector: This comprises of all the hohos and other organizations. It is a truth known to all the Nagas that there is no unity among the Naga civil society. In actual scenario these agencies should consult the common people and take their voice to the public sector and the underground sector. But obviously that is not the case. Rather these agencies too appear to have strings attached to both the above-mentioned sectors and perhaps, it is right to say that they are the agents not of the people but of the two sectors. As such they become a tool to disseminatedisunity among the common people across the tribal lines, which I suppose go well with the first two sectors because right now the two above sectors feed on elements such as disunity and propaganda.
4.The Common People Sector: This sector represents the common peoplewho are mostly apathetic to what is happening in our context. Many might not even care about unity or freedom because they are tired. Moreover, this sector is just happy if they enjoy relative economic comfort – a real concern for any human being. Obviously it lacks vision but I do not think that is to be blamed on them. The civil society sector instead of making their voice known corrupts the minds and hearts of the common people with political and tribal agendas. In all these, many of the personnel in the above mentioned sectors are economically at ease and vested with power, which can easily make a person drunk. It is the common people who are bearing the burns of the games played by the first three sectors. As such they are left unimaginative and uncreative limited to being happy if they are able to live everyday met with their basic needs.
What’s now for FNR?
FNR has ushered in relative peace through CoR and rightfully celebrated today. But post CoR we still see two main factions in NNPGs and NSCN (I-M) having independent and simultaneous talks with Delhi. Whatever the dynamic is between NNPGs and I-M, can FNR further reconcile these two entities? Is it something FNR could set as a priority to bring these two groups together as a common, single-minded voice with Delhi? Or is FNR out of reach to bring them together? FNR got to be clear on this.
Does FNR need to examine the role played by the public sector in the Naga context? Every government says that they are willing to step aside once the solution between Nagas and Delhi is stamped out. But what is the role-played by the public sector in the interim? Are the complex nexus between public sector and the underground sector and between public sector and Delhi not creating enough confusion? What does FNR need to do in this regard? Corruption in the public sector in fact is one of the top concerns of the general people and this touches the nerve of the common people more than anything else at present. What does FNR has to say about this? FNR cannot simply brush aside corruption in the public sector as if it does not have to do anything with the issue of reconciliation and resolution in the Naga context.
Naga civil society as mentioned instead of being the voice of the people has become the puppet of both the public sector and the underground sector. Does FNR want to address this issue? FNR needs to narrow down its goal and concentrate on one thing at a time. The four sectors are all tightly interconnected with one another. But at times it serves well to systematically look at our society and analyse it.
Another option, which I think FNR is yet to explore convincingly, is the general people who are mostly apathetic in outlook; and some of course are swayed by their tribal hohos’ agendas. But this sector is dormant with wanting for something better in their lives. Does FNR need to approach them openly? If so, FNR needs to meet them and engage them directly instead of trying to reach out to them through the already compromised civil societies. FNR should tell them what is happening with the underground sector; it needs to tell how civil society sector is diluted by both the public sector and the underground sector, that it cannot represent the people but rather it is selling the people for their own ambition; FNR further needs to tell the common people about the public sector that they are enjoying life at the expense of the common people’s assets.
In this case, FNR needs to go all outright – a radical step – disconnecting with the sectors deeply entrenched with ideological agendas that does not connect with and for common good. FNR needs to tap into the dormant power of the common people. It is a risk. It can lead either to revolution or bloodshed or downfall of FNR but at least by doing this, FNR would have made the case to the common people in black and white.
Peace and reconciliation cannot be procured either by one person or by one organisation. It is one thing to understand that others in the society are also engaged in peace building and it is completely another to collaborate with other groups who are also working for peace and reconciliation. FNR needs to identify groups in the society and cast its net wider to start selling its vision and work together with people in the society. I would like to imagine one day very soon when all the common people will join hands together and exhibit where the actual power lies in a society. FNR has a role to play to that end.
M Sashi Jamir