Rising From The Margins: The Triumph Of The Eastern Naga Spirit-Observations & Lessons - Eastern Mirror
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Rising from the Margins: The Triumph of the Eastern Naga Spirit-Observations & Lessons

By EMN Updated: Apr 27, 2024 12:04 am

I am firmly convinced that the passionate will for justice and truth has done more to improve man’s condition than calculating political shrewdness which in the long run only breeds general distrust.

~ Albert Einstein

“Let justice flow freely, reaching every corner, embracing the helpless with compassion and fairness, ensuring that no voice goes unheard or ignored. In this pursuit, we find the true essence of humanity and the path to a more just and equitable world.”

In the vast and intricate fabric of India’s social landscape, few movements resonate as deeply as the Frontier Nagaland Territory movement. It is not merely a demand for Justice through the creation of “Frontier Nagaland Territory”; it is a cry for self-respect, human dignity, and constitutional justice. The Eastern Naga people, through this movement, have embarked on a journey that echoes the principles of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Ahimsa” and “Satyagraha.” They have strongly embraced the principles of non-violence and truth as their guiding lights, demonstrating a profound commitment to peaceful movement and moral integrity. At the heart of this movement lies a quest for recognition and empowerment, as the Eastern Naga people strive to assert their existence and rights within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s vision for inclusive justice resonates profoundly within the framework of this movement. The call for constitutional and democratic processes to address historical injustices and ensure equitable treatment for all is a clear manifestation of Ambedkar’s enduring belief in the transformative power of “law and governance”. His teachings and principles have continued to inspire generations, emphasising the importance of social justice, equality, and the rule of law in building a just society. The Frontier Nagaland Territory movement is not only a local phenomenon but also a reflection of broader aspirations for justice, equality, and constitutional liberty. It underscores the enduring relevance of Ambedkar’s ideals in today’s complex socio-political landscape in the context of Eastern Nagaland, serving as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the ongoing struggle for social and constitutional reform.

Within the Frontier Nagaland Territory movement, the luminous spirit of Prophet Moses shines brightly, echoing his call for justice, liberation, and a promised land. Much like Prophet Moses led his people out of bondage towards a future of dignity, the Frontier Nagaland Territory movement seeks a similar path of self-respect, human dignity, and constitutional justice for the Eastern Naga people. This movement embodies a deep-rooted quest for constitutional spirit and constitutional empowerment, drawing parallels with the biblical journey of liberation and hope. The enduring resilience and unshakable commitment of the movement resonate with Moses’s timeless message of hope, perseverance, and the pursuit of a better future for all.

Also, deep within the Frontier Nagaland Territory movement, the teachings of Jesus Christ resonate profoundly in the actions and aspirations of the Eastern Naga people. Christ’s teachings of compassion, forgiveness, and love thy neighbour are intricately woven into the fabric of the movement’s pursuit of self-respect, human dignity, and constitutional justice through peaceful means. The Eastern Nagas exemplify Christ’s message of compassion and loving-kindness through their resilience and commitment to non-violence, embodying principles of peace, justice and solidarity as they forge a path towards reconciliation and unity in their quest for a more just, equitable, and harmonious future for all in the state of Nagaland.

In the Frontier Nagaland Territory Movement, the principles advocated by Swami Vivekananda for self-reliance and self-realisation are unmistakably evident. The movement’s ethos emphasises the empowerment of the Eastern Naga people to take charge of their own Constitutional destiny through Constitutional & legal means and methods, striving for self-sufficiency and asserting their inherent rights and capabilities. Much like Vivekananda’s call for individuals to awaken to their true potential and pursue their spiritual and material well-being, the movement embodies a spirit of self-assertion and Constitutional determination, inspiring its participants to chart their own course towards an ‘inclusive’ future of dignity and fulfilment.

Furthermore, the spirit of oneness, embodied by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, reverberates through the heart of this movement. Bose’s unwavering belief in the unity of all Indians, regardless of their background, finds a powerful echo in the aspirations of the Eastern Naga people. They seek not just a restoration of their Constitutional rights through the creation and rise of “Frontier Nagaland Territory” but also a sense of belonging and unity that transcends geographical boundaries. “Yes, we do exist in India. We may be invisible, but we do exist…” says each and every Eastern Naga-young and old.

The Eastern Naga people’s voluntary abstention from engaging in election-related activities and voting, observed on April 19th, 2024, during the Lok Sabha Election, 2024, stands out as a significant reflection of their dedication to democratic principles, non-violence, peace, and social justice within the legal framework of the nation. This action resonates deeply with the teachings and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Jesus Christ, Moses, Swami Vivekananda, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Reflecting upon Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha philosophy, they embrace non-violence as a fundamental pillar in their pursuit of justice and equality. Ambedkar’s vision of justice and equality is echoed powerfully in Eastern Nagas’ quest for constitutional justice, challenging entrenched systems of power and privilege. The teachings of Jesus Christ and Moses, which emphasise compassion, forgiveness, love thy neighbour, and justice, serve as enduring moral compasses, guiding their actions and decisions as they strive for equality and dignity. Vivekananda’s advocacy for self-reliance, self-realisation, and unity further reflects in their collective empowerment and efforts in building solidarity within the Frontier Nagaland Territory movement. Additionally, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s philosophy of nationalism and the spirit of oneness make their presence felt in their determination to assert their rights and carve a path toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

At the heart of the voluntary abstention lies a fundamental question of constitutional justice, representation and economic as well as political inclusivity in Nagaland’s democratic framework. For the residents of the six districts in Eastern Nagaland, the decision to abstain from voting was a symbolic assertion of their right to be heard and their demand for meaningful representation in the corridors of power. Moreover, the voluntary abstention serves as a stark reminder of the challenges that democracy has been facing in Nagaland. Despite being an integral part of the country’s democratic fabric, the Eastern Nagaland region continues to grapple with issues of governance and development that remain unresolved and often marginalised in the developmental discourse in the state. The voluntary abstention of the Eastern Naga people represents a manifestation of these simmering tensions and the urgent need for dialogue, reconciliation, and redressal. For the Eastern Nagas the decision to abstain from voting was not merely a political gesture but a reaffirmation of their historical grievances and aspiration for justice, equality and liberty- as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

Over the years key-figures have emerged and faded within the Frontier Nagaland movement however the essence, the spirit, the character, and the trajectory of the movement have remained steadfast. This resilience can be attributed to the fact that this movement was never leader-centric or organisation-centric; it has always been a common people’s movement-deeply rooted in the heart and conscience of Eastern Nagas. It is a movement driven by the forgotten and the voiceless, those who have silently endured the dictates of power structures in the state of Nagaland that have kept them economically backward, politically dependent, socially invisible, geographically distant, constitutionally marginalised and emotionally voiceless.

The Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) movement serves as a poignant reminder of the power of collective action inspired by the spirit of constitutionalism and the indomitable spirit of those people who, against all odds, have legally and constitutionally empowered themselves to challenge the prevailing status quo. Through legal, constitutional, democratic, and peaceful means and methods, they have tirelessly pursued Constitutional justice and sought to uphold the basic human dignity as guaranteed under the Constitution of India. This grassroots movement of Eastern Naga people embodies the transformative potential of unity, resilience, and unshakable commitment to justice and equality, showcasing the profound impact that a united front can have in challenging entrenched power structures, advocating for change, and fostering a society where every individual is treated with respect and afforded equal opportunities. The FNT movement stands evident to the enduring belief of Eastern Naga people in the principles of justice, equality, and democracy, inspiring countless individuals all over India to stand up and be counted in the quest for a more equitable society. It serves as a rallying cry for those who have been marginalised. The movement’s commitment to peaceful and constitutional methods through democratic process highlights the importance of upholding the rule of law and respecting the democratic institutions that form the bedrock of any free and fair society. Eastern Naga people can assert their rights and reclaim their rightful place within the broader framework of Indian democracy. The FNT movement serves as a beacon of hope for marginalised Eastern Naga communities, offering a path towards empowerment and justice.

Through their demand for Frontier Nagaland Territory-a Constitutional mechanism that recognises their genuine concerns and aspirations, the Eastern Naga people are advocating for a future where they can fully participate in and contribute to the social, political, and economic life of the state of Nagaland and the nation. In challenging the status quo and advocating for their rights, they are not only shaping their own destiny but also contributing to the global narrative of justice, equality and constitutional transformation. As the movement continues to gain momentum, it sends a powerful message to policymakers and society at large: that the voices of the marginalised cannot be ignored, and that true progress can only be achieved when all citizens are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness under the law.

The Frontier Nagaland Territory movement emerges as a grassroots endeavour commanding our collective attention, compassion, and steadfast backing. Upon introspection of its profound impact, we are prompted to acknowledge our individual responsibilities in sculpting a society that is truly inclusive, fair, and empathetic. The Eastern Naga community illuminates the path forward; it is incumbent upon us to stand in solidarity with them as we embark on this transformative voyage towards a future that is both luminous and equitable for every resident of the state of Nagaland.

Dr. Aniruddha Babar,

 Senior Faculty, Dept. Of Political Science, Tetso College

Director, Project Constitutional Justice, Tuensang.

By EMN Updated: Apr 27, 2024 12:04:31 am
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