Sunday, September 25, 2022

The 58th Naga Peace Day: Remembering Jaya Prakash Narayan

By EMN Updated: Sep 05, 2022 11:02 pm

On the 58th year of Peace Day, the JD(U) fondly honour and recall  the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council’s  (NBCC) initiative for Constituting the Peace Mission and reposing faith on our party’s mentor Jaya Prakash Narayan who is loving called as JP. Our party reiterates its commitment to contributing towards lasting peace in Nagaland.

The JDU party is built on the foundation of the supreme sacrifices made by its leaders and is proud that its leaders played a prominent role in the struggle against the dictatorship during the JP movement which resulted in the withdrawal of Emergency. Hence, the JD(U) claims the rightful legacy of Jaya Prakash Narayan.

JP was one of the first leaders in India to argue about a civilisational unity in India which preceded its political unity. JP travelled to remote parts of Nagaland  and interacted with Nagas and made efforts to forge Peace in Nagaland and showed incredible comprehension and  empathy about the history and origin of theNagas.  He gained the confidence of the common people and the Naga Baptist Church Council but sadly certain leaders let him down.

The peace mission was formed by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council. Taking help from the representatives / leaders of the Church, federal Naga leaders, the state Government and the Union Government, the Peace Mission achieved a breakthrough for the first time to a certain extent. During one of his trips to Nagaland in 1966, JP remembered with gratitude the wholehearted support declared by the liaison committee of the NBCC and believed that the peace proposals put forward by the Peace Mission was the only possible approach to a peaceful settlement.

JP was very modest and was on record to have stated that “It was because of the Church leaders that ceasefire agreement was signed and for the Peace that reigned over Nagaland then, more than the Peace Mission, it was the NBCC  to which people should be beholden”. JP believed that peaceful settlement is impossible so long as both sides of the dispute are not prepared for give and take.

Jayaprakash simplified the complex issues and tirelessly worked for a solution that could preserve the Sovereignty of the Nagas as well as the preserve the Integrity of India which were the main points of contention. JP enjoyed so much trust of the NBCC that he was made one of the 3 members of the Peace Mission which was constituted by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council.

At a time when both sides were  engaged in negotiations at multiple levels which are in advanced stages, the JD(U) appreciates the political parties of all shades of ideological divide that are engaged in talks for a negotiated settlement for lasting peace. Our party also wants to congratulate the different civil societies and students’ bodies who are sincerely striving towards bringing long lasting peace by giving  its cooperation for the peace talks.

During the last one hundred years of the Naga Political Movement, Nagaland has seen enough of bloodshed…

We want to add a word of caution to the ruling party at the Centre, the State Overground and Underground Naga leadership, all political parties and civil society organisations that they not only should desist from putting spanner in the works but also should do nothing to derail the ongoing talks between the GOI and the Naga Underground Groups. Everyone must understand that these  negotiations are delicate and sensitive in nature. And no one should say anything which would in any way affect these talks.

It may be recalled that the Peace Mission of Shri JP Narayan, Michael Scott and BP Chaliha accepted the claim of the Nagas that “the Nagas have not surrendered their Sovereignty to anyone” and also the claim of the Government of India that “Nagaland as a part of India has historical justification as it is undeniable that when British Govt handed over power to India, Nagaland was a part of the Indian territory.”

Unfortunately JP  had to resign from Peace Mission because of differences with certain leaders. But even after that JP who was a strong votary of Co-operative Federalism on the one hand tried to convince the Government of India that “India is a voluntary and indissoluble union of states, and the sovereignty that resides with the Indian people is divided between union and the states by mutual agreement and for mutual benefit. All parts are equal and that states are not colonies or slaves of the union”.

Forsuch principle, JP  tried to prevail upon the Naga people that they may on their own volition share a part of their sovereignty with the Indian Union for mutual benefit, retaining the rest of the sovereignty themselves. By doing so, JP was of the thought thathe Nagas would not in any way lose their sovereignty or become a colony or slave of anyone. They would continue to be sovereign people along with their Indian brethren.  He was of the opinion that some part of the Sovereignty  should be shared and in that manner should be settled across the table during negotiations between the Federal Governmentof Nagaland (FGN)and the GOI during talks that was going on.

In the context of solution to the points of contention for peace in Nagaland, JP asked Nagas to take a leaf from the British nation which has at least 3 sub-nations namely English, Scottish and Welsh. And the British Constitution gave to the Scottish and Welsh national minorities certain rights and guarantees. For it was JP’s belief that a Sovereign State of Nagaland outside the Indian Union was unthinkable for India, but a Sovereign State of Nagaland becoming a member of the Indian Union was practicable and negotiable.

On the question Right to self-determination, JP was of the opinion that it was not an unlimited right. Because, if the right of self-determination was enforced indiscriminately, very few modern nations would remain whole; it would end in general dismemberment and world disorder. And that International laws itself recognised these limitations. In this regard, JP’s humble advise to the Nagas and the GOI was that each side must take into sympathetic consideration the difficulties of the other.

In the light of the above, while urging the Union Government to do all that it can to solve the Indo-Naga imbroglio by honouring all its successive commitments made to the Naga people, the JDU also appeal to the Negotiating Groups of the Nagasto show maturity and large heartedness  in understanding the ground realities so that a long lasting peace could be found . That would be a great tribute to Jaya Prakash Narayan and will also allow to rest in peace the souls of Naga Martyrs who has laid down their lives for the cause of Naga sovereignty.

Aneel Hedge,

Hon’ble Member of Parliament,

Rajya Sabha.

By EMN Updated: Sep 05, 2022 11:02:26 pm