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Views & Reviews

The Indo-Naga Peace Talk Crisis

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By EMN Updated: Oct 23, 2019 9:32 pm
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In the Chinese language, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity. The Indo-Naga political peace talk scenario is similar to the concept of the word crisis. It is presenting both danger and opportunity. The Indo-Naga political issue is a protracted issue, because of the various nature of conflict it entails. For instance, the Nagas were never part of British India fully, but the British included them as a part of India, when they left India for good. Furthermore, the Naga political movement is not secessionism, because in 1929 Nagas declared to the Simon Commission that they will not be part of the Indian union when the British leave India. Besides that, on 14th August 1947 Nagas declared independence, a day prior to Indian Independence Day. But today Nagas have become hapless victims of the Indian political system.

If Nagas have to live according to the identity given by the colonizers, it would be a mistake for them to be so. Sadly for so many years, Nagas have lived by the tag given to us by the colonizers and politicians. We have lived savagely killing each other. We have lived like heathens, pretending as if there is no God. We have fought with each other like enemies, accenting to political whims, bowing down at the flow of money. Nevertheless, Nagas also lived to what they thought was right and noble in their own ways. They lived with dignity, taking pride in their cultural heritage, village politics and unique social systems.

Nagas have just started to live with each other, yet so much hurt has been done to each other in the name of living together. If this is the way we are going to live with the neighbouring countries someday, it would be unthinkable. There were times when Justice was meagre, forgiveness faked and we let the accused go unpunished. No wonder, we are perplexed by the absence of humanity.

Though the past hurts have wounded us so badly, we have not lost hope to open the wounds and say, “I am sorry and I am responsible for your loss.” The past accords and agreements have derided so many sacrifices and have buried alive so many lives. But we still have courage to give each other a chance to trust and embrace one another. We say in our hearts; enough is enough, no more taxation. How can I afford to live peaceably with the factions when I am forcefully asked to give? But we still give, knowing what they do is not just wrong but evil, but in our hearts we pray for their repentance. And who else is perfect. Who else is righteous and upright? Naga nationalism, be it NNC, NSCN or any group, none of them had establish their ideologies with the principles of Christ. All of them wanted to have “Nagaland for Christ” as the spiritual outlook, whereas none lived like Christ. Jesus never approved violence for any cause. How can we pray for peace when we are actually waging war among us?

At this juncture of our political history, the decision to choose our national identity and belongingness is so crucial. Yet, we could be carried away by the enormity and complexity of our historical past and reality. We must not forget about the past, but at the same time we cannot afford to live in the past. Enough condemnation has been made about extortions, fratricidal killings and turf wars. We have seen enough of NGO’s rising to do justice, but had fallen prey to greed and lust. We have witnessed doom and calamities befalling leaders and signatories, who had treacherously sold people’s mandate for a piece of morsel.

In crucial and severe times like this, many of us could stay indoors and wish death on extortionists and tax collectors. For some it is an opportunity to benefit self and justify it in the name of patriotism and nationalism. But what is patriotism when it does not have a price to pay. What is honour in serving one’s nation, when we cannot lose ourselves for peace and justice to come? Though freedom is not at hand, and sovereignty could be dissuaded anytime, the question of what next remains perennial.

What then? Can Nagas live separately? As provided in article 371A, culturally and religiously we have been living separately. But in reality, since 1947 we have been segregated because of the territorial demarcation that has divided and displaced us over several states. Many of us talk about unity, integration and oneness. But diversity is not bad if we manage it properly. Diversity is strength when unity is not forged.

Perhaps, the day when the British admit to the UN that they have made a mistake of including Nagas under India, then Nagas would live separate from India. The day India stops military aggression and pulls back all the military forces that are strategically located in Nagaland, Nagas would live separately. But for now, the issue seems to be, Can Nagas live peacefully with India?

Today, our demand for territorial integration is a far cry, because no political party would compromise the territorial integrity of India. Yet, we do not lose sight of living separate from India, but it appears that this reality is not happening soon. Thus, Nagas must live peaceably with the Indians. To live peaceably with India is what the GOI must negotiate. We can only appreciate and appraise the collective leadership of the NNC, NSCN and all other civil society leaders for taking the Naga cause this far. Their collective effort was never a failure. As for now, we must not shy away from demanding what we deserve and not forget the welfare of Nagas living in different states of India.

Villo Naleo
villonaleo@gmail.com

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By EMN Updated: Oct 23, 2019 9:32:17 pm