Tuesday, December 07, 2021

The sorry state of the Naga State

By EMN Updated: Dec 05, 2013 11:04 pm

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]f late, many enlightened views have been printed in the newspapers on the pros and cons of the 16-Point Agreement which we all by now have accepted led to the creation of the state of Nagaland.
The pros and cons of the 16-Point Agreement notwithstanding, it is also an undeniable fact that majority of the Nagas have indeed benefited from it. The point is, since we are now at the watershed of our history, do we denigrate this historic agreement? Or, do we go forward with whatever cards that have been dealt us?In this context, Charles Chasie wrote in The Naga Imbroglio the following:
“The creation of the State of Nagaland resulting from the 16-Point Agreement, marked the beginning of India’s decisive entry into Naga Politics and history. The new State represented Delhi’s policy to contain the Nagas’ militant and consistent rejection of India’s claim over our land.
“Those Nagas who cooperated with Delhi to create the State believed that it was the right course for our people, but they would be the first to accept that the manner in which the State was created caused deep resentment in those who had borne the brunt of the fighting in the jungles and villages. The latter felt that that they had been marginalized by fellow Nagas with the help of the Indian Army and their sacrifice taken advantage of.
“Dr Imkongliba was the first victim of the bitter backlash that followed. It was another tragic loss. Would it have been prevented if those who had established contact with Delhi slowed down the pace of events and helped Delhi too to be wiser?
“Former Nagaland Governor B.K. Nehru has said the creation of Nagaland was a mistake, referring to the hasty manner of its birth. Once the State was created its leaders had another opportunity. If they had used the generous resources from Delhi with integrity, self-limitation with vision, they would have won the people to make the State work for the good of all. This did not happen.
“The constant pressure under which they had to work with the people always wanting more of everything, should be recognised in considering the failure. A new situation has arisen today, following the peace talks at Atlanta under the aegis of the Baptist World Alliance, with Delhi’s offer of “unconditional talks” with the Nagas.
“This has clarified that the State is only an interim plan to administer Nagaland pending a final solution. It is now upto us to make the State work to serve the people. In doing this the Naga political case cannot be damaged or compromised.”
Charles Chasie’s book appeared thirteen years ago in 2000. But his views are even more relevant than ever today. So many things have happened since then and have succeeded in pouring more oil on burning waters. The list would require a few volumes with no end in sight.
As Charles Chasie continues in his book, “The Naga story is still unfolding. The issue is yet to be settled. Talks and offers of talks keep cropping up although few concrete steps have been followed in their wake. On the whole, the position of the Overground leaders with the State machinery and its economic power, in the face of increasing poverty and unemployment, keeps growing stronger.
“There are even instances of the Underground elements attempting to force State officials to get employment for their candidates! The Underground, on the other hand, holds Government departments to ransom with their demands for ‘taxes’. The Underground is also hopelessly divided into various opposing factions. This division, and their refusal to be inclusive and to accommodate each other in any proposed settlement, has become a very big hurdle towards finding a solution.
“Continuous violence has ripped the society apart while rampant extortions have killed any incentive towards laying economic foundations by entrepreneurs. And while the claim to being a people is proclaimed all the time, little or nothing has still been done towards building a people.
“Nkrumah’s fallacious theory of first seeking the political kingdom and all else following in its wake is often the inadequate explanation for social ills. What is clear, however, is that the vast majority of Naga people today are fed up with the violence that has torn society into so many groups.”
Its never too late in life to start building character, if the individual admits, he is indeed in need of one. Individuals make up a society, and in this, is the hope for Nagas to rebuild their destiny.
There is far too much weight attached to the hurdles of the 16-Point Agreement, by those who oppose it, and far too little accountability on what has been achieved for the people, despite it.
In other words, while the travesty of the 16-Point Agreement will at best remain a debate, the greater tragedy unfolding is far from debate. This is the real life experience, the sense of losing grip with the clear vision of Naga destiny that the fore runners of the Naga political identity had in mind.
If in the entity of a State, one which is almost cent percent funded by the Union of India, still leaves many wanting more and more, and less and less is being made out for the common man, dare we even imagine a situation when we have to totally generate our own revenue. There was a time when Nagas stood on the platform of the one being exploited …. now we infamously exploit each other.
Can this be a fault of the 16-Point Agreement? That our schools and hospitals, roads, public transport, water supply, the general quality of living is far below the national average also be a result of the 16-Point Agreement?
As remarked and observed by the author Charles Chasie, we have to make the Sate work for us. And making it work does ‘not damage or compromise’ the Naga political case. Not making the State work,does.
All differences and views notwithstanding, from this it follows that it is not only our leaders who are at fault or are to be blamed entirely for whatever ills that afflict our society.
It is often said that a people get the government they deserve, but in the case of Nagaland, one may dare add that, both the people and government deserve each other.
As the 35th US President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural speech early 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

By EMN Updated: Dec 05, 2013 11:04:53 pm