The wrath of indifference
Khekiye K. Sema
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]t long last the Naga Hoho seems to have woken up after these many years of hibernation. Seeing the total fragmentation strewn all around us, the call for unity amongst the NPGs, without taking sides, was an effort that was imperative from the inception. Late as it is, the Naga Hoho deserves a pat on the back for finally coming out openly with the call for unity. This is a time for all the Apex bodies within Nagaland and without, to make a concerted noise to wake up the NPGs from their self-centred slumber and consider the magnitude of the task in hand for a change. 60 years is a long time for any people to be wandering in the wilderness without any sense of direction…but that is exactly what we have done thus far. At the core of their endeavour, their vision seems to have been critically impaired by self seeking priorities and greed as the sole agenda in the hearts of all the NPGs and indeed the NGO alike. Sovereignty has been reduced only to an eyewash for public consumption and everything else under the guise of it has been an effort of self-perpetuation laced with extreme egocentric considerations. The lofty proclamation of “Nagaland for Christ” is in fact the undoing of the Nagas because of our routine acts of blasphemy.Even as nominal Christians one fails to comprehend how one would be able to invoke God’s blessings with acts like this: “ Mr. A, you are hereby ‘requested’ to pay Rs.5,00,000/- failing which you will have to face the consequence”. The official stamp on the demand request note reads: “Nagaland for Christ, NSCN/GPRN”. A brother-in- arms is butcher without a second thought to protect this revenue turf in the name of Christ. The NPGs have thus far enjoyed the wrath of The Almighty and the people along with them. The long road travelled so far has borne no result of achievement worth the noting other than the exemplified personal lust, greed and gigantic EGOS. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years searching for the promised land of milk and honey, forsaking their God with their selfish and wicked ways. The Nagas have done nothing different…if not more glaringly negative. We take the name of God in vain just to look good in the eyes of man while doing everything that put God to shame by our every actions..and yet expect a blessing? We have harvested and will continue to harvest the curse of God for another century if we propose to continue on the same blasphemous course. No one wants this for sure and yet it will happen if we do not make a concerted effort to change our ways of indifference. There is no logic in challenging God every waking moment of our lives and yet expect His good will to befall us. God’s presence will never be found in disunity. This much I am sure. Therefore, no matter how many times, how many days, weeks, months and years we spend fasting and praying, it is difficult even for mortals such as us, to believe that God will answer our prayers…for the simple reason that we have no intention to let go our acts of blasphemy. It is time to candidly place the consequences of our misdemeanours on the table and recognize the brutal ugliness of our craft.
1. It is not just a simple matter of accusation against the NPGs that Sovereignty is being used as a camouflage to amass personal gains from the sweat of the citizens… by cultivating FEAR as a deadly weapon against the people for whom sovereignty is being fought…supposedly so. There has been arguments in some sectors that there are some within the NPGs who were already reasonably wealthy before joining the national movement. True as this statement may be, one would find it rather hard pressed to be able to complete counting the God given fingers to account for such a reality. The NPGs must understand from within their innermost core that their present day comfort zone of basking in the indifference of the masses will not remain forever. A time will definitely come for ACCOUNTABILITY… when the people will wake up in force and assess how their tax has been utilised all these years for the so called freedom struggle. Understand that the masses are clearly aware of the magnitude of this cancer. The movable and immovable property holdings of each and everyone in the NPG is known to the masses. It would not be a difficult proposition to conclude that this struggle has been nothing more than a struggle for self perpetuation within their fold. Thus, when the personal property holdings of each of the NPGs become a sharp focus with ground reality data compiled and displayed in the public domain…sovereignty…would be forced to take a back seat, preceded by a civil war. It would be a fatal mistake for the NPGs to presume that the masses will remain indifferent forever. Take a very careful reading of the undercurrent simmering dissatisfaction of the masses rising to the surface in the recent destiny driven events. Consider it as a forewarning of the tsunami in the making somewhere up ahead. But before this happens, the pragmatic option of UNITY amongst the NPGs must urgently be prioritised and adopted. The present reality status of “self before the national service” must find a conversion to “National service before self”… for all our sakes lest we be condemned to wander in the wilderness for another 100 years. This writer has attempted to candidly reflect some uncomfortable home truth in the past that God will never grant time extension to our NPG leaders to complete the unfinished home work. Each one will depart as God destined it. Therefore, it makes all the more relevant a sense for the NPG leaders to consider the issue of ‘unity’ very pointedly, shedding their individual priorities and egos. However much motivated the younger generation may be, there is a marked reality difference. The bitter excruciating experiences faced by the older generations still run determinedly in their blood when confronted with their nemeses, which would be absent in the lives of the younger generations. This factor could determine a lesser outcome of the struggle in the end. It is imperative therefore, that the present NPG elders, driven by the past reality should script the final chapter of the Naga history through a united effort backed by the masses while time is still afforded to them. The ‘divide and rule’ policy perpetuated by the Government of India has splendidly worked wonders within our ranks thus far and so, India will positively be apprehensive of such a development. What we must understand without doubt is that the Government of India is an institution that will continue to exist as long as there are Indians still alive in this planet and so time is of no consequence in as far as they are concerned. The same yardstick does not apply in the case of the Nagas. Once the elder generations pass away, they presume that the fire in the belly of the Nagas will die out with them and the new Nagas generation would easily succumb to an economic package settlement within the Union. All indicators point to this conclusion from their side and therefore they have literally been stalling for time and have played with the lives of the Nagas for the past 60 years like a cat amusing itself with a rat before the kill. And the Nagas have willingly played this game with our indifference and our corruption. How much longer must this game go on? For all practical purpose, FNR has offered an honourable platform for unity through reconciliation. No one looses face. The concept of trying to have each and every Faction join this reconciliation move is the best that can happen. However there should be a secondary consideration of as many NPGs as are willing to reconcile must forge ahead and do so. Others would eventually see the light and join the mainstream. It should abundantly be clear to the NPG leaders by now that all of Nagaland and beyond wills it…that you UNITE! …UNITE! …UNITE!!!! It is no longer your personal preference but a demand in order to complete the task at hand with mass support! Each Factions continue to bemuse themselves with a false notion that they have the mandate of the Naga people. The only organization that could have claimed this true mandate of the people was the NNC/FGN…but with their Shillong Accord suicide, the National foundry had been shaken into oblivion. No matter what the argument, as long as Madam Adino continues to lead the Accordist Faction of the Shillong Accord, the fire of betrayal remains burning bright as a living witness, even if there are those within the NNC/FGN who condemn this accord and stand as Non-Accordists. One can’t just appreciate or understand the logic of Madam Adino claiming that Shillong Accore ‘did not happen’ and yet lead the Shillong Accordist Faction. Who is she trying to fool other than herself!? It’s time for Madam Adino to pack up her bags for the sake of the greater good of the Nagas and let the unfortunate human error be buried gracefully. Once Shillong Accord is officially out of the way, all the NPGs could perhaps regroup under the “mandated fold” once more and reclaim its past legitimate status as a United House as it once used to be. As of now, the claims of people’s mandate being professed by all the Factions afloat, can more better be defined as a mandate of fear endorsement, not comparable to the 1951 Plebiscite. However, whether it is under the NNC/FGN flag or not, that the NPGs must unite is a foregone conclusion. The FNR’s honourable platform of unity through reconciliation is preferably the best option. It is only then that the NPGs will be able to transparently share the information of the progress of the negotiation with the people who still are unaware of their fate. This blindfold must be removed once for all.
2. The slogan of ACAUT: “One Tax, One National Government” is the second option for the unity of all the NPGs which is more difficult a proposition and a less pleasant road to travel…but achievable, once the message reaches the masses. The winds of change has well and truly begun…propelled by circumstances of unreasonable, intolerable unabated taxation of the people. The artificial price rise induced by the greed of all the factions has adversely impacted upon the cost of living of each and every households in Nagaland across the board as a result of it. Fear has been the key factor which has worked in favour of the factions thus far but when the future of our children continues to be compromised, fear will ultimately lose its potency. The people have begun to show signs of courage to stand up against unreasonable taxation and amoral behaviours of the NPGs…and this phenomena is bound to increase as the days go by for the simple fact that the NPGs have no desire to alter their ways. The oft repeated accusation of ACAUT working under a hidden agenda is pure bunkum. It is an elementary human nature to want to survive and survive as comfortably as is possible just as much as the NPGs do. When this opportunity is being denied through indiscriminate taxation that drains everyone’s sustenance capabilities, rebellion will be a natural outcome. This is what is happening. The NPGs still do not seem to notice it. The Good Lord seems to have plucked out wisdom portion from the brains of the NPGs and only left behind the reckless nature of human greed. Well, the times ahead is froth with unnecessary confrontations if the NPGs do not do a serious rethink and lock up their fire breathing dragons. The slogan of “one tax, one National Government” is not to weaken the national movement but to strengthen it. It is not anti-national…it is pro-national. The NPGs can only see the picture through their prism of greed and self-seeking nature and therefore consider such a movement of ACAUT as a threat to their ‘comfort zone’ which they define as ‘national interest’. Asking the NPGs to unite is not Anti-National. In a reverse order, refusing to unite for their selfish motives is positively treasonous and Anti-National …even if they hold the guns in their hands to prove it otherwise. History will define it so. At the end of the day, no movement can survive without financial stability. In order to survive therefore, Factions will have no option but to unite and earn the benefit of a stable resource base that the masses have assured them if united and most important of all earn the mass support for the movement. No greater strength can be accrued beyond this. If at all this is the hidden agenda of ACAUT…to strengthen the hands of the factions into one united house for a more believable concerted NNM.
3. Despite repeated sounding of the danger concerning Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants (IBI) rapidly changing the demographic scenario of the State, the Government of Nagaland has been sleeping over this issue as if it is someone else’s problem. These political animals can only see IBIs as a proxy vote bank during their elections and the GBs can only see the IBIs as their bank account. Together, they are focused on a short term benefits, at the cost of a long term disaster in the making. To compound the already complex situation, the NPGs have perpetuated the IBIs as their tax collectors and revenue generators through syndicates, the majority of which are operated by the IBIs. From all understanding, the New Market of Dimapur and a good many other markets are under the complete control of the IBIs’ business network. They are beginning to have a strangle hold on our economic well being. They have reached a level of confidence through the tacit backing of the NPGs, so much so that they now dare to even participate in the murder of the Nagas as recent incident have shown. This is perhaps the most disgusting picture of the NPGs structuring a cancerous cell within our Naga community that had never existed before. Today we enjoy the comforts of the services being rendered by the optionless IBIs. Tomorrow they will enjoy the comforts of the services rendered by the optionless Nagas. Our children, the younger generations are the ones who will bear the burden of the folly being committed by the unscrupulous generation of today. In order to stem the tide we must assess this reality with utmost concern. As has often times been reflected, the State Government has proven over and over that it is as good as eunuchs in a corrupt harem unable to stand up. On the other hand, if all the NPGs stand together at least on this one issue and serve quit Nagaland notice to all the IBIs in Nagaland or face the consequence, just as they serve demand notes to the people, it would definitely have a prompt desired impact. This is the only remedy that is visible provided there is a political will within the NPGs to do so. No one, not even the IBIs, would want to stop breathing for good…everyone can be sure of this. Therefore, sacrificing a percentage of that national pocket money, it would be in the fitness of things if the NPGs take the responsibility of cleaning up the illegal immigrant mess. It would be a yeomen service to the future naga generations to come. Many believe that such a status reversal of a master becoming a servant to his present servant in the future is a farfetched dream and yet the trend towards that end has already begun. Are we not already paying the syndicate price in the market place? Tomorrow we will pay the price on a political platform. If we the Nagas are contend with this scenario, I certainly am not a prophet of doom but God help our younger generation.
We might just as well brace ourselves for the wrath of our indifference that will hit us squarely in the face in the days ahead.