Time to Assess Ourselves: WC, NNPG
In 1947, Mahatma Gandhi, at Bhangi Colony, Delhi, declared to the Naga delegation, “Nagas have every right to be independent…Nobody will stop you…I will go to the Naga hills personally before a single Naga is shot.” Consequently Nagas conducted plebiscite on May 16, 1951 and with 99.9% verdict and decided to self determine their future.
Fast forward, November 17, 2017, “The Government of India recognises the political and historical right of the Nagas to self determine their future in consonant with their distinct identity. The two entities agreed to work out the details of a relationship that is honourable, acceptable and an enduring peaceful co-existence with due regard to contemporary political realities.”
This is one historical document between GOI and Nagas which resonates the assertion and sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi and clearly evokes the spirit and essence of 16th May 1951 Naga plebiscite.
There are many Nagas who continue to indulge in pre-conceived notion that WC, NNPG is an agent or a tool of GOI. Let it be known that WC consist of remarkable Naga leaders from different Naga tribes and political entities, all with great patriotic dreams and visions inherited from the forefathers. WC leaders understand that Nagas cannot remain enslaved to the past. Lessons learnt from the past are sufficient. In the early decades, Indian military invasion and occupation brought much misery to our people. In the later decades Naga Leaders’ ego and pride wiped out a generation.
Seven Naga Political groups are together because Naga people desire unity. A divided people cannot build a nation. WC exists because it is the call of the Nagas. The future must be secured. There no ego problem, personal ambitions or desires among NNPG leaders either for present or post solution period. There is constant consultation on all major issues with Naga civil societies, Tribal Hohos, hereditary village elders, intellectuals, Church and peace mediators. All political matters are then thoroughly deliberated within the WC prior to talks. In a span of three years and 57 rounds of political dialogue, GOI and Nagas are on a threshold of a new beginning. WC, NNPGs believes, with an acceptable and honourable solution, a robust future lies ahead for our children.
It is said 90,000 unemployed youth are registered in Nagaland state alone. A baby born in 1997 is now an adult asking questions on his/her wretched social and economic condition. Who is responsible for this mess?
When a Naga from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh or Assam, after 22 years of political talk declares, “Nagaland will cease to exist and it will be replaced by people’s government of Nagalim” it is time for Nagaland tribes and inhabitants to wake up from slumber and pinch themselves if they are alive. It also means Nagaland tribes have grown weak, timid and weary from shouldering Naga national cause since the conflict began. The decades of serving and sharing their meals morning and night with Naga brethren from other Naga areas in the name of Naga cause is a thankless job.
WC, NNPGs have entrenched Naga Identity and political rights in Naga areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh where Nagas will be masters in their own lands till we achieve integration.
Today, Nagas should not be carried away by propagandas being churned out to confuse our people and to ensure demographic invasion of Nagaland. Without integration Nagaland cannot accommodate Naga brothers from other states. Those Nagaland inhabitants who think otherwise should demonstrate their generosity by demarcating one’s own fertile land first, subject to approval by own tribe, to be donated to landless brothers from other Naga areas.
Nagas have killed each other enough in the name of freedom. In the name of negotiation, for 22 years Nagas have faced much hardship including unlimited taxation and extortion. Apparently the issue of constitution and flag were raised only in the twenty first year of negotiation and the GOI is firm that these are issues which Nagas can pursue post solution. Naga tribes, GBs and civil societies have urged for an early solution, pleading contentious issues be kept for future democratic process. If this appeal of the Naga tribes goes unheard, it would mean the negotiation is not for the people and therefore Nagaland should be left undisturbed because It is unwise to play emotional, sentimental and patriotic card at all times, without tending to wailing and dying generations of Nagaland.