Unions for Individuals
Nagaland these days is a collection of hundreds of unions and associations that it has become impossible to keep track. A registry of all the unions and associations surely will result in a big volume disproportionate to the size of the state and the population. The traditional Naga society is but a collectivist society where the group takes precedence of the individual, but the sudden change brought about by the contact with other cultures along with Western Education and religion has the Naga feeling lost in this wide world. When Western Civilization came in the form of education and religion, the Nagas generally were only aware of the area between the Chindwin and the Brahmaputra and all the other lands if referred to were just legends in their oral traditions. The ever increasing number of unions/associations in the Naga society is just the defensive mechanism pushed by the tribal instincts. However unless this trend is stopped without waiting for its natural cycle to end Naga society may collapse due to the fragmentation into too many groups and factions. An average adult is already a member of 2-3 unions and associations in Nagaland. There is a group for the clan level, khel level, village level, region level and tribal level in our supposed social live. Next we have the sports associations directly linked to our social groups. Next comes the groups based on one’s actual profession. It does not end there, the other groups directly linked to the social groups with clan as the smallest still continues in the place of one’s residence. It has now even found its place in the educational institutes and campuses. To top it up the church in Nagaland is also segmented on similar lines. It is evident from the earlier works of the missionaries and the church records that the early missionaries tried to expand the church based on language. Nagas gradually divided the church purely on tribal lines. The Indo-Naga issue that resulted in untold sufferings for the people at the hands of the security forces and also to some extend from the Nationalists can be attributed as one major reason. The insecurities that the people have results in the so many groups that an individual can identify with and feel more secure and at the same time be beneficial. However in recent years the contact with the western world and its ideas, there are now groups that seem to have been formed for the benefit of certain individual’s agenda only. Whether it is for the benefit of someone in politics or it might also be a proxy body for a political party, such are dangerous trends. It is also alleged that some of the associations and unions have become just the platforms for some ambitious individuals to rise up the ladder of politics. But the biggest of all paradoxes is that the Nagas who believe in collectivism and has always survived as a group, suddenly has groups that talks about individualistic ideas. Less-informed individuals who got the very platform based on our traditional lines, also indirectly empowered by Article 371(A) have started to utter too much of individualism. Can the Naga system prevail over such newer ideas that the actors themselves are not aware of? A rethinking is required especially from the intelligentsia because the only road that this will lead is damage so dear for our Naga values to survive.