IS INDIAN GOVERNMENT READY TO ACCEPT NAGA NATION?
HISTORICAL BACKGOUND OF NAGA POLITICAL NATIONALISM: The Nagas are the first settler in Naga ancestral homeland and we/Naga have been living as free nation until British colonization taking place in south East Asia. Nagas have been fighting to British and to the India and Burma for their illegal occupation of Nagalim. The Naga nationalism begin in 1 91 8 when 2000 Nagas as labor corps sent by British Government to France returned. They together with the British officials, formed the Naga Club in 1 91 8 providing the sociopolitical foundation for the Naga nationalist movement. The social legitimacy has been a part of the Naga struggle for unique history, political representation and dignity. Starting way back in 1918 by the Naga Club, the Naga ethnic movement was further entrenched in 1929 when the Club submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in which it stated that those from mainland India and the Nagas have nothing in common. The Naga Club was followed up by the Naga National Council (NNC) formed in 1946 by the charismatic leader A Z Phizo. We need to study what happened to Naga’s Freedom Declaration on 1 4 August 1 947 which was an undeniable fact? Why wouldn’t the UN recognize the Nagas independent Declaration even when it was said to have communicated via telegram?
NNC conducted plebiscite in 1951 where 99.9% voted for free Nagaland. The period of the 1950s, 1960s and the 1970s were turbulent periods in Naga inhabited area with insurgency and counterinsurgency resulting in civilian deaths. In 1964, a Nagaland Peace Mission was formed which signed a ceasefire with Phizo, only to last till 1968. In 1975, the Shillong Accord was signed in which the NNC agreed to give up arms and accept the Indian Constitution. Muivah and Swu, who were then NNC members revolted, and went on to form the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980 with S S Khaplang. In 1988, the NSCN split due to leadership differences into the NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (K). Then came NSCN (U) out of NSCN IM, and Likewise NSCN K split into NSCN KK & NSCN R in the recent past. At the end of the day, whether it is NSCN-K, NSCN-IM, NSCN-R, NSCN-KK etc they are Nagas, they are our people. Thus, the discourse of Naga’s political movement suggests that the Naga national movement had earned with blood, sweat and tears. And it was technically and forcefully fragmented and put them into the hands of many internal and external actors creating multiple stakeholders so that until all these slices are brought together, it cannot be put to shape. Thereby, I strongly advocate for reconciliation and shun factional clashes for money (taxes collection) and power (leadership). Listen to people’s voice and work together by leaving all differences aside in order to attain our goal. There are many professional experts in their own field of which collective leaderships is an example. They know exactly what is to be done. We ought to respect one another and support toward reconciliation for NPGs. Without peaceful solution and without unity of Nagas it will be fighting a losing war; and we must select the deserve candidate to lead our society.
When I was young, I heard that Naga Club was form on 1918 to protect Nagalim from British Empire and later on come Nation National Council and I was one of the hard-core supporters of NNC and I heard many story of Naga National Movement from my grandpa who was an active member of NNC but when I grew up, there are many version of the story which gives me better ideas to understand the Naga National Movement. I read many books on Naga issues and I find that Nagas are ‘nationalist and religious’ but factionalism is the main problem, and on the other hand, Indian are not honest in politics. However, recently Modi led NDA govt. are very much positive with NSCN IM for some reasons. When I was professionally trained in Law and Governance at APU, I remember one of the focal points that the road is the backbone of economic development and quality education is the powerhouse of social progress in the modern society and the pride of the state. We can reflect back to our National movement that the constant support of every citizen directly or indirectly to Naga leaders for every activity is very essential to come for final settlement, and using the power-house of the members in our society is the pride of the Naga Nation. The current burning issue in our Naga political scenario signifies our positions, and the demand for IPL by Meitei diverted to pass three bills which affect the Nagas tribal in Manipur in long term policy; because it is not surprising that the JCILPS has been able to dictate terms to the state government into accepting them: However, that may turn out to be the easier part. For the proposed legislation to become law, and if the hill areas are to be within its ambit, that will require the concurrence of the HAC which is unlikely to happen. The bill, if passed in the assembly, will have to go to the Governor and the Union where it will most probably be stuck. Thereby every concern citizens should understand that representative govt. is not always responsive govt. in our society. On the other hand, “Peace Accord” has signed on 3rd August 2015 between Indian and NSCN (IM) in New Delhi. Mr. Modi led NDA govt. foreign policy especially ‘Act East Policy’ has articulated his vision for transforming the Northeast and has attached priority to peace, security, connectivity and economic development in the region. The Peace Accord has with great finesse been termed by the govt. of India as Framework Agreement signed between NSCN(IM) and GOI which was hatched with the firm belief of the centre to end the oldest insurgency issue in the country and to restore peace and pave the way for prosperity in the North East, a step that’s bound to herald into a life of dignity, integrity and equity for the Nagas based on the uniqueness of the Naga people and their cultures and traditions, which can eventually lead to Naga Nation. We should think critically that the two demands are successful in different versions because working-together as a team is very essential to achieve some goal. But the question is – are we/Naga trust to collective leadership and Naga leaders as a team?
Support for the claim on Naga nationhood: Naga have every right to be independence nation based on the historical rights and the interest of the people. Naga sovereignty is neither given by India nor Burma but it always belong to Naga people. Naga Nation does not have to be all or nothing. There are many constitutional arrangements where high autonomy has allowed under Constitution, a nation to pursue many of its national goals while remaining part of a larger sovereign state. Scotland in UK is one good example of a people who have a strong sense of National identity, and enjoy a large measure of political independence while remaining part of Britain.
Naga Nation-states: A community of people who claim the right of self-determination based on a common ethnicity, history and culture might seek to establish sovereignty over a region, thus creating a nation-state. Such nations are sometimes recognized as autonomous areas rather than as fully sovereign, independent states.
Evidence from current negotiation: Centre prepared to accept 80% of NSCN (IM)’s demands for Naga solution: Parliamentary Working Committee (PWC). “Prime Minister is prepared to offer us 80 percent out of 100 and 20 percent for further negotiation,” Home Minister Y Patton told the House. He said both Prime Minister and Home Minister were serious about the Naga issue and wanted solution at the earliest even within few months. However, I heard that the recent ‘peace accord’ is just a framework; I can’t comment on it, because till date it’s not make public for some political reason, but I do believed in collective leaderships that they have learned from the Naga history and they will not betray to Naga people, Naga History and to almighty God. I suggest them to reach out, starting from shareholders to grassroots (village-level) by making the ‘peace accord public’ and to take initiative for reconciliation of all factions before they sign the ‘Final Peace Accord”. I wish them all, to have a successful talk on ‘Pan Naga Hoho’ and May God give a peace to all Naga people for once and all. On the other hand, I want to request other factions to give a chance to NSCN IM by stopping to spread false rumors and shun the violent in Naga Homeland. Let’s wait and watch for the greater interest of Naga society.
Support from Nagaland Government:
Nagaland Legislative Assembly members were very much positive toward peace and permanent solution for Naga people.
Nagaland CM ready to step down if acceptable & honorable solution is found
• Naga customary & land holding system will be respected by Centre
• Naga issue to be resolved by sharing of power between GoI and Naga people
– T R Zeliang, CM Nagaland
Support from Naga Hoho, NSF, NMA, UNC, ENPO etc and many civilians: They support the peace accord because Naga society deserves peace and Naga Nation; not because they are afraid of NSCN. Long live Nagalim.
There are some reasons Goi want to solve Naga issues:
1. Mr. Modi led NDA govt. foreign policy especially ‘Act East Policy’ has articulated his vision for transforming the Northeast and has attached priority to peace, security, connectivity and economic development in the region.
2. Once Naga issues is solve then they will wipes out other remaining insurgencies in North-East India. -Sources Indian Intelligence officer.
3. After few decade China will come to help Nagas indirectly or directly to encroach land in North-East part of India and treat to Indian security. –
4. NSCN and Naga National Movement were supported by civil society and intellects. Indian didn’t afraid of their weapons but GoI afraid of Naga scholars and Intellects who support to NSCN. And now they are working in their best level to solve Naga issue.
5. Some pressure comes from international organization and other countries to India for Human Right violation in J & K and North-East India. So, India want to solve Naga Issues in the earliest in order to avoid bad name in international community.
Note: Naga people know what we want better than anyone else; thereby, every solution should be based on Naga’s rights and Interests.
While agreeing with almost all the contentions on the talk between the two party this one thing still perturbs me ,before placing the framework of the peace accord why the consensus consultation of the nagas in general was not taken knowing that every single Naga is a stallholders to this peace process ,honestly this has created the shadow of doubt ,mistrust ,confusion ,anger in the minds of the people .our leaders should have taken in the confidence of the Naga people in general ,now look at what the GOI is doing, waving a white flag from one hand and flashing a sword on the other hand ,at this given situation what are we suppose to read ? It’s creating more apprehensions and mistrust; for once I wish from the bottom of my heart that this long drawn conflict ends on a positive outcome. Sometime what we are thinking can be difference from those people who are working in the political field, politically speaking. 1. Regarding your first point I think, it is clear from Naga civilians that we want complete sovereignty, and NSCN completely aware of what the Nagas want; before the signing of peace accord as a ‘Framework’ both the party (India and NSCN) has meet to various parties like, NLAs, Naga scholar Delhi, Naga Hoho, NMA, ENPO NSF etc. however, it is their political strategy for not making the peace accord publics in the first place. And I don’t want to criticized on their political strategy because we can’t say it is right or wrong when their policies is in the mid of political arena and there are many senior Naga scholars behind on it. As for my understanding, it should reach out starting from shareholders to grassroots level sooner or later through democratization process and transparence ways before they has sign final settlement. So that there will be less miscommunication and which can avoid misunderstanding between us.
2. I am completely aware of present Indian politics, her constitution, and internal security challenges; The Indian have a peace with NSCN IM and conflict with his brother NSCN K because defense minister has given full encharge to NIA and RAW for arresting the responsible faction to those who killed 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur, which was responsible by NSCN K. And GoI tries to differentiate the Naga issues and that attacking issues but in my eyes or for Nagas people, every one of them are Naga army. I think NSCN IM and Naga civil society should pressurized to GoI to stop playing dirty politics. I have receive a news from my friend that NSF has already submitted a memorandum on this issue to Ravi, Governor and PM of India, and the govt. has given positive respond. Thank to NSF executives for their great job (if it is true)
During the last 60 years, we have witnessed the Naga national movement
a “returning of nationalism” if not of “ethics” per se, at least the movement of a mode of
ethico-juridical reasoning which politically engages the difficult questions of
violence, factionalism and the sacred; terror and the law; life, death and sovereignty; loss and melancholia; or, as we can see in Naga Homeland, the political dilemmas of
truth, hope, justice, and reconciliation. I am wondering whether the emergence of these factionalisms and political criticism on peace accord and the turn to the ethico-juridical has something to do with the fact of our disjointed world experiencing in multi-taxation what for lack of a better policies; I should call politicos uncertainty regarding reconciliation. In such situation, NSCN could play a secondary role and Nagas peoples could play primary role for reconciliation and push to peace accord for the greater interest of Naga society. There are some rumors spread by some people who opposed the peace accord; rumors are spread by bad citizens and coward citizens, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots. Many civilians are in the stage of fear for the rumors at the point, “I/we fear, it might be another Hyderi or 9/16 points agreement” and there is a question, ‘if BJP led NDA lost it central power congress govt. Will never recognize Naga issue’? According to my understanding, they will make the accord public based on their political timeline in some form before they has signed the agreement. Actually they need not to hide it from anyone but in order to avoid disturbance from all angle, I think they are not making peace accord public for some time. On the other hand, whether Congress or BJP come to power but Naga right will not change and their policies for dealing internal security challenges is almost same but BJP are more straight-forward and tough when compared. Congress never belief in Naga History, and they refuse to talk to Nagas if their demand included sovereignty. I heard that Mr. Rahul Ganghi laugh when he heard that Nagas are demanding complete sovereignty and they never take it seriously; and all chief minister take a U-turn after Sonia Gandhi against the peace accord. One the other hand, yeah in peace-talk/negotiation for nagas they might be soft and friendly but their stand are clear that they will play delaying politics by pushing Indianization politics and divide and rule policy to Nagas. Thereby, since the BJP are looking for development and trying to sovle based on the historical right and the interest of Nagas there is a high chances to solve Naga issues under Modi led NDA govt. Nagas should not miss this chances and we should not waste the time by believing to false rumors which come from some selfish people. If we miss this opportunity then Nagas will spend another decade to reach to this stage. I am neither NSCN nor their supporter, we have our own problem but I really support from my heart for “peace and permanent settlement” for Naga people. We should study logically; how Naga problem started? What is the cause of factionalism and how to solve? Who are our enemies and our naga families? What is the affect of multiples-taxation and corruption in Naga society? Why the BJP govet. Interest to solve decade long insurgencies in south-East asia? Why the peace accord has sign and can it bring peace and development for Naga society? Why some Nagas are opposing to the peace accord? Is the Indian government ready to grand Naga Nation-State? We don’t have ready-made answers to such fundamental problem. However, theologico-political can help for reconciliation in Naga polity. ? In order to productively engage with these difficult questions, on ‘peace accord’ we have to take seriously on the present political scenario toward permanent peace and final solution and of itself and complete the critique of the reconciliation as myth and therefore of final settlement itself that started long ago. Thereby, Nagas should reason together to find the reasonable and permanent solution for one and all.
Note: it is just my opinion as a concern citizen.
Thanks and Regards
Kharingyo Henry Shimrah.
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