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For every problem there is a reason or a cause, this particular case is turning uglier and uglier day by day. Dissecting this problem part by part to find out what actually led to the current scenario is the need of the hour and to take a step back and address to it rather than showing teeth’s at every chance we get which of course is not going to take us anywhere.
1. Why did this issue start?
Nagaland, it’s not just another Indian state, its unique history is recognized even by the Indian Govt. It’s not a news that even the Constitution of India have provisioned a special status for Nagaland under Atricle 371(A). Naga’s land even before democracy came into existence had a customary and traditional governance which we can still see today.
The issue of reservation for women might had a different outcome had the Government of Nagaland instead of piggybacking on the notion of Indian Government reserving seats for women showed some courtesy or in this case the much needed step to approach the Tribal Hoho’s and consult with them regarding this issue.
Dialogue with the Tribal leaders was the missing ingredient overall, for those who thinks this is just about reservation, it is not. From the perspective of those opposing this is nothing but an unacceptable Indian law being introduced in Naga’s land and the response is no different than what we see today.
2. How can we move forward?
Nagaland Government instead of adding more fuel to the fire by extending the nomination filing date should take a step back and consult with the Tribal leaders and figure out a better way. Least the Nagaland Govt. forget that they are dealing with people who had a long bloody history with the world 2nd largest populated country in the world for over 60yrs and they are not going to take crap from anyone.
Though, this issue of reservation seems unrelated to Article 371(A) but here again we need to understand the nature of governance the Naga people have been under even before the controversial Government came into existence, it was strictly a “Man’s world”.
However, with the change of time, the Tribal leaders need to understand that Women participation has become the need of the hour, restricting the Women folk just to the four walls of the kitchen is not acceptable in this age, if we were to conduct a full fledge poll across all Naga Inhabitant area it won’t be a surprise if Majority supports this 33% reservation (just a small example from the poll taken here in TNB).
And this can be only achieved through dialogue and understanding not by showing our six packs.
3. The General Opinion
No doubt, Women reservation has seen a widespread support mainly because our women are capable enough to participate and because the people have understood the need of women in decision making roles, it now depends on how we execute it.
For many, “women are treated equal” and goes on to say “they can participate without any reservation”, true they can, no one is stopping them but judging the nature of governance we had since time immemorial, do we really think women participation will happen overnight without any push? They need some help and reservation is nothing but a helping hand.
Personally for me reservation is needed, not on the lines of practicing it forever nor implementing it forcefully but just as a helping hand for our women folk to step up, once this is achieved reservation can be abolished. But it depends on how our Government and the Tribal leaders execute it.
For many, “Women are not treated equal”, “Women have no rights to own property as per the customary law”, true as per our customary law when it comes to property inheritance and being part of decision make body our women folk are not treated equally. But realistically speaking there are women folk from Naga’s land who owns property, I personally know of them and you may too, that is change.
At the end of the day it all depends on our understanding, customary law states so but with the change of time we also need to change, whatever is no longer logical is better left aside and work towards paving a way for a more progressive society.
On a side note:
While we are squabbling over reservation, India and Myanmar are trying to divide Naga’s again behind our back, I assume they thought we won’t notice? Would really appreciate if our Tribal Leaders give equal importance to that as well and fight with the same amount of dedication we have seen lately, shall we?