Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Retd)
3rd Mile Thilixu Village, Dimapur
Sunday, August 12, 2018. Headlines in The Morung Express read. (Quote): NSCN (IM) meets NGBF; reiterates Naga ‘historical and political rights’. Thereafter, both Nagaland Post and The Morung Express carried a front page story that read “NSCN (IM) holds consultative meet with Lotha Hoho” (Sunday, September 09, 2018). The initiative taken by NSCN (IM) to consult and interact with NGBF, Lotha Hoho and other Tribal Hohos to infuse a better understanding about the historical and political right of the Nagas is perfectly acceptable as a step in the right direction. However, the only unproductive aspect in this endeavour lies in the limitation of the intent…to get ‘blind support’ for Framework Agreement. Further, consultation would normally entail placing one’s point of view on the table and then be equally obligated to patiently listen to the other side of the fence for their reaction to the given issue as well…in order to arrive at a common understanding. The very purpose of consultation gets defiled when the dominant party holding the guns, delivers long winded speeches for hours and then expect the participants to truly express themselves within a limited timeframe, can only produced unfiltered conclusion. The fear factor is bound to persistently suppress the gut feeling of truthful expression. The total exercise can only leads to achieving ‘blind irrational endorsement’ dictated by fear and give it an official looking mandate by virtue of having being present at the so-called consultation meeting. The bottom-line lands up to be a tiresome exercise of irrationality being repeated over and over again asking the stakeholders to blindly support an Agreement without knowing its contents. It completely disagrees with the very fabric of elementary logic or human ethics. An average concerned Naga is now reasonably equipped with the knowledge of our Naga political rights needing no repetition. The more relevant subject for NSCN (IM) to focus upon is to find it in their heart to bury the differences with their comrade-in-arm and realistically acknowledge the ground zero challenge: that Nagas have been confronting a stronger intelligent adversary for the past 72 years as a divided half-people with a divided half-brain. The Leaders within the NNPG fraternity are more selfishly concerned about their future ‘Personal National Status’ [(PNS)… a rather awkward sounding abbreviation as it may]…in the aftermath of a settlement without collectively attaining that Nationhood first. This is a case of incomparable clash of egos vying for the status of a “Father of a Nation” without a Nation. Our desperate circumstance calls for a collective, repeat ‘collective’ response. Period! The so-called ‘National principles’ have been violated by all Factions in one way or the other without exception and has only succeeded in dividing and weakening the cause of our people. The other reality that cannot be underwritten is the fact that the GoI is also conducting a parallel official negotiation with the other Six Working Group as well. One would presume that the GoI is not doing this for fun. The mother of all questions therefore is: who is going to ‘dhobi-mark’ the final settlement document? This question has been posed before without an answer and therefore is being repeated. NSCN (IM) needs to put into motion an almighty effort in the truest spirit of “Nagaland for Christ” and reconcile with all the other Factions to achieve the final goal…big or small…together as equals. This will eliminate the possibility of another bloodbath in the aftermath. The effort of befooling our people with half-truths should be terminated. At the end of the day the final settlement, if it ever happens in the near future, will definitely reveal the truth…good or bad…irrevocably. Therefore, even if NSCN (IM) tries to blindfold the people now and singlehandedly bring home their kind of “Sovereignty” perhaps in a diluted form not much better than that of Article 371A and that too without “Integration”…what will the political scenario look like in Nagaland? As has repeatedly been shared in my earlier articles…there will be unimaginable chaos within the Naga community.
Finally, Nagas must try and study the prevailing political scenario in the Mainland as pragmatically as is possible. The Framework Agreement has continuously been touted in the likeness of second coming of Christ that it is about to be signed and concluded within a month or a year…for so many years already. That it will be introduced in the Parliament during the Budget Session, then in the subsequent sessions…has simply been floated in the air to attract our attention that the end is near merely to strengthen and to exact blind support for a document that is shrouded in mystery. One could be wrong but an educated guess and gut feelings throw up a picture of premonition that even with their reasonable majority in the Lok Sabha, BJP will not dare finalise the controversial Indo-Naga issue before the oncoming Parliamentary election of 2019 for fear of electoral debacle, because this issue could put half the Nation in turmoil. One can’t also be certain of what might be the outcome after the election is over. A coalition government would perhaps be the most likely scenario which would normally be much too weak to boldly deal with our pot boiling issue that is bound to cause grave Law and Order situation in the North East. We could still be looking at an indefinite timeframe for all we know. Such is a possibility we cannot undermine casually. With a challenge as insurmountable as it appears…can not the Nagas look at the black clouds forming in the horizon that is unmistakably headed our way and for once in our lives leave our petty personal egos, our power mongering, money mongering craze aside…be it in the ‘Overground’ or the ‘Underground’ set up… and move forward as a proud honourable race that we once were…under one banner called UNITY? Nagas must rationally acknowledge the strength of our adversary very carefully. They can continue this cat and mouse game with us forever. For the Nagas we must candidly remember that the first generation that faced inhuman cruelty first hand has all passed away. The second generation that also directly experienced the tail end of that barbaric injustice is about nearing the finishing line. With corruption firming as our fundamental social foundry, the new generation being groomed within this foul environment may not hesitate to compromise everything for an ‘economic package’. Our forbearers will surely cringe in their graves.
This author therefore sincerely believes that our future can only be redeemed, for better or for worse, by standing together… until then he will remain a conscientious objector against those who have no courage to join the band wagon of unity.