Death, Restoration and Life

One has read that there will be a special service for reconciliation, led by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation this Easter. This creates a mixed feeling of both happiness and sadness. Happiness because God is the best guide to pursue the correct path and, ultimately, we all fall back on Him in our times of desperation. Sadness because just a short while ago, the FNR was forced to issue an appeal to the various factional groups, and all other Naga leaders, to reconcile for the sake of the future of Naga people and coming generations. Such an appeal had come in the wake of renewed clashes and war of words between factional groups and inability to hold a meeting across the table at the highest levels of the factions. One is happy that all factions seemed to have adopted a more positive approach since then. One hopes and prays such attitude will continue till an acceptable and durable solution is found.   
What still troubles is the seemingly effortless violence that erupts in any part of Naga inhabited areas and especially among Nagas themselves. No Naga opposes Naga Nationalism or the high ideals that launched the Naga Movement. But today all Nagas want the violence to stop and for Naga Future to be insured, enabling at the same time, our younger generations an equal opportunity to take their place among other peoples. Violence and fratricidal killings make no sense of Naga Nationalism or Patriotism. Indeed, these defeat the very purpose and objectives of Naga Nationalism. For the sake of the future of Naga children, Naga leaders cannot fail.  I am not a “religious” person per se, but I do believe in God and in prayers. I also think that most Nagas have a profound connection with God in their lives. But that is not even the point in this case although the connection may well testify to the strength of the connection between the two! The point here is whether we are true to our stated beliefs. That, to me, is what Easter means. And it will also decide the rise or fall of the Naga people. Sure, the Nagas will have a lot to blame/castigate “India” and “India” has much to answer for – even more to herself than to the Nagas – but the time now is to leave that to God to pass judgement on India. The Naga role will be to ensure the future of the Naga people in the best way we know how.
Talking about the future of the Naga people, one of the areas Nagas must focus on is how to create/build a society that works and can actually survive! In this instance, the following is what I read in the February issue of Frontline magazine. I thought, in many ways, they reminded of Naga society at this stage.  

“Delusions are possessing you,
Already, ferocity and brute force
Are labeled strength and valour”

The above are taken from Luiz Vaz Camoes’ “The Lusiads” (Frontline, February 11, 2011). The author, Talmiz Ahmad, Indian diplomat and author, is the writer of the piece titled “Strategic Scenarios” (A reflection on the strategic situation in the greater Indian Ocean in the light of the diminishing US influence in the region). The piece is from a review of a book titled, “Monsoon” by Robert D Kaplan.
I found the piece very interesting and thought it ought to be shared. The originality of thinking of the reviewer of the book came across quite strongly. Secondly, I thought most Nagas will agree that the above quote, from The Lusiads, quite vividly depicts the Naga society we live in today! Naga pride today has been prostituted and taken down to its lowest possible interpretation of that word. For example, consider the following lyrics that have been passed on through mobile phones for, apparently, quite some time.

“Ami (name of tribe) ase
Tumi ki phutani kuri ase
Dath Sath girai di bo
Nath sath phulai di bo”

It came in the form of rap music and so many young Naga children found it so catchy. But just imagine a future Naga society with such kind of mentality!
Third, the book is about the greater Indian Ocean area – geographically from Oman to Indonesia, representing one third of the world’s population. This means North East India is placed bang in the middle of this geographical configuration. The region gains more importance in the backdrop of India’s Look East Policy.   
Because of the above reasons, I decided to `flag’ this piece and bring it to the notice of our people. I do not know how many of our people will either get hold of or actually ready the book mentioned here. But I do hope that as many as possible will be able to get hold of a copy or of the piece mentioned above and read the review.
At this time, when Nagas are so hopeful of a final settlement, our people need all kinds of perspectives. We may individually like each other or dislike, even intensely, one another, but it does not really matter. What matters is what happens to us as a people and how we build our people-hood.
We all know that no Naga thinks he/she is inferior to anyone else. This is freedom in the best sense of the word. This is a great position from where to begin to build a level playing field across the board and explains why only accepting each other as equals will actually work in the Naga situation.
Sometime ago, the NSCN-IM, while mourning the death of the first woman commander of a Naga Battalion, also noted that they were the first to appoint a woman commander of a battalion. They were right to be proud of this fact. The question now is whether they will also accept all the other factions on a level playing field and bring closer the possibility of a workable and durable settlement of the Naga Issue.