Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
Feelings, Trust and Reconciliation
The Global Naga mass rally was recently held at Delhi to demand immediate “political solution that is honourable and acceptable.” The rally organised by Naga Students Union Delhi in collaboration with Naga Community in Delhi saw thousands of Nagas coming together staging a peaceful rally. Having entered the 21st year of ‘peace talks,’ the rally was organised to pour out the emotions ‘accumulated’ over the years with the intent to let the whole world know about the Naga Political problem and the demand for an early political settlement. It was with the hope that the political solution will be based on its “historical facts and political legitimacy.” The immediate follow up to the rally, a press conference with the media fraternity was held at the Press Club of India in New Delhi which among other things also highlighted the concern that “Indian leaders lack political will to solve Naga issue.”
The peace talks between the Government of India (GOI) and the NSCN (IM) have witnessed 21 years of negotiations, and along with the Working Committee comprising 6 NNPG’s since November 2017 have not seen any tangible results. And for those who say that the ‘solution’ to the Naga political settlement is closer than never before, or the assumption that the Naga political issue is about to be concluded, the truth is that the dialogue towards a Naga political settlement has only begun. With the inclusion of the 6 NNPGs, the interlocutor to the Indo-Naga political talks, RN Ravi has stated that the “spectrum of Naga Political talks has now become larger.” This may even necessitate for ‘reframing’ the framework of the ‘Framework Agreement’ signed between GOI and NSCN (IM) so that the ‘contents’ (or principles of negotiation) to initiate an agreement can be worked out in the larger interest of the political solution being honourable and acceptable to all.
As a recap, in September 2017, a delegation of the Working Committee of the 6 NNPG’s went to Delhi to meet R.N. Ravi. In reciprocation he came to Nagaland for the second talk with the 6 NNPG’s and he was ‘elaborately’ welcomed by the Naga civil societies and tribal bodies. During his visit he did not mention any strict time frame but what he stated was that a solution cannot come before the 2018 State Assembly Elections but a solution should be reached before 2019 Indian General Election citing that a change in leadership may not change the entities but its character may change. The ‘solution’ didn’t happen before the 2018 State Assembly elections, and now the 2019 Indian general election is forthcoming, and ‘coincidentally’ R.N. Ravi is here again to brief the stakeholders, legislators, apex tribal bodies and civil society organisations regarding the Naga Peace process. Will it go beyond the rhetoric?
The talk about the Naga political solution that is ‘honourable and acceptable to all’ has not been free of rhetoric that one may wonder whether the finality is also pressed towards a ‘rhetorical solution.’ Beyond the rhetoric, the point of contention is – In whose honour and whose acceptance is the solution pursued? With the kind of ‘secrecy’ regarding the ‘contents’ of the ‘Framework Agreement’ one can only hope that a ‘final solution’ is not forced upon any one to accept the ‘contents’ as “honourable and acceptable to all.”
Coming to the issue of the lack of ‘political will’ on the part of Indian leaders to solve the Naga issue, Nagas also need to look at the home reality. That, at the heart of ‘Naga political solution’ lies the need for Naga reconciliation first, then solution. It finds shrouded in challenges and today reconciliation stands at a limit, at a threshold between the silence or absence of a collective voice of the Nagas. This has happened because of the lack of trust among the Nagas.
The trust deficit has become one of the central problems of Naga reconciliation. To address this problem of trust lies in first knowing, understanding and respecting each other’s genuine feeling which is essential to dismantle the ‘bordered differences.’
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)