Nagaland is fertile for political inconsistencies

Z. Lohe

When a manufacturer cannot market his product, the manufacturer will definitely loss interest and the better alternative is to stop the production of the material which cannot be marketed. In other words, when the consumers refuse to buy such product, it becomes a wastage for the manufacturer to make further investment on that particular item, and therefore the only option is to stop manufacturing the kind of unmarketable item. Similarly, even in politics, when a political ideology is adopted by a political party, it is expected to attract interest of the general public to that party. On the contrary, if that ideology fails to fetch dividend, that political party may have to set it aside and opt for more attractive alternative.


In the contemporary social, religious and political realm of the Nagas, falsehood has overwhelmed truth. Good majority of the Nagas do prefer to opt for falsehood. All those who uphold falsehood are neither ignorant nor uninformed lot but it is their decision to abet falsehood. In my analysis, the major reason that influences these people to stand by falsehood is no other than vested interest for which they do take advantage on the given situation with personal motives. The trademark of these people is cunningness. Such persons intend to make hay during sunshine. The other is, one who lacks altruism. The individual is so self-centred and totally bereft of common concern. Such person lacks gut to call spade a spade as timidity is his choicest cocoon. Such person prefers to remain neutral always. Today, this cluster of people are the major contributor to prevailing chaos in Naga world.


The worst is the elite section of Naga society of today. This section in Naga society is the most enlightened category and is considered the creamy layer of the society. In any progressive society, this stratum remains vibrant and is highly responsible for positive changes. People of this section do know the difference between good and evil and common man expect much from them, and yet today, the Naga elite section has no comment on good, evil, right and wrong. The elite section prefers to remain neutral as it does not dare to spell out the truth and get entailed in any controversy. In the dictionary of these people, the vocabularies-good or evil, false or truth and yes or no are not printed. Their considered wiser strategy is to remain mute spectator to any situation that crops up. Nonetheless, ultimately they are counted to be the abettors of all the devilish developments for the natural law that if one is not for good cause he is for bad cause. Two women followers of Dera sect were raped by its founding leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The rape victims believed the teachings and became followers of the self proclaimed Baba Rahim. In the same fashion, the believers of falsehood are mentally raped by the manufacturers of lies.


Those who uphold falsehood and lies are the consumers of the products so marketed by the manufacturers. Particularly, today in Nagaland there is no dearth of consumers of lies, concoct stories and falsehood. Nagaland is therefore most fertile for cultivation of lies as the market is viable.


The rules for kickboxing are much liberal for the player to use both hands and feet against the opponent. There can be hardly any punitive measure against a player who causes much harm to fellow player since one is permitted to use the tactics of boxing, wrestling, karate and judo. Politics is similar to that of kickboxing game. Therefore, it is futile to nurture old wound. And yet, the repeated political inconsistencies adopted and also made it appear in the media reminded me of the following specific instances of the past as few of which had immense impact on the social and political landscape of Nagaland and some of which will have similar effect on our society in future are now found fit for introspection which will do good to our society if taken positively.


1. The American Baptist leaders along with Quakers from Britain implored upon the Naga National political groups to reconcile. Particularly, the American Christian leaders invited the Naga political group leaders to have the reconciliation meet at Atlanta, USA in 1997. Had this meet been successful, such reconciliation would have been most respectable and carried much political bearings in the long run. Yet, the meet was forced to face the jolt due to absence of NSCN(IM). The is one of the most regrettable histories in the contemporary Naga politics as NSCN(IM) preferred to have exclusive dialogue with GOI at the cost of Naga unity. What NSCN(IM) did not want other NNPGs to be around in the periphery of dialogue may now give birth to a new dimension which is essential for sustainable coexistence.


2. In June 2002, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) published a booklet titled ‘The Bedrock of Naga Society’. The opening sentence runs as this: ‘The 16-Point Agreement of 1960 came about when the Nagas were going through the worst of times. But it was also one of the best things to have happened to the Naga people because it led to the birth of Statehood…’ We all know that 16-Point Memorandum is the mother of Art 371(A) and not otherwise. Immediately there were sharp reactions from several quarters and particularly former CM N. Rio, present MP paired with K. Therie, present President, NPCC who just left Congress, teamed with the erstwhile NPC and formed NPF and actively backed by NSCN(IM) followed by the rest of other political groups exploited the situation. The content of the booklet was exaggerated to the extent that Congress claimed that 16-Point Agreement was the final political settlement. Those who opposed the booklet even condemned 16-Point Agreement of 1960. With this the NPF managed to whip up people’s sentiment against Congress which led to the defeat of Congress party in Nagaland in 2003 elections. In 2003, 16-Point Agreement was therefore the anathema to those who condemned the booklet.


The local papers carried the speech of Rh. Raising, Convenor of Steering Committee of NSCN(IM) on 15.8.2017 in connection with the celebration of 71st Naga Independence Day. Quoting from the published speech ‘Jawaharlal Nehru had struck a bogus agreement called the 16-Point agreement in 1963 with a few Naga bureaucrats.’ Unquote. Again, just on 2.9.2017 the local papers published a lengthy statement of NSCN(IM) in which the ‘16-Point Draft’, I am sure it means 16-Point Memorandum of 1960, as the ‘inglorious document.’


Whereas, the irony is, as I found the 33-points, supposedly the agenda of NSCN(IM), from the widely circulated Whatsapp of which the number one demand is the “Extension of Art371(A) to all Naga inhabitant areas in India”. The Nagaland Page dated 24.8.2017 published the latest status of the dialogue of NSCN(IM) and GOI and I quote ‘Extension of Art 371(A) of the Constitution of India to other Naga inhabited areas and Pan-Naga are other two core issues settled’. Unquote. I do consider Nagaland Page’s news item has substantiated the Whatsapp circulation. A Naga of Nagaland will hardly bother if this special provision is to be enjoyed by fellow Nagas outside Nagaland as such will not infringe on the status of Nagas of Nagaland in any manner. My point of raising the repeated flip-flops is how inconsistent is NSCN(IM) in its policies on political principles. 15 years ago, most of the Congress candidates were defeated under the threat of AK-47 of NSCN(IM) in particular for lauding Art 371(A) in the booklet and now the inconsistency of NSCN(IM) is begging GOI to grant  the same article to them.


3. 20 years have now gone since NSCN(IM) and GOI have been negotiating. During these two decades, under the aegis of FNR, two unity agreements were signed, namely, Covenant on 13.6.2009 and Concordant on 26.8.2011 respectively amongst three groups- NSCN(IM), NSCN(U) and NNC/FGN(Non-Accordist). Unfortunately, though the accords blossomed it miserably failed to bear seed. When all hope to unite the political groups lost, of late, 6 NNPGs,


4 from disintegrated NNC/FGN and 2 from similar GPRN/NSCN responded to the mediation of NTC, and they now have a common platform called Working Group or Working Committee since October 2016.


Meanwhile, on 1.8.2017 Nagaland Page carried the comments of Chief Minister TR Zeliang on the ongoing process of dialogue. Quote. ‘The Chief Minister (TR Zeliang) said NSCN(IM) General Secretary Th. Muivah has agreed for an inclusive agreement and that Centre’s Interlocutor, RN Ravi has been asked to….bring other factions onboard…’. Unquote. The NSCN(IM) leadership might not be solely responsible for the failures of the first two reconciliatory accords, and yet had the leadership has similar open mind for each other’s company in the beginning of the dialogue, the present inconsistencies of farcical attempts and ultimate embarrassments would have been avoided. Refusing to accept other NNPGs as equals by NSCN(IM) and undermining them as subservient are the inconsistencies which have distanced other NNPGs from NSCN(IM).


Whereas, on 31st July, 2015, the Govt. of Nagaland organised a consultative meeting at Music Hall, Jotsoma to which tribal Hohos and public organisations along with elected representatives attended to approve 5 points NLA resolution as circulated by C&S of NLA. Resolution No. 5 runs “urge upon the Government of India to expedite the Naga political dialogue and to bring out a formula for an early resolution of the Naga political issue’. The resolution No.4 calling upon the Naga Nationalist groups to unite was ambiguous as the No. 5 has superimposed the former. As per No.5, when the ongoing dialogue reaches is logical conclusion, what does this consultative meeting believe is the better mechanism to bring the left out groups under such solution? By these resolutions, GOI was urged to expedite the process of solution out of the exclusive dialogue and accordingly the Framework agreement, the exclusive agreement was signed between NSCN(IM) and the Interlocutor. Indeed, this Framework had definitely isolated the rest of the nonparticipants and consequentially widened the gap between NSCN(IM) and the left out NNPGs.  And whereas, quoting the statement of the CM TR Zeliang in Nagaland Page dated 1.8.2017 ‘… 20 years of political negotiation between the Centre and the NSCN(IM) has come to a conclusion and that efforts are now being made to bring other militant factions on board the peace process to sign the final agreement’. ‘ … the State Govt. would pursue in earnest to bring all factions together so that the agreement becomes inclusive….’. Again quoting from Nagaland Page dated 31.8.2017, CM and MP N. Rio with colleagues called on the President of India and urged that Naga political issue be resolved before 2017 Christmas’. Within 30 days, two self contradictory opinions were circulated. Urging the NNPGs to unite by anyone is the most correct step. Yet, my question is how to reconcile between solution before Christmas and how to include the isolated NNPGs in that solution out of the ongoing dialogue? Are these leaders expecting the rest of NNPGs to unconditionally accept whatever arrangements being prepared by NSCN(IM)? As much as NSCN(IM) cannot be taken for granted that much other NNPGs should not be undermined. A representative speaking on behalf of a Govt. is expected to be creditable, realistic and sensible on such crucial issue lest it becomes harmful inconsistency.


4. The backlash of 1975 Shillong Accord was the massacre of thousands of Nagas. The principle reason for killing innocent Nagas was that the accord in question was signed within the Constitution of India. Any expected accord or accords in the present trend will definitely be within the ambit of Indian Constitution and not outside and beside it will be without integration and sovereignty. Therefore, how are we going to reconcile our past follies with our present realities? At any cost we have to avoid similar recurrence. If so, humility and confession must substitute the inconsistencies as arrogance, lies and concoctions.