Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
The ‘resurgence’ of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) as seen through their public statement has once again brought to fore the need for Naga Reconciliation. Besides the positive increase in members, the ‘resurgence’ comes with an ‘acknowledgement’ of the limitations of the FNR process and also seeking ‘apology’ from the public.
Nonetheless, the circumstances under which FNR submits its limitations and apology, needs to be read between the lines because it seems to give a message on certain ‘missing linkages’ thereby bringing the process of reconciliation to a halt.
The non-implementation of the ‘Naga Concordant’ and the ‘Lenten Agreement’ as a ‘limitation’ of the FNR is taken as the resultant effect of the present Naga political crisis. But the limitation is that FNR stands at a ‘limit’ – at a threshold between the silence or absence of a collective voice of the Naga people, and the divisions among the Naga Political Groups in various political tones.
Further, FNR apologises for their inability to communicate, engage and keep the public informed in a consistent, accountable and transparent manner, but the ‘difficult situations’ seem to have compelled the FNR to go into silent mode. And this ‘forced silence’ was misunderstood because it was seen as a failure of FNR.
Now, paving the way for a ‘renewed’ process of reconciliation, besides other serious considerations, especially trust deficit, hampering reconciliation, the “Naga Concordant” and the “Lenten Agreement”, lies at the core of recreating a strengthened process of Naga Reconciliation.
While the ‘Naga Concordant’ resolved in principle to work towards the formation of one Naga National Government, the ‘Lenten Agreement’ called for the maintenance of status quo and to be open to other Naga groups. As such, considering the present political stalemate, these two agreements can be taken as the point of references for strengthening the path of Naga reconciliation. If only the agreements had been respected, the present stalemate may not have happened.
The Framework Agreement signed between NSCN (IM) and the GOI seems to be at a crucial stage and now that the interlocutor has invited the Working Group of the 6 NNPGs, it seems to be on its next course of action towards ‘concretising’ an agreement to the Naga issue. Contextually, within the current political developments, the need for political reconciliation becomes more significant. That, besides other intricacies, there is need for pushing forward the two agreements. Though its significance and status, both ‘form’ and ‘content,’ will depend on how the people and the Naga Political Groups respond, it has opened a ‘leeway’ for FNR to play a more pro-active role as a facilitator in bringing the groups together.
At the present juncture, there is need for a renewal of these two agreements, but through a trusted and communicative dialogue with all the stakeholders on board. And talking about the status quo let it be reminded that even Moses came down from Mt. Sinai to reach out to the people. A process of reconciliation towards a journey of common hope cannot be charted from the mountain top. It requires all the Naga Political Groups to ‘come together.’
The FNR has started a process of resurgence though standing at a ‘limit threshold.’ As such the parameters of reconciliation need to be broadened in its scope by going beyond the political confines of reconciliation. Looking at the various forms of ‘isms’ plaguing Naga society today, it is crucial for the Naga churches, the Naga tribes, civil society organisations and the public at large to seriously ponder on the damaging effects caused by the many forms of ‘isms.’ Seriously, it is much more than tribalism alone.
Well, coming to the statement of the FNR, an overview suggests that it suffers from a lack of concrete way forward measures in the process of reconciliation. But this can be expected from a forum that is in resurgence mode and also the fact that reconciliation has become a difficult concept.
Thus, in reworking the process of reconciliation, the very foundation of reconciliation needs to be strengthened by envisaging a form of reconciliation that has a clear purpose. Drawing a clear purpose first requires rebuilding trust in order to bring out a collective Naga voice.
The limit will exist so long as trust deficit exists among the various cross-sections of Nagas. It is in this context that the success or failure of ‘Naga Concordant’ and ‘Lenten Agreement’ rests. Considering the significance it holds in furthering the Naga political destiny and though ‘conditioned’ by certain limits, a renewal is much desirable. However, it should not be a blind one.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to email@example.com)