The Nagas in the south seem to be impressed, in general, by the ‘exploits’ of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh at the moment. If the Nagas in the south get carried away with the ‘charms’ that the Biren Singh government is exhibiting and start ignoring the limits of the ongoing bonhomie then it will definitely prove that the masses have missed the ‘core issue’ put across. If this is to be the situation then the kind of skewed jargon engaged by the Nagas in dealing with the Manipur government is going to cost the ‘movement’ in the south.
It is no exaggeration that most Nagas have failed to see beyond tags such as ‘communal government of Manipur’, ‘discrimination’ and ‘suppression’ hurled at the Manipur government by the Naga civil society. When Biren Singh starts addressing these ‘tags,’ the bonhomie between the Nagas and the Manipur government climaxes. The Naga failure to do a balancing act while treading on fine line can demolish the larger aspiration.
This is also an eye opener for the Nagas in the south that, inability to succeed in their indulgence in affairs with sufficiently attractive strategies beyond the clichéd rhetoric can cost the ‘movement’ much.
Nagas in the south engaging in cordial relations with the Meiteis and the Manipur government should be encouraged and appreciated. However, any tendency to compromise the ‘rights’ and the ‘principles’ of the Nagas should be checked by identifying and being cautious with the diverting roles. This is to suggest that Nagas in the south should start engaging in critical assessment of the unfurling trend in Manipur, and, at the same time, check that there is continuity in their endeavour to look for an answer to the ‘Naga question’. If need be, the ‘Naga question’ should be sharpened rather than over indulging in clichéd rhetoric. This will show a better way to proceed.
It is also no exaggeration to say that factors of electoral politics in Naga areas in the south have proliferated complexity. In that, the Nagas are facing a more uphill task today than ever before. With the district creation issue confronting the Nagas in the south, the United Naga Council (UNC) that is spearheading the ‘movement’ must demonstrate itself to be a responsible body fighting a benign cause if it has to remain relevant.
Since ‘talking terms’ have prevailed in Manipur it is high time for parties involved to sort out ways for diplomatic intervention so as to avoid any confrontation as was common during O Ibobi Singh’s tenure. Though the N Biren Singh government and the UNC are far from coming to the required comfortable level, and there are bigger chances of being overwhelmed by sectarian politics and vested interests, both the parties should realize that they have come thus far out of genuine concern. At least if this is realized for now, it is definitely the beginning of wisdom to respect each other’s position and situation.