Securing Naga’s societal value

Witoubou Newmai

We admit that we have been submerged in the discourse on the Naga political issue ad nauseam over several decades now. The discourses mostly, however, circle around ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’ perspective, and very little on the “Naga value or Naga-ness trivialising trend.”

Morally speaking, we continue to harp on the ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’ vocally but for our society’s happy indifference to this, “Naga value or Naga-ness trivialising trend,” we run the risk of contradicting ourselves. It is to point out vaguely that there has been a huge asymmetry between the ‘preaching’ and the ‘practice.’ We need to note that ‘preaching’ has become ‘fashionable’ and needs urgent retrospection.

The point, again, is about the saying that “basket strap should not be larger than the basket itself.” What for is the strap if it is not for the basket? We are not saying that the preponderance of ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’ talks are trivialising the Naga values. We are only saying that the need to talk about the ‘basket straps’ do not arise if there are no ‘baskets.’ In short, we need to give equal attention to what we need to value. What is ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’ sans the Naga values in the Naga society? Here, there should not be any semantic confusion. There is no doubt that ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’ is meant to have a safe space for our “values.” We are only raising a question whether our society’s attitude towards our “values” will still be alright with time and changing imperatives.

Here, we are harping something on the “societal security” as argued by many people. Many people define “societal security” in their own (different) ways. For Barry Buzan, “societal security” is “the sustainability, within conditions for evolution, of traditional patterns of language, culture and religious and national identity and custom.”

When it comes to this point of discussion, we are reminded of the comment given by Michael Sheehan. In his analytical survey that comes out in the form of book ‘International Security,’ Sheehan says that it is “perfectly possible for the state to remain secure in a military and political sense, and yet for a significant degree of subjective societal insecurity to exist.” He gives the example of the Iranians. According to him, “Iranians might feel that the Iranian state is secure, but that their Islamic values and belief system are under threat from the challenge of Western cultural imperialism”.

With this, it is time to have a probing examination on the chances of sustainability of the Naga values or Naga-ness in our present time or till the near future. To say the least, our “values” must complement with our discourse on ‘settlement’ or ‘solution’, and this needs to be accorded more than lip service. In other words, we need to renew our vows with our “values” by acknowledging what it must take to do so.