Tackling division to move ahead together

Witoubou Newmai

Today’s Naga society is an enigmatic blend; as subtle and complex as our traditional embroidery. Fast emerging ‘regional assertions’ within the Naga society have become big concerns today which have encompassed the core issue.

As ‘regional assertions’ of the Nagas are getting more complex, proliferation of ‘regional blocks’ are noticed. The so called eastern, southern, western, northern and central Naga assertions, as they engage with their respective interests, have widened the gaps as they divide people into hardened groups. It has become a perfect configuration for adversaries to exploit while fomenting strife.

Again, we notice the emergence of ‘sub-regional assertions’ from within a group. These facts are, perhaps, serious admonitions entwined with the very assertions which we failed to recognize due to our obsession with the ‘present’ and the ‘immediate’. These ‘regional assertions’ perhaps prompt today’s Nagas within their respective premises to harbor the notion that ‘those Nagas are other Nagas’ (Oscar Wilde’s ‘Most people are other people’). The connotation of the whole “public pose is this—we are defending ourselves” (Noam Chomsky quote/unquote). This notion of the people enables sectarian/tribal politics to sustain.

If such constructions of tribal/sectarian politics have sustained today in Naga society, which also take the form of invoking mesmerizing power, then we need to urgently start tracing the root causes of the problem. There are likely to be multiple root causes for the unfurling trend in Naga society.

Unreasonable rigidity of any authority has a way of dispelling people or disrobing the sense of loyalty and belonging to the collective issue or collective people’s movement. Therefore, rigidity in absurdity of certain elements/organizations, as unbending in their morality as some of those incorrigible figures we see in certain failed movements, cannot escape from being held responsible for the present farce. This does not mean a license is granted to certain leaders or groups for ‘free downloading’ of irresponsible comments or acts as a way of responding to the trend.

On the remedial front, since we have come to such a difficult stage where ‘regional and sub-regional assertions’ within the Naga society itself have become polarized, an act of neutralization of this grim trend has to come from neutral groups/elements. But who is considered a neutral element/group when the notion of the ‘other Nagas’ has overwhelmed the society thus far?

Since there is no area left unaffected by these ‘regional and sub-regional assertions’ in the premises of Naga society, the hunt for an answer to the difficult question posed above has become quite a task confronting the collective Naga conscience. Even then, Naga society cannot afford to forego this arduous search for the answer.

One thing that is emerging from various interactions while searching for the answer is for hectic engagements in dialogues at the individual level or people-to-people level in an informal ambience. Adopting this as a basic framework of engagement in the collective Naga mind and seriously engaging with it, there is a higher chance of reversing the trend.