The fallout of the bandh

Tali Longkumer (IAS rtd)


Having completed the first stage of Ho Ho of celebration on the new ministry, consisting of Old Wine in new bottles, we are now on to the next stage of Bo Bo of reactions emitting out from different quarters on the performance of the new team manned by old hands. There is a favorite word in Hindi called ‘Chaltahai’. Yes, no matter what may, it will go on. Now all eyes are on Dr. Shürhozelie who has promised that he will work to bring normalcy to the State. Normalcy would mean setting the house in order by disposing off the long pending unsolved issues of public interest. Yes, he is a new hand but then he will be handling issues that will not be new to him. With his seasoned experience both in political and administrative fields and his exposure to public life for years, will hopefully come very handy while dealing with the vexed affairs of the State. It is prayed that he will fully make use of his front door approaches but not otherwise while elbowing through the rough roads ahead. Now coming to the issues on fallout of the recent Bandh, I would like to make few observations. The writer on the recent article on ‘The Genesis and Nemesis….’ has raised few thought provoking and soul searching issues that needs to be examined impartially and sincerely. Admitted, this is the kind of State where we thrive, plan, plunder, laugh and cry and procreate. Surrounded by foes that exploit people day in and day out with no end in sight, people somehow manage to survive, pursuing their dreams. While in upper room the leaders of sorts will continue squabbling for money, fame and power, at the ground floor the common people will continue struggling to eke out a means for survival. Talks on peace in Nagaland have become a fashion and an illusion rather than a reality and those talking about peace on the yonder horizon may continue to talk on and on. Many of the people’s lives here are on razors edge. It was in such a kind of situation, the issue on election to ULB and 33% Women reservation crop-up. Initial complains to such issues gradually gave way to agitation that finally snowballed into the peoples movement that ultimately culminated in the resignation of the then States’ Chief Minister. He, in-fact carried the ‘sins’ of the entire ministry.


Out of the recent movement, few claring facts has emerged for everybody to see. The first is the spontaneous participation of all the Tribal Communities of the Sate in the movement. This movement though its objective was not very clear, became a kind of people’s movement that expressed in no uncertain terms, of its anger and frustration against the shortcomings of the Government. Hopefully it will be an eye opener for the new ministry. The second most poignant phenomena about this movement was the locking up of all the Government offices in the State for more than Fifteen days. I do not think such incident has ever happened in Nagaland and hopefully will never happen again. The third aspect of the movement relates to the survival of the life of the Government though its heartbeat was dead for more than fifteen days. There is perhaps need for the political scientist of the World to examine this strange phenomena. The fourth aspect of the movement is the participation of the Naga Women-folks with their colorful traditional attires in the Bandh for an issue which originally begun as a protest against the 33% Women Reservation in the ULB election. The fifth aspect of this movement is the fact that the movement brought the mighty Government on their knees.


I do not think our legislators rushed to Kazaringa to watch the vanishing Rhinos nor do they went on a holiday. Whereas forming or replacing a Government is normal in a democratic form of Government, rounding up of legislators and huddling them at Kazaringa holiday resort outside the State cannot be condoned. We have no provision as Scheduled Tribe or Backward area concession on such kind of Kazaringa Culture. The sixth aspect was the alarming trend on how the public at large casually viewed at such a phenomena, often humorously, whereas such kind of display by the legislators should be taken in with all seriousness. As long as there are horse trading, pimping and manipulation of sorts in the formation of any Government, a clean and stable Government will still be far away. Though a poor option, Government may consider constructing a holiday resort within Nagaland, that next time should such a shakeup in the Government become imminent, they can conveniently occupy such resort with less cost, instead of rushing back to Kazaringa. Recently while Bandh was relaxed at Dimapur, I went for a hair-cut. The person next to me was saying something like this… ‘Bandh se aj-kal roti-be melna mushkil ho kaya’. I really felt so sorry for this person. Normally, on hearing about an incoming bandh, we quickly make purchases to last for weeks and spend time watching TV and relaxing at home. But what about those thousands of Nagas and non Nagas alike who are to feed their Wives and Children’s mouths by earning their daily bread. Let us shed some tears for them. Bandh is not a festival, it is a serious business and if not wise it can be used for wrong reasons. Therefore before a Bandh is visualized, the interest, the well-being of the entire society should first be duly examined.