An Agenda for the Future

A few days back, the Morung Express carried a front news article about a United Nations report pointing out that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is ready to run an independent state. The U.N. report followed equally upbeat assessments of the PA’s nation-building achievements released over the past week by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “In six areas where the U.N. is most engaged, governmental functions are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state,” said the report, entitled “Palestinian State-building: A Decisive Period.” It listed the six areas as rule of law and human rights; livelihoods; education and culture; health; social protection; and infrastructure and water. The publication of such a report has obviously caught the attention of this column because this is a reminder for the Naga people as well to be better prepared for the future. We should have done this from before but what we require is to start working on an agenda for the future. Nagas have been demanding sovereignty and independence from India. The big question is whether we are ready for this. All of us are aware of the economic reality of the Naga people. We are unable to generate our own resources. For instance Nagaland state is solely dependent on the Government of India for all the money which is required to run our government including payment of salaries—the bread and butter of countless Naga homes and not to forget the development taking place with heavy dose of central assistance. With hardly any private enterprise worth its name, the State government happens to be the biggest employer. In such a scenario, a valid question that the Naga public can pose to our national groups is how prepared they are to take up the challenges of an independent State. Therefore isn’t it also about time to end the bitterness of the past and start working for a shared Naga future where we evolve the necessary institutions to be able to govern ourselves. We cannot waste our time and energy on negative things. Collective effort is obviously required along with channelizing our energy towards productive and problem solving outcomes.
Then for doing all this i.e. short listing our agenda and working on it, we need some sincere, capable people. Several suggestions in the past included among others a Naga think-tank group. To recall, a joint meeting on Naga political issue held last year sometime in June attended by the elected representatives of Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA), representatives from Naga Hoho, ENPO, NSF, NMA, ENWO, Christian Forum, NPMHR, FNR, ONA, tribal organizations, civil societies and other mass based organizations had in fact endorsed that a ‘think tank group’ be set up to explore avenues and approaches towards resolving the Naga political issue. However nothing has been done to give effect to this resolution. Peace process (political talks), unity and reconciliation are important processes that must be encouraged. Nevertheless, the Naga agenda for a future dispensation is urgently required. Concrete steps will have to be taken. Voluntary effort is also welcome. For instance, the Naga Students Federation (NSF) should be applauded for taking up relevant issues upfront. The theme of the 24th NSF general conference currently underway at Pfutsero from April 27-29 is “Reaching Out”, a very timely and welcome topic. Good neighborly relation should also be part of the Naga agenda of the future. Naga people cannot remain exclusive from other communities. Differences should be resolved through a people to people approach. Hopefully the initiative of the NSF by way of reaching out will open the doors to dialogue and building up mutual understanding with our neighbors. The NSF conference is also debating on the topic “Nagas are economically stable”, a timely and vital issue for the present and future agenda of the Naga people.