Engaging the powers

In reality, the present praxis of governance, peace and leadership is being imposed from above by structures that have acquired global proportions with the intention of creating forced dependence and inculcating an economics of desperation, which lies in the roots of injustices. While development has supposedly brought substantial improvements in health care, housing, education and general well being of life, it has more often than not, given legitimacy to the acquirement and control of indigenous peoples’ resources, inevitably increasing poverty and suffering, ironically under the guise of eliminating them. Political structures no longer correspond to the economic base, a society where its productive forces are hampered with political ones in which the structures support centralized authority and decentralized bodies of production. The consumerist culture is oppressive to the human spirit and it has let loose a force which constructs human societies on traditions that resist new ideas, thereby inculcating conformity to the hegemonizing and homogenizing forces of consumerism. 

Globalization is more than just a trend; it has become the international system that has replaced the cold-war system, which some may even argue is leading towards a world State. It has led to intensification of wealth leading to expanding gaps between rich and poor; thereby globalizing these problems while dismantling at every level the indigenous institutions that once addressed them. It has also restored much of the global dominance of former imperialist powers where the ambiguities of life are avoided in favor of what are convenient; dialogue is replaced by temporary slogans that manufacture images rather than celebrating the issues and realities of experience. 

The State system has co-opted indigenous peoples into the electoral system of politics and leadership which has resulted in the collective loss of inability to confront with daily injustices. Taiaiake reminds us that “Leaders who promote non-indigenous goals and embody non-indigenous values are simply tools used by the State to maintain its control.” Hence, their ability for critical perspective is stripped away by assimilation and their decisions promote the interest and power of the State rather than strengthening the aspirations of their own people. 

The pursuit and struggle for power within themselves and the accumulation of wealth through control and manipulation violates the ethos and spiritual values of indigenous tradition. Most of them know what is right; they have long known what has been wrong as well and what they need to do, but they very often teach their people the memories of the dominant forces and have chosen to suppress the history and knowledge of their own people. Inevitably, by mixing falsehood with truth it creates a more destructive lie which strengthens the “conspiracy of silence” perpetuating the historical and continuing injustice of their own people. A leader who does not link the present with the past is responsible for making tolerable what is intolerable and sapping away the will to struggle for an alternative order of things.

While confronting the notion that they have been turned into objects of history, indigenous peoples are often torn between nostalgia for an innocent past and the yearnings for a fulfilling future. Historical realities cannot be reconstituted just by changing the language to suit the convenience and interest of the status quo and therefore the myth that the right of a people with a history over those allegedly without one needs to be challenged and defeated. The challenge Taiaiake says, “Is for each person to recognize and counteract the effects of colonization in his or her own life, and thus develop the ability to live in a way that contests colonization. We are all co-opted to one degree or another, so we can only pity those who are blind or who refuse to open their eyes to the colonial reality, and who continue to validate, legitimate, and accommodate the interests of that reality in opposition to the goals and values of their own nations.”

Like many other indigenous peoples, Nagas too cannot remove their difficulties by closing their eyes to the challenges; neither will they be removed by merely waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. The longer they delay in engaging them, the more difficult it will be and the greater their predicament will become. For their survival, Nagas in spite of their powerlessness to prevent injustice must however never fail to resist. It is imperative for Nagas to reclaim their wisdom and knowledge system which perceives self-realization and understanding that sweeps away the myths and uncovers the dust that hides their splendor and to critically develop again a dynamic outlook and spirit. 

Therefore, the structures of domination must be critically challenged, interrogated and defeated to allow the initiation of a more humane system that upholds structures of partnership and respect. Nagas must get on a path to reclaim its rightful and dignified existence in history and to resist internal and external forces that attempts to deny Nagas as free and equal peoples.