“Journey of Common Hope”

Dr Asangba Tzudir 

In the tapestry of the Naga Political struggle is a beautiful pursuit - the pursuit of peace and reconciliation. It all began on 25th March 2008 with the coming together of 39 Naga organizations, inclusive of the Church to work for reconciling the Naga political groups. That is how the Forum for Naga Reconciliation was born. 

Today, Nagas are enjoying the fruits that emerged out of the struggles of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation. The millennium children may not know about the long years of turmoil, of “blood and tears” where Nagas lived in fear and where each day was abnormally normal, and so it became an abnormally normalized condition.

Words are really inadequate to express the condition or the situational context in which the Naga people lived and the coming of the FNR under the ‘soulful’ “Journey of Common Hope” for Nagas which ushered an era of peace. Today, the “Journey of Common Hope” continues in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation.

Trust definitely was the greatest impediment in the coming together of the Naga political groups. As the saying goes, ‘trust everyone but not the devil inside’, the trust issue, its deficit would derail the “Journey of Common Hope”. But with persistence, with all sincerity and through conscious efforts, we all are a witness to a peaceful condition today in consideration of the past times.  

To put it in perspective, it was the signing of the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR) which ushered a new dawn of peace from a past filled with painful memories of fears, tears, hatred, violence and killings. This landmark signing of the CoR contributed largely to ending factional violence and which has ushered in newer ways to envisage the Naga political landscape today and to move forward.

Without going into the details also, there were times when the efforts of the FNR were brought to question, that anything can happen where there is trust deficit. However, understanding each other’s position is a time taking process because it takes time to come out of one’s position and think about the others position. While the question of entertaining the others position is one thing, there definitely is a need to understand the others position so also the way they think.

In the ongoing “Journey of Common Hope”, the challenge of ‘factionalism’ remains, and this is where Nagas as a whole, traversing a “Journey of Common Hope” needs to go beyond shallow running commentaries and criticisms and come together within a meaningful discourse and purpose. What is imperative is for Nagas to understand that the “Journey of Common Hope” is a soulful one. It is neither a joke nor a political gimmick. It is nurtured and boldened by a soul truly graced by the diviner’s hand as stirring events attests. 

That, ‘factionalism’ needs to be acknowledged in order for Nagas to come together and also move forward in a desirable direction. So long as the attitude of ‘bracketing’ and ‘suspending’ remains within the ‘factionalism’ the ‘soul’ will not come alive to carry on the “Journey of Common Hope”. There still is a greater need to even academically understand or otherwise, the reasons for the fragmentation, rather than blind critique. This understanding will serve as an impetus for Nagas to come together within the fold of the soulful journey. Added to this, in order to strengthen the “Journey of Common Hope” there is also a need to understand that forgiveness and coming together is not any sign of weakness or fear, but rather the opposite.

The “journey of common hope” is in dire need of a ‘political framework’, a renewed Naga Nationalism drawn from history and its associated inalienable rights, or else we surrender ourselves to “imagined communities” in our own land.

(Dr Asangba Tzudir writes guest editorial for the Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)