The binary of ‘This Side’ and ‘That Side’ has been the story of our society, as it is also with any other human story throughout the world. But lately, there is an emergence of the reluctant ‘Where Side?’ category, too.
Coming to a specific point, rather abruptly, the ‘This Side’ and ‘That Side’ pandemonium on the RN Ravi issue has overwhelmed the better portion of our society today. Obviously, the absence of ‘the third party’ or ‘referee(s)’ or mechanism in the dialogue between the Naga political groups and the Government of India has also been one of the reasons for the prevailing situation.
We must note, and it is obvious, that a stature such as that of the Government of India would not come to the dialogue table with a sort of ‘obscurity’ to hold talks with anyone. Right from choosing its representative(s) or interlocutor(s) down even to the choice of the colour of its file cover to be taken to the dialogue table, the Government of India would most probably be as meticulous and sophisticated as its working capacity and potentiality. As such, in choosing its representative(s) or interlocutor(s) for any dialogue with anybody, and not particularly with the Nagas, the Government of India would, most probably again, choose someone as its representative(s) who suits its studies, plans, desires and the nature of settlement. In short, the representative(s) or interlocutor(s) in personality would most likely be the index of plans, desire and nature of settlement of the Government of India.
Since dialogues of any issue are also considered as the game of ‘who-changes-gears-better’, the game obviously belongs to the efficient one. Taking cue from this ‘gear game,’ introspections to pick up the missing strategies, and for efficiency, and other mechanisms must be the sole point of discussion of our society rather than otherwise.
Coming to this point of discussion, we are reminded of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the novel which also tells the diminishing Igbo society of Nigeria at the dawn of the Colonial era.
One of the characters in the novel, Okika, who was just released from jail, tells the distraught community in a public meeting, “Eneke the bird was asked why he was always on the wing and he replied: ‘Men have learnt to shoot without missing their mark and I have learnt to fly without perching on a twig’”. This bird, indeed, was an efficient ‘gear game’ player.
On the other side, even though dialogues are considered as the game of ‘who-changes-gears-better’, the Government of India, if it is looking for the true solution to the problem, must not even come near to think of employing smokescreen policies or wrapping-the-burning-charcoal solution, even if it has the space and opportunity to do so.
Though it may sound contradictory in the face of talking about the game of ‘who-changes-gears-better’, it is also to say that a display of magnanimity from all sides will serve the best interests for all and for posterity.