Dr Asangba Tzudir
After so many years of negotiations, the Naga struggle for a Political destiny is still ongoing, more so, it has also been seriously deliberated as a discourse within the social and academic domain and not just simply a movement. Of the many markers and point of references in the pursuit of Naga political destiny, the year 1997 became a prominent marker that saw the signing of the peace deal which somehow brought an end to the years of bloodsheds and killings, and thereby injecting a fresh ray of hope. 18 years later in 2015, the political negotiations charted out a new chapter in the Naga Political process with the signing of the Framework Agreement also known as the ‘Naga Accord’ between the GoI and the NSCN (IM).
However, with still no signs of a ‘solution’ out of the Framework Agreement that is ‘honorable and acceptable to all’, it may be tempting to say that the years since the singing of the Peace Accord have been futile and wasted. But it is not a question of whether a solution or not. An unacknowledged fact is that each passing year has helped define and redefine in molding the form, structure and content of Naga Nationalism in spite of the fractures.
Nonetheless, the challenges that comes in the way of Naga Nationalism is that fact that even after years of struggle it still finds itself at a limit threshold between ‘rights as a claim’ based on a unique lived-history of the Nagas, and the Indian machinery that is leveraging the process of negotiations like the ‘wise’ monkey settling the dispute between the two cats on the one hand while at the same time ‘promising the moon’ like the grand-dad trying to soothe his crying grandson.
On the side of ‘rights as a claim’ are the various Naga political groups brought together within the unique Naga history but finds fractured through various differences, trust deficit and the issue of inclusiveness. Sadly, the fractures are also shrouded in romanticized concepts of love, peace, unity and reconciliation. Though these concepts are the generation pools of the undying spirit, it requires a process of healing first to heal the differences and reignite the unified spirit underlying the concepts. Further, these concepts will take form only when Nagas as a whole reaffirm the spirit on Naga Nationalism by invoking and embracing the ‘will’ and the ‘soul’ encapsulating what can be called ‘Naganess.’ This is the channel to reignite and rejuvenate the collective ‘Naganess.’ This spirit of ‘Naganess’ is desired to counter the other side of the limit caused by the Indian machinery.
Further, to strengthen the ‘Naganess’, a serious re-thinking is desirable on the front of inclusiveness because the pursuit of collectivity have missed the women’s voice. For now there seems to be an unnecessary parallel drawn between ‘peace process’ and ‘political process’ where in actuality, peace is part of the political process but peace have been bracketed and women are made to hold the banner of peace. However, the need is to fully engage women as part of the political process.
Also, integral to the idea of inclusiveness is to build on the narrative of the unique history by talking and listening not only among the commons but also among those that differ from ones narrative and learn to respect each other’s views considering the commonness.
On the whole, in the pursuit of Naga political destiny, whenever, or whether there is a solution that is honorable and acceptable to all, Nagas for times to come and through generations will continue to live to self-determine and nurture the undying spirit of Naga Nationalism.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to the Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)