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The call for ‘Solution before Election’ seems to be the most catchy slogan of the day, but what if India goes ahead with the call. Can the cost of confrontation outweigh a more peaceful and patient approach? David Hanneng, Assistant Professor, History Department expresses his personal view on the current situation.
Thoughts On ‘Solution before Election’
The Nagas today have a funny way of being united for everything, be it against 33% reservation, against corruption, or against the government (read ACAUT rally). But soon, in a similar rally that was held by the ruling party, the Naga People’s Front, in Dimapur, thousands thronged again. We seem to be at a loss as to what we are really standing for!
Now, when the call for ‘solution before election’ is ringing again, we see almost all the civil societies and underground groups coming together. Has “the call for unity” become the fanciest thing in Nagaland to assert our ‘Naganess’? And for what!
To go more deeply into the issue, we stand at a crossroad for which we need a more matured understanding of the situation. To call for ‘Solution before Election’ seems quite appealing but let us look at the issue more closely. Firstly, if the Government of India (GOI) is sincere enough with its intentions and declares ‘the Solution’ before election, will all the civil societies accept it suo motto? Do the NNPGs already know the contents for which they are so eager for solution?
Secondly, if the GOI by heeding to the demands of the Nagas, and out of compulsion, give us a piecemeal solution, will we be ready to accept it (haven’t we had a similar situation in 1963 and 1975?) The Naga demand is unique in ways incomparable to other ethnic groups, and since it involves cross border issues, it makes it all the more complicated. Moreover, the NSCN-IM as well as the NNPGs has promised too much and when it’s time to deliver, the reality becomes different, and what India is willing to concede is diametrically contradicting. When Neiphiu Rio, the former Chief Minister of Nagaland, decided to contest Lok Sabha election, there were simmering hopes that he would ultimately deliver the Naga Deal. But let us remember that the RSS, which can be considered as the parent body of the BJP, is principally opposed to even the special privileges which Kashmir enjoys under Article 370. However, since the GOI of India has recognized Nagas’ ‘Unique History’, they might consider our situation. But can it be done through black mail?
Thirdly, boycotting a democratic country’s Assembly Election is a direct challenge to the Constitution and Sovereignty of a country. Our fore fathers might have opposed the early general elections in the 1950s, but today, India has changed and so has the Nagas. What if the government decides to go ahead with the election tooth and nail, how would we respond? If we respond by confrontation, do we expect India to watch silently? The heart of the matter is that if things turn violent, it can even impact the peace talk and delay it further which can be counterproductive and a monumental loss for the Nagas. Let us not repeat the mistake that our fore fathers did when they showed their torso to Indian Prime Minister Nehru and U Nu, the Burmese premier, in Kohima. Hope Prime Minister Modi does not take things personally! Since we have already waited for 20 long years, why not wait a little longer for the process to take its due course. India will have to give solution, and the world is watching. But will we be the one to derail it?
There is so much more to do before a Naga deal is signed. As a people group, there are just too many internal rumblings within the Naga tribes itself, and if we are not even half-prepared to receive the deal, there might be greater bloodshed than we have witnessed hitherto. Besides, if the Naga deal is imposed by certain Naga political group, there would again be an equally strong reaction. Thus, at least some important contents have to be divulged and discussed. Moreover, setting the entire North-East India on fire because of the Naga deal would be too selfish an act.
Fourthly, what if there is no election? Will the present government continue and are the civil societies happy with it? Interestingly, the same civil societies which were against the misgovernance of the present government are now fighting indirectly for the continuance of their rule. Promulgating President’s Rule in our state might have been a good short-term solution, but who will bell the cat? The youths which are fed up of the present dispensation are craving for winds of change but anyway, who is even bothered about the interest of youths in our society! The educated youths ourselves are mute spectators.
Lastly, what about the NSCN-K? This might be the most uncomfortable question for the Naga Political groups as well as Civil societies. But to not have them onboard would also mean that this Accord would not be the final Accord because once the present Accord is signed without them, the ‘underground’ gap in Nagaland would be filled by them and there would be ready youths available to join them for whatever reason. Besides, they would emotionally exploit some oldies’ dream for Sovereign Nagaland (which NSCN-IM and NNPGs have failed them, though NSC-K’s intention is also doubtful), and with them sitting strategically in Burma, arms supply should not be an issue. Thus, though the wait is painful, for the sake of our peaceful future, we just can’t ignore them.
Thus, there seems to be a need to set certain things right before we can welcome the solution. Confrontational attitude and chest thumping might seem ‘manly’ but our little steps of miscalculation in this big Indian chessboard might ruin an opportune moment of peace. Whether the government is really serious about Naga Solution is difficult to say but let us at least not be the one to spoil it.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.