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TNL polls offer 'verbal spar' for 'Tangkhul Jacobins'
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Ukhrul, September 05, 2013: The hustings for various offices of Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) is slated for September 18.This time, what makes the ensuing polls so extraordinaire is that everyone, young and old alike, in this rainy hill town are so intensely caught in the organisational election fever like never before.

Who will be the next TNL president? Who is the right candidate...? Who will triumph over others? These are few polemical queries doing the round among the local analysts over a cup of hot tea in hotels from Ukhrul's Hamleikhong to Wino Bazaar.

TNL polls 2013 has been necessitated after the dissolution of 2010-15 tenure councils in July last.

A number of six candidates have procured nomination papers this time for the coveted office of president.

Those intending men are all veteran activists and popular names as some include former TNL chiefs and vibrant politicians.

An analysis of intellectuals offers divergent but interesting arguments over the issue.

The Tangkhul Naga Long, as being a traditional tribal institution, is an indispensable cog in the wheels of socio-political affairs of the community.

''TNL is an important social institution...'' said Dr.Khashim Ruivah.

He also iterated that it is placed with a special status under the Constitution of India.'' In almost all the hotels in Ukhrul town, it's not only a hot tea that's brewing but TNL polls have heavily scented the table debate.

They say it's in these places where politicking spurt to unseat a series of public offices.

For those who are familiar with French Revolution, the hotel debaters in Ukhrul have been fondly called as the “Tangkhul Jacobins.” This time too, it's widely believed that the process of making the TNL president would happen in those hotels from Wino Bazar to Hamleikhong.

That has for so very long been the tradition of these hill tribes.

The Tangkhuls, as some anthropologists and sociologists would agree, are still so deeply rooted to tradition.

But, that's not to write off the changing social mores which is gradually catching up with time and the younger generation.

In the past years, the TNL polls have always been largely driven by parochialism and to certain extent, by factors like money and actors of political parties.

This, however, does not mean the ''Hebron factor'' has no bearing.

Interestingly, that has been the conventional approach to organisational elections.

But social analysts would now agree there could be a break in this system.

Now even in these tea shops, there is a differing ideological groups postulating arguments that this time the fight will depend on “conventional versus non-conventional” electorates.

''The contending presidential candidates are popular figures...this make TNL polls this year more intense,'' opined social activist Phaorei Lunghar.

In a patriarchal Tangkhul society, the Electoral College is the sole rights of men and dominated mostly by elders.

The role of women is still negligible in the decision and policy making, and in a system governed by age-old practices, the younger men still struggle to grasp a hold.

In the august house of TNL, only men attaining 40-year are eligible to take membership.

That has been the rigid system the older men in a society have been keeping in good harness.

For the posts of president, vice president, speaker and deputy speaker, the deadline for nomination file has been set on September 7. What makes the TNL polls so special this time? A veteran social activist, on condition of anonymity, said ''there has been a leadership vacuum in the apex body during the last tenure...TNL is so ingrained in local politics".

This time, he added, these currents are into play.


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