TODAY -

Protective Thinking: Greater Nagaland or Mini Nagaland?
- Part-I -

Pakinrichapbo *

A proposed map of Nagalim covering other States in the North East region and part of Myanmar
A proposed map of Nagalim covering other States in the North East region and part of Myanmar :: Pix - TSE



Greater Nagaland broadly means the whole contiguous Naga territories to be brought under the single administration of future Nagaland government post final solution. And Mini Nagaland implies to present Nagaland state and other Naga populated districts under direct administration of neighbouring states governments. Time will soon decides whether politically and socially divided Naga people would achieve its goal of greater Nagaland or in opposite, Mini Nagaland reduced to pieces from present status.

Those Nagas who often stress that, they are not demanding greater Nagaland or integration but only what rightfully belong to them that is Nagalim as birthright must by now realize to study on how other ethnic groups views the idea of Greater Nagaland and their view is that "Greater Nagaland" to be carved out from their present states territories, where even friends from neighbouring states would often comment don't bring your greater Nagaland thing to our states, let it be confined to only Nagaland and as such integration is still oppose tooth and nail and in the face of such ground reality what can Naga people do to turn the table to their advantage is the greater question every concerned individuals need to raise and debate in public forum and quickly employ tactical course of action to achieve goals of Greater Nagaland before the crude and outdated actions of wild Naga tribes send back whole pact to their respective village in the end.

And this article shall stress on the necessary change of traditional intimidation method and guerrilla tactics the only tactics favoured and known by Nagas to be replaced by a different kind of method which would seems unfeasible yet change of tactics is inevitable now, same tactics for almost hundred year had forced the people to remain stagnant in same position without any progress politically and economically.

Naga Integration appears to be the most mentioned matter in print media, electronic media and in all the peace talks carried out between GoI and Naga nationalist faction (NSCN IM), occasional statement made by Nagaland Government, opposition party in NLA and leaders of tribal hohos, civil organizations and apex student body. Not surprisingly, the most important agenda of Naga people and their political dreams to live one day under one administration has so far been the least discussed or debated topic in public forum except the latest outburst in terms of press release given by NPF where their choice of words equals to literally crucifying CM of Nagaland Mr. Nephiu Rio for selling out Naga integration in their reaction to later statement made while in New Delhi meeting the Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, assurance of NSCN IM that integration is among their top agenda and occasional articles published in local dailies on Integration by pro-Naga integration writers.

For the record and the same time the duty of all Nagas to remind them is that their integration is not the sole responsibility of NSCN IM or CM Mr. Nephiu Rio, Ministers and MLAs or any other leaders of tribal/civil organizations, it is the responsibility of every single Nagas residing in four Indian states.

Still if you are not getting the idea; Manipur territorial integrity remain intact even after seven decades of Naga intensive struggles for Naga Nation and Kuki Nationalists demand of Kuki Homeland i.e. Zale'ngam is largely credited to the contribution and participations of loyal citizens (public) of Manipur not of its underground armed groups or Manipur state government machineries though they may be playing behind the scene, the mass participants of its loyal citizens during 18th June Uprising 2001 and the present stands of the loyal citizens of Manipur which are largely made up by ethnic Meeteis and countable tribal populace regarding Manipur territorial integrity is a great lesson for all, not to forget, the Manipur loyal citizens even burnt down the Manipur legislative Assembly building, when loyal citizens of Manipur can sacrifice that much for safeguarding its territorial integrity, how far can Naga general public go to achieve its integration?. By writing memorandum alone to GoI, dreams cannot be fulfilled.

Yes, multiple Naga armed factions and its civilian population settling in four Indian states are openly divided on integration agenda. Whatever be the present circumstances, I personally feel out of words that Nagas till now has not given any serious thought nor debated on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public speech promising the people of Manipur while addressing a BJP's election campaign rally at Langjing Achouba ground in Imphal West Manipur where he publically declared that 'there is nothing in the peace accord signed between the NSCN-IM and the GoI that would disintegrate or break the territorial integrity of Manipur', (Source: Imphal Free Press dated 25 Feb 2017).

In such sensitive issues does he had agreement beforehand with NSCN IM whose top agenda is Naga integration that he would not mean what he expressed at Imphal when GoI and Nagas signed final settlement.? Okay, for time being, Nagas can ignore statements made by Rijiju, Rajnath Singh or whoever is currently in talk with NSCN IM but can any sane mind with minimum understanding of Indian politics (1947-2018) ignore such statement made by the Prime Minister of India regarding outcome of final solution that also in Imphal city the capital of Manipur. Nagas still have far way to go or are we witnessing the beginning of the end of collective identity called Nagas as one people.

No matter the number of consultations made between Naga armed groups and its Tribal Hohos, the presence of multiple factions has forced even the civilian populations to have different views on Naga integration issues as even now the ground reality appears contrary to the statements made by leaders of armed groups, state politicians, leaders of tribal hohos who favour Naga integration.

At the same time we hears official and unofficial statements of leaders of armed groups and mouth piece of civil organizations, intellects who does not favour Naga integrations and when leaders of different armed group's clashes, civilian populations would certainly be divided again on tribe lines as it is inevitable for Nagas are still tribe people. As an ordinary person with no political power, I pray that when leaders of armed groups fails to compromise and decides to settle old score through violence like in the past, general Naga public would takes timely actions to prevent giving upper hand to armed groups to do as they pleased failing which, whole poor innocent people would forever suffer.

In matter of integration only if pro Naga integration groups can unite Nagas putting pro integration groups in majority, then only people's movement can bring something not the current factionalist movement. Even if current leaders of armed groups in negotiation with GoI are putting Naga Integration as one of their primary agendas in negotiation table, the people can not commit blunders again and again by solely depending on the results of peace talks to achieve Naga integration. Moreover integration does not touch only the boundaries of one state but touches the present boundaries of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and this makes Naga integration seems humanly impossible but in politics it can be made possible only if the party concerned knew how to play to put them in advantage.

Also not forgetting to mentioned that civilian populations fears the tyranny of armed groups which made them views that Naga integrations would bring the people under the tyranny of the armed groups, in this matter the armed groups has to win loyalty by gaining the trust of the people not by employing intimidating method after all who would prefer to live under autocratic military rules having lived for several decades under the governance of Indian democratic form of governments and its institutions guaranteed by the Constitution of India. This fear and doubt of the people need to be satisfactorily settled by now.

Some of the practical steps which I believe can put Nagas in advantage in dealing with its neighbouring states governments to secure Naga integrations are mentioned points by points below:-

1. Naga armed groups have been in peace talks with GoI for 21 years and counting as two equal entities but it cannot risk bringing in third party again to quell the Naga aspiration and this third party is the Indian military, who has now began to start hunting cadres of armed factions even after leaders of armed groups and civil organization had gifted colourful Naga traditional attire say waistcoat, shawl etc as a token of friendship to PM Modiji and his team member, do Indian military care about those traditional attires given to Prime minister and cabinet ministers, interlocutors etc, in fact leaders has given those gifts untimely and friends don't hunt to kill friends after receiving a gift.

For this reason, Naga people has to do it lawfully and legally to secure integration after all they have no solid support from any powerful foreign Nation or powerful international NGOs to support their cause and to prevent recurrence of inhuman war crimes committed by Indian military forces in the past. This is where provisions of Article 2, 3 & 4 of Indian constitution comes into play, unless they take refuge under the provisions of these articles, the people of other states would resort to any methods both legal and illegal to stop Naga territorial integration, for example during 18th June 2001 uprising at Imphal Manipur, Nagas settled in Imphal valleys are targeted when trying to leave Imphal which are hate crimes but could do nothing as they know only intimidation tactics so fail to take refuge under the Constitution and any other relevant laws in force though the Constitution has recognized Nagas as Scheduled Tribe a protected groups of tribal's, also the latest public protest carried out in Dima Hasao in protest to foreseeable Naga final settlement.

Nagas knew they has no option but to invoke constitutional provisions and launch non violent democratic methods to fight for integration but refuses for countless reasons where some of the reasons are doubt on feasibility of such methods as they knew only method of Physical intimidations as its political tools and double standard stance of leading figures among them. Even if Naga armed groups win it out in negotiation table GoI would not take another risk seeing the consequences of June uprising and latest fiasco in Dima Hasao Assam, this is where they need to help themselves now by legally boycotting their respective states government like the Telangana people did to then Andhra Pradesh state government when fighting for separate Telangana State.

It is a fact that Nagas has no required number of MLAs and MPs to win it out in states assemblies and parliament so side by side as a supplement with the current peace talks on account of its distinct political history, they has to launch non cooperation movement against the respective states government, implement self reliant economic project for when people are not economically reliant, they are bound to remain a slave both politically and economically.

For example in Manipur, Naga people employed in Manipur government has to resigned from Manipur govt. Jobs, boycott Imphal in advance not when situations turns worse like in June uprising, totally giving up the comforts of Imphal and return to Hills their traditional lands and invest with available resources to develop ancestral lands, build proper road connectivity between all Naga populated districts to connect Nagaland and Assam, in that way completely boycotting Imphal valley, in fact such steps was suggested by one Meetei writer in his article published in Manipur newspapers stating that though Nagas demand separate administrative unit in Manipur, not single of them has ever resign from Manipur govt. Jobs.

And they could not as they are not economically independent and unless Naga people settled in Manipur implement such steps, they are not going anywhere but in due time shall be fully integrated with the Manipur state by virtue of economic packages and better infrastructural developments for instance the recently Manipur Govt. launched "Go to Village" program to connect the valleys and the hills.

It's time to decide whether to be fully in or out of Manipur, the current situations of not fully 'in' nor 'out' in respect to Naga status in Manipur state would only create more chaos in the long run bringing untold sufferings into the lives of lakhs of economically poor Naga people living in Manipur. In case Nagas successfully dealt with Manipur government, success formula in Manipur can be applied to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

2. The message conveying that it is not unconstitutional and illegal to demand or fight legally for separate statehood and redrawing of state boundaries under the Indian constitution (under Article 3, a new State may be established by separation of territory from any state; or by uniting two or more states; or by uniting any parts of states; or by uniting any territory to a part of any State) need to be send out continuously to neighbouring states and its people though they know Indian Constitution deeper than the Naga people. At the same time implements legal practical steps at the earliest to amends for the lost of precious times before the flame of integration died out in the course of times. When it happens left out Naga tribes has to accept the reality and give total allegiance to its respective governments as citizens of those particular states where they lives.

Further it is also not certain that the status of present Nagaland state would remain intact seeing the aspirations and activities of politically and economically frustrated Naga tribes joined into Nagaland state in 1963, another example that Naga people are not ready for self rule seeing the huge socio and economic disparities among the people, also the underdeveloped and chaotic state of Nagaland.

Despite the fact that Nagas are not ready for self rule, one finds no other option having keenly observed the communal centric and religious politics of the larger mainstream Indian politics and its side effects equally felt in North-eastern region and that is the sole reason why land integration is in the best interest for the whole Naga people no matter countless politically blind people living in four Indian states are satisfied with the status quo and very much wary to preserve their current positions thereby refusing to acknowledge the possibilities of greater political accomplishments which can be made possible by unified Nagas under one political roof and to achieve it, armed factions has to compromised and merged into one single cohesive unit, civilian populations has to reorganize themselves as a Naga nationality not as tribe people before the sooner or later political result of win or lose end the stories of Nagas forever.


To be continued....


* Pakinrichapbo wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is an Advocate from Peren District, Nagaland and can be reached at pakinchawang(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on July 19, 2018.


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