TODAY -

Demands of real politiks or ....? From Delhi to Imphal
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 28 2011 -



Maybe it is the demand of real politiks but the manner in which the playing field has been relaid and revamped is astonishing and may surprise even those who have been polished, scrubbed and hewed on the topsy turvy stage of politics.

Or is it a case of the internal contradictions coming to the fore with only the full bloom season waiting in the horizon ?

Barely 15 years back, Delhi was the projected common foe of the Naga people, as defined and refined by the Naga rebel groups, first by the NNC and then later by the two factions of the NSCN.

To the NNC and the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, Delhi may still remain the prime target of concern but down the years it has become increasingly clear that to the IM faction of the NSCN it is no longer Delhi but Imphal and the major community of Manipur who have been projected as the biggest hurdle to the political aspirations of the Naga people.

In many ways this has come about with the one step down and one step up theory which may be understood as compromising with the issue of sovereignty but going one step up from what was offered in the Shillong Accord of 1975.

Status of second class citizens, Meitei dominance, centuries of ill treatment and discrimination, etc have been the calling card of NSCN (IM) leader Th Muivah and these ideas or propaganda have served as the rallying points of the Nagas in their stated pursuit of an honourable settlement of the Naga issue in the ongoing dialogue with the Government of India.

In fact so successfully has the idea and the notion of ‘persecution by the major community’ taken roots that at no point of time, at least in the period from 1980 to 1997 or after the truce pact was inked, have there been any anti-Delhi stand on the same scale and intensity as the anti-Imphal stand seen in the post August 1, 1997 period.

Is this phenomena a result of the ideology which kept the wheels of the Naga armed rebellion churning for decades or is this a logical fall out of real politiks ?

Was the Naga insurgency launched to demand what was thought to be the rightful due of the Naga people from Delhi or did it come to life with the objective of targeting Imphal ?

The answer may not be seen in pure black and white and there may be significant shades of grey, but the present and the growing developments indicate that Imphal is one of the shades that make up the grey areas.

Whether this is a folly or borne out of sheer political necessity or is a gimmick, dictated by the demands of real politiks, is besides the point, but it should help the people open their eyes to some of the shades of grey.

From 1980 to 2011, the journey has been long and eventful for the NSCN, despite the vertical split it suffered in 1988. After thousands of lives have been lost, many Naga villages ravaged to the ground as documented by the Naga rebel group and frontal civil society organisations, today the guns are trained at Imphal and it is the major community of Manipur which has been identified as the persecutors of the Nagas of Manipur and subjecting them to the status of second class citizens.

The very public stand of a leader like Th Muivah needs to be acknowledged by people cutting across community lines, but at the same time it cannot be helped but to marvel at the manner in which a fresh foe has been ‘named or created’ to dominate the political consciousness of the Naga people.

The statement of the United Naga Council that the appeal of the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to lift the ongoing economic blockade would be studied after the rally at Tamenglong on November 28 demonstrates a paradigm shift vis-a-vis the Naga National movement and Delhi.

The demand for an Alternative Arrangement has been raised on Delhi but it is the lifelines of Manipur which remain cut off for more than 90 days now. The irony is palpable.

The timing of the announcement by the UNC is too significant to be missed.

The Prime Minister of the country is scheduled to visit Manipur on December 3 and AICC president and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is likely to be on the same trip.

What better occasion than this to review the blockade and if possible symbolically roll out the red carpet for the two dignitaries by calling it off ?

However much one may be at home with the rough and tumble of politics, the manner in which political aces are pulled out from the sleeves of the major players, especially when the stake involves the territory of Manipur or the demand for Naga integration, will continue to confound and bedazzle one and all





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