God given opportunity to Nagas

Jagdamba Mall *

Of late, Shri P. Chidambaram, Hon'ble Minister for Home Affairs and Home Secretary Shri G.K. Pillai have made new initiatives for finding out the permanent solution of 60 years old Naga problem. Shri G.K. Pillai was in Nagaland on 13th, 14th October 2009 and met Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues, Governor, Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, concerned top-ranking executives, Nagaland Baptist Council of Churches (NBCC), Naga Christian Forum (NCF), Naga Hoho, Eastern Naga People's Organization (ENPO), Naga Mother Association (NMA), Eastern Naga Women's organization (ENWO), Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and Naga Student's Federation (NSF). He also met GOC, 4 Corps stationed at Dimapur.

Unfortunately, both the top leaders - Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu are in foreign land at this crucial moment. Earlier, the negotiations were made with underground leaders through interlocutor. Now, this has started with overground leaders also. This is a visible shift from earlier strategy. Under fresh initiatives, the Govt. of Bharatvarsh (GOB) has decided to change the strategy by directly holding negotiations between Delhi and NSCN groups instead of through the negotiator or interlocutor.

This is a golden opportunity for Naga society to put forth a balanced and matured proposals. Drawing a lesson from failure of six-round of talks with Indira Gandhi in 1965-66 and famous Shillong Accord 1975, the Naga society is required to constitute a high level core committee for negotiation including leaders of underground groups, Lok Shree Dr. S.C. Jamir former Chief Minister of Nagaland and present Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Neiphiu Rio Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri Rishang Keishing former Chief Minister of Manipur, veteran Naga intellectuals like Prof. Gangmumei Kamei of Imphal, Charles Chasie, Dr. Surhuzolie of Nagaland and the likes.

This is necessary and unavoidable because the fate of entire Naga society should not and cannot be left for underground leaders to decide because any wrong decision will have grave consequences in days to come and the entire Naga and non-Naga community will have to bear it. Since, a sizeable number of Nagas live in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the Chief Ministers of all the three states are required to be taken into confidence.

Similarly, GOB if impressed by Naga constructive approach, can use its good neighbourly relation with Myanmar to create special provisions for the development of Naga areas but if Nagas are found involved in helping Aung San Suu Kyi movement, Myanmar may refuse. The Church is, allegedly, helping her movement. She is a Christian lady married to a Christian foreigner who is mobilizing foreign support to her. And because of this, she was awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

Though NSCN-IM has put forth a 30 point Charter of Demand to Govt. of Bharatvarsh (GOB), the Naga society is required to prepare a fresh proposal because the proposals have to be made under the constitution of the country and leaving behind the demand of physical integration of Naga contiguous areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar because it is not possible at the moment. This will cause more problems than solutions. While preparing the fresh proposals, Nagas should remember that a bird in hand is better than two in bush.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said Nagas would never get independence even if Bharatvarsh went to the pieces. Indira Gandhi said to Nagas - ask for anything less than sovereignty. Morarji Desai said in Kohima that he had come to meet Bharatiya Nagas, not the Nagas who are demanding secession. There was a war of words between Morarji Desai and J.B Jasokie.

Among all the Prime Ministers, A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani Dy. Prime Minister were most considerate to the demands of NSCN (IM). They had decided to extend Ceasefire in Naga inhabited areas of Manipur in 2001. But he could not do that even though the Parliament had decided because nation did not support this decision. There was bloodshed in Manipur. The Assemblies of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur had unanimously resolved that not even an inch of their land would be given to Nagaland for the creation of "Greater Nagaland."

The Dimasas, Karbis and Arunachalis in Changlang and Tirap districts had warned the Centre and respective state govts. not to give up their land to Nagaland. These are the recent events which Naga negotiators are required to bear in mind while preparing the draft proposals.

Naga insurgency is a cancer in the body of Bharatvarsh and Bangladesh provides all nourishment to this cancer. Now, Naga society has been given another opportunity to treat this ailment. It is upto them to decide the future course of action. The negotiating Naga leaders should note that the days of providing blank cheques year after year are now over. In case talks fail and insurgency is revived, the consequences will be grave, the losses in terms of man and money will be irreparable and the scar will continue to remain for long.

Naga leaders can, no longer, extract enormous money from GOB in the name of insurgency. If talks fail, angry GOB may be ruthless to contain the insurgency. The killing and counter-killing of post 1964-65 followed by that of post Shillong Accord 1975 may be enacted wherein thousands of people from both sides - the Naga armed cadres and Army, were killed in ambushes. For what again? The description of Naga history as unique is a false reading of history. There is no uniqueness in comparison to histories of other communities.

It is an integral part of great Bharatiya Itihaas (history). All the negotiating and non-negotiating Naga leaders should put their heads together and resolve to live as the integral component of Bharatiya Samaj - the greatest and oldest in the world with most ancient civilization and many firsts in the field of civilization, science, literature, art, philosophy of life, concept of God and other metaphysical bodies.

There will be many conflicting international pressures on Naga negotiating leaders which will hinder the talk on right direction. Therefore, most influential, popular and assertive Naga leaders like Dr. S.C. Jamir, Rishang Keishing and Prof. Gangumei Kamei an intellectual stalwart from Naga society, Nagaland Chief Minister Shri Neiphiu Rio are but few unavoidable Naga names to be included in negotiating team. That will ensure the sure success of fruitful dialogue.

Nagas have to evolve to compete and survive in a hostile environment created by Naga insurgency. They should be imbued with the competitive spirit right from the beginning. This can be backed up by numerous examples from real life where competitiveness far strips acts of altruism. Through socialization and exposure from a very early age to rules and norms, the humans learn to cooperate and be helpful to each other.

If such socialization does not take place early, it is very well likely that brutal competitive spirit will dominate which will reveal the philosophy of "survival of the fittest". This will negate the philosophy of co-existence. Life might no longer be short but it can still be nasty and brutish. Naga society is no exception to these situations. Since Naga community is still in evolutionary stage it is more vulnerable. To survive in this dog-eat-dog environment Nagas have to develop a ruthless streak.

Hate politics of Naga undergrounds abetted by their foreign sponsors generated hostility in the country. The conversion to Christianity and the propaganda spread by Church added sizably to this problem. The more Naga society is coming closer to larger Bharatiya Samaj the more mutual confidence and mutual honour to each other are expanding its wings.

The terrorist and anti-Hindu image of Nagas are disappearing fast from Hindu minds. RSS and VHP encourage this qualitative development. The Naga negotiators should note that inking the agreement is not the solution, changing the mindset is. Therefore, the agreement should be made in such a way that it helps the upco-ming Naga generation to get a boost to assimilate with larger Bharatiya Samaj and contribute Naga might in building stronger Bharatvarsh rather than taking them away from national mainstream in the name of false "unique" history.

The killing of Prabhakaran and end of LTTE in Sri Lanka, death of Yaser Arafat and fading away of Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) in Palestine and end of Fiedel Castro in Zambia should be enough to open the eyes. El. Che Guavara - the father of terrorism in Belgium who operated in France and Cuba met with a stunning failure. Fidel Castro of Cuba was a terror for his own people. He massacred his own people under proletarian violence. Naxalite leader Kondapalli Sitaramaiya was expelled from Naxalite organization by his own lieutenants before four years of his death in the year 1988. He was under Govt. security cover against his own-armed cadres.

For that matter, the end of Phizo in foreign land away from his kith and kin and growing pale of his Naga National Council (NNC) movement should be enough to open the eyes of negotiating Naga underground leaders.

The end of Dima Halom Daogah (DHD-J) and end of insurgency in Tripura spear-headed by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) also provide some points to ponder. The surrender of ULFA Chief Arbindo Rajkhowa in the first week of December along with his trusted lieutenants Raju Borah and Baruah, imprisonment of Anup Chetia in Bangladesh and ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah's running from pillar to post in search of a shelter in Myanmar to save his life provide enough indication towards the end fate of insurgent leaders and their insurgency.

Where is Khalis-tan movement today in Punjab? It has gone. By virtue of this, Punjab is again on the fast track of development. Nagas can also have a bird's eye view on what is happening in Pakistan today. It is getting roasted in blazing fire of terrorism fathered by Pervez Musharraf and other Pakistani military rulers. In fact, the situation in Pakistan is more complex. There can and there will never be peace within Pakistan and between Pakistan and Bharatvarsh because the existence of Pakistan rests on the quantum of hate towards Bharatvarsh the Pakistan leaders can generate.

The case of Nagas is entirely different. They are destined to live within Bharatvarsh and co-exist with greater Hindu society. Naga society is required to shun their pseudo-superiority complex and learn to live in symbiosis and in complete co-existence with Hindu society the most ancient on the earth. They have to develop a mind set which will allow them to live as a proud Bharatiya.

If P.A. Sangma could become Speaker of Lok Sabha and Dr. S.C. Jamir can become a Governor of one of the most prominent and flourishing states like Maharashtra why can't a Naga become the Prime Minister and the President of the Mahaan Bharatvarsh. The option is opened.

The constitution of the country guarantees that right to Nagas. Nagas have that skill. They also have requisite mettle but they lack patriotism barring few Naga leaders like Dr. S.C. Jamir, Dr. Hokishe Sema and few more. The patriotism of these leaders has been rewarded suitably by Bharatvarsh. Today, hate business will no longer work. The negotiators on behalf of Naga Samaj should note it.

Today, the Naga young generations aspire to excel in engineering, medicine, science and technology and space researches etc. They wish to compete with Lakshmi Mittal - the steel baron of Britain. They want to excel Ambani brothers. They want to surpass Tata and Birla. They want to acquire the excellence to sit with Dr. A.P.J Kalam. Who withholds them? Is it not insurgency?

The national and international scenarios have changed much to the advantage of Delhi. On the contrary, the bargaining capacity of armed Naga groups have been considerably diminished. The Naga youths no more wish to handle lethal weapons and adopt jungle life for killing each other in vain.

Allegedly, there are scores of alien abettors in USA, UK, China and some other countries. Their intension is to use Naga insurgency for their benefit. But what is the net gain for Naga society? A balance sheet is required to be prepared and placed before the Naga society to ponder.

The Naga negotiators should not think of Nagas of Nagaland only. They have to think of Nagas living outside Nagaland also. They have to think of their safety and security accompanied with their matching development.

Considering all these points, a balanced and well matured proposals should be put forth to Govt. of Bharatvarsh for consideration. Hope, time has taught much and today Naga leaders are more enlightened to live as proud citizen of the country. This enlightenment will, hopefully, get reflection while preparing the draft proposal and also during table talk.

* Jagdamba Mall wrote this article for The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on January 21st, 2010.

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