Protective Thinking: How India Restrain Northeast Extremist Political Outfits

Pakinrichapbo *

It is of no surprise that since attaining its complete independence in 1947, India has been doing quite well by staying several steps ahead when it comes to dealing and containing the varied demands (some demanding independence, while some demand statehood based on their linguistic and common tribal affinities) of extremist political outfits in the north-east.

These ethnic groups with limited political experience in national and international politics have decided to pursue their political aspiration equipped with a purely tribal outlook that makes them easy prey for India with thousands of years of experience in politics of all levels. Let me illustrate the difference between the two outlooks (i.e. tribal and Indian) and the factors inherent in them to show the manner in which the Union Government of India (GoI) confines various armed (extremist) political groups in the Northeast.

Tribal Outlook

A tribal way can be roughly defined as policies, whose fundamental ideologies originate from tribal traditional thinking system, that are adopted and implemented by the ethnic political outfits in achieving their political aspiration. The numerous ethnic groups inhabiting the hills and valleys in the northeast region were given distinct tribal recognition by the Colonial British power for administrative purposes.

This further assisted these politically backward indigenous people to further engage in communal hatred based on their separate tribal identities. Such separate recognition in many ways capitulate the numerous tribes from having a common affinity to construct their "own distinct identity."

The different political tactics, policies followed and implemented by the extremist political outfits based in the Northeast region have not affected India's integrity. The success rate of India's central govt in containing the entire extremist political outfit shows that in politics at any level, only the best strategist and practical ones wins over the ones with limited strategy primarily based on its distinct history and tribal identity attached with their lands. The irony, however, is that these extremist political outfits refuse to admit and acknowledge their opponent success rate in effectively containing them.

When political agendas remain unfulfilled, these political outfits get involved in state politics by setting up their own respective candidates for state elections that create more negative outcomes in all matters concerning the welfare of its society. In some cases, it is reported that tribal politicians and high ranking government officials, both at central and state level, are covertly funding the extremist political outfits based on clan and tribe affinities.

In many ways, these political outfits are tribal outfit aiming to protect each respective tribal interests hamper any chances of building a strong alliance among the tribal outfits. The scars of past ethnic aggression and conflicts also remain as a constant shadow in the inter-tribe relationship.

The tragedy is that it seems all too clear that the old thinking system will continue for another 30-40 years, which is really discouraging given the fact that many of the tribal people have received education from top universities and has not yet realized the importance of making compromises in sensitive issues to facilitate establishing communal harmony. Nor have they questioned the sectarian policies that breed more tribal tensions. The younger generation is hell-bent on preserving its tribal purity and following the same blinkered habits of their predecessor in disrespecting other tribes.

India's Outlook

In contemporary world politics, India is one among the powerful countries with high internal disturbances, mostly political in nature, beginning with the Kashmir issues, China's claim of Arunachal Pradesh as a part of south Tibet, the presence of a high number of extremist political outfits in its north-eastern states demanding regional autonomy and self-determination. Yet, with such internal issues, India has presented itself and made herself as one of the growing powers in world politics.

Amazingly, however, not even one ruling government of any powerful country in the world has openly declared its support for the struggles of any of these extremist political outfits based in northeast India. Why is this so? This is simply because India has very astutely contained the extremist political outfits, most notably through the mechanisms set up in the Indian Constitution.

The Indian Constitution puts the North-eastern tribal communities under Scheduled Tribe category that in turn performed miracles for the government of India as different ethnic groups, mostly based on linguistic identity, began to engage in a bitter rivalry over lands, resources, and access to government employment and patronages. Even though their struggles are similar in nature and when supporting each other could have put themselves in an advantageous position in dealing with the central government, the temptations of receiving special political, economic/financial, and employment assistance from the government, however, seem to exceed their demand for self-determination, independence.

It is only in the initial stages of the political movement launched by varied tribal communities in the northeast region that the GoI chose to use its military strength in suppressing those movements. After the initial stages, factionalism and ethnic conflicts followed, and the GoI (following the footsteps of its colonial predecessors) simply stood aside and watched the drama unfold by different ethnic communities.

India did wonders again by intelligently dealing with the numerous extremist political outfits, where some outfits were given more attention than their counterparts. India also successfully placed all the demands of self-determination and political autonomy under its internal disturbance category where other countries cannot interfere in its internal affairs.

Another masterstroke of India is that it gave free hands to the extremist political outfits in the north-eastern region to function within the states' territories as they wished, not caring about the ill-effects of parallel governments in the states that ultimately led to the creation of more factions with no authority to control and regulate their activities. These developments were all foreseen and, thus, the GoI systematically choose these tactics knowing fully-well the nefarious consequences they were to unleash.

Another factor that prompted the tribal communities to start political movements is the unequal representatives in parliament and states assemblies based on the population size. Being classified as minorities, these tribal groups feared of being overrun by larger communities in their own lands. Hence, they saw a creation of a separate autonomous state within the framework of Indian constitution as the only option left for them. Regardless, in both matters of independence and statehood demand, the GoI in connivance with larger communities with larger representatives in states' assembly has so far managed to contain the entire political outfits of the region.

I certainly think it necessary for the GoI and other major regional political parties including all the minorities groups to rethink and have serious debates on unequal representatives in Parliament and state assembly in order to solve the tribal political issues as well as the injustice suffered by India's minority communities.

Unequal representatives in parliament as well as in the states' assemblies in the northeast have often enabled larger communities with more representatives to dominate and passed biased legislation without taking the smaller tribal groups into account. With unequal representatives in the parliament and state assemblies, the constitutional provisions of securing social, political, and economic justice to all the people of India will remain a textbook promise. For the oppressor will remain oppressor.

The Stand of Those not Involved with Extremist Political Outfits

Those individuals, as well as those employed with central and state government, not part of extremist political outfits and its agendas, often have secret inclination toward those outfits based on tribe identities since he or she is recognised under "scheduled tribe category" and thinks nothing other than preserving and promoting his/her tribe language and influence in state politics and in government machineries. Such attitudes among the majority of the tribal population continue to ignite ethnic/tribal tensions from time to time.

A Cure for Ethnic Tensions

The concept of "my people," based on blood relation and dialect, needs to be given up, for whether we like each other or not, we are perennial neighbours living side by side and sharing one common aspiration. Another horrible practice is boasting in one's own land. This has to go, the majority of tribal people have an unrestrained habit of boasting in their own land and this practice adds more injuries while passing each other's territory. Tribal people have lost more lives fighting each other than in having encounters with central military forces.

The spirit of humanism has to step into our mental psyche. The only way forward for the tribes is to give up the deadly practice of playing the numbers game, as practiced in Indian politics. Such numbers game will only add more sorrows. The creation of an effective alliance between the numerous tribal communities of the north-east is the only way forward now to achieve any political goals.


The extremist political outfits along with their tribal communities must make peace with each other and initiate a new progressive approach toward each other's aspirations, failing which the same cycle of domination by larger and biased communities will continue at the state level and the GoI shall continue to control all the political outfits through well-planned strategy and shrewd tactics.

Lastly, the political outfits also need to rethink if they are really improving or creating more chaos and destruction in the lives of those they claim to represent as pursue their political agendas.

* Pakinrichapbo wrote this article for
The writer is an Advocate from Samziuram Village, Peren: Nagaland and can be contacted at pakinchawang(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 01, 2018.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #1
  • Chingyainu, Chingnguremba :: eMing
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki Conflict: ..Kuki aggression
  • Tibeto-Burman Languages : Book
  • Indian Judiciary no more a caged bird
  • IGAR (S) calls on Governor of Manipur
  • Spirit of Irabot still runs in Journalists
  • Concern should be about mob mentality
  • Tribes, Art & Soul of India #1: Gallery
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #1: Gallery
  • 'Sahnit' an honour or a disgrace
  • Irabot : Socio-Political Challenges
  • Training employees for better governance
  • Blue Ocean :: Poem
  • Sextortion: Making money from shame
  • Condemn murder of Neiphretuo Metsie
  • Social lacunae
  • BJP on poll drive at Imphal, Kohima
  • Mary Kom lost 2 kg in 4 hours
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #2
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • ICJ: Investigation of Extrajudicial Killing
  • Legal profession as career option #2
  • Loktak Down Stream HE Project (2x33MW)
  • Protest against mob lynching at DU
  • Ripples of Music :: Poem
  • Memo submitted to CM over lynching
  • Poems of Peace, Resistance ...
  • Helicopter Schedule for Imphal-Jiri
  • Mirabai recommended for Khel Ratna
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Manipur State is still winning..
  • Gazetteer of North-East India :: Book
  • Sunfeast Cup Football Tournament
  • Trip down memory lane
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Folk Song :: Poem
  • The Endureres at Dwarka Half Marathon
  • Main accused in cop slaying nabbed
  • Naga talks not confined to Nagaland..
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Rest in Peace Humanity
  • Ph Banti's artwork 'Trafficking of children'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 45 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is not a religion
  • Jobs at R-Square Design
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Candle Light at DU over lynching
  • Society as a reflection of govt
  • Mobocracy : Shame on Manipur
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • miAoIbgi pNTuH :: Seireng
  • An opinion on Tharoijam killing
  • How Manipur lost internal autonomy, Kabaw
  • Admission for PhD at Tripura Univ
  • Meefam ST at Nambol, Khangabok
  • Importance of Forest & Environment
  • Deep social divide: Two different folks?
  • Kuki Black Day: Kukis Will never forget
  • R & V Art House's First Art Fest 2018
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2018
  • Born a Kuki, die a Kuki :: Poem
  • History of North East India :: Book
  • Will SimpliciTB make TB treatment simpler
  • Meefam chathaduna ST gi issue..
  • Dipankar Talukdar- Mr Model of World Star
  • System error- who will fix Broken Window
  • Reshuffle Talks : Say No to Yes Me
  • India negotiating vehicle pact with Myanmar
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #2
  • Is FA a self exposed daylight robbery?
  • Nation Needs Small Farmers
  • Who is programming you ?
  • Bandhs as dissent & survival of laziest
  • Looking for Raju :: Poem
  • The cry of the 2nd class citizen
  • Bharat Bandh in Imphal
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #1
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki conflict: Search for definitions
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Legal profession as career option
  • Guv felicitates 5 JAK RIF for flood relief
  • Stored Anger :: Book Review
  • On stepping into the 20th year of TSE
  • Sept - month which reinstated our courage
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #2 : Gallery
  • Empty :: Poem
  • Lets beat littering - plastics pollution
  • NEHU Seminar : Urbanization in India
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Declaration of Naga Collective Spirit [Sep 8]
  • Akanba Khongjangidamak Yathokpa Loire
  • Support for STDC from UMA, Assam
  • 'Deplorable power supply in Nagaland'
  • Tryst with destiny - Should we accept ?
  • Stand off at MU : Impact on LS Poll
  • Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol
  • Kamesh Salam : Outstanding Green Activist
  • The Valley Of Brahmaputra :: Book
  • Development of road database
  • The inner page story :: Poem
  • Kakching WW-II Memorial Run 2018
  • STDC public meeting at Langathel Keithel
  • Maibi Jagoi at Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • My poll without prejudice to anyone
  • MEETAC - Mission for streamlining TK
  • Conditions leading to Marxism
  • Heart Camp at Khelakhong, Thoubal
  • Cyber bully: Crime that follows you home
  • Bhupen Hazarika : Tribute at London
  • AEP & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Political pandemonium
  • Students central to MU issue
  • Landscape from Koubru #2 : Gallery
  • Leishangthem Robert for Mr. World 2018
  • Oinam Shilla Chanu at Mrs India Earth
  • North-east Frontier Of India :: Book
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 44 :: Poem
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Honours to Bamboo; a ubiquitous gift
  • Case of hunter now being huntedr
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3 : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment & judicial Activism
  • Narin Chenggum - wild edible mushroom
  • Flying Star at your lips :: Poem
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack
  • Changing India & its impact on Manipur
  • MU stand off gets uglier
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #4
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #1 : Gallery
  • Eastern Frontier of India :: Book Review
  • Remembering Radhakrishnan ..
  • Moments to cherish :: Poem
  • Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching
  • NH7 Weekender Express Editions
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [05 Sep]
  • Mental equation
  • Are teachers teaching ? Apt, timely poser
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #1 : Gallery
  • Globalization, Act East Policy & Manipur
  • Review on anthology of Parthajit Borah
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Child Friendly Police Stations proposed
  • ADBU Goes Green with Solar Energy
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Seminar held
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [04 Sep]
  • Divide, divert and rule will not work
  • FA, MU crisis : Issues before LS polls
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Student Day @Bangalore : Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • The Coils of Pakhangba :: Book
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco, Tura
  • Condemns MU VC's vindictive stance
  • 'Policy of India to suppress people'
  • NDPP congratulates Abu Metha
  • Pandey back at MU! Violating spirit of MoA
  • Exhibition @ Art College #2: Gallery
  • AMWJU Sit-In-Protest : Gallery
  • Shri Krishna Janmasthami :: Book
  • Life's heck :: Poem
  • Environment & lung health are vital
  • Innovation for the common man
  • Humanitarian crisis with NRC in Assam
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [02 Sep]
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • The Story of 40 Pineapple Suckers
  • Rebirth of Manipur Human Rights Comm
  • Yumkhaibam Nanao Eramdam Yaourakhre
  • Lecture: Governance & Public Services
  • X-rated poem :: Poem
  • Ningol Chakkouba Celebration in Delhi
  • Baton changes hands at IGAR (South)
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [01 Sept]
  • A Wake-up call
  • Lok Sabha polls : More crucial for BJP
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #2: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • The World of Kuki People :: Book
  • Effects of the Burning of Meitei Puyas
  • Soil Technician required at MaolKeki
  • Jr. Mr. India 2018, Gyanendra Thokchom
  • Rejoinder to HTC & allies' statement
  • Consensual sex..Does it amount to rape ?
  • Need for all to keep their sanity
  • Sanagi Tenawa :: Funga Wari
  • MU: Den of Insurgents or Den of Ideas?
  • Can NRC Update save Assam and NE ?
  • Victim of Enforced Disappearances
  • Admission for Ph.D. at Tripura University
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #1: Gallery
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco College
  • Resolution: Right of Human Right Defender
  • Advancing rights of Human Right Defender
  • Dolaithabi Dam , Senapati : Gallery
  • Eid-Ul-Adhaa Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1 : Gallery
  • 47th Nagas Annual Meet at Mumbai
  • Transcending Patriots' Day(s) #4
  • Sangai Fest: Fashion Show #2 : Gallery
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #3
  • Dr. Jodhachandra Sanasam : Sahitya
  • Architects announces 1st MADE 2018
  • Expedite FA Rally #2 : Gallery
  • Billie's Book by Ranjeeta Mayanglambam
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic