TODAY -

Closing the Eyes of the Crab: Unsettling News & the Naga Reality

Yenning *

A protestor at the AR and NSCN(IM) Siroy (Ukhrul) Stand-off on 29 Jan 2009
A protestor at the AR and NSCN(IM) Siroy (Ukhrul) Stand-off on 29 Jan 2009 :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam



Unsettling news

Few incidents in the past few days have proved to be "news" for those keenly following the Naga affairs. These have proved to be "news" for not only revealing the nationalist character or rather design/approach of resolving the years-old Indo-Naga political problem but also for revealing the faultlines prevalent within the Nagas, the undercurrents of which pose a challenge to the rhetoric of Naga uniqueness and solidarity and above all to the very idea of Naga itself (chiefly voiced by NSCN-IM).

At the same time, the news are unsettling, in the sense that they invoke a sense of déjà vu or a grim reminder of troubled times ahead for the Nagas in their quest for peace and an honourable solution, which seems to be already foreclosed (at least for NSCN-IM and sympathisers).

Rejection of NSCN Core Demands: The Nationalist Design

Of the three news items pertaining to the Naga affairs, the Kolkata based Telegraph screamed the loudest, perhaps by virtue of being a national daily or perhaps on account of its substantial content, which seemed to allay the fears of the non-Nagas in the three neighbouring states of Nagaland, arising out of the proposed creation of a Supra State body as a means of bringing solution to the vexed Naga problem. Its Wednesday edition carried the headlines, "PM Rules Out NSCN Core Demands: Rio Plea for Right Choice" (Kolkota, April 18, 2012).

Telegraph reported that the 15-year talks between the Centre and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) appears to be heading for a deadlock with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveying his government's inability to accept the outfit's (NSCN-IM) core demands. The Centre has "ruled out" among others "sovereignty", more "federal power" and "integration of contiguous Naga areas" to hammer out a solution to the more than 60-year-old Indo-Naga political problem.

The report further claimed that the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, who met the Prime Minister recently, indicated that the Centre was not in a position to accept the core demands of the NSCN. The news report reproduced Mr. Rio's quotation of the Prime Minister's remarks, "Whatever is possible will be possible even after 100 years but whatever is not possible will not be possible even after 100 years".

Nationalist ethos largely created by the pangs of partition (partition of Bengal as well as Punjab) has been recapitulated by the remarks of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. Put in otherwise, the young nation-state that India is, cannot afford to fragment her territory anymore. What emerges here is also the reality/logic of modernity deeply ingrained in the blood and flesh of the modern nation-states.

While the logic of the nation-states recognises and acknowledges historicity of any movement, it also uses history as a tool to nullify such movements by invoking the logic of irreversibility of history itself. Thus, sovereignty of the Nagas, or, for that matter, any other aspiring nation-state is an impossible proposition to the Indian state. The news report merits attention not only for the element of deadlock in the Indo-Naga peace talks but also for the larger political movements in India based on sovereignty.

Naga Socio-metrics: Inherent Faultlines versus the Idea of Naga

While the nationalist and unitary spirit of the Indian State (sic. denying more "federal power") has been captured by the remarks of the Prime Minister, it also equally reflects the vigilant character of the Indian State in terms of "recognising" the faultlines inherent within the Naga society, therefore, the rejection of "integration of contiguous Naga areas."

It is an undeniable fact that there are oppositions to the proposed integration from the affected states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. But the more serious threat to the proposed integration ensues not from external factors but from the internal socio-metrics of the Nagas. The tragedy is ability of the Indian State to pick up such faultlines and endorse in their engagement with the Nagas.

Take for example, on the same day Telegrapgh reported the stand of the Prime Minister, the Dimapur based Morung Express carried the headlines, "GRPN/NSCN Lauds Khaplang's Peace Truce". It reported, "GPRN/NSCN will extend all possible help towards the suffering of the Naga brothers living in Myanmar and expressed its hope that Nagas of Myanmar will create no more problems or confusion towards the political destination of Nagaland".

It further added, "The political fate of Nagaland should be left to the people of Nagaland…as appealed by the Naga Hoho and various NGOs in the past". GPRN/NSCN expressed the view that the political destiny of Nagas of Myanmar should be left to his Excellency the President SS Khaplang, NSCN (K) and political destiny of Nagas of Nagaland be left to the people of Nagaland.

The press release not only laid bare the long standing chasm on factional lines but also an imagery of the Nagas limited by territory or rather a geographical construct. Unconsciously, NSCN-IM has treaded the modernity path, and thus, the instrumental construction of two Naga identities, which in fact is detrimental to the overall Naga movement. In doing so, NSCN-IM has given room for maneuverability to its negotiating partner, the Indian State.

The challenge to the idea of Naga does not end with the political articulation of Naga on territorial or factional lines. It is much deeper if one takes into account recent unfolding of events at the socio-metric level. Few years back, an ultimatum was served by Naga civil society bodies in Dimapur against the Tangkhuls to vacate the town.

Tangkhuls were taken as squatters and occupiers. Mind you, the ultimatum was not served not on the behest of any factional Naga insurgent outfit but by the "natives", who considered the commercial and economic expansion of the Tangkhuls as encroaching upon their land. Similar notices were served by the local population in Kohima, Khuzuma and others to prevent Naga traders from Senapati District of Manipur from doing business in these places.

The notices were served as "cheap" (read low priced) vegetables from the Manipuri Nagas were killing the local traders in the local markets and also, the vegetables were "inorganic", and thus, unhealthy.

Coming to the most recent incident, local dailies painted Manipur black and white with the news of six Jessami (Ukhrul District, Manipur) villagers beaten up by Melurie (Phek District, Nagaland) villagers and taken hostage to Nagaland ("Armed men from across the border abduct six Jessami villagers; Late night release defuse tension", The Sangai Express, Imphal, April 19, 2012).

While Tangkhuls are the inhabitants of Jessami (Ukhrul District), Chakesangs are the majority in Phek District. Tension gripped Manipur-Nagaland border areas after six Jessami villagers were beaten up black and blue by heavily armed Nagas from Melurie Village and taken hostage to Nagaland. Huyen Lanpao, Imphal reported, "The villagers of Melorie have been encroaching upon and using the lands of Jessami village under the protection of Nagaland Arm Police, which has opened a post within the territory of Manipur. This led to regular tensions between the villagers of two villages on either side of Manipur-Nagaland border".

Further, the report added, "The villagers of Jessami have appealed to the State Government to safeguard their lives and properties and help them in protecting the territory of Manipur." In fact, the hostages were released only after intervention of the State Government. At present, there is demand for installation of IRB post to prevent incursion of Nagas from Nagaland and further escalation of problems at the border area.

Closing the eyes of the crab

The Jessami incident and others mentioned above debunks the idea of Naga people as cohesive and therefore, our understanding is that the idea of political destiny of Nagas leaving to the Naga people as articulated by NSCN-IM remains problematic. In fact, it is a political rhetoric, which has not gone unnoticed from the vigilant eyes of the Indian State. Moreover, the "reconciliation" drive initiated by various Naga bodies has not been able to solve the complex socio-metrics operating at the grassroot level.

The isolated news elaborated in this edition when read together reveals the uniqueness of the Naga reality. As a commentator puts it, the Naga situation is like the age-old Sumi proverb: "difficulty of closing the eyes of the crab". The situation of Naga political movement is such, something that is haywire and something seemingly impossible.

This reality has been sidelined by many, for example, NSCN-IM and its frontal organization, the United Naga Council and others, who are involved in the movement. The reality is that taking cognizance of the ground reality the Indian State has rejected the core demands of NSCN-IM. The second reality is the complex socio-metrics working at the ground level. For example, the Nagas of Nagaland want only their citizens to determine their future. And lastly, the people of Manipur particularly the common Nagas are less bothered about the project spearheaded by NSCN-IM. What they are concerned about is the security of their land and lives, which they believe are being threatened by Nagas from across the border, not the non-Nagas of Manipur can only be secured by the Government of Manipur, agency of the Indian State.


* Yenning wrote this for The Sangai Express as part of "Hoi Polloi and Mundanity "
The writer can be reached at yenning05(at)rocketmail(dot)com or visit at hoipolloiandmundanity.blogspot.com
This article was posted on April 22, 2012.



* 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 e-pao.net. 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.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Rare historical stone inscription #1
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #1:: Gallery
  • Huidrom Kirankr- Fellowhsip for Thang-Ta
  • Noises of the Silence #2
  • RIST popular talk 30- Electronic structure
  • Nutrition & dietetics as career options
  • In the Good Old Days :: Poem
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • NPF Presidential Address : 25th July 2017
  • Bid to find haven for ponies
  • ...legal provisions to deal with racial attack
  • Mao Market in Imphal! More than trading
  • Assembly reveals activities of past govt
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #2 :: 360 ° View
  • To the Mosquito :: Poem
  • Cabinet meeting at Ukhrul or Tamenglong?
  • India can't deliver on its SDG promise
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Resolutions from DAN Party 25th July
  • Resolutions from NPF Meeting 25th July
  • Putting SoO in the limelight
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #1:: Gallery
  • Khashungla, Yaneithing, Poukenpon: eMing
  • My visit to Shri Lanka #3
  • Manipur Rajbari now a Government property
  • Kang-Lei-Pak :: Poem
  • Ruskin bonding - V :: Book Review
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Building business ties btn Myanmar & NE
  • Job-hunt now an appy trend
  • BJP walking tight rope: Politics of coalition
  • Regional disparities towards NE'ers
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Super Division Football #2 :: Gallery
  • 70 yrs of Thai-India Friendship football
  • Shree Govindajee Temple @Kangla :: 360 °
  • TV & Cine Manipur: Foundation Day
  • Early identification of hearing loss
  • Faith in the Lord
  • Free Medical Camp at Moirang
  • NPFs Sham Tirade against BJP-RSS
  • 1951 as cut-off year..work permit to settler
  • Never sought Shiva Thapa removal: Mary
  • Of proxy teachers & other ills : Mission edn
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • No hill people quota will be grabbed by valley
  • Effective Communication for Careers #2
  • Mother of All Mothers :: Poem
  • Spot inquiry at Deaf & Mute School, Takyel
  • CM Relief Fund: 50,000 donated
  • Peripheral states & demand of Gorkhaland
  • Season of discontent continues
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • Subroto Football @Wangjing #2 :: Gallery
  • ISKCON Temple #1 :: 360 ° View
  • Noises of the Silence #1
  • Present Flood Situation In Manipur #3
  • Beef Feast at Kohima: Note to Governor
  • Humanity and everything
  • Expulsion & Suspension order from NPF
  • Supreme Court orders probe into killings
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Killing two birds..The politician in CM speaks
  • Baffling Budget
  • NH-102 (Maram road) landslide :: Gallery
  • Plea from Kumbi Shandhong P/S :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • May I Have Two Names?
  • Procession of Jagabondhu Rath Yatra
  • DBT project positions at Manipur University
  • Career Opportunities at TASHI Interiors
  • Condemns neglect of Collegiate Education
  • NPF clarifies on party whip
  • Dialogue with UNC; ILP demand
  • Perils and possibilities
  • Chingarel Biodiversity Park #2 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Girls win 'Oorja' National Football
  • Reforestation & afforestation
  • Coaching Scholarship to UPSC aspirants
  • Sendra Park & Resort #5 :: 360 ° View
  • Program Manager at Library for All, Ukhrul
  • Statement from NPF Kohima on BJP
  • NPF condemns Nagaland Governor
  • NPF snapping ties with BJP ..repercussion
  • Lesser truth in Manipur education sector
  • Landslide at Jiribam Highway #2 :: Gallery
  • Super Division Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Shirui Lily Festival 2017
  • On MPSC's new syllabus for MCSCCE
  • Death is An Art :: Poem
  • Assistant professor, ECE wanted at NERIST
  • New Head Coach Joao Deus for NEUFC
  • Free eye care camp at Loktak Power Station
  • 40 positions in Bangalore & Hyderabad
  • Threats to the idea of Manipur
  • A virtual dream
  • Travelling in Ukhrul District #2 :: Gallery
  • Echoes of the people
  • Various shades of Irom Sharmila
  • High Court Campus, Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • The savage! :: Poem
  • Jobs for the unemployed
  • Scheduled Tribe ki list ta yaohallu
  • Humanitarian assistance to flood victims
  • The call: Separate administration for tribals
  • Resignation of Parliamentary Secretaries
  • Tribute to Sapam Robinhood #2 :: Gallery
  • Imphal city flooded [13 July] #2 :: Gallery
  • The Suitable Boy
  • Fire safety and prevention #2
  • The Man with the Place :: Poem
  • How do we elect the President of India
  • NPF open to a total reconciliation process
  • Plea to protect Manipur ponies
  • Also nail those who gave the order
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #2:: Gallery
  • Aerial survey of flood :: Gallery
  • Sendra Park & Resort #4 :: 360 ° View
  • Experience in Militarized Landscape
  • Medical: Humanitarian service or job security
  • Deconstructing "THE Thoughts"
  • Fate of JNIMS: MCI may cancel recognition
  • Landslide at Jiribam Highway #1 :: Gallery
  • Subroto Football @Wangjing #1 :: Gallery
  • Rejoinder to Bala & 'Manipuri Feminists'
  • Black sheep in the movement for ILPS
  • My visit to Shri Lanka
  • My First Acquaintance:: Poem
  • Representation submitted to Nagaland Guv
  • Wanted: Noah's Ark for NE
  • Blessing for Sharmila
  • Cabinet outside Imphal: Taking all on board
  • 'Huranbagi Tarani Mapugi nongma'
  • Imphal city flooded [13 July] #1 :: Gallery
  • Wari - Aben :: e-pao Radio
  • Kang Joydeva Chongba #2 :: Gallery
  • In the Quaint Leikai-Village of Kwatha
  • Manipur Sangai International Digital Salon
  • Imphal National Model Shooting Workshop
  • Effective Communication for Careers
  • Manipur Girls advance to semi finals
  • Eggs pass Manipur fitness test
  • Making their stand known: On collision..
  • Will BJP Govt. able to defuse it
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #2
  • A Copula in Manipuri Language ?
  • Brain drain: A burning issue in India
  • Seagull Seagull :: Poem
  • Minister Yitachu Speaks Out
  • Rs 131 crore lost in Manipur flood
  • National media ignoring NE floods
  • It is BJP & BJP all over: Silence of Congress
  • Menace of Mob Justice
  • Professional Ethics or Personal Security
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #2 :: 360 °
  • Monsoon rain :: Poem
  • Look Locally act Nationally
  • Nisa na khunaida piba cheitheng
  • Delayed 50 Bedded Tamenglong Hospital
  • NPF points out Model Code of Conduct
  • Hope for kin of 'fake encounter' victims
  • Next round of tripartite talks : Dists creation
  • The flash flood in Manipur is manmade
  • Ukhongsang village, Heirok :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Boys Football #2 :: Gallery
  • Unauthorized selling of high priced Meds
  • Once in a blue moon Chief Secretary
  • Free counselling program for students
  • Twinging Turns of Life :: Poem
  • Highways cut off, paddy fields inundated
  • Rights of the consumers
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #1:: Gallery
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Edu Min @TG Higher Secondary :: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba Ching Kaba #8 :: 360 ° View
  • Head-huntings : Nagas' perspective #2
  • Personal chit chat: Modi & Trump
  • Emergency meeting of Naga People's Front
  • Removal of Armed Forces from Loukoipat
  • September ultimatum from JCILPS
  • Tribute to Sapam Robinhood #1 :: Gallery
  • Nabakishore's unceremonious removal...
  • Promo Fashion Show of NE Fashion Week
  • ..ensure removal of army camp from Univ
  • Can Indo-Naga political issue be a secret
  • Kang Khichri chaba :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Camping @ Phangrei, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #1 :: 360 ° View
  • Bone-Setter of Maiba-Maibi Laiyeng Pathap
  • Bhagirathi Ganga : Dance by Lianda Folk
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Introspecting Some Old Games :: Folk
  • Kakching community gardening :: Gallery
  • Travelling along the infamous NH-2
  • Great June Uprising #4 :: Gallery
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Imphal #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Tournament #1 :: Gallery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • Brahmacharimayum Roji-Photo #2 :: eRang
  • 15th Mega Miss North East :: Gallery
  • Three Mothers Art Gallery :: Gallery
  • Angkor Wat - Cambodia #6 :: Gallery
  • Earth crack at Kangpokpi #2 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Yeningthagi Wari Kumhei :: Gallery
  • Arbind Soibam (Singer) :: Erang Photos
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • Landscape of Manipur #6: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS