Post Mortem

Cricket, Naga-lim and Chief Minister

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/28/2019 12:17:50 PM IST

 Should non-Naga indigenous inhabitants like Bihari and Marwari girls, or transgenders enter Miss Nagaland contest? Or compete in Naga Idol? Should a white man play Nelson Mandela? Can a black man play the role of President Donald Trump? There’re going to be conflicting views but when we change Ancient Boundaries (Prov 22: 28) there’re bound to be confusions and retributions. Deluded liberals and Leftist America removed the ancient boundary between Man and Woman and is fueling a third gender movement – the transgender or neutral gender (which the office of DC Dimapur has also introduced in their application format for ST/Indigenous) resulting in absolute mayhem, one of which is allowing transgenders (male turned female variety) to compete in women sports. The days of women winning sports are over. 

The problem with us Nagas is we don’t even realize there’re boundary stones to begin with. Presently, we have noted with outrage that save for a few Nagas, whether it’s the Senior, U-19, or the Women’s U-23, almost 80% of the state cricketing players seem to be non-Nagas. This is even worse than a father in Samastipur hiring somebody to write exam for his son. Unethical. Criminal. It urinates upon the philosophy of Naga-lim. Offensive. Shameful. It tramples the very ethos upon which our state was created. This is not about prejudice. This has nothing to do with racism. It’s about NAGA INTEREST and the principle of NAGAS’ FIRST. With respect to accomplished players like Jonathan Rongsen and Hokaito Zhimomi, the composition of our ‘Nagaland’ teams is not acceptable, and no matter how many laurels the players bring to the state the teams will never be accepted. 

Any sport after a certain level is beyond sports and banter. It becomes a matter of politics, identity and nationalism. After the end of apartheid an all-White cricketing team was no longer acceptable in a new South Africa – with Blacks comprising 80% of the population and Whites less than 9%. The team was reconstituted and Cricket South Africa mandated that there should be 6 non-White players in the South Africa playing XI out of which 2 should be Blacks which is non-negotiable. Naga-lim is the basis of our identity and nationalism. It’s a political thought; and the state of Nagaland is its (part) product – a land in turn to shape our political and religious beliefs. While the larger theme of it would be land, sovereignty, armed struggle, faith, belief, and so on, its finer foot prints could be something as innocuous as cricket. Any policy formulated by the state with regard to land, immigration, economy, energy, resources, sports, music, culture, art, etc., without keeping Naga-lim in perspective cannot be in Naga interest.

In the German football league, the clubs must employ at least 8 players (out of 25) who have come through the German football academies. The same 8 player rule applies in the English Premier League as well. The NATIONAL INTEREST of Germany and England is to give space to home-grown talents to hone their skills by exposing them at the highest level. Putting limits on foreign players at the club level help these countries in maintaining their national supremacy. The same quota policy is in place in almost every other sport in Europe or even America.  

It’s easy to dismiss the cricket argument by stating that Nagas’ don’t play cricket or our boys are too lazy to learn the technical nuances of the game. And yet the answer is in the questions we raise. What’s the sports policy of the state? Do we even have one? What policies have been formulated to spread cricket at the grass-root level? How many camps have the NCA (Nagaland Cricket Association) conducted for budding young Nagas till date? How much money has been invested by NCA – as given by BCCI – in grass-root level programmes to lure young talents into cricket? Do we have a vision document with respect to the ‘big five’ disciplines – football, boxing, cricket, wrestling, and shooting?

No matter the justifications, state cricket teams stacked with almost 80% non-Naga players is clearly not in Naga interest. The composition should be reverse. And if this is going to be the future scenario of Nagaland cricket, the meaningless but offensive tag of NAGALAND – as in Nagaland U-19, for example – should be removed from all levels of the game. Most Nagas would rather the teams be disbanded than our identity usurped. 

The Chief Minister is also the head of the NCA. He should formulate a comprehensive sports policy including an appropriate quota policy. Naga players should comprise not less than 8 or 75% of the playing XI in cricket with the non-Naga players having being domiciled in the state for the last 10 years. The same 75% or more criteria should be made applicable across all sports. This is non-negotiable. In certain rarified circles, there’s this perception that our Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is a champion of Naga interests. As a champion in the making, a slight tweaking in the innocuous game of cricket may just help in converting this perception to reality. 

Nota bene: The drama and the theatrics surrounding Aonglenden bye-election do not amuse the rest of the Naga tribes anymore. 

In Naga Interest,

Joel Naga

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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