Post Mortem

CSO: Not just a punching bag

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/14/2019 11:25:02 AM IST

 Inspite of all the ills in the Naga society, Nagas have been able to weather it all and is slowly but surely evolving as a progressive society. This has been possible because Nagas have been practicing the purest form of democracy since the ancestral times. And it is because of democracy that there have been conflicts within the Naga society since democracy allows differences of opinions. It is these differences of opinions that has allowed, if not compelled, the Nagas to look at conflict from a positive lens and has enabled to harness conflict and channel its power in the right direction.

Yes, reconciliation and unity is the best and loftiest of all virtues but in a democracy we cannot just talk about reconciliation and unity as the only way and reject conflict altogether. It is in the differences of opinions which enable us to envision the best out of the negotiations and the consequences. The robustness of democracy and that of a free society is reflected through the differences in opinions. A difference of opinions, therefore, is indeed a necessity for any society to grow.

Conflicts or differences in opinions, however, does not mean in painting what is white to be black. Today it is becoming more like a trend to blame Naga civil society organizations and the disunity among the Naga civil society organizations for all the wrongs in the land. In a “Head I win, Tail you lose” coin toss scenario, civil society is always being made to be the tail. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to undermine civil society by accusing civil society organizations (CSO) of not consulting and airing the voice of the people. Instead CSOs are being charged of being agents of either the overground or the underground governments, so much that civil societies are even accused of having become a tool to disseminate disunity among the common people across tribal lines.

It is very unfortunate that civil society leaders are now being charged of not having the mandate of the people by those who actually do not have the mandate to speak. The Naga public are made to believe that it is the CSO leaders who are responsible for leaving them unimaginative and their creativity limited to being happy if they are able to live their everyday life with their basic needs met. Also, nothing can be more remote from the truth than to accuse CSO leaders of being economically at ease and drunk with power vested on them by the people. Far from being economically at ease, CSO leaders of all hues have to make ends meet for the greater good of the society by burning their own respective pockets.

Since from the time Naga tribes came together as a people, it is the CSO that had time and again come to the rescue of the people when they needed it the most. It is the CSO that had galvanized the common people to fight for their rights against all odds. It is never in the good times that a CSO is remembered, but only in the worst of times when everything else has already failed. And yet CSO are accused to have become the puppets of both the overground political system and the Naga underground.

Today the relative peace we have in the land is purely due to the untiring work of the Naga CSOs. It is because of the work done by the civil society that there is cessation of factional armed violence as also all other forms of violence. Reconciliation, the coming together of the NNPGs and the signing of the framework agreement itself would have not been possible had it not been for the groundwork done by the CSO. Reconciliation, however, needs to go beyond reaching a political settlement and this can only be brought about through the active work and participation of the Naga CSOs.

Much as the Naga CSOs are being maligned today, it is the CSO that are always at the forefront addressing the many social evils prevailing in the society, and at the same time containing the many tensions that flares up time and again in our multi-tribal Naga society.

The deep desire of our typical Naga civil society organization is to move on in the right direction of continual transformation, awakening the conscience of the people and renewing the commitment to reconciliation and peace. And to this effort, even if it has to become the common punching bag, so be it.

Dr. Kakheto Zhimomi                President, 

Western Sumi Hoho

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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