Post Mortem

Lest the North East fall asleep

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/4/2019 1:17:56 PM IST

 (From previous issue)

One should not be confused about the two BJP governments—the one under Vajpaiyee and the other under Modi. The BJP government under Vajpaiyee was a secular government for the most part. If there were RSS politicians and other radical Hindus supporting BJP, Vajpaiyee kept them under control. Many of us thought persons like Arun Shorie and L.K. Advani were among the real radicals among Vajpaiyee’s cabinet members but certainly no longer. No sooner had Modi taken charge of the BJP government in 2014 than the ugly heads of RSS cadres began popping up everywhere. Either Modi is a genuine RSS, and there is enough evidence that he is, or he is not able to control the RSS’s destructive Hindutva activities all over India though much more in BJP-ruled states like UP where Modi and his right-hand man Party President Amit Shah have placed Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister. No one can be more RSS than Adityanath. 

What about Modi’s 2014 campaign promise of 15 lakh rupees to be deposited in the bank for every Indian? This is 2019 and Modi says nothing about it anymore. Will Rahul Gandhi’s election campaign promise of Rs.72,000 minimum income to 25 crore Indian poor be more genuine? In March 2018, following the Nagaland State Assembly elections, Governor P.B. Acharya said the Naga political issue would be solved within 6 months. Now the BJP-RSS hierarchy is saying that after the Lok Sabha elections, the Naga political issue will be solved. What’s next? Nagas are smarter than that, I hope. Thanks to the American Baptist missionaries who brought us education and the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Could one reason for not solving the Naga problem be that the RSS-controlled BJP has not quite succeeded in placing their Hindu trishul by the altar of the Church in Nagaland? As Secretary of the BJP NE States Coordination Council, Governor Acharya wrote to then Prime Minister Vajpaiyee: “We have achieved our vowed object of piercing Trishul in the chest of so-called ‘Lord Christ’” (Mid Day). Once more I would urge the Naga national workers and fellow Nagas not to ever believe the Central Government in Delhi until the final Agreement is signed and witnessed by either a UK or US Government representative, if not a UN representative. How long will the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT signed August 3, 2015 between NSCN-IM and the Modi Government remain, as it were, a skeleton agreement just because the Naga national leaders will not compromise with what they consider absolutely essential for the very survival and security of the Naga nation? For example, Nagas inhabiting the contiguous region of Indo-Myanmar, now forcibly divided and placed in four Indian states and in Myanmar by Britain, India and Myanmar, want to live under one political umbrella. To the Nagas “integration” means geographical/physical integration. The Interlocutor to the Naga Peace Talks, R.N. Ravi’s talk about Pan-Naga sounds like Naga integration by remote control because that’s exactly what the so-called emotional and cultural integration is all about. My fear is that, like the Congress Government, Modi’s BJP Government may also fail miserably. 

Let us talk about development. “Development” is Prime Minister Modi’s favorite word, and rightly so because that’s what every Indian citizen yearns for. Not only does Modi talk about development all the time, he seems to be inaugurating either new projects with sanctions of crores of rupees or the completion of projects begun by his predecessors, again involving thousands of crore rupees. Many are wondering how many of the new projects he has inaugurated so far have actually been executed. Modi inaugurated in recent months the completion of the longest bridge over a river between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, begun years ago. We know money doesn’t grow on trees, and I do question where Modi is getting the money to fund all the projects he has announced and even inaugurated. 

I do want to remind the current BJP government as well as the old Congress Party that since India’s independence in 1947, New Delhi’s investment in the North-East, until very recently, has been what I would call mere “tokenism.” I must add that even this “token” investment or development in the North-East has only been achieved following strikes, road blockages, and violence resulting in the loss of human life and property. 

In the past decade or two the Government of India suddenly realized the tremendous potential in economic development by linking up with Myanmar and the rest of South East Asia via the North-East region. Hence the “Look East” slogan under the previous government, and now “Act East” under Modi’s government. The current BJP government in Delhi says their top priority is the development of the North-East by impressing upon the more than 45 million people in the so-called eight North-East Sister States all the good things (highways and byways, waterways, railways, institutions, hydro-projects, hotels and motels, all the other modern amenities, etc.) already coming. But wait! All these so-called “good things” are all appendices to the “Act East” which in fact is the FOUR-LANE INTERNATIONAL HIGHWAY being constructed to link mainland India and Myanmar and the rest of South-East Asia through the North-East which is linked to mainland India with only a small strip of land (often called the “chicken neck”) between Bangladesh in the south and Bhutan in the north. 

I caution Northeasterners not to get unduly excited over the four-lane Asian highway as well as the talked-about railway lines connecting the capitals of the eight North-Eastern States. Do you know who and what the railways will bring to our hill capitals? Have you thought of all kinds of undesirable elements coming to our villages? What about the hundreds and thousands who will be travelling back and forth between mainland India and South-East Asia via the North-East? 

Now consider carefully some well-known Indian leaders’ assessment of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his RSS-controlled BJP Government.

1. Kuldip Nayar (now deceased): “JP (Jayaprakash Narain, a Gandhian socialist) was conscious that the Jana Sangh was a political arm of the RSS. But he had been given an understanding that the two would part company. . . How could they have done so when the Jana Sangh itself was an RSS creation, with the avowed aim of creating a Hindu rashtra (kingdom)? Initially, the Jana Sangh members tried to explain to JP that the RSS wasn’t what it was made out to be. When it came to the crunch, they refused point-blank to break ties with the RSS. JP felt cheated. But by then he was too sick to go back to the people to expose the Jana Sangh (the political BJP and the totalitarian RSS). The constitution is still a sacred document. But, I am afraid, in the 2019 election the BJP may try to get a two-thirds majority and if it does, the party would amend the constitution itself. Article 370, which gives a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the spirit of pluralism which protects minorities, could be the target. The party which is the political wing of the RSS may attempt to dilute if not abolish the concept of secularism.” Referring to the immense suffering of the people during the Emergency (June 25, 1975 to 1977) under Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Mr. Nayar said, “But the ruling Bharatia Janata Party (BJP) which suffered from the emergency most, does not seem to have learnt the lesson which it should have. Mrs. Gandhi was overtaken by the mania of one-person rule. Today Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also riding the same horse at the command of the Rashtriya Swayemsewak Sangh (RSS) and trying to change a pluralistic society, which gives purpose to the nation, into a Hindu Rashtra of sorts.” 

Kuldip Nayar: Secularism is the ideology which we have chosen in contrast to Pakistan’s Islamic order (Nagaland Post). And hours before his death he wrote: “The ruling BJP must always remember that the Northeast is a plural society devoid of much communal violence unlike the Hindu heartland. Hence it is paramount that the Centre should concentrate more on development and good governance rather than trying to impose its Hindutva philosophies.” (Nagaland Post)

(To be concluded)

Tuisem A. Shishak 

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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