Post Mortem

Potential pitfalls

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/22/2019 12:03:34 PM IST

 After our Honourable Governor held his consultative meeting with the Tribal and Civil Organisations on the 18th.of October; a document was floated on Social media platforms which claimed to be points raised in the meeting and some of the proposed clauses of the solution offered by the Government of India. I’ve been waiting for some sort of disclaimer from any governmental source, but since nothing has been said, so I will assume, for the nonce, that these points and clauses are true.

  What surprised me was that, apart from a few details, it bore a striking similarity to an article of mine published in the Nagaland Post, Morung Express and Eastern Mirror on 10-9-2017, titled, “An Honourable Solution”. Two major difference struck me immediately, clauses (ii) and (iii) of point 7.

Point 7 (ii) states, “The GOI through an act shall pass a law for the institution of a B(P)an Naga Hoho which is purely a Cultural council and it shall be represented by every Naga tribes in India.”

The term “Naga” is the anglicized version of the term “Noga” which the people of the Plains of Assam used to describe the Tribesmen of the erstwhile Naga Hills that they came into contact with. British Colonial Government Officials, Ethnologists, Sociologists, Anthropologists and Linguists later used it to classify a broad range of tribes who inhabit present day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam, in India and parts of the Eastern tracts of Myanmar. Both the Indian and Myanmarese Governments have accepted this classification, as have the tribes who have been classed as such.

     The struggle for power and dominance by the some members of the Tangkhul Naga Tribe over the Kukis and Meiteis in Manipur, has seen the NSCN-IM, whose policy is shaped by its Tangkhul dominated leadership, coerce the minor Old Kuki Tribes of Manipur into declaring themselves as Naga Tribes. This has not only nullified the socio-scientific definition of the term “Naga”, but has brought up the question of, “Who is a Naga?” Can any tribe, race or ethnic group become a Naga if the I-M wishes it so? Apparently so, because the Gorkhalis of Nagaland are now a Naga Tribe, according to the I-M.

      The silence of the people of Nagaland does not mean that we have agreed to or accepted these inclusions to the Naga Fraternity by the I-M. That is why the Government of India should think twice before agreeing to anything that has the term “Pan-Naga”. The I-M will not be appeased by a Pan-Naga Cultural Centre and such a centre will never be accepted by the Nagas of Nagaland unless the list of Naga Tribes of Manipur is purged of non-Naga Tribes.

     In the event that the list of Naga Tribes is cleaned up and a Pan-Naga Cultural Body is agreed to by the Nagas, why must it be based in Dimapur or even Nagaland? Let it be based somewhere in Eastern Nagaland or in Manipur of Arunachal Pradesh, preferably within the 16 kilometer Free Movement Regime limits; so that the Nagas of Myanmar too can have access to the Centre.

Point 7(iii) States,”Bicameral legislature: Upper House for a term of 6 years to be nominated by every tribe and lower house to be directly elected for a period of 5 years. (80-90 members each) for that, delimitation shall happen.”

I envisaged the Upper House of the Nagaland Assembly as a forum where the less numerous indigenous Tribes of Nagaland would have a forum to express their concerns and grievances on an equal footing with the more populous Tribes; for which I proposed two members from every Indigenous Tribe of Nagaland. I also specifically mentioned the Garo, Kachari, Kuki and Mikir Tribes of Nagaland; for they have, actively or passively, supported us all along the way. And to ensure that their genuine concerns were aired, I proposed that members should be elected, not nominated.

         It is a fact that Nagaland is the most corrupt state in India and that the corrupt, across tribal lines, political parties, the bureaucracy and the underground factions have a stranglehold on Nagaland with their unscrupulous claws. 

Even with a voting system, there is a clear danger that they will enmesh the Upper House within their greedy coils; but when you replace it with a system of nomination to the House, you guarantee that it will be filled with the cronies and lackeys of the corrupt. Elections to an Upper House will inspire hope and change for the better, but nominations guaranteed that the people will see it as just a another sop. Better to have no Upper House than a corrupt one.

        Apart from the rare few idealists, our underground faction are filled with the those discontented, not with the Laws of India, but the failure of the Laws of India, in the hands of the corrupt in power; who bend, twist and break them to favour themselves. Economic deprivation and the breakdown of the system have driven many into the arms of the various factions. India must make sure that there are no future bombshells such as the above two in any agreement they arrive at with any or all of the factions.

         Short term appeasement of a few with the establishment of a Pan-Naga Body or nominations to an Upper House of Assembly will lead to long term losses of unimaginable cost. Assuming that the above mentioned clauses are part of the proposed solution being offered by the Government of India, I humbly request the decision makers to kindly take my arguments into consideration and amend, modify or delete them as you see fit.

Kahuto Chishi Sumi, Akukau, Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range kahuto107@gmail.com

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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