Post Mortem

the 11 naga tribes fell for india’s masterstroke

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/19/2020 1:12:13 PM IST

 There are two kinds of politicians today, those who work behind the cover of CSOs (civil society organizations) and those who prefer to take on the issue/s head on, the more unpleasant the better. Instead of being leaders, the majority of our politicians have become event managers – presiding over festivals, weddings, concerts, and photo-op events distributing dal and roti where the optics is more important. So when the reality of politics, ranging from Naga issue to COVID-19 to delimitation hits us, these event managers push somebody else to the front to take decisions for them. 

There is no second guessing that the issue of delimitation is divisive. Both the ‘for’ and the ‘against’ parties have valid reasons to feel aggrieved. However, as MLA Azo put it, “Sooner or later we must find a solution to the problem….” In short there is no running away from it. 

The Chief Minister of Nagaland and his cabinet cannot run away from it. The 11 tribes of Nagaland who put a joint memorandum to the Prime minister of India on the 12 June opposing delimitation in the state cannot run away from it. The 11 tribes cited the on-going Naga peace talks as the reason for the GoI to defer the delimitation exercise. It fooled no one. 

Unfortunately, the tribe hohos may have played right into India’s hands. Reviving the delimitation issue in Nagaland was a strategic masterstroke for India. The central idea is to divide the Naga people along tribal lines, possibly weakening the larger Naga resolve to pursue contentious issues, and the fissure has happened as expected. 

Instead of countering India’s strategy with a counter-strategy of our own, the event managers got us duped. While India weaponised the delimitation issue in a strategic manner to benefit India vis-à-vis the Nagas, petty politics got the better of us. The counter-strategy could have been along 2 lines – a united Naga stand and treading the middle path offered by MLA Azo, that the 2011 census and not the 2001 census should be the basis of the delimitation exercise by amending the relevant portions of the Delimitation Act of 2002. Whatever the motive of the GoI in reviving the delimitation process, the 11 tribes could have been more mature and circumspect in its reaction. The leaders of the 11 tribes should humbly accept their shortcomings – that we lack the strategic mind, and it is always wise to have wider consultations with different sections on any agenda. 

So paradoxically, by rejecting the delimitation exercise, the 11 tribes may have unwittingly invited the GoI to pursue the delimitation exercise in Nagaland with added vigor and it’ll not be surprising if the exercise is carried to its logical conclusion. 

Not only have we failed to comprehend the issue with a strategic mind, we have also utterly failed to understand that 2020 – with Modi-Shah duo at the helm – is not 2002-2008 when event managers could mobilize Naga public opinion to scuttle the then delimitation exercise. The Vajpayee government and the Manmohan Singh government were fooled into believing that law and order in the state would collapse if delimitation exercise were carried out in the state. There’s no fooling Modi-Shah. 

Ergo, our in-house event managers have failed to understand that there’re master event managers seated in Delhi calling the shots. 

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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