Post Mortem

The greatest fear post-solution

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/2/2019 12:20:16 PM IST

 One empirically evident objective of the existing developmental planning and its real-time execution is fundamentally driven by services which the state readily renders to govern. To exert authority over a region has formed part of the development initiatives that are in operation, making the realization clear that the scheme and execution of state-led development has deeply been a political undertaking. This is critically understood in terms of the asymmetric (recipient of huge) Central development funds granted to Nagaland as well as the state being identified as India’s highest ratio of government servants to the population.

The Naga nationalists dissuaded people from accepting and joining government service in earlier of periods preceding statehood. People, on exercising their pure conscience, personally desisted from working with the government whilst few had been maimed for life by virtue of their association with the government. The scenario was reversed following the statehood where the government departments had been over flooded with personnel appointed through fraud recruitment process, backdoor, favouritism and, in rare cases, fair recruitment. Media reports cited excess appointments in various departments that run in contrary with the objective need-based manpower allocation.

Nagaland’s high presence of government servants may, however, be well understood from the prism of New Delhi’s policy with reference to the Nagas. The fight for recognition as independent nation by the Nagas had been hyphenated with packages and developmental funds by New Delhi and accordingly devised a policy intervention. Few writers would prefer to call it ‘policy of seduction’. The policy was devised in such a way that it tried to repulse the Naga nationalists from politics of insurgency to subsequently bring them mainstream. Under this, New Delhi offered positions, jobs and other rehabilitative measures. Those who renounced underground organizations and emerged overground had been rewarded with jobs and government protection. Or, for that matter, the regions that had developed close affinity with New Delhi were identified and hence lesser military operation. The state actors vigorously pursued non-state actors in an attempt to let them forego with jungle warfare in exchange of government positions. The policy of seduction worked wondrous. Host of former nationalists abandoned their jungle havens and accordingly recruited as security forces and / or government servants.

So much was the appeasement that the Nagas then revelled at the influx of central funds into the state along with the government jobs made available. As implied above, the state resources were mostly incurred on how to persist with the governing of the people rather than the development of the region. Policy experts based in New Delhi admitted that the resources have been utilised for engaging interlocutors to conduct political parleys with the Naga nationalists and which the latter may in turn fend its people from going against the interest of New Delhi. This may be equated to appeasement politics, as a supplementary to the policy of seduction. As a consequence, a primary deficiency inflicted upon the Nagas has been their inability to efficiently govern themselves since they have been drunk with excess government jobs and overflowing central government assistance. Policy deficiencies, individualistic pursuit for wealth accumulation, manoeuvring the system to get hold of government jobs and development initiatives have thus assumed a fundamental stance in state politics. Social security, capitalizing human resources, research & development inevitably takes a back seat in the process. Mutual enmity, emergence of class stratigraphy, weakening aged-old means of earning a living at the expense of work culture, defective planning syndrome and lack of intelligent and scholarly thinking are its immediate results. A combination of all these deficiencies has been a bottleneck in anchoring our state forward. We have been contained in the packages and assistance for more than half a century.

Now, the Indo-Naga talk is stated to be attaining its finality any time soon. The proposed final solution appears to be heavily gravitating towards an agreement that is neither outrightly rejecting nor unequivocally accepting each other’s dictated terms and conditions. However, what has surfaced unambiguous is the duplication of the tested policies of seduction and appeasement. Though unofficial, it was reported that cadres of various Naga political groups shall be either rehabilitated or recruited as regular security forces. Concomitant benefits of the much talk solution revolve around economic packages. Nobody would dare to question the rationality of appeasement politics even though when everybody feels its negative effects. This is so in the light of the present context where the demand for jobs has far exceeded the management of the state actors even as the high ratio of government employees negates the very idea of efficiency.

It is open to debate that enticing people with government positions including cash on offer corrupted the good minds of the Nagas. Such appeasement politics is partially responsible for our lack of confidence in responding to situations involving our own state of affairs. Dependency syndrome thus myopically affects our long term vision. We have reached a situation where we no longer seem to evolve a sound standalone policy without being skewed by the shadows of the policy experts based in South Block.

Top-bottom development approach may bear far reaching consequences in as far as developing Nagaland is concerned. So also, falling prey to the politics of appeasement by confining ourselves to accepting government jobs and economic packages, though such are vital in managing our present, without a cardinal agenda in tapping the local talents to supplement the about to receive state resources will be suicidal. Establishment of study/research centres will be of critical importance for target-oriented governance post-solution. In this regard, policy framing need to take into account that Nagaland’s advantage that lies in village and community-based talents and resources and hence policy decision need not be influenced by outside factor. Major socio-economic problems may have to be dissected into smaller questions for remedy, as was propounded by the winner of 2019 Nobel prize in economics, Mr Abhijit Banerjee. For instance, if one has to find an answer to the deep-rooted corruption in the state, one need to be reminded of the appeasement politics mark by absence of checks and balance mechanism. Under this system, there is free flow of funds in the name of development on the one end and there equally exist almost no moral authority for ethical implementation of the grants on the other extreme. All this has been done to appease each other.

The greatest fear following the successful conclusion of the current talk may not necessarily be the conventional fratricide. The greatest fear will however be the repetition of appeasement politics and policy of seduction. Appeasement politics manifested that those close to corridor of power had been handsomely rewarded thereby introducing a new social structure – unofficial but evident social classes. Appeasement politics eats away the vital organs of our nationhood losing cohesion, integrity, corrode our common interest and further multiply mutual enmity. Policy of seduction makes us dependent and comfortable, almost on the brink of erasing our memories of what befell our forefathers. Policy of seduction makes us complacent to the point of losing competitive spirit as is portrayed by our parochial aversion of our southern brothers being emotionally integrated with us fearing that they may one day control us, instead of positively competing and learning with them. Policy of seduction tempts us away from our close association with our traditional lands, making way for outsiders to make huge earnings from our lands. Policy of appeasement blinded our vision to look beyond the present state of Nagaland.

Nagas have been high on excess government employees and flow of Central government assistance for more than five decades now. The consequences lay bare. Extremism as a profitable business enterprise, corruption as a standard operating procedure, dependence as a way of living, autophobia as a means for appeasement, and the most obnoxious of all is the lack of ideal thinking to be bequeathed to the Next Generation. At the fag-end of the day, we all have been the unsuspecting victims. The most dreaded fear is will we persist with this same drunkenness for the next five decades or so?

Nukhosa Chüzho, Agri Farm, Kohima,  (khozch@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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