Post Mortem

Cultivating the common ground

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/14/2020 1:06:14 PM IST

 The Naga peoples’ political unity in purpose finds strength and solidarity on the common ground of its historical and political expressions of Naga rights and aspirations. The foundation of the common ground includes the Naga Memorandum to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929, the Declaration of Naga Independence on August 14, 1947 and the Naga Voluntary Plebiscite on May 16, 1951. Together, this common ground guides and provides the political and moral underpinnings that affirm the Naga peoples’ rightful place with self-confidence. 

Naga history has taught us that when the spirit of the common ground is exploited, compromised, and taken from us, no one really benefits. It consumes us all. Sadly, Naga history is replete with instances when any departure from this common ground has been at our own peril, at times turning Naga against Naga. Its consequences have traumatized the Naga people, as it has deeply wounded and fragmented our society.

Can Nagas learn from our own history and constructively get out of this stalemate? At this juncture, the Indian State, because of its security concerns and fragile democracy, remains in an arrested state as it maintains status quo on discussing the issue of Sovereignty with the Nagas. For the greater good of democracy, new approaches are required for the Government of India to imagine beyond a limited political process. India has a responsibility to all its citizens for raising this fundamental question within the political process. This highlights the urgency for cultivating an understanding around the common ground since the core issues of Naga rights still need to be addressed. 

After a protracted process towards a political agreement, the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs are currently engaged in what seems to be parallel processes with the Government of India. The Naga people are now saying it is time for these two Naga political groups to meet and take forward the unfinished task of reconciliation. 

“Having reconciled and forgiven” each other in the form of the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR), the leadership of the NNPGs and NSCN (IM) must demonstrate transformative and healing statesmanship by exercising the intent and spirit of the CoR into practice.

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) urges leaders of the two groups to meet and explore a workable mechanism of cooperation around the ‘Competencies’ and the ‘Agreed Position’ in consonance with the Naga common ground. This is fundamental because the parallel processes have polarised the Naga public, tribal and civil society organizations. The constant public accusatory and divisive statements have empowered vested interests to control and change the narrative with flawed and factual errors to the point people are no longer able to recognize the truth. This is creating an alienating mindset which is extremely insular for citizens to feel free, secure and to participate without fear.

Naga tribal and civil society organizations have time and again conveyed their views to the GoI and the Naga political groups. Now, at this crucial time, FNR recommends and urges that the NSCN (IM) and NNPGs be given the space to reflect independently and search their conscience to do what is right. In the meantime, we further recommend not issuing new press statements which will help reducing confusion and reactivity. 

Given this precarious situation, it is imperative for Nagas to take ownership of our narratives, protect our common belonging, and unite to break down barriers by strengthening the bonds and relationships among ourselves. Let us renew our commitment and solidarity to a shared future that will benefit all Nagas, now and in the future.

Forum for 

Naga Reconciliation

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