Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Lack of servicing station in Dimapur due to multiple taxes

Recently, I had an issue with my JCB Turbo. It started sputtering engine fluids through it. That led me to search JCB’s turbo servicing centre in Dimapur but I couldn’t locate one. I was directed to go to Khatkhati in Assam where they had a servicing center. I’d learned that it was the only one in and around me. Moving on, I drove up to Khatkhati where the shop was located. It’s about 5 or 6 kilometres away from Dimapur’s Nagaland Gate. Arriving at my set destination, I asked them for an appraisal. They dismantled the turbo to check the faulty internal parts. I was told that the the entire internal kit has to be replaced as it was almost totalled and they gave me an estimation of 28000 INR for the parts alone. If I added servicing charge, it would amount to about 33000 INR.
I queried for the price of brand new turbo and was told that it costs 40000 INR. I mentally calculated whichever choice would benefit me more and decided to go for the later. Adding only seven thousand to replace the turbo with a brand new stoke parts made more sense than repairing my old turbo at almost the equivalent price tag for a new one.
Anyways, I asked them why not establish another servicing center in Dimapur or even migrate their present location to Dimapur? I added that almost all servicing they did were from Dimapur and parts of Nagaland. Why make it inconvenient for their customers? The salesperson gave me and uneasy grin and reluctantly replied that, there’d be no profit and they would go bankrupt in a few span if they were to set up in Dimapur because of various Underground taxes. In addition, many new factions are emerging and as a result, they have to pay taxes to more than seven Faction, on top of Central and State taxes. Said that their work was limited, unlike diesel vehicles’ pump servicing centers, so what little they make from limited works may not even be able to accommodate the local taxes levied upon. Initially, I thought of smacking him a little and tell him everything he uttered was bogus and warn him of worse outcome if he continued to blasphemise about multiple taxes levied upon business entrepreneurs in Dimapur. I restrained my over flowing emotions and introspected if the fellow was partly right. I felt I’d be guilt-ridden if I were to act in offensive and react only to find later on that he was correct. So, dejectedly, I asked him if they are liable to pay taxes to Naga Factions in Khatkhati, and he assertively replied, “No.” Nevertheless, I broached him on that there are also series of insurgent groups in Assam and asked if they pay taxes to them, to which he promptly replied no. He added that those insurgents could be levying taxes in remote locations but not in urban areas.
I simply nodded at him and thanked him for his service and directed his assistant to porter the brand new turbo into my car-trunk and made my leave. Driving back to Dimapur, I started contemplating if what the fellow related was absolutely genuine.
When it comes to Naga Undergrounds’ chapter, I am always a Pro Supporter and I feel it’s justified when a little token of taxes are levied upon Naga Public. And don’t misjudge me. It’s not because I have many kinsfolk serving in different Factions. I believe that since they are the one projecting for a better world for the Nagas in general, the Naga public should be liable to contribute too since the projected goal is for Nagas collectively and not for Underground Factions or a few sections of people alone. To me, it’s an obligatory mission that every Naga should bear, not repressively but directively and initiatively.
Coming back to Dimapur, I couldn’t help myself but kept on brooding about what the Assamese walla said. I debated what if he was partially or totally right and that left me at odds. Eventually, I set out for an amateurish investigative journalism, asking many business individuals if what I heard was correct. Yes, it was indeed, to my dismay. Every business entrepreneurs are desperately managing to bear the “Cross of Taxes” levied upon them from ever increasing multiple Factions. I realised that if the present instances are not reformed, Naga economy will continue to plummet ceaselessly, and eventually, no Naga or Non-Nagas private entrepreneurs would be keen to invest in Nagas’ economy. Ultimately, businesses will only be left to a handful of entrepreneurs. The outcome would be daunting since the prices of every commodity would surge abnormally high with very few competitors in the market. Its depressing to even imagine. And whose fault would that be?
Today, instead of only paying taxes to Central, State and what used to be few Underground Factions, now, an entrepreneurs have to pay taxes to more than seven Naga Underground Factions. Anyone can determine that the number of taxes have more than tripled, considering what was practiced before. It’s extremely crucial for every Naga to be knowledgeable that Business Community in Nagaland contribute a larger portion of taxes towards Nagaland State Government and Various Insurgent Factions, in addition to our local municipalities and town committees. It is, metamorphically, our only golden goose. So it should be everyone’s objective to nurture it to grow and not kill it. Looking for the main reason why the taxes are increased by many folds, we can all deduce why. Naturally, anyone can fathom that the topmost leaders in our Naga Factions are unable to reach a common consensus. As a result, members of original Factions are detachingsegregate to form different independent bodies not liable to one another.
So, the general question is “What could be the vital element that is segregating members of a Faction to form new Faction?” Let’s dwell into the main factors why.
Our forefathers have led a very remarkable style of living. They have led their way through might and strength – life of a proud master. They’d rather die fighting than sacrificing their beliefs no matter how the outsider’s outlook towards them are. This creed of never shying away from our beliefs are engrained in our blood, which was passed down to us from generation to generations. And now, it has become our moral constitution, even if we know or don’t, if its adaptive or unwholesome to our present state of evolution. We Nagas has suffered so much because of it. Most Nagas still believe that ‘Acts of Compromise’ is equal to ‘Cowardice’, i.e. an individual is labelled a coward if one discards their concepts and accepts an opponent’s idea because it was logical. (Wouldn’t it be prudent discard these beliefs?) What I’m trying to imply through the above paragraph is, ‘Compromise’ is a necessity when two parties come to resolve disputes. Without cultivating and availing it, it is moot for the interlocutors to set countless meets with different parties to reach an accord, desirable to both. History is the ultimate source for everyone to learn and avoid past gory happenstances suffered by bygone generations. Most of us Nagas are literate. So we have read and witnessed, in any part of the struggling world, no group of people ever achieved their objectives when there was no compromise or when there was infighting occurring within themselves. And even if, by jove, if they succeed, the fulfilled atmosphere never lasts. They are susceptible to collapse. The table conferences have been going on for years with the Central Government and yet no vital absolute yielding settlements have been reaced. Is this the doings of the Central or us Nagas? Practically speaking, how can the Central Government grant our proposals when there are multiple Factions and each Faction’s demands to the Central different from other Factions. Coming back to the main reason why there’s continuous breakages in Underground Factions, let’s scrutinise. Now, why are many of our Naga Underground Leaders being too obstinate to reach a decisive consensus? The most probable aspect factoring here is: if you probe why some leaders are too unrelenting when it come to some manifestos, you’ll find that those beliefs are backed by thousands of public, and you learn that the particular leader is but a spokesperson for the general people who look up to him.
It’s natural for a leader to stand by his pepole’s beliefs and his acts of putting them into action determine the level of respect he is given. We Nagas are not complex people. We realistically do exactly what we say and believe, in public and in private. And we believe in leaders who are unwilling to compromise and fight for what we believe is our birthright. We Nagas are pure people with strong traditional roots and beliefs.
Our concept of abled leader is one who is stubborn enough to not even give up an inch of particulars that we Nagas have been struggling for. We stow those leaders, who are unwavering to even slightly settle our general issues by compromising, in the pedestal row. On the other, we instantly come to believe those leaders, who compromise even a minor issues to reach a settlement, are an abomination, a deserter and their deeds are deemed as an acts of espionage for the opponents. All of it backed by no relevance.
I find that this custom of blind villifying assults the public direct towards our leaders, when they fail to comprehend fully the acts of our leaders, is the root-cause why different Factions are arising, breaking away from original Factions.
It is the masses beliefs and expectations that will be the subsequent element that dictates the actions of our leaders. Our leaders know that they are beholden to the mass. So when a particular leader’s proposals are excluded from the particulars stowed to be submitted to the Central, our leaders who spearheaded the excluded agendas are compelled to break away from larger body and form a different Faction with the intention of voicing out the excluded point, even if the dropped agenda may no longer be compitable with the present time.
On the other hand, if particular issues are dropped, and the leaders who necessitated the excluded issues pays no heed, he become exposed to harsh public slanders. Once called a revered leaders are instantly percipated to be termed as covert agent of the opponent. We Nagas are harsh towards our leaders when they fail to stand by our expectations and we venerate those leaders that do. Therefore, when leaders in a Faction are unable to reach an approval, it becomes prudent for the opposing leader to breakaway to form a new Faction and continue to propose the earlier submitted doctrine that was excluded by collective leaders. Our leaders, inorder to prevent such despicable terms we bestowed upon them, when they compromise, are compelled to form their own Factions to avoid vitrolic verbal assults by the masses. In the first place, what essential component we have to develop amongst Naga Public is that, we the general mass should shy our stubborn streak, which, I say, is an instigator to many a feuds. Being unwavering for personal cause is an individual’s idealism and it is personal. It may appear appealing or revolting to a beholder, subjected to circumstances. Nevertheless, it is personal. But when it comes to General’s Manifest, it is entirely a different matter.
My fellow Nagas, never had any conflicts been resolved without understanding and some level of compromise from both the parties. Let’s start propagating that settlments through middle ground is not a treason and it’s acceptable for our leaders to compromise minor issues as long as our primary goals are made. Also, we the common should be obliged to know that our leaders are humans and not some supernatural individuals or demi-gods. They don’t possess the super ability to hypnotise the Central Government sitting on the other panel to sign off on every details that the Naga people propose. Inorder to reach a degree of approval from both sides, trade-off is a necessity. And therefore, it’s despicable for any Naga spurring and terming our Panal of Leaders as deserter or enemies’ agents, should they give up some of our minor demands inorder to supplement other major proposals. Personally, I WILL be contented with any outcome that our Underground Leaders achieve. I wouldn’t be bothered even if all of our minor demands are not fulfilled, as long as I know that our leaders utilized every statesmanship’s endeavour they possess to convince the opposite panel; also as long as our vital demands are sanctioned. In addition, my dear Fellows, we have to fathom that when we sum up our demands to the Central as an absolute, we, ultimately, leave no space for our negotiating leaders to maneuver. We Nagas generally believe that ‘Naga Issue’ is a “Sacred Matter”. Well people, I can assure you that until we come to realise that it’s a political issue, there is less a chance for us to indulge in aura of fulfillment even if our goals are attained.
Finally, I would like to conclude with the reason why there is an ‘Amendment’ in every Constitution. We live in, continously, evolving time. Many of the clauses and fundamental points written in any Constitution in the past decades and centuries become moot. So, ‘Amendment’ becomes a necessity. Likewise, we should be able to discern that, should our proposals be sanctioned, let’s not dissect because it is not exact to a ‘t’ and ‘i’ as forwarded, as long as it is compatible to the present moment. It’s time to part take in evolution not only physically but socially as well.
I am assured that the issues that our apex leaders discuss with the Central are initially addressed and approved by all the Factions and Public Leaders during the lower house calls. If otherwise, any solution they bring wouldn’t appease every Naga.
PS: I’d like to suggest to our Underground Boards of Leaders to kindly suggest to the Central Government to allow more number of our underground delegates to be present in the forthcoming conferences with the Central. I, rightfully, or perhaps wrongfully, presume that many a leaders are left frustrated having been excluded during the top table conference with the Central. (Please be advised that this article is solely based on my individual awareness. Its not intended to incite further conlficts or infurate the displeased party or individuals.)
I apologise to the readers for not following a systematic pattern in relating my thoughts. I can only attribute it to remissness on my part to revise what I have jotted and reassemble the written words and paragraphs.
Viketo Nihokhe Sumi (Freelancer)
Purana Bazar, Dimapur.

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