In August 2015 when Framework Agreement was signed between Government of India (GoI) and NSCN/GPRN, the BJP-led NDA government was at its peak of power. The saffron party was ruling the country with a majority on its own; the first of its kind in three decades and an unprecedented political phenomenon in India in the era of coalition politics, winning one state election after another and two years later the party is to depute its men to become President and vice-president of the country. By far this is the best conducive political atmosphere for GoI to take any decision towards resolving the longstanding political issue they have with the Nagas. In other words, taking all pragmatic political consideration, the last five years period provides the best opportunity for New Delhi to settle its seven decades old political issue/problem with the Naga nation, and if they had failed to made it, then they only had to blame themselves and not the Nagas.
One, specially any kind of political pundits, cannot simply assumed that the central government is unaware of this historic opportunity at hand, and if the center at all is serious in resolving the issue then the opportunity that was at hand was something they cannot afford to miss. GoI, run by the BJP, should have convinced the nation that the issue at hand is a non-partisan one which is of national importance, seeking support of different political parties, mobilized the support of Chief Ministers, most of them belonging to their party, across the country and work out for a settlement that is in the best interest of both the parties. Instead New Delhi keep resorting to their old delay politics doing nothing more than assuring the Nagas that the solution which will be honorable is forthcoming and that final agreement “could be sign even tomorrow”, keep sending its interlocutor to Nagaland and different parts of Naga inhabited areas outside Nagaland, particularly at the time of different elections, simply to create confusion and apprehension in the minds of the Nagas and neighboring states, and in the whole process expecting from the side of the Nagas to compromise and give up their quest for a free sovereign nation. If the past five years had any lesson for the Nagas, then the period only demonstrated absolute insincerity and lack of commitment on the part of New Delhi in engaging the Nagas and delivering the historic and legitimate right of the Nagas.
If GoI and Nagas had failed to work out for an honorable and acceptable solution in the last five years, then the prospect of finding it in the Post-2019 general election appears bleak. Whichever political party/alliances formed the government after election, the stage is set at the center for the return of coalition politics, as no political party in the country as of now will be in a position to get the required number of its own to form a government, which means unstable and indecisive government, and the government in the next five years would be run and survive under the compulsion of coalition politics, always finding a way to please every coalition partners and having no scope of providing good governance to the nation. And under such political scenario, no ruling government would be willing to take any decisions that could possibly provoke the wrath of the nation and threaten the survival of its government. The Nagas’ case is one such sensitive issue where any sort of call on it will have a share of ripple effects in different parts of Northeastern region.
The political discourse vis-à-vis Indo-Naga political talk that is expected to dominate in the public domain in the coming years would be the continuation of constant parleys, assurances, speculations, claims and counter-claims etc.., so as to ensure that Nagas remains with India, and that too only for meeting the strategic purpose of the later and not at all for the welfare of the former. And if this is the kind of fate that awaits the Nagas, then is it high time that we, the Nagas, need to do away with this expectation that something good for us is coming from New Delhi, and instead come home to explore solution from within ourselves?
If GoI is serious enough in bringing an end to the Indo-Naga conflict with an honorable settlement, then it should not expect only from the side of the Nagas to compromise and surrender everything while on their side not willing to concede anything to the Nagas. This is perhaps the major hurdles that is not only delaying the much anticipated political solution but also adversely affecting the cordial relationship between the two nations. If it is the case that Nagas would have to surrender our sovereignty, the entire Naga homeland remain under military occupation and the land remain divided into different artificial political administration, and GoI not even ready to negotiate the question of separate flag and constitution then where and what is the “honorable solution” that is left for the Nagas. The Nagas will never accept such kind of settlement imposed on us by the colonial power that serves the interest of only one party. Had it not been on the part of the Naga negotiators in maintaining consistent position, which needs to be appreciated, on the question of Naga sovereignty, based on the legitimate and historical right and which is the true aspiration of the Nagas, the talk would have been concluded long before by accepting some piecemeal solution satisfied with some financial package or with some increase in number of seats in state legislative assembly and in Indian parliament for the Nagas.
The final solution to the Indo-Naga issue rest on the recognition that India and Nagas are two historically distinct people and nation, and working out on the terms and conditions under which the sovereign right of the Nagas, which was lost to the occupying forces, will be restored. And if the impending political atmosphere in the country does not create conducive ground for both the parties to negotiate on those terms and conditions then would it be better off for the Naga negotiators to reconsider this current talk with India, and rather concentrate here at home, take fresh initiative to unite ourselves and work together which will be the only surest path for achieving our long cherish political aspiration.
Dr. Nsungbemo Ezung, Wokha Town,