Post Mortem

Simple thoughts

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/19/2020 12:53:51 PM IST

 “No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet he thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades, that of government.”----- Socrates 

Can we simplify politics? How can we make it easier for ordinary citizens to understand and play politics in Nagaland? Who are creating public nuisance and political turbulence? And, why? Can we identify them? Can there be any solution? Let’s try. 

Today, it appears that the people of Nagaland have not taken any stand on the moral issues or ethical behaviour of their citizens and state politicians. Both the citizens and politicians are either indifferent or ignorant about their moral obligations towards the society and state. They do not show any collective vision, goal or principles. Neither the citizens nor the politicians seem to have any clear thought or vision as to how they should rule the state or play politics with responsibilities. Since apparently, there is no commitment to any moral principles or clarity of thought or convergence of thoughts around those critical issues or to any universal or eternal values like justice, truth etc, to guide their political behaviour, they play the state politics dismissively, disdainfully, casually and haphazardly as they like and the victory is decided by money and muscle power during every election or power struggle without any other necessary qualifications or conscience. There is no rule or moral restraint. The winner is applauded and nobody questions about the means he employs to succeed. ‘The ends justify the means’. Their methods of acquiring power and position are very crude, repugnant and highly immoral. 

It is observed that during every political crisis in our state, the general public behaves and acts amoral, the moralist crusaders remain silent and allow the immoral political activists a free hand to achieve their goals by hook or by crook. The loser doesn’t cause any loss to the society because the election is never fought on any moral or universal or eternal principles so far that concern the welfare of the society. 

Nevertheless the society as a whole suffers irreparable moral consequences because of the acquiescence of the public, reticence of the moralist speakers and writers, and, irresponsible activities and blatant immoralities committed by the politicians. Together, they have destroyed the moral fabric and reputation of our traditional tribal society and brought political corruptions into the state systematically and officially as a way of life. Aren’t they all conspirators in the moral collapse of our society? What we are known to the outside world today, is largely dependant on the activities of these elements. 

Any modern vibrant and living liberal democratic society is split by political principles and ideologies in which the people with the best and most relevant ideas win the election and run the government. Where nobody represents any universal or eternal political principles and simply contests for power in the election or in political crisis, as a candidate, neither will the society gain nor lose, except the individual contestant. It will be just a personal victory or loss. The society does not share his fate, good or bad. The reputation of the loser will also not suffer either because he does not have any. Reputation is merely a recognition of merit or demerit accorded to or conferred upon by the society for good works. How can he have any reputation when he doesn’t identify himself with any universal or eternal values of life or political principles? 

However, for a people like the Nagas, who love to talk about political independence, unique identity and separatism, and, refuse to identify with the national politics of India, but, at the same time, very badly divided by tribalism and individualism, the only politics that can accommodate all the myriad views and interests of the citizens is, ideally speaking, to have 2(two) political parties in the state, namely, national party and regional party. 

The national political party of India is absolutely essential in order to keep the fissiparous tendencies in check and slowly but discreetly develop a national consciousness among the people. It will also serve as a vital link through which the aspirations and problems of the state can be expressed and addressed more effectively at the national level. If they don’t have that connection, they will feel neglected, ignored and alienated. They will also be able to partake in the policy decision making process at the national level and understand India better and can contribute towards nation building. A small but politically sensitive state like ours, needs special attention from the centre for funding all development activities as we don’t have enough resources of our own. 

Our state was created out of political necessity and not on economic viability. We still remain economically poor and backward after so many decades of attaining the statehood. The infrastructure development is hardly visible. Roads, electricity, education, health services and water supply have not been sufficiently made available to the citizens even in the urban areas not to speak of the rural areas where the sketchy developments and the infrastructures are in shambles or in most deplorable and dilapidated conditions. Most of them exist on paper only. Paper developments and cheap publicity have taken the place of real developments on the ground. Our economy is being wrecked by the political instability, corruptions and extortions coupled with geographical difficulties. The state has to remind the government of India about them again and again lest that original idea is forgotten and we are treated differently at par with the others. 

Next, it is also necessary to have a very clearly defined regional political party in Nagaland to represent the peculiarities and special problems of the region in New Delhi whichever political party rules over there. This will even act as a safety valve through which the centrifugal forces can express their frustrations and feelings safely and freely. Collectively, they must send a strong and unambiguous political message to New Delhi regarding the special interests of the people as experienced more than 100 (hundred) years of political struggles and mass uprisings mobilised by some of the most influential and popular Naga leaders of their times. They have passed through many vicissitudes of political fortunes in their long and arduous journey but one thing has been very consistent and amply enunciated clearly by all of them unequivocally that they belong to a separate group of people with a distinct culture of their own and they want to maintain the status quo. Till today, they continue to have a strong feeling of alienation and refuse to naturally integrate politically with the India union. In order to win over these elements, we need a strong local regional political party organised within the constitution of India, which can accommodate their aspirations and allay their fears of being swamped by the overwhelming majority Indians of different race and culture. 

It is not an overstatement to say that there is no ‘Naga’ in Nagaland. They are just so many villagers and tribesmen prefixing with the word ‘Naga’ to their names. They are really emotionally not integrated. Their apparent physical unity is so superficial without any emotional bound. It cannot withstand against any strong storm. This is so remarkably evident when we happen to witness two ordinary Nagas from different villages or tribes fighting over a minor motor vehicle accident on the road or disputing over land boundaries or even arguing over matters of the most trivial nature, they can easily escalate to group fights between the two villages or tribes encouraged and instigated by the bystanders from the fellow villagers or tribesmen, each taking their respective sides blindly without reasoning. That is called ‘Naga unity’. 

It is really a unique state in India which the non-Nagas don’t understand or refuse to appreciate. People merrily say and write that Nagaland is a ‘Christian State’ without knowing that ‘there is no Naga church in Nagaland’ though there are many magnificent tribal church buildings comparable to some of the finest and best in their architectural designs, both quality and size, in the whole northeast region of India. 

Similarly, ‘there is no Naga organisation’ in Nagaland. They are all village or tribal organisations deeply divided and suspicious of one another vying for supremacy. The umbrella organisations called ‘Naga organisations’ are simply representing those village and tribal interests. Those representatives to various Naga organisations pay allegiance to their respective village and tribe first, and then, to the Nagas second. 

Besides that nobody can be directly elected to the highest decision making body of any Naga organisation without first going through his village or tribal organisation. They cannot do anything against the interests of their village or tribe. Accordingly, they have to sacrifice the interests of the Nagas for their respective villages and tribes. Thus, the call for Naga unity is often fallen flat or seen to be so farcical, sham, very shallow and not effective. No ordinary Naga can ever dare to call for Naga unity or work for the welfare of all the Nagas against the particular interests of his origin unless he is a man of exceptional charisma and possesses extraordinary leadership quality, blindly and solidly, backed by his villagers and tribesmen. 

Since ‘there is no Naga’ in Nagaland, the state is composed of so many independently well-established villages on traditional patterns and loosely federated tribes inspired by modern ideas, uniquely and antagonistically, organised for competition and supremacy. This nature is also explicitly reflected in the new settlement areas occupied by Nagas. They prefer to live in separate segments isolated from strangers, with their own villagers or tribesmen only wherever they settle down either in cosmopolitan cities in India or towns in Nagaland. It may be due to both physical and psychological reasons. They don’t like to expose themselves to the risk of being suddenly attacked by their strange neighbours. Perhaps, their old spirit of headhunting traditions and sense of survival is still alive and actively working in their subconscious minds relentlessly. 

(To be concluded)

Besesayo Kezo, IPS, Retd. DGP

(From previous issue)

Nevertheless sometimes many of them often talk unitedly against the ‘outsiders’, meaning the non-Nagas, who appear to be very different from them in many ways. But they are not able to take any collective action against them because of the tribal divisions. It seems most of them have not yet developed any other world view different from the traditional tribal insular mindset despite exposure to modern civilisation. They are still very suspicious and afraid to openly embrace the concept of the Indian nationalism lest they lose their typical identity as a ‘distinct people’ in the sea of humanity. These fears and apprehensions appear to be genuine and valid and they always draw a huge sympathetic crowd and warm response readily from the indigenous people. They don’t want to lose their political and cultural identity completely by merging with whom they consider as foreigners. This cautious approach to the ultra-nationalism from mainland is highly justifiable because it directly threatens their very identity without pretension. 

Notwithstanding their sharp differences, broadly speaking, almost all the Nagas in Nagaland do feel the threat to their cultural and political identities and economic interests by the presence of overwhelming alien population and culture and their activities which may one day obliterate them completely from the place of their birth. This feeling of existential threat and suspicion is being exacerbated by the enormous demographic changes that have taken place in Dimapur and the continuing and unabated invasion by the non-Nagas into all important places and towns elsewhere in Nagaland, in varying degrees, cannot be easily ignored. Nor the monopoly and domination of the commercial activities and their syndicates unjustly organised by the outsiders in the state to the detriment of the indigenous businessmen be tolerated. Thus, only a strong political ideology based on preservation and protection of the identity of the indigenous people can instil confidence and security in their minds and allay the fear of being swamped by the outsiders. 

In this way, a very strong regional political party is indispensable for the people of Nagaland and the integrity of India. It can mitigate and even remove the fear psychosis that always exists in the minds of many indigenous people and restore peaceful social order and harmony in the state. 

The ordinary simple-minded Nagas have developed their political ideology based on being separate from the others for over a 100 (hundred) years (since 1918) and it won’t be easy for them to give it up without concrete physical and psychological assurances from the majority community and government of India. They need a regional political party which represents their special interests and aspirations, and, also protects and acts as a buttress against the unwanted influence, intrusion and interference from outsiders. They must have a political platform that can peacefully, freely, articulately and convincingly express and exchange their views and opinions on any contentious issue honourably to and with the people of India. 

Accordingly, in order to maintain a politically healthy balance between the existing virulent centripetal and centrifugal elements in the state, there must be 2 (two) strong political parties in Nagaland for the good of the citizens, namely, national political party and regional political party. Their principles and objectives must be clearly and distinctively defined as per the desires, needs and political and social aspirations of the indigenous people so that they can easily identify with any one of them without any problem. 

Once the politicians identify themselves with either of them, namely, national and regional, none of them should change colours without compelling reasons. Winston Churchill said, “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of the party”. We wouldn’t really know who is for which. But the frequent change of party allegiance is a menace and it has been causing havoc to the stability of the state governments everywhere in India. Since the anti-defection law has failed miserably and become ineffective to prevent the political defections, it must be made socially very costly, embarrassing, disgraceful and difficult by the 2 (two) political parties in the state with diametrically opposite and irreconcilable political ideologies, one representing the nation, and, the other, the region, for the potential politician to defect at will. Perhaps, in this way, 

by social control, hopefully, we may develop politicians with better integrity, honesty and morality. 

A very veteran Naga politician calls the professional political defectors as ‘political tourists’ with reasons. They are definitely psychotic, emotionally unstable and politically diseased people. They carry the germs of political instability with them whichever party they join and infect their friends and contacts. Nobody trusts them but in a highly volatile and emerging society like ours, very often, unfortunately, they hold the key to government formation. But every sensible citizen of Nagaland must expose, shame and discourage this most unethical behaviour of the opportunist and spineless politicians both in our private discourses and public speeches and writings. The public representatives must behave with honour and a sense of responsibility and not for personal aggrandisement. 

These political tourists are also ‘political merchants’. They deal in the sale and purchase of other politicians during all political crises. They act as touts and power brokers. They thrive on corrupt practices unabashedly and brazenly as a way of life. Their activities are one of the main causes for corruption and political immorality in Nagaland state politics. They are very smooth operators, shrewd manipulators, slanderers and horse-traders. They worship money, position and power more than anything else. Their greed is insatiable. They can easily sell their own souls for material possessions. They should never be allowed to open shops in our locality or constituency lest they contaminate the morality of our people by their behaviour and bring ignominy to the locals or constituents. 

Hopefully, one day, when we can reduce the number and harmful influence of these notorious ‘political tourists’, the state of Nagaland may have a more stable government and prosper with less corrupt ministers and officers, and, will not have the political leaders who can win elections only, but, also, the statesmen of high integrity and honesty, and, then, we may begin to see a new era of developments in every field like any other progressive states in India.

(Concluded)

Besesayo Kezo, IPS, Retd. DGP 

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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