Post Mortem

The Indo-Naga talks is never insignificant

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/26/2020 1:07:51 PM IST

 On 12th August 2020, an article by MIP – NSCN/GPRN was published in our local dailies accusing the interlocutor, Mr RN Ravi, of “misdoings.” The article begins by stating that the present peace talks “…has come down in the modern history as the most high profile peace process in Southeast Asia… .”

This opening statement by the MIP – NSCN/GPRN was not taken kindly by Dr. Salikyu Sangtam. In his article published by the local daily, “Nagaland Post” on the 20th of August 2020, he had stated, and I quote, “Now this is quite a big claim being made by the MIP – NSCN/GPRN, but if one looks into history or into other conflicts of similar nature in other parts of Southeast Asia, we will find that the Indo-Naga political talks is insignificant  when compared to other high profile cases of the Karen, Shan, Kachin, Chin, and Taang people’s movement for self determination and independence in Myanmar, or the secessionist movements in South Thailand and in the Mindanao region in the Philippines. I do hope that MIP – NSCN/GPRN will do a more thorough research on history as well as on other civil conflicts within Southeast Asia before making such unsubstantiated and fabricated claims.”(unquote)

Yours truly do very much agree with what the esteemed Dr. Salikyu said in his article, but certainly do not agree with him on his objection to the opening statement of the MIP – NSCN/GPRN. Dr. Salikyu had urged the MIP – NSCN/GPRN to do a more thorough research on history, but actually it is him who instead has to do the research. Yes, the political movement of the Nagas is one of the oldest political movements in India. However, what sets the Naga political movement apart is the unique history of the Nagas. It is unique in every sense of the word and in the world. Our unique history is such that our political movement cannot be compared or equated with any other civil conflicts in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Salikyu Sangtam had equated our Naga political movement with the secessionist movements in Southeast Asia when the Naga movement has never been a secessionist movement. He just seems to be unaware that even the British had, in no uncertain terms, openly stated the fact that Nagas are not Indians in any sense of the word, neither in origin, nor in language, nor in appearance, nor in habits, nor in outlook, and it is only by historical accident that Nagas had been tagged on to an Indian province.

The MIP – NSCN/GPRN made no big claims when it stated that the Indo-Naga political talks has come down in modern history as the most high profile peace process in Southeast Asia. Secessionist movements cannot be equated with our Naga movement. And this is what many a Indian leader has not understood, and so has some of us. Indian leadership today has recognized that the Naga political movement is not about secessionism and has therefore signed the framework agreement recognizing the same. 

Sadly, nowadays, the political movement of the Nagas is deliberately coined as underground, hostile, extremists, armed gangs, or even terrorists, without actually knowing the reasons and the real nature of the movement. We actually cannot absolve ourselves from the creation of this perception because to a certain extent it is our own undoing.

It is all because of the ignorance about the real Naga political struggle. Let us talk about real introspection. Today it is all about milking the Naga political cow. And this automatically gives the illusion of a law and order problem. 

This is where we have to educate ourselves. How can the more than seventy years of political struggle be treated treated merely as a law and order problem?

To term the Indo-Naga peace talks as insignificant is nothing but exposing our lack of understanding of the Naga political issue. To understand the Naga political issue we have to understand the historical facts. And history involves not only the mere record of facts, but importantly, an interpretation of facts. 

One cannot twist the exact history, but one certainly can unearth the buried facts of the past. In order to understand a complicated issue like the Naga political movement, one must know the roots of the Naga political movement. Without knowing the roots, one has no right to term the Indo-Naga peace talks as insignificant.

Benito Z. Swu

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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