Monday, December 5, 2022

Solutions for Naga Questions

The Nagas claim that they were never conquered or ruled by any foreigner from antiquity, but lived in their respective village-states independently somewhat similar to the city-states of ancient Greece. The advent of the British Imperialists into the Naga Hills had brought some changes in some parts of the Naga country but they didn’t exercise direct rule over them as they did in other parts of their territories. Most of the Naga tribes were brought under their suzerainty without consent or knowledge. They were largely left undisturbed as they were. At the time of the independence of India and Myanmar from the British Empire, the Nagas were divided and gifted to them. The absence of any treaty with or accession to either India or Myanmar testifies to it.
During the latter part of the British rule after the 1st World War, the political consciousness and nationalism amongst the various Naga tribes emerged and their leaders formed the Naga Club and submitted the famous demand for independence from any foreign control after their departure from India and Myanmar to the Simon Commission. But the British Empire left hurriedly without conceding the demand. Hence, we have Nagas in India and Myanmar today. Thereafter the Nagas became more organised and powerful incorporating Nagas from both India and Myanmar under the charismatic leadership of AZ Phizo, the father of Naga nationalism.
India has attempted to solve the Naga question without success on many occasions because it is beyond their power and constitution as it involves the Nagas of Myanmar. Broadly speaking, the Nagas fall under 3(three) categories with 3(three) different issues, namely, i) local issues – involving the Nagas of the state of Nagaland, ii) national issues – involving the Nagas living in other states of India outside Nagaland, and, iii) international issues – involving the Nagas living in foreign countries like Myanmar. Besides that there is another category of Nagas without borders which is dealing with all the different categories as one unit.
Whereof, the Naga issues must be intelligently and carefully segregated into local, national, and international for easier understanding and successful solutions. Once we mix up two or three issues that will not only complicate them but cannot solve them satisfactorily without having the jurisdiction. Though they are intricately and delicately linked respectively with them, specific problems and they must be addressed separately without jeopardising the interests of others. For example, if the Nagas attain sovereignty or independence, then, they will have a single and common problem for all. Similarly, if they get the integration of all Nagas into one administrative unit in India, then, they can have a single or common solution for all the Nagas of India, not otherwise.
Right now, the negotiating parties are not talking about the sovereignty or integration of the Nagas. They are only trying to solve the Naga Question within the constitution of India without disturbing the state boundaries. To solve this issue will require the unstinted support and cooperation of the Government of India and the neighbouring host states in which the Nagas are living. The question of having a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas within India cannot be unconstitutional if the letter and spirit do not run counter to the Constitution of India. In any negotiation, participating parties must adopt a policy of ‘give and take’ attitude for solution or agreement. They should not be too adamant or unreasonable or rigid in their positions. Accordingly, we expect India to be more mature, magnanimous, and accommodating and Nagas to be more humble, pragmatic, and reasonable in their approach
Perhaps once they successfully segregate the Naga Questions and address each one of them impartially, logically, and pragmatically without emotions, prejudice or ego, they can bring a very honourable, acceptable, and lasting solution to the satisfaction of all. Let the future generation decide the questions of integration and sovereignty. If the present generation of leaders can disentangle themselves from the political maze by simplifying it like ‘cutting the Gordian knot’ into different parts for the social and economic progress of the Nagas better than what they are today, then, their names will become enshrined and immortalised in the memory of every Naga. Great Naga nationalists indeed!
Besesayo Kezo, IPS, Retd. DGP

Must Read