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A take on our history

The decision to give recognition to the so call unique history of the Nagas as proposed by the NSCN-IM by the GoI is a good step. Although no written document about the history of Nagaland exists, medieval documents of the neighbouring Ahom in present Assam State mentioned that in 1816 Assam was invaded by the Burmese (ava) after which they controlled the place (1819-1826). After 1826, the British annexed the region and started ruling over it. By 1892, the entire Naga region excepting Tuensang came under the British rule thus bringing to an end the massive bloodshed and inter-regional conflict. Post independence, the district of Assam called Naga Hills and Tuensang were made to represent a single unit under Indian administration. At the Naga Peoples Convention in 1960, it was finally decided that Nagaland will be considered a full-fledged state of India and in 1963, Nagaland was finally declared a separate state. But political and factional conflicts continued all these while and even presidential rule was declared after which many anti-government leaders agreed to accept the administration of the Indian Government. This is the simplest version of the so called unique history of the Nagas. Cut to the present- the demand for an “alternative arrangement”, according to the Committee on Alternative Arrangement, the proposed regions will have a political system independent of the Manipur Government- meaning-in simpler terms- freedom to do anything they like and wish without any government intervention (extortion, collection of illegal taxes from vehicles plying through the regions, looting and vandalizing of goods, battering of drivers to death, molesting women): otherwise why has the committee still adamant on sticking to their point of a separate region by disintegrating the state of Manipur, even when the Government has promised to review the working of the various development projects in all the hill districts of the State and to expedite ongoing ones. The contention of being neglected for decades is also one based on misinformation and lack of understanding of the past history of the state. It would bode well for the committee to ponder over the questions- how many decades in total has Mr. Rishang Keishing- the most prominent Tangkhul in the state, been the Chief Minister of the state and what were his achievements regarding development works in the hill districts of Manipur during his tenure? How many of the candidates from the NPF won the Manipur state assembly election? What was the message conveyed by that result? Which system will be more rational-allotment of constituencies according to the area covered or according to the density of population? Has the representatives of these group ever expressed concerns of inequalities or misappropriation over allocation of resources and benefits meant for their people? Before declaring their intention of handing over the decision for the course of action after the tripartite talks which is nothing but a veiled threat of inciting communal riot and mob laws, the matter should be looked at in an impartial and different perspective. Threats of resorting to violence and disruptions as a means to achieve their end will only result in regression of development in their region and alienation by the neighbouring states. The flagbearers of this non-issue should instead draw up a pragmatic plan of action to bring development and prosperity for their people if they are genuinely interested in their welfare and advancement instead of pushing the unwary people to conflicts and confrontations. Rest assured that every group, whether minority or majority, will extend their helping hand in their endevour. One cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

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