Home » Weak Government, Tribe and its Tribal Organizations, Women Reservations and Article 371A

Weak Government, Tribe and its Tribal Organizations, Women Reservations and Article 371A

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 8 minutes read

By: Pakinrichapbo
Weak Government:
In the context of formation of government to govern the Naga tribal population, we should say we are very lucky as the Constitution of India and its statute like the Representation of The People’s Act 1950 clearly laid down the mechanism for the election and formation of government every five years. Imagine, by the virtue of the past political struggle, the Nagas could establish a fully independent Nagaland State outside Indian Union, I can confidently say Nagaland would be no different like nation state of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar or of African Nation like Sudan, where political or military coups dominate the countries just mentioned. Nagaland history would be full of coups orchestrated by different political party or by a military; even the term of the first government of the newly created Nagaland State could not complete its term due to political instability not to mention of other episodes where government had to dissolve as politicians and parties struggle for power.
Here I shall briefly discuss why we have weak Government:
1. History and Civilizations: if we look at our history, the Tribal Nagas unlike the Ahoms or the Meiteis never had a uniform central authority governing over the entire populations. While the Ahoms and Meeiteis had their Kings and ministers passing out orders and decrees to govern the general populations thereby establishing a sort of rule of law, Nagas were living freely in their own way at their villages with their own set of conducts or in other words how to behave in a society. Even the period from the establishment of the Naga Hills District by the colonial British in 1866 at Samaguting (Chümoukedima)to Nagaland Statehood in 1963, the administrative authority have not done the part of educating the general population to accede to centralized authority without protest for the customs and our habits made us a highly decentralized society. Even in a village no men bow down to other men except for clan elders to adjudicate and settle disputes, we never had a uniform central authority. And at present, though we have all the paraphernalia of a state, we still live in a highly decentralized manner with our rigid tribal set up and with this attitude, whatever new or alien practice or development are introduced, majority are bound to oppose it. In such reality, the elected representatives who themselves are member of a highly decentralized society and elected to ran government often hesitate to deal with iron hand in implementing new laws and its practices at the face of strong opposition. Where the situation at last leads to a weak government after government running the state for decades.
2. Politics and politicians without ideology: naturally politicians in India and around the world have and follow their own set of political ideologies. Politicians are known worldwide for their political beliefs and their struggles to achieve their political goals for example Vladimir Lenin, Fidal Castro, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Abraham Lincoln to name a few. In Nagaland context, we have politicians without any political ideologies and which can be clearly seen whenever tribal pressure groups or church organizations starts to oppose the government on any issues, our elected representatives consciously or unconsciously would turn into anarchist. The ruling government will stop ruling, bowing to pressures and starts to initiates consultations with CSOs often with no positive results. Once elected, our legislators need to push forward any development or new reformative laws without succumbing to pressure groups demands and tantrums. With the habit of being overruled by tribal organizations, our state will never have a strong government even in the days to come. And all this happen at the first place because we have politicians without a political ideology for a natural politician with an ideology would do everything in his power to implement his ideologies and policies for the growth of the state. Whereas in Nagaland, a politician is a man of his family, clan village and tribe, there is no room for any political ideology in his mind, even if there is, he or she won’t do anything to about it. As such Nagaland politicians are recognized by his village, tribe identity and wealth, not by his political ideology and a government run by a politicians without a political ideology will always be weak government.
Tribe and its Tribal Organizations:
For the sake of a constructive discussion it is high time, the people starts to critically study and review the roles played by our tribal organizations. In Naga context, apex tribe body is sine qua non for the existence of a tribe, like majority of Hindus cannot do away with caste system, Nagas cannot do away with their tribes and apex tribal organization. Like caste, our tribal organizations gets involved in everything be political or social issues as the situations demands, which in many ways act as an official agent of tribalism. As long as tribal organizations remain powerful, tribalism will stay, tribe and its tribal organization are like two side of the same coin and as long the Scheduled Tribe Order 1950 is repealed or replaced by other Order, we Nagas will remain a scheduled tribe, but still, we shall strived to reshaped our tribal organizations to be more of a cultural organization engrossed in preserving our cultural heritage than to poke its nose in every burning issues.
Our Honorable Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio has time and again spoken on Tribalism at different platforms, the most notable was on 18.03.2018 at the Nagaland Legislative Assembly during the conclusion of discussion on the Budget Speech where he states that “we all talk about Naga political issue but we harbor our isms from individualism to clanism, village and tribalism and not coming up to the level of Nagaism”. Having said it, no formal program was initiated so far to eradicate or reduce tribalism by our Hon’ble Chief Minister who is the most powerful person in the state and is still the head of the state. Here our honorable CM has not pointed the root cause of tribalism and ways to eradicate tribalism, for which I shall briefly discuss how to reduce tribalism in a Naga society:
1. New curriculum in school:- a special course need to be introduced in all our schools whether government run or private establishment, where selected teacher with no tribe leaning should be given the task of educating the students on the evils of tribalism and how to be a good tribal.
2. Doing away with tribe students union in colleges and universities: in colleges and universities, tribe’s students union exists to look after the welfare of its respective members and organizes activities. However, the presence of such respective tribal student unions in colleges and universities do takes tribalism to higher level; tribalism is now institutionalized and deeply rooted in the psyche of the students and once they become somebody, they are bound to be tribe centric. Even student union elections are contested on tribal lines and tribal grouping. Therefore colleges and universities should provide common platform where inclusiveness is given priority.
3. Government role: as far as possible, government as model employer should be fair in recruiting government employees which is another vital step to reduce tribalism.
Women Reservations and Article 371A:
For those who oppose women reservation, no amount of argument will convince them to change their minds and will oppose with all their might. In fact, the current showdown between the Tribal Organizations, Nagaland Government and the Supreme Court, resembles to the showdown of the extremist Naga nationalists, moderate Naga Nationalists and the Government of India just prior to the Nagaland state was created after the Nagas learned their lesson in a hard way. The topic of women reservation is unavoidable and as long as Nagaland remained under the Indian Union, we cannot escape from the long arm of the laws and the present situation tells that women reservation will be implemented at a heavy price. Nagas never had written laws but now time has changed and even for the custom to be valid, the customary practice has to be reasonable and for argument sake, opposing women reservation which is a part of women rights and empowerment seems to be unreasonable at today’s standard.
In regard to the interpretation of the women reservation infringing Article 371A, it is to be noted that opponents of women reservation seems to be fighting a lost battle and that no law is permanent therefore even women reservation will one day be done away with as our country continues to develop at all front. Therefore the Naga tribal leaders of today ought to show to the world that Nagas are generous even in power sharing with our women folks and let us be a symbol of hope for all the tribal and indigenous community in the world by being liberal and accommodative in our political outlook. For I believe our Naga ancestors won’t be turning in their grave by seeing our present status of women getting involve in political decision making body.
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking about”. -Gilbert K. Chesterton
(The author is a Advocate, Samziuram Village Peren)

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