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A Lesson from a Long Peace Talk

The 22-year negotiation and peace talks between NSCN (IM) and Government of India have a unique story over unique history of Naga. At the end of the peace talk, there are many hiccups because of three terms: Unique History of Naga, Inclusiveness in the final agreement and Shared Sovereignty. Change of slogans and voices are seen these days in Nagaland and Manipur. Earlier many NGOs, especially those who are pro-peace talk, shouted at their highest pitch that the Naga solution should be brought at the earliest. However, endless rounds of talks have irritated them; now, many are asking not to sign hurriedly.

Three months, as announced by Interlocutor, seems too short for a solution to them. Just after the announcement of Interlocutor, all of sudden, Naga Flag and Constitution have become vital issues of the final agreement. Nobody, other than the persons of NSCN (IM) and Government of India, can give any comment or opinion at this crucial stage of well-praised Peace Talk in India. Because no one knows what they have agreed in the historic Framework Agreement that would be the spirit of the final Agreement. The people of India, democratic and secular, have to sit like a spectator though the Final Agreement would bring a change in the political structure of existing India and relations amongst different ethnic groups, communities. NSCN (IM)’s interpretation of uniqueness of history of a particular group is not in the tune of Indian interpretation, and also of shared sovereignty.

Inclusiveness of Naga peoples in the peace talk poses another problem. As a newspaper reader, one can only say that what did the peace talk bring to both the parties; they start arguing over the same points where they started the peace talk. Over the years, the peace talk have brought the split of NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) into more number of factions, war of words between different Naga groups, cold war between Naga of Nagaland and of adjoining States, Naga CSOs of Manipur and rest of the CSOs in the State, demand of formation of State of Eastern Nagaland, and many more. The political atmosphere of Manipur is charged with hate-speeches of NSCN (IM) leaders.

A lesson out of the stories of the ongoing Naga Peace Talk is that ethnic nationalist movement in this part of the world is nearly impossible because of the intricate historical ties of the groups and historical sentiments. The Ao sentiments towards the Meitei may not be the same as that of the Tangkhul. The demand of Mao products in mobile Mao market in Imphal shows a different story, different from the NSCN (IM) narratives. The historically rooted sentiments of different ethnic groups in Manipur are unique in nature and values; these sentiments cannot be washed out easily with certain political slogans.

The UCM, Manipur, in its clear voice says that the Indian habit of dividing geographical zones on the basis of linguistic, religion, caste or tribe will not bring solution, rather it will create more problem in North East India. NSCN (IM) calls Working Committee of NNPGs a bunch of confused people. Working Committee may be wrong or right, but NSCN (IM) cannot see that the Naga solution could only be brought in a larger North East Canvas; the unique history of this region has overlapping of social and cultural systems among the peoples. UCM’s statement of no administrative division on ethnic lines indicates that development should be done on the basis of needs or otherwise, not on the ethnic lines. R N Ravi better understands the full meaning of the statement.

To-day, NSCN (IM) sees the carrot and stick in the hands of Government of India; earlier its leaders once said, India is Father and Naga, the Child. One time Father-figure becomes betrayer at the far end of the peace talk. Does the longest peace talk in India bring anything new for the Naga or India? Simple advice from newspaper reader to whom the real content of Framework Agreement is hidden, is that if nothing can be achieved, it is better to stop the peace process to save time and energy, moreover the Taxes from ordinary people.

Sh Ajit

Ajit Sh, a resident of Khongman, Imphal East is a regular contributor of Imphal Times mostly news photo and articles. He is a father of a lovely son. His favourite quote is " A Picture is worth Thousand words". He can be contacted at [email protected]

1 comment

  • Indian
    Indian Wednesday, 16 October 2019 20:24 Comment Link

    Nicely articulated article brother. Seeing the asymmetry between both sides and kind of neo nationalism with the current government at centre, writing on the wall is amply clear...

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