Today, we need to re-imagine the Indo-Naga Peace Process with one that encompasses and compliments the political exchanges in Delhi between the Government of India and the Naga political groups by raising Naga peoples’ voices through inclusive participation and transparency. Political engagement is not something for emergencies only.
Based on the current political narrative being articulated, the people at home – in Naga-Land (not to be confused with the Indian State of Nagaland) are not optimistic about a breakthrough in the peace process. The omission of the people at this crucial stage is short-sighted. It has contributed to this distrustful narrative. The need for immediate connection with the people is imperative.
A presumption always presents a problem. The current presumptions being made in the public forum by second string actors (whether they are known or unknown to the Government) is akin to employing unhealthy Cold War approaches. Peoples living in a pluralistic world find it difficult to accept a definition that is imposed on them.
The present presumptions emanating from an interpretation of the September 8, 2018, “Declaration of the Naga Collective Spirit” made by Naga political parties, tribe hohos, religious organizations, and civil society groups in a meeting facilitated by FNR reflect an ideological screen of One-Dimensional Politics.
Is the intention of the ideological screen to abandon forward looking steps and possibilities? Are the present presumptions tactical exercises to scrutinize the current thoughts and stance of the people of Naga-Land?
The question is why focus on the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) when it has never been a part of the Naga political process with the Government of India. The litmus test of the historical and political rights of the Nagas is already saturated with a resounding “Yes.”
Clearly, the present “Political Process” is ordered and organized under recognized and established entities. The accounts indicate that the negotiating parties involved in the political process have adopted a tacit political understanding and are avoiding any difficulties within a tightly organized process. Yet, the presumptions seem to be an attempt to “pass the buck” to FNR in an effort to avoid jumping the hurdle of sustainable peace. Furthermore, scapegoating by choosing to “blow the whistle,” as it seems, on FNR is a sign of weak questionable politics.
In all fairness, while the people are still waiting to officially hear in detail what is being worked out, these presumptions cannot be permitted to impede the possible transformation which is in the making. Furthermore, neither should it erroneously deconstruct what is being worked out between the stakeholders of both India and the Nagas!
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation is not a Church organization, although its members comprise of Christian crossing institutionalized Church bodies. What has been made clear often has not been highlighted: “We must avoid any political character of Christian convictions that might otherwise be a reactionary position endangering other religious bodies and communities.” And neither has FNR ever been part of the Naga political process with the Government of India.
FNR’s primary mandate from the Naga people has been to work for Naga Reconciliation on the basis of Naga historical and political rights. Consequently, any agreed upon issues of the Nagas between the entities cannot be credited to the FNR.
Given the current state of one-dimensional politics, the FNR calls for re-imagining the peace process anchored on multi-dimensional politics which includes the people’s active participation in the political process. The people and their aspirations must be at the heart of the process. This will strengthen the process and open up possibilities for transparency, accountability, credibility and integrity making it viable and responsive.
A re-imagined peace process has Reconciliation as the pivotal point that will determine whether an outcome can be implemented in a manner which is respectful, dignified, durable, sustainable and just, and therefore workable.
Reconciliation is part of the forward movement embedded in the vocabulary of the political process that enables historical and political transformation. This is precisely why the present deadlock in the Naga political process requires reconciliation.
Forum for Naga Reconciliation
January 14, 2019