In the political saga of the Naga people, “happenings” have served as vital catalysts in bringing about deep and true transformation. They have reframed past memories to contemporary contexts and have energized numerous imaginations for the future.
Among the many happenings in the recent past, the Covenant of Reconciliation (COR), signed by the late Mr. Isak Chishi Swu, Brigadier (Retired) S. Singnya, and the late Mr. S.S. Khaplang on June 13, 2009, brought decades of factional violence and killings and witch hunts to an end. We give all acknowledgment to our Creator. We also recognize and the respect the concerned Naga political leaders and many men and women for their support during the signing of the COR, the significance of which is honored to this day.
On August 16, 2011, after a week of meetings in Dimapur, another happening known as the Naga Concordant took place, the contents of which read:
Having reconciled on the basis of the historical and political rights, the top Naga leaders are one. Therefore in pursuance of this agreement, the following signatories have resolved in principle to work towards the formation of one Naga National Government.
To ensure the realization of the Naga National Government, a High Level Commission (HLC) has been formed by the top Naga leaders. The HLC shall be comprised of the signatories, headed by the Chairman/President or the General Secretary/Vice President, and having no less than four competent members in the ranks of Kilonser/Major General and above, as found deemed fit by the respective governments.
To expedite this process of eventually forming the Naga National Government, the HLC shall hold meetings without any further delay in the presence of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation as facilitators.
Signed by: Mr. Th Muivah, the Late Mr. Isak Chishi Swu, Brigadier (Retired) S. Singnya, Mr. Zhopra Vero, General (Retired) Khole Konyak, and Mr. N. Kitovi Zhimomi
The incomplete consummation of the Naga Concordant has had its due share of criticism from many quarters, including the general public. On the one hand, the Concordant, and its enactment, have not been given a fair trial. A document, specifically of political nature, takes years to evolve even under the most optimum conditions. However, the truth is that the Naga Concordant has not been fulfilled and, logically, we have not kept our commitment to the Nagas. And, thus today, we remain in an unresolved state. We continue to suffer from the complex of being unable to admit to our limitations, just as we continue to be too easily sedated by the past.
At this critical juncture the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) reminds the Naga people that we have survived as a people of “nations” for decades. The secret to this survival has been a spirit of belonging as a people-group with a distinct social, cultural, and political consciousness. We, like numerous other people-groups in the world, have endured despite numerous attempts at domesticating this spirit of belonging.
Indeed, Nagas from many walks of life are progressing and gaining a sense of the rights and cohesiveness we had lacked before. More and more, we are finding a common strength to remake our world through small happenings. Consequently, the pep talks and seemingly serious political parleys seem so disconnected and distant to the folks here at home, no matter how honorable the makings may resemble. Such a feeling of detachment does not deny the existence of those people, who in their terms “are doing the best, with sacrifice.” What is being overlooked, however, is for the Naga people to be truly empowered with a strong, civil, moral, and political center.
Much has changed in the years since the signing of the Concordant, and much needs to be changed. Our strength springs from the hope that is formed out of oneness – our solidarity and unity as a people. In the Principle of Hope, German philosopher Ernst Bloch says, “Fraudulent hope is one of the greatest malefactors, even enervators, of the human race.” Hopelessness demands less of belonging as it separates us from one another. The FNR acknowledges and names this unfortunate reality, and we reaffirm our commitment to belong without borders.
We also recommit ourselves to our core mission of applied reconciliation that will lead to a peaceful future of hope. As Nagas coming of age, let us find ways to affirm and appreciate others by casting out the demons of dismissive mindsets and by rejecting cynicism.
Without a collective imagination shaping and guiding the course of our history, our efforts will remain only a short-lived activism. Growth in shape, knowledge, and finesse needs everyone’s active participation in order to consummate in the moment of tomorrow. Now is the time to locate our place by inviting everyone to share in the transformational work of the moment. If we can begin to move forward without our often-failed practices, Nagas will be taking the right first step.
Citizens, both Nagas and non-Nagas, who have suffered in Naga-Land are learning to increase their sense of power, connection, and social ecology of workings. A new generation of young men and women are learning to be co-dependent on each other, and a proactive civil and moral center is being born where Naga elders and “stakeholders” had previously not allowed them to nurture and flourish.
The rallying voice here at home is for the possibility of an achievement, and not one that is handed down at the expense of others. At the geopolitical level, we must rid the fantasy that an achievement will be imported from some other global or foreign entity. The simple truth is Nagas are talking with India and India is talking with Nagas for a political outcome with possibilities for a solution. For the moment, the pressure is from within, and not solely from without. Nothing less than a change driven by belonging and revisiting our commitments will set us free.
In this vital moment, FNR urges the Naga leaders and the Naga public to reconnect and tap into the vast potentials offered in the Naga Concordant.
Issued by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation
April 4, 2018