Kohima, Sep. 12 (EMN): A group of social activists, educationists and senior journalists from different northeast states today held a day-long informal brainstorming session at ‘Kerünyü Ki’ (House for Listening), Sechü-Zubza, on various social issues confronting the states in the region.
A wide range of issues, from corruption, politics and insurgency to human and women’s rights, disunity and mistrust among people, role of the civil society, as well as how the Naga national movement has impacted on the people living in neighbouring states, were discussed at the meeting.
Peace activist, Niketu Iralu, who acted as the moderator of the meeting, is of the view that: changes, and along with it, implications, is heading ‘towards us’. He observes that the people (Nagas), at such a juncture, need to think of how they can be relevant to such changes. Pointing out that there is much anger, frustration, regrets, fear and bitterness in the people, he quoted an excerpt from the book of Genesis (chapter 4) from the Holy Bible when God asks Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?”
He feels that it is time the leaders need to end crusading and shouting against the wrongs and failures of other leaders and factions and show how to throw light on where they too are not happy, angry and need compassionate understanding from others that will help them to change and do better. Reducing anger and resentment in our hearts and simultaneously doing our work with faith and conviction is what we must do now, he asserted.
Also quoting Socrates, “A life not examined is not worth living”, Iralu remarked that even a struggle not examined becomes hellish, a situation that Nagas are now experiencing. He stated that as a consequence of not examining their struggle, Nagas, both underground and overground, have become somehow chaotic and are gradually destroying themselves in the process, to the point that there now is a bankruptcy morally, spiritually, philosophically and politically as well as cash bankruptcy.
Also expressing concern that differences between tribes have created so much rivalry among the people, he said much of what the people are going through at present are consequences of their own internal divisions. The peace activist observed that the sufferings faced by the Naga people located in different states are ‘consequences of a process gone wrong’ and are part of a legacy of division between the Naga family. He emphasized on the need for all Nagas in different states and countries, that if they acknowledge or accept to being Nagas, they will have to appreciate and help one another, something which they are not doing at the moment, to become a family that can survive by sacrificing for one another.
Delhi-based senior journalist and political commentator, Neerja Choudhary making a reference to the recent ‘Doklam issue’ between the Chinese and Indian forces, stated that the matter was diffused for the moment but will surely come up again and when it does, the northeast region will become a highlight.
She also stressed the need for the people of the region to not just be content on living on the margins/peripheries but to get closer to those at the heartland of the country so as to make their presence truly felt.
While discussing about the way traditional practices/customs are upheld in tribal communities, Arunachal Pradesh based women and children activist Jarjum Ete, asserted that while the people of the region value traditions, she feels that those that no longer help in the growth of the society and are rather detrimental to the basic human rights of individuals or community should be relooked and be left behind.
Ete also highlighted the plight that the people, especially the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, have faced due to the militancy in the region.
Editor of Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim stressed on the need for the northeast states to get together more often and have intellectual dialogues and debates, which she felt, would widen the perspectives of the people from different states and introduce them to many new ideas.
Towards this, the participants mooted for the creation of a common forum that would propagate a concept of proactivism and of ‘thinking ahead’.
Activists, journalists moot formation of Northeast forum for dialogue