One of the least understood concepts among Nagas, at times completely absent for some, in their professional and social lives would be the concept of “Conflict of interests”. The usual audacious Naga, probably a by-product of the long history of honour attached to warriors and headhunting, is only too eager to take up any task, responsibility and position that comes along his path both professionally and socially including religious pursuits. This nature of the Nagas can also be correlated to the Naga way of life in a village of taking up the burden and performing duties for the good of the whole village. The Naga womenfolk also do not lag behind in this. Somewhere along the way, for many Nagas it has become quite profitable and it has also become a successful enterprise for a few. In a worst case scenario, this gives rise to a Naga who is a member of a village or two, is the leader of one of the village organisation, is a tribal leader, is an office bearer in the council of his place of residence, is a member in a church committee, is a social worker registered in one to two NGOs and is a government employee and unofficially a party worker of a political party or a candidate. However, as it is generally considered a virtue and the profits that come later are blessings for one’s good deeds and duties performed, it breeds a society where the concept of conflict of interests is cast aside and it is free for all in every institution. On the flipside, there are also many altruistic Naga individuals who are only trying to assist the society but unintentionally also become part of the confusion and at times endanger their individual self; their integrity and at times their reputation.
A probable cause could have been the sudden changes that the people had to undergo in their lives within a short span of time since the advent of the British. The state of Nagaland is the 16th state in India and the first among the then smaller administrative units of the country to attain statehood . It was also highly protested by administrators in the region and also by members in the parliament due to the size and the population of the proposed state. However since the issue was purely political in nature Nagaland was made a full-fledged state unlike the other states that were inaugurated later. The predominantly agrarian community of the state were impoverished due to the armed conflict prior to statehood that started when the government of India decided to introduce the Army to quell the demand for Naga Independence. Even though the NNC was not part of the deal in accepting statehood, the process of rebuilding began and a semblance of peace came to the land. At that time there were very few educated Nagas to take up responsibilities and work in the various capacities that had suddenly opened up since statehood. This might have actually compelled the need for people who can take up extra responsibilities in every field and organisation.
India as a democracy aspires to follow the separation of powers between the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. The barring of legislatures from holding office of profit is a classic example of the intention to keep the legislature independent of influence from other institutions, in other words to avoid conflict of interests. In the modern world it is no longer just the three institutions of Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary but even the Media and the Academia should be completely independent of each other for a state and the society to progress. The time has come for Nagaland and the Nagas to finally formulate ethical guidelines to seriously tackle it else it is poised to become a menace. The current set of leaderships in almost all the Naga organisations and the current issues prevalent in the state is a good indicator.