The subject of empowerment of women has becoming a burning issue all over the world including we Nagas since last few years. To me the prevalent burning issue of Naga village polity versus ULB & General election, or to some extend traditional versus constitutional is merely a problem of unconvinced discourses. At the very first place, as we all are well aware of the prevalent issue we should look the matter through contextual worldview and understand the demand of a change society. Remember, there are many unaddressed and unattended issues surrounding us that are keeping us aloof from and behind other societies. I believe what made us so sensitive on the issue particularly about women’s reservation is best known to every concern individuals.
In the tradition dominated by essentialism, translation has generally been regarded as a stubborn theoretical problem which defies the basic assumptions of most traditional disciplines. Our Naga village polity what I heard from oral literature was purely a rural setup polity. So do their election system different from what we practice today. For instance, Angami practiced pure democratic form of polity, every one dictated in his own rights, Ao practiced democratic setup of Putumendan system (elected on seniority), and Sümi and Konyak practice monarchical polity, hereditary system of angh and akükau etc etc.
My question with this regard is, how are we man folk interpreting Article 371 a in the context of women’s reservation and general and ULB election? Is it okay if we man folk enjoys general election and ULB election against our traditional rural village polity and restrain women’s reservation in urban local bodies? Is ULB and general election a constitutional and 33% women’s reservation a traditional? How good and comfortable are we in interpreting foreign constitution and exercising our traditional life ? Is present ULB and state general election system a replicate of Naga traditional village polity? If so how strict are we maintaining it. Is empowerment provision for women in any way against Naga traditional village polity? If so how honest are we implementing its benefit? And how do we justify creamy layer quotas? Urbanization is completely a foreign habitation in nature, how practical are we enforcing traditional village polity in this new environment?
Are we determining to safeguard and preserve our Naga age old traditional gender biasness under the pretext of article 371 a? And erase factors that do not affect us directly i.e., indigenous identity issue, rural settlement, primitive religion, morung institution, agricultural profession, language, traditional dietary, dress, indigenous knowledge, lifestyle, and sense of community living? Which effect is actually more endanger at higher scale?
Culture is dynamic and it evolves with contextual time frame. Conservatives’ notion of static culture has to do away with time. We can no longer dwell in the past practices as a detached community from the rest of the digital world. While safeguarding and preserving our rich cultural and traditional values we should also erase those practices that are impractical, irrelevant, bias, taxing, harsh, and unethical that contradicts with Human rights and present ethos of human values and Christian principle.
Therefore, let’s try to understand that the notion of women empowerment not only focuses on giving women strength and skills to rise above from their miserable situation but at the same time it also stresses on the need to educate men regarding women issues and inculcating a sense of respect and duty towards women as coworkers.
Indigenous Cultural Society, Nagaland