The final departure of the headhunting generation, weaned under a strict traditional code of human dignity, honesty and honour as a way of life, was an eminent transition waiting to evolve with the advent of Christianity and the dawn of new enlightenment. The new generation of educated and semi-educated Naga leaders emerging immediately after the post headhunting era however, carried forth the legacy of these laudable traditional traits reinforced with Christian moral values whether they worked as politicians or bureaucrats. Without doubt this was a visionary generation who deserve all our unflinching respect for they were true responsible leaders honestly concerned for the general welfare of the masses. The political bosses of that era were reasonably transparent and upright in their approach to governance. Bureaucracy matched this standard of honesty every step of the way. Imagine the unbelievable times as we recount bureaucratic Heads of Departments receiving official calls of explanation for their inability to spend the meagre budget allocated to their respective departments and surrendering the leftover budget. It would now sound more like a fairy tale and yet such a time of Naga innocence did once exist not very long ago.
As compared, the present Naga generation seems to be complacently floundering in a visionless fool's paradise totally incapable of transcending beyond petty tribalism and factionalism and nepotism instead of seriously taking stock of the dangers lurking ahead and thinking together intelligently for a common good to counter the negative forces that is floating our way. We are completely oblivious to the gigantic tsunami that is fast approaching our coast while we indifferently wallow in our selfish preoccupation. Know that the coming tsunami will hit the wealthy upper class squarely where it will hurt them the most and will equally cripple all the unsuspecting villages with their respective village land holdings falling under the policy whip of nationalisation of the NSCN (IM) as per their outdated "Communist Constitution" that they are all determinedly set to impose. Think very hard to what is being said! The long years of hard labour to amass honest or dishonest wealth/ properties will be reduced to nothing because it will all be nationalised by NSCN (IM) (meaning all personal wealth/property will become government property) once our 'elected' representatives in our present Legislative Assembly gives way to NSCN (IM) to form the next government after the final negotiated settlement with the GoI. Despite repeated review being shared in the media on this subject, the Nagas are still unable to wake up to this impending catastrophe. The likely disturbing scenario foreseeable is that the Nagas will only wake up to Communism when it is too late to react and tamely and fearfully give up by swallowing the bitter pill when the eye of the storm in the form of AK 47 is well and truly upon us. The time has come for every sensible Naga to carefully read the Constitution of the NSCN (IM) and see whether they are really prepared to live under it…for this is a reality at our doorsteps!
The most frustrating truth is that Nagas of Nagaland has no honourable apex body to lead the charge and raise crucial relevant questions that could alter the course destiny while we still have the time to do so by demanding forthright answers from those perpetuating confusion. The first and foremost question that NSCN (IM) must unequivocally clarify to the people of Nagaland is: (1) Are they intending to impose their arbitrary will on the Nagas people with their present Communist "Yehzabo" in Toto with "one party hierarchy"; "Collective Leadership" and "nationalisation of personal properties" policy as envisioned therein… should they get the opportunity to form the next Government? Nagas have the right to know this!
The other disturbing questions which must thereafter follow are that:
(2) Their Constitution begins with a Preamble "We the people of Nagaland". NSCN (IM) needs to explain when "We the people of Nagaland" were given the opportunity to choose Communism over Democracy? Such a titanic shift of gear that will drastically impact every living soul in Nagaland must have a clear mandate of the people first before it is wilfully imposed.
(3) With or without physical integration of all Naga inhabited area in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur forming their respective 'District Autonomous Councils' to be brought under the purview of Pan Naga Hoho (which will exercise all statutory legislative, financial and negotiating authority) is it the intent of NSCN (IM) to reduce the state of Nagaland equal to the "District Autonomous Councils" of other states as an affiliate of the Pan Naga Hoho?
(4) If so, the Nagas of Nagaland will become a minority in the Pan Naga Hoho as is the case under the present puppet set up of Naga Hoho. How does the NSCN (IM) propose to legitimise their present "Yehzabo" which only applies to "We the people of Nagaland" and not on all the other members of the Pan Naga Hoho from other region who will constitute the majority in the Pan Naga Hoho setup but have not endorsed their Yehzabo? Will they impose their will on the rest of the majority with their AK 47 wielding NSCN (IM) Tangkhul cadre (absorbed into the security force as enunciated by the Governor of Nagaland)?
(5) What explanation does NSCN (IM) have about the contradictory 'Independent Naga Constitution' which is supposedly becoming an integral incorporated part of the Indian Constitution? In what way is it different from the Shillong Accord 1975 or that of the 16-PA/ Article 371 A? People deserve answers and if they have nothing to hide then they ought to clarify this contentious issue that seriously deviates from the historical Plebiscite aspiration of 16th May 1951!
These are some of the uncomfortable questions and more that Nagas of Nagaland should be asking NSCN (IM) to clarify rather than blindly endorsing the "Framework Agreement". If we are to believe what Bharat Bhushan had projected earlier about the four broad agreements entered into by NSCN (IM) with the GoI, it literally depicts a status reduction of the State of Nagaland equal to that of the "Autonomous District Councils" of other States as an equal affiliate member to the proposed Pan Naga Hoho. Did our first generation elders sacrifice their lives for this status reduction and live as a minority under a Communist Pan Naga Hoho for all times to come?
The people of Nagaland have the right to also ask our so-called elected representative Government of Nagaland with equally relevant questions:
(A) How many Ministers/ Parliamentary Secretaries/ Advisors/MLAs have actually read and understood the "Yehzabo" of NSCN (IM)?
(B) If they have read it then are they really prepared to allow NSCN (IM) to nationalise all their ill gotten properties?
(C) Have our elected representatives of Nagaland ever sought clarification from NSCN (IM) what kind of a government system they intends to introduce? Are they able to clearly understand the contents of what NSCN (IM) Yehzabo is all about in spite of which they are still full heartedly prepared to step down?
(D) They perhaps believe that their action will be read as an honourable sign of magnanimity for all the 60 Members of the Legislative Assembly to collectively resign and give way to NSCN (IM) to form the next Government if they conclude the negotiated settlement with the GoI. But the important question that they all need to answer as elected representatives of the people is whether they have taken the consent of the people who voted for them to step down especially when the proposition is to abnormally replace Democracy with Communism? This is a very serious paradigm shift that will forever change the face of freedom in Nagaland. It would be senselessly inappropriate to copycat the experience of Mizoram because Mr. Lalthanhaula was able to graciously given way to Mr. Laldenga who too continued upholding Democratic principles of governance. Had Mr. Laldenga proposed to inflict Communism on the people of Mizoram… as NSCN (IM) is intending to impose in Nagaland…such a smooth transition might not have occurred at all. The government of Nagaland must answer these questions as well because the people have a right to know which path we are being lead towards by them.
Fellow brothers and sisters of Nagaland, these are only sample questions to provoke the thoughts of our generation. It's time to raise relevant questions such as these and seek upfront answers before it is too late. Time is slowly but surely running out on us!
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd)