Another protest in Nagaland resulting in three deaths and it leads everyone to question as to what is the best way to protest. Nagaland state since statehood has seen only a handful of violent protests and very few that resulted in death. However proud the typical Naga might be he/she still had the same pride to maintain one’s dignity and prestige and would hardly turn violent in public let alone vandalise. Therefore all through the years, the typical Naga rallies and public meetings with every Naga with least a piece of traditional garment on them were big statements and many a times honoured by the government to heed to their demands. There surely have been aberrations in some cases even leading to deaths but in most of those case it were led by student bodies and not the apex tribal bodies.
But by the turn the century, maybe all thanks to cable television, the younger generation somehow felt that the Naga leaders were not doing enough. Then with the coming of the internet and improved mobile technology the Naga youth were also introduced to Social Media . They are experiencing what every society exposed to tons of new information went through. With newer ideas that are perceived better, the old versus the new started but with very few or negligible mentors and guides. There are leaders everywhere but the Naga youth is yet to find a leader who will point to them what the true destiny of the Nagas will be. Frustration has crept in over the years. As journalist and writer Charles Chasie points out that the Nagas are disappointed with the failure of the Indo-Naga peace talks yielding no results. It has also become a major stumbling block to the progress of the state and its people.
Consequently the once formidable tribal bodies were also now perceived by the youth to be hobnobbing too much with the politicians as well as the armed Naga political groups. If the archives of the various chat sites, online forums and other newer social media sites can be reviewed since the early 2000s one will find countable instances where the youth actually is in praise of the Naga leaders. The us and them, their world and our world comparison that are many a times even farfetched is the usual scenario in social media even today. This is a tinderbox waiting for the proverbial match stick and it has been illustrated from time to time especially in Dimapur. Every violent protest has seen an increase of vandalism and arson over the years. It now proves that the youth firmly believes it is the quicker way to get the attention of one and all. The thin response to peaceful agitations are also indicators.
In such a scenario, the call of the tribal organisations against the government to cancel the ULB elections is still successful today only because the youth’s reaction to what they perceived as a complete betrayal by the government on an agreement between them turned violent. It is not a acceptance of such violent behaviours but the truth is out there, it got everyone’s attention and that is quite frightening. It is a very opportune moment for the Naga leaders in the government as well as the various tribal bodies to introspect. The ifs and buts of the current events will continue but the leaders have somehow got the attention of the youth. The time is ripe to make amends, chose better leaders and chart a better road map else it is certain that more chaos will only follow.