Nagaland is known as the land of festivals but it would also be apt to be called the land of civil society organisations if numbers is the criteria to earn such a tag. According to the 2011 Nagaland census, the state is home to 30,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which means that there is one NGO for every 66 persons. The state may not have that many civil organisations but there are certainly hundreds of unions at different levels on the lines of region, location, interest groups, tribes, communities etc. The number is only going to increase each passing day.
Ideally, floating new organisations and unions should be encouraged for the simple reason that it can help the members fight injustice and corruption together besides achieving common objectives. Just like a country is divided into different states, districts, blocks etc. for administrative convenience, organisations at different levels can help in implementation of policies, government schemes. However, several civil bodies in Nagaland are doing disservice to the society by breaking the fabric that binds the people instead of bringing unity and tranquillity. Some float new bodies at the cost of common good and with selfish motive, while others try to bifurcate at the drop of a hat. Many leaders cannot tolerate differences of opinion and many are divided on political lines. This is why civil society organisations keep proliferating, weakening the whole system. It helps nobody at the end of the day. Just like the whole body of a human being is affected when an organ malfunctions, the society suffers when organisations do not work for the common goal. Sadly, most unions and associations in the state are on its own worlds instead of working together. It’s not only the Naga insurgency groups but also the civil organisations that can’t merge. Some unions even to try score brownie points over another by spewing venom in public as if statements and rejoinders in the media will solve inter-organisational issues. In reality, such acts create more differences and misunderstanding.
To solve problems concerning the society, including the much-delayed Naga political issue, it is important for various organisations in the state to leave behind all the egos and work together. Leaders should give room for compromise and sacrifices for the common good. They should try to find the similarities instead of picking the differences; solve the differences across the table instead of fighting in the public. Civil society organisations also should be apolitical as supporting any political party or having inclination towards certain political ideology will divide the public, at least a couple of times in five years — during Lok Sabha and State assembly elections. So, it is important for civil bodies to rise above political lines, greed, tribalism and personal interest to bring about a positive change to the society. Most importantly, civil society organisations should work together instead of following the crab theory.