Nagas at the Crossroads
From The Morung Express

Today, the Nagas are at the crossroads. Nagas are now at a point in history where they must decisively determine which value system will best represent their interests; and like any other young society, Nagas must engage with the dilemmas of truth and the truth about dilemmas. For instance today somewhere in a Naga village a child will be born; and the mother will hold, comfort, care and feed the child – just as any mother would anywhere in the world. In these most basic acts of human nature, humanity knows no divisions.

But to be raised in an environment of degenerating values – where the most basic value to respect human dignity and human worth is being challenged – is the defining crisis. Today, real borders are not between divided states. The real borders are between human hearts and human values. They are between the powerful and the powerless, the free and the bonded, the privileged and the unprivileged, the rich and the poor, and the equal and unequal.

No one today can claim ignorance of the cost that this divide imposes on those who are no less deserving of human dignity, fundamental freedoms, security, food and education than anyone. The values of inclusiveness are but a natural demand of human life. These are issues posed by the history of our times and the manner, in which our values and our culture collectively address them, will define and shape the future of our collective destinies.

It will not be wrong to point out that our generation has inherited a legacy of extraordinary changes from the last century, and now in the first decade of the new century we are faced with greater dilemmas and newer opportunities in the search for human security. We therefore claim that Nagas are at a unique turning point and it is for us to be steadfast in redefining human affairs and conduct.

It is crucial for Nagas not to forget that genocide begins with the killing of one person – not for what he or she has done, but because of who he or she is, or that poverty begins when even one child is denied his or her fundamental right to education. What begins with the failure to uphold the value and dignity of one life, all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.

The last century was therefore perhaps the most violent in human history, devastated by countless conflicts, untold suffering, and unimaginable crimes. Time after time, a group or a nation inflicted extreme violence on another, often driven by irrational hatred and suspicion, or unbounded arrogance of power and monopoly over resources; only to realize that after the bloodbath, the only way to resolve differences was for them to sit across the table and engage in dialogue. If only the bloodbath had been avoided!

Can we therefore consolidate values that will empower us to realize the futility of a bloodbath and to acknowledge that humanity indeed is indivisible?

Nagas must focus therefore as never before, on improving the humanity of Naga men and Naga women who give their political community its richness and character. It must begin with that young Naga child, recognizing that saving that one life is to save humanity itself. That Naga child being born somewhere today must be raised to learn and live the inclusive values of a shared humanity. Are Nagas still at the crossroads?

Source: The Morung Express, February, 2008