A little stroll down history:
Th Muivah central to it all
The Naga peace talk or the peace process between the Naga armed groups and the Government of India continues to make news in Manipur and not without reason. Remember it was way back in 1997, on August 4, that the then biggest ever rally was staged under the aegis of the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation in Manipur after the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India signed the ceasefire pact on August 1, 1997. The rally was to pronounce the stand of the people that any design to compromise with the territorial integrity of the State would be opposed tooth and nail. This stand was amply demonstrated on June 18, 2001 when the words ‘without territorial limits’ were inserted in the ceasefire pact on June 14 the same year. Altogether 18 people lost their lives in the days of protest that followed, 14 on June 18 itself. Then followed the Naga People’s Convention resolution of July 1, 2010 to sever all ties with the Government of Manipur after the then State Government under the Congress blocked the entry of Th Muivah to Manipur. Revisiting the past to drive home the point that central to all these issues is Th Muivah, the undisputed leader of the NSCN (IM) and it is here that one should acknowledge the far sightedness of the man from Somdal village in Ukhrul district. Whether one agrees with his vision or not, it stands that Th Muivah has been able to fire the imagination of a people and this something which no other underground leader of the North East has been able to do in the last 30 or 40 years.
Naga Nationalism, this is something which has been built upon slowly and steadily down the years. Even way back in the 1980s and maybe even earlier, no self professed Naga from Manipur woud identify with the students’ body from Manipur. And so it was that no Naga from Manipur would be a member of the Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi. Here one speaks from first hand experience and they were all members of Naga Students’ Union, Delhi. The reason that was offered then was that under the Constitution of the Naga Students’ Federation, under which all Naga students organisations come under, no one could have dual membership. The interesting part here is, they all preferred to be members of the Naga students organisations and not join the Manipur students’ body. This is but one example of of how the idea of Naga Nation building exercise was taken up then. A good example of far sightedness to build a strong base. The opposite is true of Manipur, where even during student bodies’ elections, different student organisations are known to have come to blows against each other. No one knows how the final deal will shape up, but it would not be wrong to acknowledge the far sightedness of a man like Th Muivah. Not singing paeans, but just stating some facts. But in guiding the Naga people, Th Muivah would also do well to acknowledge that in as much as the history of the Nagas is unique, the history of the others is also unique.