Key words : Indigenous to Nagaland,
Studying the opposition
The key words here are Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (IIN) and this is obviously the reason why the move of the Government of Nagaland to prepare a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) has run into a roadblock put up by the NSCN (IM) and the civil society groups. Difficult to say how independently the Naga civil society organisations function, but it is nonetheless significant to note that a staunch opposition to the move of the Nagaland Government has been put up. Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland and the resultant opposition to the move of the Government of Nagaland underlines the fact that while many may identify themselves as Nagas, not all of them are indigenous folks of Nagaland. And it also stands that the identification of oneself as a Naga with no roots in Nagaland is a result of the Naga Nationhood idea championed by the NSCN (IM) under the leadership of Thuingaleng Muivah and the late Isak Chisi Swu. Something which no other rebel leader of the North East region has been able to do so far. It is interesting for here is a case of a Government trying to work out the profile of the indigenous people of Nagaland while there are others who feel that this is not necessary and could come in the way of the Pan Naga Nationalism idea mooted and floated so successfully by the NSCN (IM) and Thuingaleng Muivah. Central to the opposition to such a move is obviously the idea of a Greater Lim, wherein all Nagas living in the neighbouring States of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are sought to be brought under a single administrative unit. An indication that even though the Government of India has always maintained that Nagalim or Greater Nagaland is not part of the solution to be worked out, the Lim idea continues to be championed by the Naga rebel group.
It is for this very reason why the news of the opposition to the move was the lead news on July 14 in The Sangai Express. Making it more significant is the point that the political dialogue between the rebel group and the Government of India is reportedly at its final stage. The RIIN proposal of the Government of Nagaland may also run at the other end of the spectrum of the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015. Early days yet, but the opposition raised to the proposal of the Government of Nagaland should leave no one in doubt that not all the Nagas are indigenous to Nagaland and this in a way underlines the point that the Nagas of Manipur have a much closer social and marital relationship with the Meiteis than with the Nagas of Nagaland. This should also give the opportunity to all to contemplate on who is a Naga and who are the citizens or indigenous folks of Nagaland. A Naga may live anywhere but this does not necessarily mean that he or she is from Nagaland. Just like a Meitei may live anywhere but this does not mean that he or she is from Manipur. The proposal of the Government of Nagaland and the opposition to it should ideally open the avenues of looking at what or who are the Nagas and who are the people of Nagaland.