Aug 06, 2013

Nagalim: Inspiration From Ghandi

In a community divided by internal strife, the Nagalim are urged to remember the words of Ghandi to channel in a prosperous future and preserve unity.

Below is an article published by The Morung Express:

It was Mohandas Gandhi who lamented that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Today, Nagas are compelled by our circumstances to recognize that we have indeed become blind. Almost 70 years ago, Gandhi was the only Indian leader that seemed to understand the Naga aspiration to live as free peoples and even stated that “Nagas have every right to be independent.” Our Naga elders inspired by Gandhi’s non-violence guided the Naga struggle on the commitment of non-violence through practicing civil-disobedience and non-cooperation.  

Today, Gandhi’s words that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” are more pertinent then ever in the Naga situation. The internal chasms within the Naga culture have blinded us, distorted our vision and blurred our ability to see the way to peace and reconciliation. We are captive with our narrow domestic walls and are blocking consciously nurturing political unity among the Nagas. We see patterns of new organizations emerging all the time leading to further fragmentation of the collective and wholeness of Naga society. This contributes to isolating one Naga from the other, not realizing that the isolation of one leads to the isolation of all and further strengthens the State’s practice of divide and rule.

We have complied with and become trapped in the mythmaking of an institutionalized state identity. Our isolation and rejection of one another has broken relationships, destroyed trust and created barriers. Ironically, we think we see, but, in reality, we have grown blind to our shared humanity through this divisiveness. We may not even see one another as fellow human beings. Instead, we see ‘them’ as aliens, outsiders, competitors, and as objects of status, class, clan, and tribe, etc. When that happens, we label the rejected as “the other,” and declare them as dispensable and disposable, thereby throwing ourselves into further chaos.

If Nagas want to see our way towards a new world based on justice, liberty and equality, we need to first recover our sight and rekindle the desire for the vision of JustPeace. We need to begin imagining such a Naga world is possible and to recognize that our shared humanity is an essential stepping stone in this journey. Then, we can begin to evolve a praxis of reflection and action that transforms into a new reality. It is through recovering our imagination and desire that our culture can transition from blindness to having full vision, from numbness to imagination and from oppression and subjugation to justice.

As Gandhi said, we need to become the change we envision. This is the first step needed to catalyze the momentum for Nagas to experience a shared humanity. When Nagas open our eyes and imagine a new world of justice and equality, then we are on the road to JustPeace.