ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Is Unique about Naga History?

The 3 August meeting between Naga leaders and Government of India representatives is a step towards seeking a solution to the Naga issue. Those who are sceptical about the Framework Agreement that has been signed have obvious questions on their minds. Who are the groups of people and classes that find comfort in the idea of a unique Naga history and culture? What is so threatening about the idea of shared sovereignty? Will poor Nagas and their neighbours be able to raise the issue of an equitable redistribution of resources? Perhaps the answers to such questions will dislodge the rhetoric of a unique history and culture and push us towards demanding a just future and a concrete political deal.

The 3 August 2015 Indo–Naga meeting in New Delhi created both a chain of excitement and anxiety across North-East India. Leaders from the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) (Isak-Muivah) (IM) and Government of India representatives shook hands and smiled at the camera. The aesthetics and decorum of the meeting had a heavy undertone of bright coloured Naga shawls and ethnic waistcoats. Even the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, opted to carry the regal Tangkhul Naga shawl when he delivered his speech to the august gathering. There were many reasons to be elated about the meeting. After all, the ceasefire agreement between the NSCN (Khaplang) faction and the Government of India had collapsed earlier this year and the violence across Nagaland and Manipur had escalated, causing death and damage to property. Thus, it was only logical that the onus to carry forth the future of the Naga people appeared to fall on the shoulders of the NSCN (IM).

During the meeting, the Prime Minister stated that he acknowledged the unique history and culture of the Nagas, and referred to them as a brave and dignified people. It is now clear that the details of the meeting are yet to be written, and, in that spirit, the agreement is referred to as the “Framework Agreement.”

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