THE OTHER SIDE OF CEASEFIRE

 

 Gideon Shadang Student of Political Thought New Delhi

I can’t let go unnoticed the anguished feelings of this despair, the forewarned fear strikes me deep. I am not a linguist but easy expression comes clinically of this multiple organ failures. Where could have I gone wrong all through this life, my senses were sharp until yesterday. I want to rise again once more, because there are loved ones whose promises I have to keep. The distance echo rings in my benumbed ears of foot soldiers singing the anthem of brotherhood. I couldn’t picture fully in my feigning conscience the dying looks of my compatriot, oh!

Did I fail to advocate the cause I have lived to fight, I feel I am threatened today. If I die only today without a bridegroom by my side to walk down the aisle, Would anyone still wait in the lobby for me that I brought a cause with heavy heart? I gathered pebbles to make the immovable gravestone when I could mobilize the stars. Now my fear is my enemy, it stands taller than the foe while I lay here searching my soul. I seek reason within but my inequity veils me from understanding why I tremble miserably. (From the Author’s Poetry “To Rise Again”)

Objectification of organisation Man’s quests for knowledge is pronounced to be saturated by many thinkers such as Lyotard, Nietzsche, Fukuyama, etc. However, unlikely that they have found answers to all the problems and the questions of life. But, expectantly, it means that the basis to all the questions and the answers have either become tautological or mere cyclical. Therefore, such as the metaphysical questions on the existence of an infinite spirit “God” has been considered largely moribund for now, or at least at the surge of post-modern thinking. In times of this philosophical aporia, the question to life’s fecundity is casted to doubt. Every particle, element and organ requires the capacity to reproduce, recreate, and reinvent themselves to sustain their existence. Otherwise, failing to do so the existential structure of nature is cruel to exterminate any at instant. For the humans, the emaciating earths’ resources is threatening, but the uncertain existential anxiety is even more haunting. Beneath the avalanche of this intellectual burden, the science community searches the plausibility to create a perpetual motion machine, which will have the autochthonous capacity to generate power within. They know once such machine which shall have the ability to reproduce the power itself could be invented, many unanswered questions can be found or discarded. Every organ, be it natural, social or political follows the same logic. In the natural world, an organism is expected to reinvent itself in the changing ecological tide, and it must have the capacity to reproduce and sustain its existence. In the social and political world, state, institution, and organization faces the same challenge. Lest a nation or the state is put to this extreme jeopardy, sovereign power is covet of them as a source to reinvent and reproduce themselves. Within the sovereign principle; systems, goals and values are arranged to guide the nation state. However for organizations, it is the objective disciplines that play this adhoc roles. And formal organizations like National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) is known to draw its authority, rules and procedures based on its objectives. Like in the Weberian sense organisations are social units that aspire to achieve particular objectives or ends which they are structured to promote. To realize the objectives, functions are carried out rationally, and usually bureaucratic in nature (Weber, 1978). In this regard, adherence to the rational authority, rules and procedures create an ideological condition wherein, it reproduces organizational and social disciplines which are the vital requirement for sustenance. At the backdrop of the aforementioned framework, this short article intends to grapple the issues concerning NSCN organization during the present ceasefire. Subjectification of the Nagas Ceasefire, technically speaking, is a strategic shift of statecraft from militarized violence and coercion to what Weber calls “punishment centered” bureaucratic governance. The domination through the latter is more fully discussed by Michel Foucault as a characteristic civility of state machinery

concerned with the institutional strategy to resolve or contain the deterrents of law by rendering them within the ambits of the law; as rule followers or followers to the social order (Foucault, 1977). This gives the state to frame the deterrents of the law as challengers of the social order. Drawing upon Foucault’s idea, Roger King explains that the state in modern society has moved away from the use of violence and coercion towards form of control and punishment which is legitimate in the eyes of the people (King, 1986). The success of the modern state, herein India, in reigning the Nagas through the signing of the ceasefire can be perused on two counts. Firstly, towards the underground Naga nationalists the structural domination is played out with the prohibitory ceasefire ground rules. It gives both the Indian Government and general public the power to audit the conduct and authority of the organization and its members based on the prescribed rules. It is no surprise that some NSCN leaders have been incarcerated behind Indian jails, and restricted free movement of the cadres, both based on the same ground rules. Secondly, with the cessation of armed conflict in the region, a well-timed India’s neo-liberal market policy has been aggressively pushed through to absorb the Naga masses with- in its developmental framework and laws. In this capitalists’ system the workers such as the Nagas are given little room to doubt on the adequacy of the market establishment in giving personal choice and freedom. In a Marxist sense, Engels does not mince words to call this as “false consciousness” (Terry, 1991). On their newfound ideas in Amartya Sen that development is freedom (Sen, 2000), India rapidly acquiesced the Nagas towards developmental agendas. Although, Sen’s theory is not plausible for the collective right based community like the Nagas since his theory is individual centric (I will not discuss here for the lack of space), the new generation Naga youths from the strife torn land get attracted to this easy lure of jobs and opportunities. The neo liberal market policy of India does not only entrenched the Nagas in the institutional laws of the colonial policy, but it also brings a rubble of population disintegration into Indian metro cities. As a result, it creates a great disconnect between the Naga public and the underground Naga nationalists. Therefore, if the creation of Nagaland state in 1963 was Delhi’s policy to bring conflict between the moderate Naga leaders and the Naga extremist leaders, the signing of ceasefire has become the crossroad of Robert Frost for the Naga public and the underground Naga nationalists.  Ideological paucity NSCN, once known in the region as one of the most disciplined underground organisations, which earned them the status of role model to oth- er outfits of minority nationalities gradually found itself replete with corruption allegations, dispensable drunkards, drug abusers and opportunists. Karl Marx has to say this, human nature is conditioned by circumstances of one’s life (Geras, 1983).

Marx is more categorical here about the ideological circumstance which is reproduced perpetually through its structures and institutions, unlike other natural circumstances. The state ideological apparatus adopts the same Marxian condition i.e. structural and institutional domination to frustrate Naga nationalism.  When the organisation signed ceasefire pact with Government of India on 1 August 1997, the onus of the Naga national cause was suddenly reduced to the responsibility of the few underground political elites, rendering the entire organizational set up at the waiting bastion with the rest of the Naga public. Being immobilized with ceasefire ground rules, the listless life at the designated camps in this protracted talks took toll to its chief casualty, i.e. the ideology of Naga nationalism. When activities are precluded, reconnaissance halted, and propaganda stopped, it does not only cost a mutual disconnect with the public but impedes ideological orientation, advocacy and dissemination to both the cadres and the public. Ideology is constituted by the dominant beliefs, values and practices, which serve as a political or economic functions and works through institutions (Macris, 2011). Vicky Macris maintains that Ideologies are transmitted through or within organisation or social structures, and achieved consent from the people through practices, values and identities that are taught and learned. In this regard, the constant activities of the organisation, so as to connect with the people is necessary for selling its’ ideology. Organisation should function, as to maintain favourable conditions for achieving the objective, and ideology would function in ways to perpetuate this condition. Ideology constantly orients the loyalty of the cadres to the cause, also it perpetually reproduces its social base. Therefore, the ideological paucity during the cease-fire period chiefly poses two problems, one within the organisation concerning the indiscipline of cadres, and two, the lack of ideological condition for social production renders the organisation without stable social base.

Divided authority until one and a half decade ago, as recent as early phase of ceasefire, the claim for legitimate representatives of the Naga people politically by the NSCN was a non-issue. Through the thin and thick forces of the organisation the massive campaign carried out in all the Naga areas for self- determination only found few deterrents. Either by consent or by force, the Naga civil societies, the social organisations, the tribe Hohos, and the Naga frontal organisations rallied behind the leadership of the NSCN. The organisation then commands legitimate rights in the political sense either in the Weberian sense of traditional authority or Gramscian sense of power to represent their people. In politics, legitimacy is not always derived through consent but sometimes manufactured through power. Power is understood here, as predominantly exercised through a combination of coercion and consent. In Gramscian logic consent is always supported by force or coercion, however, through ideology rather than physical force (Gramsci, 1971). The supposed political legitimacy enjoyed by the NSCN, however, fell short at the challenge of different social groups and underground factions in the conundrum of ongoing peace talks. From the former Prime Ministers to the erstwhile interlocutors involved in the ongoing talks have hinted to the problems of posturing by different factions as the representatives of the Nagas. Talk or dialogue per se is not the problem here, but the signing of ceasefire and its subsequent immobilization of cadres gave way to other factions for building their social bases that cost the unquestioned authority. Factional clashes was seen to have snowballed into heavy casualties on all sides during ceasefire. Thus, public could no longer stand as a mere spectator, learned and concerned citizens came to claim responsibility for reconciliation among infighting groups. Although, the objective of such organisations, Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) can- not be doubted, the whole ongoing process has further cast aspersion to the political status of the NSCN in the eyes of India. The whole process of reconciliation has legitimized every disheveled, latent, and death organisation, let alone it further breeds factional tendency, fighting for similar privilege and attention. As a result, the many posturing from different factions and organisations have increased sharply. Unless, the FNRs’ objectives of forming “One National Government” is a near reality, the divided house is going down into debris. Conclusion Beside the abovementioned points, there are many important facades (such as, political condescension, civil administrative fallouts, anxiety of taxation, international diplomacy, etc.) which needs to be discussed under the same title. But for the lack of space in this bulletin I have reserved to discuss on regard to them at another time. In spite of the limited themes addressed here, we should be able to draw trajectory through the arguments mooted out in this article. All the themes are presented through interrelated subjects: firstly, it threw up questions whether the NSCN as an organisation has been able to adapt, reinvent, or reproduce itself in the paradigmatic context of ceasefire; secondly, it showed how the NSCN organisation had been clipped off its wing through the signing of cease- fire, and subsequently created a safe haven for proliferation of India’s developmental agendas to trap the Naga mass within the institutional ambits of Indian laws; thirdly, the arguments ensued that the immobilization of cadres have caused ideological bankruptcy, as a result it brought indiscipline with- in the cadres and impeded ideological condition for social base; fourthly,  ceasefire is being argued as the anchor of splintering political authority, subsequently NSCN is looked upon at the equivalent spectrum with other factions. Lastly, the response of the NSCN to all the factors elaborated above is left to the readers for discussion and in depth analysis.

One very important point that the readers must keep in mind is that the article in no way necessarily represent any argument posing for withdrawal from the cease-fire and the ongoing talks. The article is a mere reflection of intellectual insights to the given reality of NSCN at the present juncture. However, as a poser we can ask to ourselves, is ceasefire an inevitable necessity for a “political” talk?

Reference: Eagleton, Terry (1991), Ideology: An Introduction. London: Verso. Foucault, Michel (1977), Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York: Pantheon. Geras, Norman (1983), Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend, London: Verso Gramsci, Antonio (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart. King, Roger (1986), The State in Modern Society: New Directions in Political Sociology, Basing- stoke: Macmillan. Macris, Vicki. (2011), “The Ideological Conditions of Social Reproduction,” Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) 9.1. Sen, Amartya (2000), Development as Freedom, New Delhi: OUP. Weber, Max (1978), Economy and Society: Out- line of Interpretive Sociology, California: University of California Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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