Nagas can either follow the command of Jesus ‘Love thy neighbour’ or love their non—Christian brothers or fall into the trap of West exported fundamentalist ‘Churchianity’ and cause suffering to themselves and other fellow human beings. The choice is open.
The separatist leaders in Nagaland (who are the agents of the ‘West’ based church organisation) are telling the populace that if Nagaland becomes ‘independent’ it will become another Hong Kong. Let us analyse this claim, hypothetically imagining an independent ‘Nagalim’.
Firstly it will be a land locked country bordered by India and Myanmar. In that case it will have to maintain an army and air force to defend itself against India (an economy of 2.4 Trillion Dollars) and Myanmar.
No land locked country anywhere in the world (including in Europe) is prosperous ,because 95 per cent of the world trade takes place through the sea route ,due to the zero cost of constructing roads and the buoyancy of water whereby more weight can be carried for the same amount of fuel. Transport by sea is much cheaper than transport by road. Transport by air is exorbitant and viable only for low weight/high cost goods. So Nagalim will again be under mercy of India or Myanmar. (Incidentally, Hong Kong is an island and a port city).
All major cities in the world including in USA are on the sea coast or very close to the sea. Nagaland is not going to get up from its remote hilly abode and move to the sea coast!
The present revenue generated through taxes constitutes hardly 5 per cent of Nagaland’s annual budget and balance 95 per cent is funded by the Central Government. The annual Budget of Nagaland is at least 100-200 times per capita budget of states like UP, Bihar, and Karnataka etc. In spite of own Christian leaders, politicians there is no infrastructure development. Incidentally roads, electricity, water, schools, hospitals come under the purview of the State Government. The Central Government is responsible for National Highways and Railways which the militant groups scuttle by kidnappings and killings of involved staff.
If Nagaland becomes independent, very soon, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal can be expected to become independent. The Nagalim Army and Air Force will have to defend itself against the armed forces of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal, Myanmar. Some separatist leaders are propagating the idea that the Americans will fund the Nagalim Government. Yes, certainly they would, The Americans expect a War in the future between the West & China. An independent Nagalim, which is in a very important strategic location very close to China, will immediately become a military base for the Americans who will station their nuclear missiles so that they can strike Chinese cities & military targets within minutes. Other-wise the missiles launched from mainland USA will take a much longer duration to cross the almost 12,000 kms distance of the Pacific Ocean & could possibly be intercepted by an anti-Missile shield by China. The Americans never provide aid for free; at the most they may provide 100-200 million Dollars as yearly rent. But in case of a war with China, these missile bases will face a retaliatory nuclear strike by China & that will be the end of Nagalim, Naga society & Naga history. The small American troop presence will be in secret under-ground nuclear attack proof bunkers & will be rescued promptly.
The various Tribes converted to various church denominations are already fighting with each other on some pretext or the other. There will be conflict in Manipur hill districts with Tangkhuls, Kuki etc. There is already a demand for Eastern Nagaland by some tribes, citing ‘neglect’ of their area. There is a demand for Kuki nation comprising some areas of proposed Nagalim. Kuki militant groups are active in these overlapping claim areas. Now there is a demand for a Zo – Nation, claiming areas of Manipur hill Districts which have already been claimed by both Nagalim and Kuki-land advocates! A triangular fight to establish independent countries!
Nagalim will be in a constant state of war within and without- without the financial resources. Being an ‘Independent Country’, it will be a closed border and all people from Nagaland will have to dump their jobs and studies in Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata etc and look for jobs in Nagalim under a civil war situation. The 25 odd tribes will fight it out for a piece of cake of newly created government jobs and positions of power.
At present the 16 odd Naga Tribes are a bit united against an imagined ‘Indian’ enemy. But what will happen when this so called ‘enemy’ disappears from the scene? Civil war with so many armed militant groups prowling around as it is Muivah has made a public statement in USA that there will be no democracy in Nagalim. As democracy is not suitable for the Naga people and Nagalim will be a Baptist Church run Theocratic State.
India as a nation is still united in spite of diversity of race, language, culture etc due to the broad nature of Hinduism; which accepts differences of every kind. Whether it be the modes of worship, different names and forms of God, festivals, dances, dress, cultures, food etc. Hinduism also accepts other religions to be true. ‘There are infinite ways to reach the infinite God’. ‘Infinite God has infinite names and infinite forms.’
Hinduism is the most ‘secular’ religion, which accepts Allah also as another valid name for God in Arabic and Jesus also as God. There is no prohibition for a Hindu to go to a Church and worship Jesus or celebrate Christmas- in addition to his own ancestral traditional festivals. Trees, stones, plants, animals, birds, rivers, hills, mountains, earth, moon, stars etc are also forms of the infinite God.(Seeing God everywhere).This is why India is united and is progressing, where as Europe is divided into countries on the basis of language and Church affiliations!
If the Nagas rediscovered the spiritual truth of animism/nature worship of their ancestors, then they would have affinity towards their Hindu brothers. Animism/Nature worship is what is required to be revived in this age of global warming and climate change. Foreign tourists come to India to experience exotic cultures, visit temples, not to see Churches. Easteners and Asiatics that we are; will remain what we actually are and cannot become ‘ Whites’ how much ever we imitate them.
Enlightened leadership of the Nagas must rise and work to make this world a Global village, not a conflict ridden narrow mentality Ghetto- which Nagaland is right now, due to misguided Theology and ideology.
People in ‘mainland’ India get shocked when they come to know about violent Christian militant groups in NE India, as they all have a general impression that Christians are basically peace loving people.
(The writer is a Guwahati based researcher)