We have all heard the idiom, “Do not wash your dirty linen in public.” It simply means we should not reveal or share certain personal or private matters that could cause embarrassment if made public. As times progress and language evolve, there is now a similar idiom with the same meaning but with different words. “Do not air your dirty laundry in public” is the new and more common idiom these days. Dirty linen and dirty laundry basically mean the same thing as far as the idioms are concerned. Dirty laundry is unflattering or embarrassing facts, or questionable activities that one would want to keep secret. Naga disunity is now a dirty laundry. It is unbelievable that there is not a single pan-Naga organization in active existence today. Perhaps, nowhere in the world can we find a people as divided and fragmented as the Naga people are today. If tribalism has undone Naga society, the influence of arbitrary and all pervasive corruption is eating inexorably the Naga society. Considering the current state of affairs, it will not be wrong to assume that Naga society as we know it is now beyond redemption and the Naga case is a gone case. We are now on a slippery slope and things can only get worse from here, one is afraid.
Naga society is now openly divided into three blocs – the Tenyimia, the ENPO, and the CNTC. All of these three blocs claim to be for the larger Naga good, and are not against the other, but the unspoken truth is that they are the manifestation of just how divided Naga society is. The sad reality is that these three tribal blocs are not in agreement to form a common entity, cementing the fact that the Naga house is a divided one. The latest development that demonstrates the deeply entrenched division among the Naga people is the proposed state-wide bandh called by the Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC) only to be deferred a day later. No, imposing bandhs cannot be the ideal way of demonstrating one’s interest and this column in no way intends to imply that the proposed bandh should have been imposed. However, as soon as the NPAC announced the bandh, a number of tribal bodies voiced out against it, compelling in some part the NPAC to defer the proposed bandh. Of course, the NPAC has categorically stated its reasons for deferring the proposed bandh but that does not mean that it has not exposed Naga disunity – in front of the whole world to see. NPAC must have come up with the idea of the bandh with the best of intentions and then called it off for the best reasons. Unfortunately, it has exposed Naga disunity in the process. The common refrain in Naga society today is “solution, not election” but without unity among the Naga people, that would remain a distant dream.