Monday, May 21, 2007

Brief Background on Nagalim (India and Burma

- Luingam Luithui


Nagalim, the ancestral homeland of the Nagas, lies in the northwest corner of the Southeast-Asian land-mass. It is bounded on the East by Burma, the North by China, and on the West and South by India. The Naga population of 3.5 millions lives in several thousand villages covering nearly 120,000 sq. km. (, 2003).

Nagas' traditional economic base is hill-terrace (wet-rice fields) cultivation. However, recent years have seen a mark increase in cash-crop cultivation, such as tea and coffee, in addition to the vegetables traditionally exported. The literacy rate in the Western Naga Hills, where the majority of the population lives, is over 65%; but in the Eastern Naga Hills, where nearly six hundred thousand people live, literacy is less than 40%.Toward the closing of the nineteenth century, British India took 'control' of approximately a third of Nagalim (The beginning of Nagas' long struggle for freedom from foreign domination). However, Britain did not impose its colonial administration upon the Nagas. Laws and regulations passed by British India or the Provincial Assemblies under the 1919 Indian Home Rule Act did not apply to the Naga areas [1].

The Nagas lived under their own governance system-the Village Council System of Governance. When Britain left its colonies in South and Southeast Asia, the newly formed States, Burma and India, refused to recognize the independence of Nagalim. Burma laid claim to the Eastern Naga Hills. It has been using this claimed authority to impose Buddhism on the Christian Nagas and to extort forced labor from the people. On India's part, its army occupied the Western Naga Hills (the remaining portion of Nagalim) in 1956 and imposed military rule. Under a cease-fire agreement (signed in July 1997 between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM, the main National Resistance Movement in Nagalim) India has partially lifted the Military Rule in Nagalim and withdrawn about 50% of its troops from there. The Government of India and the NSCN-IM are now negotiating fresh terms for a peaceful relationship.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify ways of revitalizing the Village Council System of Governance in Nagalim so as to over come its present failure to play its leadership role effectively. Brief Background of My Organization - Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights:

The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) was founded in 1978 by the Naga students in Delhi with tacit support from all over the Western Naga Hills. The organization covers the whole of Nagalim and its membership is open to all the citizens of Nagalim.

Vision: the full realization of the human personality through social transformation.Mission: To strengthen the capacity of the community to achieve self- determination.Goal: To defend and secure respect for the dignity of the human person, especially in Nagalim, and in all the other parts of the world. Program: NPMHR's programs fall into two broad areas:

1. The Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. This focuses on:prevention of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, detention and torture by the Indian State repeal of the draconian laws including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 of India (since amended as Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1972) recognition of and respect for the right to self-determination of every people Removal of discriminatory concepts and practices, some of them embedded in the religious, traditional and customary practices of the society.

2. Peace Building Program: This consists of several components such as:Strengthening the on-going peace process between India and Nagalim by promoting "people- to- people dialogue"(exchanging views with the civil society organizations in India on the peace issue.)

Promoting reconciliation efforts within the Naga society

Reconstruction of Nagalim from the ruins of four decades of military occupation This raises the question, "what does NPMHR has to do with governance?" Since NPMHR is a human rights organization, this question is relevant to its mission? How does good governance affect human rights and vice-versa? This will be discussed in Chapters 3.
My Role and Experience with the Organization

I have been associated with NPMHR from its founding. From 1982 unto 1992, I was responsible for coordinating the Movement. As a petitioner, I represented NPMHR in the Supreme Court of India (1982-84), and in the Guwahati High Court of India (1987-92) in the Public Litigation cases on "disappeared persons," summary execution, rape, torture, desecration of Christian places of worship and other depredations. In 1992, as a representative of NPMHR, I was elected the Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and moved to Bangkok. My wife, Peingam, and I got stranded in Thailand when India impounded my passport in August 1995. However, I was re-elected Secretary General for a second term (1996-2000). Living in exile, these past eight years, has restricted my area of work to advocacy and networking outside Nagalim. However, the Government of India has, in recent times, showed softening of its policy in this regard, and it may, before long, lift the ban on my entry and working in Nagalim.

The Nature of the Problem

One of the main challenges facing the process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Nagalim is the absence of an effective system of governance. The partial lifting of military rule from 1997 has revealed that the traditional Naga governance system, the Council, is in shambles. Since the military occupation almost all independent _expression of our values has been subsumed within the independence struggle. Whatever was not subsumed was either co-opted or suppressed. Maimed and often mutilated beyond recognition, what remains of the indigenous institutions lack the integrity and strength needed to meet the basic demands of governance. People are getting exhausted from 'doing fire-fighting', trying all the time to cope with the problems arising from a lack of effective system of governance.Significance of the Study

This study is significant because of the following reasons:

Given that the people of Nagalim had a working Council before India invaded their territory, it is important to examine and understand why that structure was operative It is also important to clarify why the Council, as it exists now, is not working properly and does not effectively serve the people

An in-depth study of these questions will enhance our understanding of how to establish good governance. A critical understanding of the traditional democratic system of governance is likely to open a world of knowledge with which to build our future. The study will also, hopefully, serve as a resource material to NGOs and other institutions interested in the well being of the people of Nagalim.


Problem Statement

A major challenge facing the reconstruction and reconciliation process in Nagalim has been the absence of effective governance. Subsequent to the signing of a cease-fire agreement in 1997, India called off major military operations in Nagalim and partially lifted the Military Rule. The situation in Nagalim changed overnight from one of life and death to one of hope and freedom. This was the moment people, old and young, had been looking for- from the prison cell, the torture chamber, the destroyed home,… through the smiling eyes of the child. They are now on the move to participate and contribute in the reconstruction and reconciliation of their nation. Everyone wants to be involved and to be heard. Will all this energy find space to play a meaningful role in the society or end in general frustration?

Civil society organizations and NSCN-IM stepped into the social space vacated by the Indian Military, and together with the Village and Tribe Councils stabilized the situation. This was just a temporary quick-fix. It is not enough. Society has to move on. But how? To answer this primary question we will have to first ask: What kind of structures, processes, tools and techniques are in place or have to be developed to put into practice the vision which had comforted the people and given them strength to withstand decades of military repression? Will the system they choose reflect the long held values and beliefs of the people or the recently imported market driven values? Who would be involved in the decision-making? How and why?As the organization that has anchored the civil movement in Nagalim during the later half of the Military Rule (1981-2001), NPMHR is vitally interested in these questions. Let's begin with an assessment of the Naga Traditional Council System of Governance.

The Traditional Naga Council System of Governance:

" The Village General Body (all the adult male members) Council of family-clan representatives headed by a hereditary chief or by a nominal leader selected by the village public for a specific term Youth dormitory (of girls and boys) which has sub-groups of age-grades from age eight/nine and upwards Shared Labor Group Elders

This is, broadly speaking, the structure of the Council System of Governance. The structure enables the members of the community including children to actively participate in the governance system. While the first three in the structure are often engaged in formal roles and duties; the roles played by the Shared Labor Group and the Elders tend to be informal. As the Executive head the Council takes up issues in the manner of a facilitator to achieve consensus rather than as the enforcer of authority and power. It adopts a similar approach in relation to its judiciary role. It plays the role of a wise and concerned mediator between the parties in dispute with the ultimate aim of healing. Here justice is about building amity and unity through consultation and mentoring. Retribution, too, occurs on occasions; but it is lamented as the failure of the entire community. Thus, when faced with issues of a grave nature, it is natural for the Council to go through a process of informal consultation and mediation that cuts across the structures identified above or family or clan affiliations.

The Youth Dormitory or Long Shim (in Tangkhul Naga language) is where the main learning takes place- traditional values, customary laws and practices, history, dignity in fair play, community living, training in skills such as taking social responsibility, team work, art of group sharing and discussion, carpentry, weaving, personal hygiene- in short, all the knowledge and skills of the community are handed down to the youth from the elders through the Dormitory. Specific responsibilities are given to individual age-grades by the Village General Body or by the Council to maintain the integrity of the community.

Elders mentoring the community leaders and the youth strengthen them in their search for knowledge, skills, and balancing the power within. As possessors of important knowledge and wisdom, and as the link to the non-physical world, presence of Elders is considered very essential to the functioning of the System. People with special skills, knowledge or power, emulate the Elders and humble themselves as persons entrusted by Nature with special duties to serve the community. This is an organic organizing of society where the informal and the formal constantly overlap to create a healthy outcome. Members of an association/structure attend to the needs of one another so that they can all participate actively in the community life.

The ultimate objective of this system of governance is friendship and caring among the members of the community. The community here consists of all the beings who are gone, who are present and who are coming. Every individual person/family is engaged in activities, which are fulfilling for the self and the community at one and the same time. Success is measured in terms of relationships of love and caring - one's ability to share with the other beings, moderation and balance, and respectful interaction with nature.

Things have changed in Nagalim in the past forty-five years. During this period the Councils were suppressed everywhere and prevented from carrying out their primary functions. It was reduced to doing menial jobs like organizing traditional dance for the "visiting Indian VIP". What remains of the Councils today do not have much in common with the pre-Indian invasion Councils. They do not have the same standing as the traditional Councils, and they are not being treated as the centers of the community life. On their part, the Councils have moved away from the traditional role of building unity and amity to position of power and authority.

Most of the Council members no longer think of the Council as an organic part of the community. In this brief period of relative peace, many of them have been found making poor imitations of the working of the State structures and getting frustrated for not getting the outcomes they want. Most of them lack integrity and legitimacy to play any meaningful role in society.

The present failure of the Council is a part of a much larger problem facing the Naga community. The day-to-day Naga refers to it as the integrity issue, an issue arising from the tension between two concepts of governance: the traditional-driven concept and the market-driven concept. This tension is within the community, the family and the individual. In sharp contrast to the traditional-driven concept described in the opening paragraphs of this section, the market-driven concept of governance focuses on efficiency, productivity, individual ability to exploit and to extract, profit margins, the ability to stockpile accumulated wealth as financial capital, and on short time frames of five/six years.

Business interests, especially the multinational corporations, have been exporting this concept world wide through international agreements/treaties, International Conventions, Declarations, Development aids programs, the institutions of learning and the media. With the spread of Cable TV and the Internet, globalization brings this package into the living rooms of people in the four corners of the world. Nagalim is no exception. In the past twenty/thirty years Nagas have come under a heavy influence of the market driven-concept of governance and many of them have changed their lifestyle significantly. The social and economic landscapes have seen significant changes. The culture of mutual support and caring between neighbours has been losing ground to individualism. People are no longer focusing consistently on their community as they did in the past. This is not the context in which the traditional Council System can be resurrected wholesale.

The National Resistance Movement has no trained personnel in civil administration. The leaders who are loved and respected widely for their integrity and knowledge have not had experience in peacetime governance. They have spent all their adult lives as guerrilla activists. They will not be in a position to provide effective leadership without first acquiring the knowledge of the various approaches, tools and techniques that have been found highly useful in the development of good governance. On the other hand, the Indian State system imposed on the Western Naga Hills has been in serious conflict with the people's principles of conduct, values and norms. The transportation of the caste-based culture as bureaucratic hierarchy by the State, and its total lack of transparency and accountability (Of course, Indian leaders said that transparency and accountability are not possible because of the "Naga insurgency") alienated the people from the State from the time it was set-up in Nagalim. The State has been known, as the hub of corruption- the training ground for all that is evil in one's sight - and blamed for all the wrongs in Naga society. It is hard to think of such a system of government to function in a free Nagalim.

The above narration shows that there is no effective governance in Nagalim. The approach adopted to address this issue, in my opinion, will largely determine the pace and outcome of the process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Nagalim. With this question in mind, the next section provides a review of some of the existing literature and experiences relating to:’

1. What is good governance and what kinds of leadership are needed for good governance?2. What factors contributed to the success of the Council System of governance in the past?3. What are the causes of the present failure of the Council system of Governance?4. In what ways can the Council be made effective? How to revitalize the Council and make it effective?


What is Good Governance and What Kinds of Leadership is Needed for Good Governance? The concept of "good governance" has come to dominate recent debates on development. Like the other commonly used terms, "governance" and "good governance" are being used with a wide range of meanings. In their "Working Paper 2001-10", Bevir and Rhodes (2001) refer to the different meanings attached to this concept by two well known institutions, the World Bank and the British Economic and Social Research Council. 'In its lending policy 1992, the Bank introduced the concept of governance to refer to changes in the public sector associated with the new public management, marketization and even privatization. In opposition to this, the Whitehall Programmes organized by the British Economic and Social Research Council used governance to describe a new pattern of relations between the state and civil society. "The governance consisted of networks as opposed to both hierarchies and markets" (Bevir and Rhodes, 2001, p.1). In a recent publication, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) describes governance as a process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (UNESCAP, 2003). Thus defined, the concept of "governance" applies to a number of contexts such as a local government, a community organization, or a local school board, or corporate governance. "Good governance", according to this paper, "is participation, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law" (UNESCAP, 2003, p. 1).

This concept of governance is a powerful tool of stream lining the public services sector, especially the administrative and management areas. The arrival of this concept on the international scene seems to have given a fresh burst of energy in the North-Sought communication. With this concept the World Bank and the Northern countries have successfully communicated to the Southern States, that no "aid" will be flowing to the countries with chronic problems of large inefficient bureaucracy, onerous regulations on the corporate sector, and high rates of taxation on the top rich. They should get rid of these problems if they want loans and further capital investment for their economies. Worse, if they do not make things easier in the corporate sector, by lifting the State Regulations, all the existing foreign capital in their countries will leave. Thanks to this concept of governance, the financial capital "starving" Southern States have begun to talk of transparency and reducing drastically the length of bureaucratic hierarchy, to be more client friendly, enhancing efficiency, and so on. Not only their language has become less oppressive, in some areas they have actually improved their performance. Office attendance and discipline, for instance, have improved significantly.

The different concepts of governance in the mainstream dialogue "all evolve around ideas such as the minimal state, marketization, and new public management" (Bevir and Rhodes, 2001, p. 5). The mainstream thoughts on this issue remained confined within the four walls of the State module. In spite of this there are important differences within the mainstream thinkers. In his book, Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen has presented an out-standing study of a concept of governance within the neoliberal State-frame (He was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science). Using empirical evidences, Amartya Sen demonstrates why human rights are important for development by showing "the constitutive as well as the instrumental importance of civil rights and political freedoms" (p. 17). How the exercise of these rights say, a public demonstration (which is a form of participation) against the "negligent handling of railway service", a problem not likely to be easily taken notice by the government, may lead to an early correction of the problem thereby avoiding lost of live or wasting resources. He explains what should be in place for these political and civil rights, or 'participation' to happen.

…freedom …involves both the processes that allow freedom of actions and decisions, and the actual opportunities that people have, given their personal and social circumstances. Unfreedom can arise either through inadequate processes (such as violation of voting privileges or other political or civil rights) or through inadequate opportunities that some people have for achieving what they minimally would like to achieve…

It is necessary to avoid confining attention to appropriate procedures (…), or, alternatively, only to adequate opportunities (as so-called consequentialists sometimes do, without worrying about the nature of the processes that bring the opportunities or the freedom of choice) (Sen, 2000, p. 17)

Civil rights and political freedom cannot be lost sight of even when the focus is on the economic development as this requires economic security, a question which is directly related to civil and political freedom. He also shows, by citing many instances, how the working of democracy and of political rights has contributed to the prevention of famines and other economic disasters.

Clear-cut examples and persuasive arguments put forward for democracy by Amartya Sen provided a solid ground for the launching of good governance within the neoliberal State Module. Their focus is on efficiency, productivity, and larger investment through a rich-friendly taxation regime and de-regulation on the movement of financial capital across national boundaries. Can the waking up of the lethargic bureaucracy of the Southern States bring stability in the world breaking apart under the impact of globalization? The World Bank and the long line of countries queuing up behind this concept of governance seem to think so. However, this concept of good governance lacks soul and humanity. The illness of the present world is not scarcity or limited capacity to produce; it is the declining ability to love and care. Besides, "participation" and "transparency" or "accountability" in order to move beyond the cosmetic layer governments must envision an even play-field. An even playing field requires that the rules of the game such as laws, procedures, languages, setting of the structures, concepts, and so on reflect the under-lying values of the local culture are in the language of the local people, use local symbols and experiences and are not foreign to the people. The concept of governance outside of the mainstream discourse is yet to receive serious recognition by the world at large. The concepts of governance found among the world's indigenous peoples are outside the State module.

This view is shared by Ken Shipley also, who is a long time associate of several First Nations' organizations and communities in Canada. In the interview conducted on 22 October for this Study, Ken pointed out the importance of rituals, celebrations, and ceremonies both as a process of reconnecting the community's collective identity as well as a process of reviewing the community's overall health. These were some of the primary components of the governance system of the First Nations here in Canada. Their concepts focus on the oneness of all beings -unity between human society and nature and treat human society as an organic part of nature. This outlook fosters a strong respect for diversity and a belief in consensus building as a way of life and a means of handling conflict. Similar concept of governance system has been seen among Nagas.

What appears to be inherent in all the indigenous concepts of governance is the centrality of the community underpinned and nourished by a strong belief in balance and moderation in all aspects of life, valuing differences and diversity, and consensus building. This is the unique distinction between the indigenous system of governance and the State module, which is dependent on the claim to exercise a monopoly of legitimate force over a particular territory (Hoffman, 1995).

The governance system of indigenous people has many features which the present day people dream of. However, their system has several limitations. It has operated only in small communities where people were engaged in similar economic and social activities. This clearly suggests that a successful application /revitalization of the indigenous governance in this fast changing world would require moving beyond 'the nostalgia of the natives" or the "safeguards of tribal/native traditions/ institutions" written in the Constitution of the modern State. The self-discipline and self-restrain practiced by the indigenous community, individually and collectively, which contributed greatly to the working of their system had a strong spiritual component. If this means anything then it is obvious that the politicians as well as the professionals and scholars especially the media persons, university teachers, lawyers and business leaders, will have to slow down the practice of intellectual dishonesty and scholarly distortions especially in reference to indigenous people. This may never happen if they are left to their own sweet will. The present situation of the Council in Nagalim only goes to confirm this.

For the second part of the question we shall briefly examine the concept of "leader" and "leadership". Dictionary describes a "leader" as a person who ranks first, a person who has a commanding authority or influence who leads and gives direction and guidance (Websters New Collegiate Dictionary); "leadership denotes the occupancy of a status and the active performance of a role that mobilizes more or less organized collective and voluntary effort toward the attainment of shared goals. Leadership refers to the quality of behavior of individuals whereby they guide people or their activities in an organized effort' (A Dictionary of the Social Sciences).

The concept of "leadership" is as old as the history of human society itself, and like all other social concepts it has undergone many changes through the ages. Each landmark in history presents leaders and leadership styles unique to that era. Not surprisingly the list of literature on the subject is almost exhaustible. A quick check at the Angus L. MacDonald Library St. FX University Antigonish shows more than 1800 books on the subject. If we add to this list the literature on social events, which directly reflect on the nature and style and quality of leadership, the list is virtually endless. Although "leader" and "leadership" are not the same thing, they are so closely linked that most of the writers in the field used them interchangeably.

In our own time we have seen several concepts of leadership -from the one-man dictatorship to the horizontal "we are all equal" type leadership. However, scholars in this field are generally in agreement that today's leadership has two basic responsibilities: "to infuse the community/an organization with purpose and values that others can identify with personally, and to create an environment in which people are encouraged to address problems and opportunities creatively with deep commitment" (Badaracco and Ellsworth, 1989, p.68). Hesselbein's description of the basic features of leadership contains similar views:Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do. We spend most of our lives mastering how to do things, but in the end it is the quality of character of the individual that defines the performance of great leaders.

Leaders succeed through the efforts of the people. The basic task of the leader is to build a highly motivated productive workforce. To moves across the boundaries both within and outside the organization investing in people and resources and exemplifying personal commitment to the common cause.Leaders build bridges. The boundaries between sectors, organizations, employees, customers and others are blurring. The challenge for leaders is to build a cohesive community (Hesselbein and Cohen, 1999, p. xii).

The focus of the existing literature in the field is on what role leadership should play. Scholars are in agreement that in this fast changing world, leaders have to operate constantly in fluid situations. Leaders are adopting flexible management structure, and using more felicitous and inclusive language. For such leadership to succeed, a strong emphasis must be placed on focusing on the mission, on creating a value-base work culture and on "learning to lead people and not to contain them." Leadership quality and style can make a world of difference. For example, leadership, which is gender sensitive can without much effort initiate a process of gender balance in the community by gender mainstreaming in all its programs. Kouzes (1999) and others (Smith, D.K, 1999; Hackman, 1999;

Hesselbein, 1999, to mention a few names) have stressed on the difference that 'language sensitive' leadership can bring into the organization. The force of exclusiveness or inclusiveness loaded in the simple and commonly used terms such as either-or, i-they, we-they, and both, we, (Smith, p 96) is enormous, one can ignore it only at one's own disadvantage. Moving a step farther on the issue, I found the examples given by Kouzes in Finding Your Leadership Voice, highly instructive; some of them have been reproduced below: From a speech by banking manager Barry PosnerKeep your capital, and keep it dry. We'll act like SWAT teams. We're going to beat their brains out. We won't tolerate the building of fiefdoms. Contrast his words with these phrases from The Body Shop, by founder Anita RoddickWe communicate with passion- and passion persuades.

What we need is optimism, humanism, enthusiasm, intuition, curiosity, love, humor, magic, fun, and that secret ingredient-euphoria.

I think all business' practices would improve immeasurably if they were guided by feminine principles-qualities like love and care and intuition (p.41).Of course, Kouzes is discussing here not only the meaning of the words, but the personality- integrity and conviction- of the speaker in the eyes of his/her listeners. The contrast between these two sets is glaring- the first one soulless and dull and calculated, and the second one spontaneous and natural and integrity.

Behavior-driven change has to be a core component in all the strategic thinking of the leadership. In today's highly mobile multicultural society this aspect is as critical as the decision-driven change (Smith, 1999). The stress on the need to infuse the community/an organization with purpose and values that others can identify with is of utmost importance to the building of commitment and the self-confidence of the members, especially in community context.
Hesselbein (1999) presents an interesting new concept of organizational structure, her organization has adopted. It is "a flat, circular, fluid management system" called "The Wheel of Fortune". 'People and functions in the organization moved across three concentric circles, with the CEO in the middle looking across, not at the top looking down' (Hesselbein, 1999). Often things are easier said than done, still it is worth trying. Hackman highlights the complexities involved in making change. In his article Why Teams Don't Work, he points out that the conditions that foster team effectiveness is simple and seemingly straightforward to put in place, they are not subtle, complex or difficult to understand. However, they will touch, in most cases, some of the core values of the organization and there lies the real problem. To make change to happen, we need a new and different way of thinking, a revolutionary rather than evolutionary one (Hackman, 1999).The explorations into leadership styles and roles are imaginative and useful.

However, most of the discussions on "leadership" do not seem to recognize the critical implications of the timeframe. What timeframe they are talking about? Today the timeframe of staff and program a leader has to deal with could be as short as one year. How realistic will it be to expect to build such far-reaching value-based and strongly mission oriented team of staff within that timeframe? Won't it become another case of "shoving down the throat?"What Factors Contributed to the Success of the Council System of Governance in the Past? An important factor for the success of the Council System (before the Military Occupation) was the well-established structures with clearly defined and understood responsibilities and rules and procedures of conduct (such as customs and customary functions). They grew out of the experiences of the people. Naturally, people strongly identified with the system resulting in their active participation in all the activities of the community.

Their social and political organizations were closely inter-linked and all of them worked toward the common good of the community. For instance, the Youth Dormitory or Long Shim was intimately linked to the Council and worked towards the same goal, namely, good governance. The Council regularly sent to the dormitories one /two of its members with an Elder or a person of special talent to familiarize the youth with the affairs of the council and to collect feedback, and to impart new skills. The dormitory in turn produced young men well grounded in the customs and traditional practices of their people; well informed about their village and its surroundings and thus well qualified to take their place in the Council when their time come.

A strong correspondence between their values/beliefs system and their practices was another high point of the traditional Council System of Governance. Their belief in community living found political _expression in 'the Village General Body' as the highest decision making body. Their egalitarian culture provided the motivation to go the extra-mile to achieve consensus.

Their approach to dispute and conflict was also consistent with their community values. They held in admiration the 'distinctly different qualities of each being, because they believed that it was these qualities that made the universe whole.' As such, justice was about building amity and unity through consultation and mentoring.

Observers from other places appreciated this governance system, especially its quality of democracy. "Captain Butler… commended it highly as 'a system of purest democracy,' and the noted Indian leader, Jayaprakash Narayan, in his writings on 'Panchayat Democracy' called the Naga system his ideal of a Panchayat democracy" (Patterson, 1963, p. 32).

What are the Causes of the Present Failure of the Council System of Governance?An exhaustive list of the causes of the failure of the present Council was gathered from meetings with the members of civil society organizations and some of the leading Council members during my short stay in Nagalim this February. Based on this information I have identified the following main causes:One of the most noticed causes of the failure of the present Council is the lack of a sound knowledge of the working of the traditional Council System of Governance among the present generation of Council members. The interruption in the functioning of the Council caused by the Military Rule resulted in the loss of the accumulated knowledge and skills of the Council. It also destroyed the established work culture within the Council. Most of the people who were in the pre-invasion Council and had a sound knowledge of its working are gone or grown too old to actively participate in public affairs.

Youth Dormitory, which had a foundational role in the Council System, could not survive the Military Rule. The loss of Dormitory has deprived the Council System of its main organization for preparing new generations of leaders. With this, the Council also lost its main mechanism of implementing its program. Today's clan-family representatives are chosen, it appears, without giving thought to the kind of credentials required of them as representatives. A great majority of their representatives have not had any sort of orientation or exposure, let alone training for their job.

Lack of clearly documented and accepted tools such as customary laws and standards of interpreting /application has left the Council going round and round. Often they have applied their university learning resulting in the importation of alien values and concepts in the process of interpreting customary laws or in applying traditional practices.

Lack of clearly defined and agreed processes of selecting and replacing the Council members has made people indifferent towards the Council. Lack of opportunity for community assessment of the impact of the military occupation on the people's lives, their environment and their organizations including the Council of Representatives and to take collective steps to adapt to the changing situation.

However, there are other causes, which are of profound and complex nature. In spite of the significant progress made in many aspects of life, women are still excluded from the Village General Body and the Council of Family/Clan Representatives. The possible reasons for exclusion of women from the Village General Body and the Council in the past (During the inter-village wars, for considerations of security, women were kept out of such meetings since many of them were originally from villages involved in the conflict) have disappeared long time ago. However, there are men who are troubled by the thought of women taking their place in the village body. They have been trying to convince the people that our tradition and the Bible forbid women from participation in the Village General Body meeting or becoming member of the Village Council (This is a complete misunderstanding of our tradition and the Bible).

The communal control/ownership of land, a corner stone of the traditional Council System has been weakened considerably in recent years. Concepts of resources management, which are in serious conflict with the concept of communal control/ownership, have found their way into the village communal lands. Though people are fully aware of it, they are not yet ready to discuss the issue. This means not laying down a commonly accepted standard/rule regarding the use of communal land and until such time the Councils' confused handling of the issue will continue.


Keys Lessons Learnt from the Study

The major lessons learned from this study include the followingConsensus building means valuing diversity and-open mindedness. Gender sensitive leadership leads to gender mainstreaming in all the program of the organization.
Enabling leadership infuses the community/an organization with purpose and values that others can identify with personally.

Flexible management structure with emphasis on inclusiveness and peaceful-language stands better chance to succeed.

A social system with built-in mechanisms of training and tempering its youth is more likely to enjoy stability.
Knowledge of existence of non-state society-Indigenous system of governance Genuine development enlarges freedom (Sen, 2000).

Civil rights and political freedom is necessary for economic growth. Freedom should be seen in terms of the processes that allow freedom of actions and decisions, and the actual opportunities that people have, given their personal and social circumstances (Sen, 2002).

Learning and development are processes of self-realization and that emancipatory adult education provides an effective means of strengthening such processes.


The NPMHR is at the right place to initiate the process of asking such questions (as indicated above) within the organization and at public forums. A sound knowledge and skill to adapt to the local context the advance methods and techniques of facilitation, communication, learning, assessment, enquiry, documentation and dissemination would be needed to make the initiative effective. An important issue in this process will be the method of documentation and types and forms of dissemination of the findings of the community. Some of the popular and effective forms of documentation and communication in Naga society have been the role plays-small social dramas and songs, and story telling. These means are to be explored.

The methods, techniques, concepts and tools that come immediately to my mind from my learning in the Diploma Course in Community-Based Development are emancipatory adult education, Appreciative community enquiry, Frames of analysis, But Why Method, Guided meditation and reflection, Picture exercise/projected techniques- "getting inside out", Inside/Out and Outside/In. These are very useful tools of analysis as well as strengthening solidarity within the community through the processes of analyzing issues and questions.

Interactive Broadcasting (USA-USSR experience in 1980s that helped soften- the tension), or, the South African experience of "Peace Kafe" technique to bring warring factions to dialogue through viewing their respective stories on the same channel, or the concept of the 'Inter-Ethnic Team Project' (Macedonia) where journalists from different ethnic backgrounds were brought together and jointly interview people in different parts of their country and publish the story in the similar format at about the same time in different ethic papers. There is much to benefit by learning from these techniques.


We have seen in Chapters 2 and 3 that the absence of effective governance in Nagalim is no longer just a question of foreign occupation or a lack of effective leadership of the Council. It has moved from there. Today the larger and more important issue is the issue of integrity, an issue arising from the tension between the traditional-driven concept and the market-driven concept. This tension is within the community, the family and the individual. Under the influence of the market driven-concept, many Nagas have changed their lifestyle significantly. The social and economic landscapes have seen significant changes. The culture of mutual support and caring between neighbors has been losing ground to individualism. People are no longer focusing consistently on their community as they did in the past. However, there has not been a corresponding development of structures, mechanisms and processes. For this complex issue there is no simple or single solution. The answer must come through a community effort beginning, necessarily, with asking questions that probe the community's mind, collectively and individually: What kind of structures, processes, tools and techniques are in place or have to be developed to put into practice the vision which had comforted the people and given them strength to withstand decades of military repression? Will the system they choose reflect the long held values and beliefs of the people or the recently imported market driven values? Who would be involved in the decision-making? How and why?


Badaracco, J. L. and Ellsworth, R R. (1989). Leadership and the Quest for Integrity. Massachusetts: Harvard Business School PressBevir, M. and Rhodes, R. A. W. (2001). Decentered Theory of Governance: Rational Choice, Institutionalism and Interpretation. Retrieved October2, 2003 from, P. F, The Shape of Things to Come. (pp. 109-120). In Hesselbein and Cohen (Ed), (1999). Leader to Leader. San Francisco, USA, Jossey-Bass PublishersElwin Verrier, (1969). Nagas in the Nineteenth century. UK: Oxford University Press.Hackman, J. R. (1999). Why Teams Don't Work. In Hesselbein, F. and Cohen, P. M. (ed), (1999). Leader to leader. (pp.335-348). San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Hesselbein, F. (1999). Managing in a World That is Round. In Hesselbein, F. and Cohen, P. M. (ed), (1999). Leader to leader (pp. 9-14). San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Hoffman, J. (1995). Beyond the State. London: Polity Press.Kouzes, J. M. (1999). Finding Your Leadership Voice. In Hesselbein, F. and Cohen, P. M. (ed), (1999). Leader to leader. (pp.37-42). San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass PublishersInterview with the Former Administrator Fort First Nations, Ken Shipley on Indigenous Governance System, strength and weakness, Coady International Residence, Antigonish, 22 Oct 2003. Interview with the General Secretary of NSCN-IM, Th. Muivah, a Naga Elder, over the telephone, on Council System of Governance in Tangkhul Naga Areas, past and present.Patterson, G. N. (1963). The Naga Problem, Journal of Royal Central Asian Society, Volume-L, Royal Central Asian Society, London.Sen, Amartya, (2000). Development as Freedom. New York: Anchor Books. Smith, D. K. (1999). Making Change Stick. (In Hesselbein, F. and Cohen, P. M. (ed.), (1999). Leader to leader. (pp. 95-105). San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass PublishersUnited Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). (2003).What is Good Governance? Retrieved September 9, 2002, from[1]British India was divided broadly into Indian Princely States and British Provinces. The provinces were ruled directly by Governors and Chief Commissioners appointed by the India Office in London and the Governor General in India. The British Resident Advisors and Political Agents governed the States in the name of the Darbar of the Native Princes. From these colonies, Britain maintained a special kind of external relationship with certain tribal territories referred to as 'tribal areas' or 'excluded areas'. British objectives in 'the tribal and Excluded Areas' such as the Naga areas, were primarily to open trade relationship and to prevent other powers from making inroads into those areas. The tribal/excluded areas were handled by the Foreign Department. Indians (natives) began to participate in the provincial government before the closing of nineteenth century through a system of indirect representation in the Central and Provincial Legislatures(Indian Council Act 1892). Their participation was enlarged by subsequent legislations such as 1909 Reforms, the Indian Home Rule Act of 1919, and the Governemnt of India of 1935. The representatives of the 'native elite' from these provinces constituted the Interim Government under Nehru and then the Constituent Assembly.The Indian Princely States (there were 562 of them on the eve of the creation of Pakistan and Hindustan) were, technically speaking, independent of one another and from the Provinces as well. There was no official representative of the Princely states in the Indian Constituent Assembly at the initial stage but the politically active section of their subjects were strongly involved in the Independence movement under the Congress/Muslim League. By the 3rd week of April 1947 many of them were in the Constituent Assembly. The remaining states "negotiated" with the Dominion of India (Hindustan and Pakistan were granted Dominion Status at the declaration of independence. India remained a Dominion until January 1951) and one by one signed the Instrument of Accession to join the Indian Union.The 'tribal areas' in the Princely States remained excluded from the control of the Darbar all through. For instance, "Manipur State, of course, has its own tribal areas excluded from the administration of the Darbar, and most of these tribes would prefer not to come under the direct control of the Darbar as yet", said F.C Bourne (Report of the Assam Governor to the Viceroy and Governor General of India, 6 June 1946 in the Oriental and India Office Collection, British library, London: L/PJ/5/139. Pol. 8909). Similarly, in the provinces the 'tribal areas', referred to variously as "backward areas/tracts" ( in the Indian Home Rule Act of 1919 ) and "Excluded Areas" (in the Government of India Act of 1935) were excluded from the Provincial Assembly. The tribal Areas in the provinces and the Princes States were prevented from participation in the Interim Government/the Constituent Assembly. No Indian leader ever moved for their inclusion in the Constituent Assembly. In fact, some of the architects of Independent India including Bordoloi actively pursued a policy strategy of preventing the tribal/excluded areas from representing themselves.

The zeitgeist in Manipur, land of paradoxes

By Haokholala Thangjom

Way back in January 1983 the Pan Manipur Youth League asked me to write an article on the political metamorphoses of Manipur since India attained independence. The article I wrote was, ‘From princely state to statehood’ and submitted to the Resistance’ weekly. The editor prudently changed it into more scintillating caption, ‘From Sovereignty to Statehood’ without disturbing the contents of the article.

The vile or loathsome fact is that Manipur has become a political human guinea-pig in the hand of constitutional experts. The metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly or tadpole to frog requires only one stage of change or transformation in the case of Manipur, it took a quarter of century after independent to become a full-fledged state after negotiating the labyrinth or tortuous path. The neighbouring Nagaland became a full-fledged state in 1963 which naturally became the envy of the neighbour.

1. In the year of independence Deveshwar Sharma was sent to Manipur as the Domination Agent and he was the first and the last Dominion agent.
2. The late Maharajah of Manipur, Budha- chandra Singh ushered in the popular Govt with an elected Assembly on adult franchise and a Ministry in 1948 even before the country embarked on having popular Govt elected on adult suffrage. The first Chief Minister was Maharajkumar Priyabrata Singh and on the sideline Major General Amar Singh was the Dewan.
3. When Manipur was integrated to the Union of India on the 15th October in 1949, it become one of the part ‘C’ State which is a nebulous status and Amar Singh became the first Chief Commissioner. Consequently, the Assembly was dissolved by the Govt of India.
4. In 1950 a nominated advisory council was constituted by the Chief Commissioner to assist him which was no better than a non-entity.
5. After the Constitution of India was adopted in January 1952, one elected Electoral College was constituted, the function of which was to have right to cast vote in the election of the President of India.
6. As an appeasement policy, a Council of Advisers (not Advisory Council) was constituted in 1953 comprising five advisers, namely, Dwijamani Sharma, S. Krisnamohan Singh, Salam Tombi, Dr L Kampu and A Daiho, all of them drawn from the Congress Party.
7. In 1957 Manipur became one of the Union Territorial under the Union Territories Act and an elected Territorial Council was constituted with Chief Commissioner as head of the administration. Dwijamani Sharma was the first chairman of the Territorial Council.
8. After the second election to the Territorial Council in 1962 the Govt of India agreed to convert it into Territorial Assembly with a Council of Ministers in July 1963. Mairembam Koireng Singh was the first Chief Minister who belonged to the Congress Party.
9. The second Congress Ministry led by Koireng Singh was dissolved on the 16th October 1969 due to intra-party crisis. The status of Chief Commissioner was lifted to the Lieutenant Governor and DR Kohli was the first Lieutenant Governor.
10. The dissolution of the Assembly was a blessing in disguise as all the political parties could work together in the demand for statehood. In short, very interestingly, Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister announced the grant of statehood in Parliament on the 3rd September 1971 and inaugurated at Palace ground on the 21st January 1972 at 10.50 AM (Friday).

During twenty-five years, from the time India became independent and before Manipur became a full-fledged state shedding the tertiary period of being a Part ‘C’ State and Union Territory, the zeitgeist or the spirit or feeling of the age in Manipur was ‘Beggars have no choice’. When all political parties launched a demand for a full-fledged State, the Naga Integration Committee of Manipur led by Ng Mono, president and Rishang Keishing as general secretary submitted a memorandum to Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister on the 23rd September 1969. They stated, ‘The question as to whether Manipur demands a statehood or otherwise is hardly concerned with the Nagas.
The talk of granting district autonomy to the hill people of Manipur has made no sense’. Moreover, most of the tribal leaders were lukewarm to the Statehood demand. In the midst of such condition the tribal leaders who supported the Congress Party under the aegis of the Manipur Tribal Leaders Council strongly supported the demand. A delegate comprising Stephen Angkang, Paolen Haokip, late K Kalanlung, late Kakhangai, Late Shompa, Kamkhangthang Guite and led by me met the Prime Minister and other Central leaders in May and November 1970.

The two salient questions put forward by the Prime Minister were the issue of state official language under Article 345 of the Constitution and district autonomy in the tribal areas or hill districts.As a follow-up action, as a Congress MLA. I moved a private member’ resolution on the state official language urging the House to pass a resolution to make Manipuri or Meiteilon the State official language in addition to English which was discussed on the 15th April 1977 and unanimously passed by the House. Consequently, as the chairman of the Cabinet sub-committee on the State Official Language, i introduced the relevant bill which was passed by the Assembly and enacted as The Manipur Official Language Act, 1979.

It was an undenying fact that I felt the heat of some disgruntled tribal MLAs who tried to make me a soft target or a sitting duck on language issue.After enjoying the euphoria of being a full-fledged state, for a few years, the two eerily parallel political phenomena, namely, the self-determination movement of the revolutionaries and the Damoclean Naga Peace Talks had shrouded the entire state. (Let us hope that the peace talks does not pronounce a Kangaroo court verdict).

Let us try to remove the zeitgeist or the feeling or spirit of the people that Manipur has become ‘A State of extremes’ caused by confusion, crime cult, corruption and chaos in the society. Let the tie of tribal autonomy that bind together the State be restored without further loss of time as it has complete fifteen years that all Autonomous District Councils had been dissolved and not a single tribal MLA or Ministers dared to burn his finger for such a long time for the revival of tribal autonomy.Viscout Morely said, ‘Democracy is not only a form of Govt but a way of life also’.

It is pathetic that democracy in our State has already drifted towards Timocracy, a form of Govt in which ambition or desire of honour a guiding principle or Plutocracy which is a Govt by the wealthy. Let us devote ourselves to save our State from becoming ‘Kala Pani’ (erstwhile name of Andaman and Nicobar islands) where people from other States dread to come and work. Let us lament, ‘I love thee Manipur with all thy faults’ as Poet Wordsworth said, ‘I love thee, England with all thy faults.

Mother’s love, joy and pain

By B. Thohii
For many of those who have watched one of the greatest movies of the time "The passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson, they would surely not miss the melodramatic scene of love and pain that mother Mary has for her son Jesus. A brief scene but having an unfathomable meaning behind it, is the character of mother Mary running frantically to her fallen son with cross on the way to Calvary, and assuredly crying out "I’m here son".
The scene is wonderfully set with a flashback of how the same mother running frantically in dead look to her falling little son Jesus and raising him up with hug and saying "I’m here for you son". The synchronization of the two scenes speaks volume of how in reality too every mother has the same measureless and unchanging love for her child in whatever condition or circumstance.
Mother’s love for her child perhaps remains the same on equal measure even at grow up stage, and she carries vividly in her deep memory all the pranks of her child in childhood days and probably continue to see that in her grown up son and daughter. This is the epitome of genuine love that every mother stores in her heart for her children no matter what they are.
A human individual, a woman, a mother who bears the unborn baby in her womb for nine months and brings forth new individual into the world is the loveliest person to all sons and daughters of the earth. A mother, even before she knew whether her unborn baby in her womb would be a boy or a girl, handsome or ugly, successful or a failure developed a rarest kind of unconditional love right from the moment of her realization of conception of the baby. There is every reason of deep emotional bonding between a mother and her child. Whether in an animal world or human world it is the mother who shows an extra love and care for young ones than the male partner.
The possessive love and protective instinct of mother for her young ones are the same both in human and animal world. Some animal mother’s instinctive love, care and protection for her young ones, for instance, shows the most ferocity in times of attack or danger from enemies. The phenomenon of dimorphism in both animal and human world shows that there is a difference in the manifestation of love and care for young ones between male and female.
This phenomenon, for instance, in animal world it is the female that takes care of her young ones and not the male partner. Save some animals with higher intelligent most male partners rarely share responsibility in the raising or caring of the young ones. Even in the case of human being greater responsibility of child caring rest with mother. However, this does not necessarily means that father care less about his young ones; it is only in the difference of manifestation of overt love, care and affection for young ones due to different role playing. Freud’s theory of Oedipus complex and Electra complex, which studies human psychological emotion propounded that parents of opposite sex have different emotional bonding on their opposite sex children.
The Freudan psychological bonding in the mother-son relation, based on Greek mythology – a tragedy of how a son (Oedipus) killed his own father and marry his own mother, is not of sexual intimation but of genuine emotional love that mother and son share. Opposite to this phenomenon, Electra complex shows father – daughter relation likes that of Oedipus complex. Every son’s perception of a two-man is reflected and guid-ed by the resemblance of his mother’s character. Si-milarly, daughter’s perception of a man is mirrored in the shadow of her father’s character and qualities.
This phenomenon of psychological and emotional bonding between parents of opposite sex to children of opposite sex may be true but the fact is that all children (both boys and girls) have more emotional attachment with mother than with father. Father – son relation gets distance, not necessarily estranged, as the son grows up and developed his own ‘self’ individuality with responsibility, but mother – son relation does not develop in this same manner. In the case of mother - daughter relation it develops into a kind of emotional bonding that does not get distance; it remains close as friends.
The place of a mother in the heart of children is sacred and large, and every child has a Freudan possessiveness of mother. But as the child grows up there are times when the heart of a mother is pierce through with hurts and pains by children in many ways. In a life time every mother experiences a mix of love, joy, hurt and pain as she sees her child gro-ws up in years. A mother experiences love and joy when she sees her child grows up in a way socially accepted.
She, however, experiences hurts and pai-ns when her child grows up in the dark side of life socially unaccepted – the life of drug, crime, immoral and so on. The mother also silently bores all the sufferings and pains in times of sickness and death of her children. Not only this phenomenon beyond human control that pains a mother’s heart but she also suffers pain as she sees her young sons and daughters getting killed in violence caused by local socio-political situation. Many young men and women fell into victim to man-made violence for no faults of theirs. In every conflict zone all mothers’ hearts are tormented by the very thought of the insecurity of the life of their children – many innocence children get killed in the violence unleashed by those who believes in the ideology of the sword.
The heart of mother is broken not only by the certainty of sickness and death but environment created by the sons and daughters of the soil for many others reasons. All these she silently bears in her heart not realize by the sons and daughters. Too little is been done to make her happy perhaps. What then should mother be given while she is alive? The answer is simple enough – love and care in return for all what she has or is giving us unceasingly.
Again, are we the sons and daughters of the soil doing this enou-gh? Yes in heart but perhaps too little in action. A tale of a young and beautiful woman turning into motherhood, bringing forth a cute baby into the world much to her joy, nursing the child to fully grown up son or daughter, and eventually growing old, weak, frail, and abundant to herself by her own son or daughter is not an uncommon case in the world of narcissism. There are occasions of mother becoming an issue in the relation of newly married couple where son is trap-ped between two women’s love – one, who gave him birth, and the other for whom he would sold the world for her love.
This case of conflict is common is some societies particularly in the Hindu society. The mother that gave all her every being for the well being of her child sometime lands up in old aged home to be left forlorn and sad. This sad episode of life of a mother in her sun-setting days is most poig-nant but many unfortunate mothers face this cruelty and ungratefulness. Mother’s Day is popularly celebrated by the Christians but it has a universal appeal and the deeper meaning of the day applies to every sons and daughters of the earth.
For the Christians the day has a symbolic meaning in connection to their faith and symbolic exemplary they tries to follow. The only begotten son of God was born through an earthly mother through divine power. She bore her son in her womb for nine months like any other woman. The classic example that Christians draw is the ideal relationship betw-een Jesus and his mother. The significance, however, is not confine to Christianity alone; it applies to all societies and religions.
Celebrating Mother’s Day should be a reminder that all mothers deserve love, care and affection in reciprocation from their sons and daughters. Wishes, hugs, and presentation to mother on her day is fine and ought to be shown, but the joyous thing that she will perhaps want most and expect from her son and daughter would be growing up to be a disciplined and responsible men and women in the society.
Love, care and affection that ought to be shown to her must be given while she is alive. A bouquets of roses on her coffin, tears in the eyes, breast beating wailing, remorse for not having done enough during while she is alive, and to say sorry to mother would be too late and in vain on her death. Every mother deserves a measureless love in return for the same that she gave to us unconditionally for our wellbeing. This is the duty of every son and daughter to a mother.

Right to Information Act and We - Are we being served?

— Oinam Anand *

One Mr Prasanta of Bishnupur district, Manipur is the man who has got the distinction of being the first man benefited under the Right to Information Act.
Last year, Prasanta appeared in the written test for recruitment to the post of Sub-Inspector and Jamadar in Manipur Police and IRB. He failed in the written test and did not qualified for Viva-voce. On his disbelief of the result of the written examination he applied a formal request to the State Police Information Officer of the Home Department pleading to let him see his answer script and marks allotted in favour of his written answers and know his actual marks secured in the written test. His application was turned down by the authorities concerned. This made Prasanta approach the State Information Commissioner with the grievances.
The Information Commissioner after hearing the case directed the SPIO of the Home Department to make arrangements so that the applicant has the opportunity to see his answer script. This was supposed to be within April 30th, failing which a fine of Rs 250 per day will be paid by the SPIO until the latter fulfils the directives of the commission. On the very next day of the judgement of the State Information Commission, Manipur, the Central Information Commissioner had directed the UPSC that the candidate should be informed about the cut-off mark of civil services (Preliminary) examination.
This directive, the decision of the commission - was also upheld by the Delhi High Court. This episode of Mr Prasanta seeking his Right to Information and the subsequent directives of the authority will serve as an eye opener for the information-starved people of this country in general and more particularly to the people of Manipur, where there is no transparency and accountability in the administration.
The Right to Information Act clearly says that it would be obligatory on civil servants to give or share information sought by a citizen unless it is prejudicial to the interest of the country or results in a breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature. Under this Act any citizen of India has the right to seek information on any matter if it does not breach the security and interest of the country and privileges of the Parliament and State Assemblies. The State has to respond within 30 days of the petition.
The Act has the extent to Central, State Governments, Panchayati Raj institutions, local bodies, NGOs and recipients of Govt grants. While we are trying to get information from the authority in matter of public importance or in matter of personal grievances, one main point we should always bear in our mind is that the information we want from the authorities concerned will almost in all cases be a prickle in the hot sun to the authorities. Most often an information seeker may get excuses for delays. His request may be made to the deaf ears. But, the Right cannot be denied for long. Meaningful information can only be extracted if a person persists despite his patience being stretched to the limit.
Application seeking information from the Government liable to be rejected on very occasion if the request for information is worded as question - apparently the way to get around this is to turn the question format into a statement format. For example, if a citizen wants to know the detailed information about the repairing of road in front of CC Hr Sec School using this RTI Act, then the following differences in seeking information should be noted.
'Why has the road stretch in the portion of Sanjen-thong to CC Hr Sec School been so poorly repaired?' It is not a statement seeking information but it is question. It is to be rejected, instead if the question turns into such a statement like 'I would like to know why the portion of the Road from Sanjenthong to CC Hr Sec School has been so poorly repaired' then the authority concerned is bound to reply.
This Right to Information or Right to Know is a universally accepted tenet. Right to freedom of speech or Right to express is meaningless if it is not accompanied by the Right to secure all informations on matter of public welfare or on matters of public concern from the relevant public authorities. This right to know or Information is an input act while the Right to Speech or expression is an act of output function. So, if a voter gets the information about how to utilise MLA, Local Area Development Fund, then there will be no need for occupying space in the newspapers with words of praise for the Minister or MLA.
We must stop this sycophancy. Instead we must seek the balance sheet from the MLAs and Ministers about the source of fund for the development works, about the income and expenditure and the details of the work undertaken in the constituency and check periodically. This will be a good harvest for this RTI Act. The Right to Information is not free from excuses. Information relating to the security and intelligence agencies of the country are kept out from its purview while making them subject to disclosure in cases of allegation of corruption.
Other exemptions in the matter of giving information can also be set aside on the basis of a public benefit test when the benefit of release of information outweighs the harm that can be caused by disclosure of the same. In the proposed Right to Information bill before it came to an act there was provision for penalty of imprisonment against the erring officials. Amendments in the Bill have done away with the penalty of imprisonment to department proceedings in the event of failure to disclose information.
Again, in the present Act, if an official is found to have violated by not furnishing the information as demanded by a citizen, the official has also got the right to appeal against the petition to a 'third party' to which the official turn to who constitute the third party is not clearly indicated and there is possibility of a collusion between the erring official and 'the third Party' which may thereby delay or be dangerous from the affected citizen's point of view and his ambiguity can defeat the very purpose of this Right to Information Act.

* Oinam Anand writes regularly for The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on May 15th, 2007.

Lily & Frens On Tour at Andhra Prades

Posted by Picasa

Daijang Fotos

Collection of Daijang Village Photos
The Bethlehem of the Zos

Munirka Bawngtal Leh Zogam Bawngtal

T. Thangminlien,
Moral & Relgn. Secy, ZSP Delhi .

Munirka dunga bawngtal khat leh Zogam a um Bawngtal khat koi ahatzaw diei? Tamlah a Bawngte pen ninkholna (Dustbin) leh roti pou a kivah, hampa leh nisa muzoulou ahizieh un aguh atang uh kipzoulou leh dingtang zoulou khop in ahawi len uhi. A eeh uh munteng ah athethang ua, lampi teng asunawhphah uhi. Tuachilou in, Zogam a bawngte pen apute’n zingmawng matah in ahakhie ua, hamdawng hampa hingte ahaina uh atha hatthei mama uhi. A neu zawh vang un tamlah a Bawngte tawh kisutuasah lei kawlphe bangmai ding uhi. Bawngte mabang in mihingte zong, tamna kol roti nete sang in thagum ineizaw uhi. Zou tangval khat galkap physical test dinga avapeina ah Manipur a kipan ahizieh in sappa’n amuong mama a hinanleh Delhi a na umna asawt tai? chi’n sepai sappa’n adong sese hi. Amapa umna asawtpawl ahita a, tuachi dungzui in, 1650 metres race ah ahing lawsam ta hi.

Delhi khopi a I hindan uh ka ngaituo chieng leh physical guoh hilou in huohchimna (mental) langa zong nuoikiehtheina mawng ahi, hagau lam genda photlei. Akineppi huoi ngen kisutuona Delhi apat sepna gieldoh I vang mama uhi. Bangchi ding? I khanmawbaw sudamthei ding ‘zathu’ (as in zatui, zahaa) nih tahlang vai.

1. Tung sunni vanlai geizouta

Zing ihmut dute’n nuom asathei ua, hilezong athoubai te’n thawbai nuom asa zaw uhi. Zingthoubaite alungsim uh achiim a, naa tampi a zouzaw uhi. Innsung hithei deu ichite zong Zingthoubaite ahi tangpi uhi. Tualemah in Zing thouhahte athanawi ua, mawpuohna a zoula ua, miphalana khat anei uhi. Baro, suun nai 1 -2 chivel a thaw ichin laisie, i luvum uah gentheina Buddha bang in atouzing ding hi. Bible in zong ihmut duute genthei ding dan agen hi(Prov. 20:13). Tung suunni vanlai geizouta, eipawl lah mangnop laitah, i roomte uh miel kiehkuoh nalai. Tuunnu Zolei naubang maimai hilou a piching kah a akah thei mawng hilou maw!

2. Sienthouna -

Sienthouna ichi chiengleh tahsa leh lungsim sienthouna ahi. sienthouna ngaisang minam, mite etton hitalei a ut huoi tazen hi. Sangnaupang te’n hinkhuo siengthoutah in mangthei lei i daupei ding hi. Dau/vangphatna kichi sildang hilou in Pasien guolzawlna ahi. Lei leh Van siempa guolzawlna itanthei nading in ama zatat zing kisam hi. ‘Sahkho dan a ki suhbuo’ ( Daniel 1) a utlou zieh un, Daniel leh a lawmte’n Pasian guolzawlna atang ua, agamsung ua pilpen leh panmun hoi neipente ahing hi uhi. Zoseph zong Pasian mai a khelna bawlngam loupa ahizieh in Egypt gam Prime Minister minthangtah hizou hi. I bieh Pasian pen, alungtuohpou lechin ahing guolzawl teitei ding hi. Delhi sangnaupangte zong Daniel leh Zosephte bangding in Pasien in hing guolzawl hen.


Written by Thangkhanlal Sunday, 20 May 2007

I believe it was from the end part of the 1990s that the juggernaut really started. We have just been through a traumatizing ethnic conflict. Many people have been killed, much of our villages have been burnt down or deserted and jhuming cultivation has been off for at least two years. There were plenty of guns lying about, but there is not enough food. Businesses–except, I was told, petrol pumps, LPG and food grains–collapsed in the absence of purchasing power. Private schools, which were the only avenue of employment for the educated, simply could not accommodate all graduates.

So, the cry went out from every father’s lips to his sons and daughters: Go find some job–any job will do. Those who could afford rush off to Delhi or Shillong, took up residence in one-room tenements and started giving examinations for jobs–ranging from civil services to railways to bank clerks. In that situation in which the major preoccupation is on where the next meal will come from, post-graduate studies were considered a waste of precious time, and understandably so. People like Lamkhanpiang Ngaihte, who continued against all odds and finished his Ph.D from JNU last year told me that he simply never went home during the period because he was tired of answering the inevitable question from everyone who supposedly wish him well-‘Have you got a job yet?.’ ‘It was as if I was just whiling my time all along’, he said.

These desperate efforts, evidently, paid off. Today, there is hardly any central government ministry in Delhi where you will not find at least one man or women from Churachandpur working. But, not surprisingly, almost all the employees sitting there were entering service from the clerks’ grade or assistants’ grade level. There are only a handful of people above the under secretary level.

Let me cite the case of Paite people which I know better. In the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats alone, there are more than 10 Paite people working, most of them starting at the assistants’ level. In the Reserve Bank of India, another prestigious service, there are as many as 10 Paite people working, almost all of them at the Group B Officers’ level. It’s an impressive record, of course, if one looks from that particular perspective. I know most of these people and I can testify that they earned their positions with the sweat from their brow. Most of them had settled for their present posts after repeated attempts at the civil services examination.

Now, if I look around, I no longer see anyone amongst the Paites who seriously aspires for IAS–except perhaps one or two. No doubt, no one from the community qualifies in the results just declared and it had been the same last year too. As for those seriously pursuing doctorate-level educations, the fingers on my left hand are enough to count them. And even as I specifically cite a particular tribe here, what obtains in their case may be true for other tribes who were also through the turmoil of 1997-98 and after. The situation is not likely to alter soon with the ubiquitous BPO companies offering ‘offer forms’ on a platter to graduates and undergraduates. These jobs usually have very attractive starting salary and ‘incentives’, but usually have little scope for career progression.

What I am driving at is this. In a situation in which there is acute poverty, the land is sterile and service sector is the only source of livelihood, it is natural and inevitable that we grab any job that landed on our lap. But, this any-job mentality is leading to the wastage of many good talents who could have made it to the top jobs in this country and abroad. As I was talking with a friend last Friday, he mentioned about his friend who is still young, who was topper from high school at home till college here in Delhi, and who is presently holding an LDC post. The man was not satisfied with his job, my friend told me, but once in, he’s finding it tough to get off. There is poverty and there is family pressure to contend with. I know there are many others who are faced with the same dilemma. It’s the stuff mental depressions and substance abuse cases are made of.

And it’s about time we change our set opinions on post-graduate education. It’s now ten years since 1997. The government is making all out efforts to promote this sector, especially for the disadvantaged sections of society. There are scholarships and fellowships aplenty. There is, for the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, Rajiv Gandhi scholarships for M. Phil and above. This was introduced in 2005 and under it, the scholars receive Rs 8000 per month plus Rs 10, 000 contingency fund, extending for five years. Finance support is, thus, no longer a problem it used to be before.

Everybody ought to not just eat well and live for himself alone, but also for others around him. It is a fact that one man in a decision making level position can be more much powerful than a thousand angry men in the street. Yes, the world is changing faster than traffic signals. Adaptability is key word. Much is made about the world becoming flat, degrees becoming redundant and work and fun fusing as one. But the core values we have inherited from those before us–hard work, honesty, perseverance, humility–never change. They will never grow out of fashion.