Crusading for God in Ourselves or Against the Devil in Others?

Naga dancers in traditional attire, perform a dance during the Hornbill festival at Kisama village on the outskirts of Kohima, Nagaland, India on Monday, December 2, 2013. The 10-day long festival named after the Hornbill bird is one of the biggest festivals of India’s northeast that showcases the rich tradition and cultural heritage of the indigenous Nagas. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
The ugly events during the Christmas – New Year season just ended have shaken us because the society we have created together has revealed its raw capacity to destroy us. We are discovering that the priorities and agendas guiding our society are too selfish. The result is our responses to the unavoidable challenges coming to us are too inadequate, even destructive.The questionable values with which we have built our lives have produced “incredible shallowness of thought and intolerable mischief of action”. Our thoughtlessness has to change. Is this not the new Naga struggle?

We are deeply disturbed because we know we cannot continue any longer at the dangerouslevel of blaming, provoking revenge and counter revenge that we have become so used to. Why should we needlessly commit joint suicide? With thesequestions in mind I have greatly appreciated two courageous expressions of honest convictions published in Morung Express on January4. They must not be misinterpreted,as we tend to do, but understood so that we build on them. They give hope.

The first one is what Y. Wangtin Naga has shared in his survey of what has happened to the Naga struggle for their aspirations. His though-provoking insights and observations on the creation of the State of Nagaland, the Shillong Accord, the emergence of the NSCN –IM & K, Naga Hoho and so on, deserve proper discussion and understanding. Wangtin is agonised by his apprehension that Nagas are on the path once more “to commit another political suicide ‘’.

What is meant by honourable and acceptable solution? In response to this fundamental question Wangtin declares his conviction that the time has come when we must rise above the competing egos and competing agendas that have rendered the struggle impossible to pursue and destructive to itself, andwisely thrash out together what would be right and best for the Naga family through constructive dialogue. This is what the people expect from responsible leaders.

Many are likely to disagree with his view that what happened to NSCN–K in Mokokchung in 2002 that displaced hundreds of its was “highest crime ever committed by civilians against its own national government” and the recent upheaval in Zünheboto against NSCN –IM “where Naga publics took law into their hands and gone against the Naga national workers” was also unfortunate and “and beyond comprehension”. Given the provocation in both cases his criticism of the “enough is enough” reaction from the exasperated public will not find many takers. But he is deeply worried the Nagas will ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’, as the old saying puts it, if we do not care for the consequences of our actions.

What the costly struggle has indeed achieved is the baby! We must evaluate it and understand it properly. Thank God and one another for it by fairly acknowledging the sacrifices all tribes and individuals have made for it. Then the present and coming generations will understand the precious gift passed on to them and they can be trusted to build on it.

Foreseeing “the Naga national spirit for nationhood” withering and drying day by day Wangtin asks “Who is to be blamed for our situation inviting humiliating and condemnation? And who among us will stone the Samaria woman for her adultery when none of us is sinless? Shall we be blamed?” He then asserts “I want our Naga national leaders to be far sighted and overpower selfishness, arrogance and self-pride“.Calling for acceptance of responsibility by all Nagas Wangtin states, “The Naga national workers have committed immeasurable crimes against our fellow Nagas, for which all Naga political groups should apology to the Naga publics. At the same time, the Naga publics should realise that they have gone too far against the nation for few erring cadres. We cannot bury our past glory and its unmarked history. The Naga national movement was not against either India or any other countries”.

His wide ranging worriesdrive him to the central conviction that “the remedial will be found only when we come together and reason together”. This opening must be recognized and pursued.

2. The second one is:“Speaking the truth but with love” by Rock Naga Lungleng in The Naga Blog.

Raising his voice in support of the apology Principal Dr. Tuisem Shishak had expressed a few years back “to all the Nagas from Nagaland for all the crimes and injustice committed by the Tangkhul IMs…..standing in the gap to bring forgiveness and reconciliation between the Nagas of Nagaland and Tangkhuls”, Rock expresses his own apology as a Tangkhul for “reconciliation and unity among Nagas”. He adds his belief that 2014 will be “A year for rebuilding our nation".
Many Tangkhuls may disagree with his statement, or the way he has put it. But his simple, courageous obedience to a clear discernment in his heart and conscience is the action of a daring pioneer treading a path all Naga tribes must learn to walk where we are ready to be the change we want to see in the world thus inspiring others to do the same.

English writer Aldous Huxley’s observation never fails to illuminate and show the way in crisis situations: “Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, do not succeed in making the world better. It is exceedingly dangerous to be more against the devil than for God”.

I believe what the two Naga brothers from two extremities of our loved but troubled homeland have shared are examples of crusading for God in oneself.

It comes down to this – I know I or my side are not the only ones who are wrong or have made mistakes. But what God or simple wisdom is telling me is to leave others to deal with their devilish wrongs and deeds. My greatest responsibility is to truthfully identify specifically the places where I know I or my side are wrong and we are not happy because of them. And simply do as God tells us byadmitting the wrong, saying sorry, asking for forgiveness and making restitution for the harm done or hurts caused. These are the 4 boosters for the reconciliation rocket to get launched and stay afloat to take us where we should go.

The sailors of the ship in dire danger of sinking in the raging storm came to Jonahand asked what they were to do because he had told them he was a running away from God’s task entrusted to Him. Jonah, an honourable fugitive, straightaway told them, “Throw me into the storm for I am the cause of this storm”. They did and the ship with all on board and the goods were saved. We know Jonah’s extraordinary adventure that followed!

Jonah did not waste time doing all the things that would have simply created more problems. He crusaded for God in himself and let Him and His plan win. God took care of the rest.