Glory to the ones who look forward
- Eastern Nagas marching towards 'light'

Dr. Aniruddha Babar *

Glory to those who look forward!
Our path starts from the present
To the bright future!
Our path starts from the present
To the coming years!
The path of Heroes is a difficult one...
I trust that we’ll walk together!
Over an unsteady forest path,
Over a ringing moon path
Over a burning path to the light!

The Nagaland State assembly Election 2023 has been successfully concluded. We have seen constructive and positive changes in this period. People of the state of Nagaland awoken to their legal and constitutional rights as citizens of India. The spirit of One Man, One Vote, One Value seems to have successfully reached to the masses.

People fiercely fought against illegal practice of ‘Consensus Candidate’ In the context of Eastern Nagaland, of the twenty members in Eastern Nagaland in the previous House only four could return, this as I understand from ground reports, was not primarily due to strong anti-incumbency factor alone. The verdict offers an evidence which shows that the people from Eastern region were not happy with the manner their twenty legislators and ministers had defined/delineated ENPO call for poll boycott.

The stand of ENLU (Eastern Nagaland Legislator’s Union) was critically debated in the social, political circles of Eastern Nagaland the conclusion of which finally became visible in the Election result. Witnessing the defeat of sixteen Eastern MLAs and also the Ministers, it may be appropriate to believe that the power which people of the Eastern Nagaland hold in their hands heavily influenced Nagaland State Assembly Election, 2023 came to the notice of entire nation.

The formation of “Frontier Naga Territory” will not just be a matter of happiness but also a grave, practical responsibility for all the stakeholders. FNT has been projected as an answer to the failed policies of the Government of Nagaland, now since the dawn of ‘justice’ for Eastern people is about to be arrived, the time has come for all of us to prepare for it. Let us not forget that the entire movement For Frontier Nagaland was for ‘restoration of constitutional rights’ of the Eastern Naga people.

The Eastern region which has continuously remained backward in terms of educational facilities, medical facilities, infrastructure facilities (including roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, electrical grids, telecommunication, public transportations) and other areas, now looking forward towards the new constitutional arrangement of “Frontier Naga Territory” to create new future.

The role of Eastern Naga people and their leaders will be crucial in the new territory. The mistakes/omissions that have happened in the state of Nagaland should not be repeated in the new region. The primary focus should be on the best governance and best governing practices. The major task before the upcoming leadership would be implementation of various government policies and development projects and set a best example in terms of governance. In short, something that never happened in the state of Nagaland, should happen in Frontier Naga Territory.

It is important to remind ourselves that life of the nation is a greater than life of a Man. Everything that we do today not only will impact the dynamics of present but also echo in future. Actions have life, they are alive. Man cannot escape from his deeds, his Karma. The Frontier Nagaland Movement have built strong narratives of hopes and new future. People in the Eastern Nagaland are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to change their own life with their own hands in the safe, progressive, liberal, modern system and constitutional governance that Frontier Naga Territory will have.

As I have always maintained, our Naga people have been condemned to live in the system where governance has been shattered to pieces, where government jobs are considered ropeways and highways from rags to riches through the tunnels of corruption, where citizens were never taught about their rights in the constitution, where public discourse on governance, government & governmentality was never encouraged,

where Eastern Nagaland region kept as ‘backyard’- away from the whatever little mainstream growth of state of Nagaland, where proxy government teachers and proxy government employees have been recruited and those recruiting them minting illegal money, where government properties are disappearing due to encroachment from private individuals,

where nobody understands ‘LAND ACQUISTION FOR PUBLIC PURPOSE’ but everybody illogically believes in ‘My land, My wish’, where Police and Policing has been made handicapped due to ‘archaic’ interpretations of customs/traditions in the events of criminal incidents/delinquencies, where incidents of rape-molestation-assault-theft are seen to have been dealt with by customary laws; violating the legal rights of people,

where Village Councils and Village Leaders influences elections and ‘dictate’ people as to whom to vote and whom not to vote,

where common people are visibly oppressed by ‘evil nexus’ between powerful tribal political leaders/families-tribal business leaders/families & Village Council, where ‘Common Naga’ has completely lost himself in the tug-of-war for political power and money,

where women are socially empowered but politically fettered. This is the current situation of Nagaland and Naga society where darkness continued to fetch and perpetuates the darkness.

The self-constructed plight through which our state of Nagaland has been going through must be kept in mind by the builders and stakeholders of FRONTIER NAGA TERRITORY. We have to make sure that the Frontier Naga Territory would set an example of the best governance in the northeast region as well as the entire nation. Eastern Naga leaders should prove their vision, potential and abilities.

Establishing the Rule of Law should be first priority of FNT. Fractured Governance of the state of Nagaland has set an epic example as to how not to govern the state, the leaders and the stakeholders of upcoming Frontier Naga Territory should take a lesson and lead the FNT mindfully in the spirit of universal values enshrined in the Constitution of India. Mistakes and Omissions will have no space and scope in the governance of FNT.

New Delhi and the entire nation will have great expectations and high hopes from upcoming Frontier Naga Territory, therefore, it can safely be presumed that the entire leadership, governance, administration and all the stakeholders will remained under the watchful eyes of New Delhi and the nation.

Had the founding fathers of the state of Nagaland inculcated constitutional values, social discipline, political maturity, cosmopolitan vision and progressive outlook in the society, Nagaland would have been an altogether different state, rather it would have become one of the most developed, advanced and the richest states in India.

Sometimes I wonder as to what exactly might have happened to the “Political Will” of successive Chief Ministers that ruled the state of Nagaland from time to time. When our neighboring state ASSAM has been growing at the lightning speed, then why should Nagaland lag behind? Despite all the odds, challenges, barriers and complexities Assam has progressed a lot.

Nagaland should take a lesson or two from Sikkim and Goa too and learn to develop some strong revenue engines. Days of dependency on New Delhi are gone. Self-respected, forward looking, modern day Naga never want himself and his state to be dependent. We are living in days of checks and balances as well as accountability. New Delhi and the people of the nation have been carefully watching everything that is happening in Nagaland along with their Naga brethren.

Eastern Naga people have no faith left in Kohima because of political lethargy and systematic apathy exhibited towards them over sixty years which resulted into dragging entire eastern Nagaland in political, social and economic ghetto. Currently Eastern Nagas are inching towards achieving their own “Frontier Naga Territory”. I hope, Kohima will take a lesson and gear up itself for facing the new reality and the new world.

The world is changing, India is changing, Frontier Naga Territory is rising, is Kohima willing to change? Nagas wants to know.

* Dr. Aniruddha Babar wrote this article for
The writer is at Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Nagaland
The writer can be contacted at aniruddha(AT)tetsocollege(DOT)org
This article was webcasted on 10 April 2023.

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