- CATACLYSMIC TEXT -
By: Dr. Naorem Sanajaoba *
India in the post-UN epoch has achieved substantially in the process of human rights standard-setting and benchmarking, in as much as it set a couple of national human rights institutions and the apex judiciary has proven itself to be human rights friendly.
It is inevitable that in this age of transparent governance, the cataclysmic failures are also fairly addressed to by the author, particularly in the province of group and collective rights including peasant rights, women rights, right to development, and also the jus cogens- the right of the people to self –determination in after acquired Non-Self-Governing –Territories[ AA NSGT} like the North- Eastern States [NES].
The half-a century old state repression could not bring durable peace and hence, democratic mechanisms like Plebiscites could be suggested in resolving unaddressed national questions in the NES. The discourse could be transformed from a monologue to a rational democratic dialogue.
Globalization has brought the sovereign states economically closer to each other, while the political devolution of imperial states into building block nation states remains as the ongoing process and the MNCs attempt to capture as much space as they could from the sovereign jurisdictions.
Human rights standard setting and benchmarking had preceded the globalization era and the cold war confrontations. The world has achieved tangible human rights perceptions and consciousness thereby censuring rogue states and failed states, while sparing the soft states for their eventual self-corrections. India which is neither a rogue state like the USA, nor one among the crowd of failed third world states passes through a rigorous test in advancing the post-modernist structuralism on the one hand , and also in holding into seize incompatible pluralistic historical legacies, particularly in the AANSGT.
Consequentially, collective national rights and human rights of the citizens in AANSGT like the states of Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and the other North Eastern states at the far east of the mainland India have been subjected to military repression for more than half a century after the British imperialists abandoned the occupied territories.
State violence and reciprocal non-state violence provide the cataclysmic text and the cycle of violence that pre-empt peaceful resolutions of deep national contradictions through either UN or international community- sponsored dialogues on the one hand or, by way of holding plebiscites of the people in the region for suitable choice of their own international political and economic status, as it has been invariably conduced across the continents.
The plural state that India has been, had passed through the partition phobia of the 1947 vintage at the loss of a million lives in the most barbaric Hindu-Muslim bi-ethnic mobilization, has to undergo the nation building test with a loss of thousands of Sikh lives in 1984 in just three days and another thousand Muslim lives in 2002 Gujarat strife. Kashmiris claim that they lost several thousands of Kashmiri lives due to Indian military repression against the freedom fighters otherwise labeled as terrorists by the Indian administration.
Similarly, the north- eastern states that came to the Indian fold not so long ago in the mid-20th century make more or less similar pathetic claims as a result of state repression. East Pakistan the present Bangladesh had witnessed in 1971 another loss of a couple of million lives during the liberation war; Indian army played the decisive battle in the partition of Pakistan.
Indian sub-continent obviously presents a clear testimony of sustained group violence or, armed conflicts between the state and the NSAs [Non State Actors] or the national liberation movements on a grand scale. Peasants’ rights are not fully addressed to as Indian peasants commit suicides time and again. The glorified iniquitous globalization also marches upon the corpses of the Indian peasants and the debate goes on.
Besides the restive Kashmir state and seven NES, communist revolutionaries [ Communist Party Maoists – naxalites], unlike the official communist revisionist parties which prop up the Congress government from falling down because of want of numbers, contest the state administration in as many as thirteen additional states- as reported by the home ministry – while trying to liberate the Indian poor from capitalist exploitation and imperialist globalization. The encounters occupy the social space with the state torture machine geared up to meet the economic revolutionaries.
The Indian state simply finds its state repression counterproductive and faces clash of economies rather than what the American perceives of clash of civilizations in the non-Christian world. Unlike the USA which as the self=proclaimed human rights world leader, evades the binding obligations of the ICESCR [International Covenant on Economic , and Social Cultural Rights], 1966, India which is a party to the ICESCR has binding international obligations towards the economic rights of the poor and the underprivileged . The professedly natural alliance that binds both India and the USA can hardly explain the their parallel and , divergent commitment towards economic obligations to the people.
Ethnic pluralism, multiple historical legacies and late territorial acquisitions characterise Indian human biomass and multinational entity.Indian state does not take cognizance of existence of indigenous population groups as such in the context of the international peoples’ declarations and profound contemporary concern of the indigenous issues. By default, the scheduled castes and tribes could be conceived as indigenous surrogates. The ethnic fissures and embedded racism create ethnic subductions and tremors that could lead to local or widespread cataclysm among the population groups.
Gender equality is undoubtedly a luxurious slogan of the power elites and the miniscule intellectuals, notwithstanding the failure of both the civil society and the state to wipe out gender inequality and religiously glorified male chauvinism. India comprises two nations- India of the vast poor people and India of the few rich people. The gender divide or subjugation, subjugation of the national minorities render the official nationhood shaky.
The Indian Muslims who constitute nearly ten percent of entire population fail to get barely two percent of membership of the national defense forces, possibly due to a deep- rooted mistrust of national minorities for one invented reason or another. The racial divide deeply runs in between the mainland India and the 40 million strong people of the NES. Inspite of the utopian official propaganda, apartheid divides the NES people from the mainland dominant people. Mainland India routinely ridicules the NES people of the AANSGT as Chinkis[ Chinese particularly after the defeat of India in Indo-Chinese war in 1962]The racial divide is very very natural.
The sporadic and intermittent populations or ethnic cataclysms that occur in mainland India is overshadowed by the half a century- old engagement between the state forces and the national liberation guerrillas of the NSAs. The parties involved in the state repression as well as the counter violence let loose by the NSAs have not reached out at or even outsourced a fair, just and durable political solution and the political crisis remain as festering wounds.
* Dr. Naorem Sanajaoba is a Professor and Dean of Law Faculty at the Gauhati University, Asom. The author is a human rights defender and a social activist in the NE region of India for more than 4 (four) decades and is a reknown author of several internationally distributed books on Human Rights, humanitarian laws, among others. The author can be contacted at naorem06(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in . This article was first webcasted on September 20th, 2007.