Dialogue  April - June, 2004 , Volume 5  No. 4



Governance & Development in Nagaland


A. M. Gokhale


From being obscure India-C, the North East of India is now emerging as a powerful entity, with Guwahati as its hub. Though insurgency still rears its ugly head here and there, much of the North-East is now a frequent tourist destination – many of the tourists coming from within the country.

2.  This is leading to the people of the North-East and other parts of the country coming face to face, not as rulers and the ruled or as conqurers and conquered, but as human beings and human beings, both people needing to see others as people, on the human scale, and not as people obsessed and brain washed by ideologues of various kinds.

3.  There is this greater sense of sense of ease and lessening tension which will develop into increased interaction at the political and economic levels, if the governments in the region, the public leaders in charge of these governments, and leaders in the Government of India, settle down into a relationship based on greater and greater degree of mutual and self respect, rather than deteriorate into mutual contempt.

4.  A new beginning has been made in the right direction with a visit to Nagaland by the Prime Minister. His speeches in Kohima and public response to him as Prime Minister and as a person were full of good-will and friendliness.

5.  One of the speeches of the Prime Minster in Kohima spells out some rules of the thumb which would go a long way to help adapt or mould governance to be able to deliver sustainable development to the people of Nagaland and with suitable modifications, same things could happen in other states:-

i)   The speech contains a mild and indirect reminder to political leaders of the State that they represent people and they are not some kind of stooges of the Government of India for facilitating Government of India’s success against insurgency.

ii)  Expenditure of Government funds on development should be based on a plan which is made in full face to face and transparent consultation with people in all walks of life especially people in the villages.

iii) Government of India’s allocation of funds to the State Government should be based on the assumption that the State’s political leadership knows what is good for the people. The attitude of the Government of India’s various formations that only they know what is good for the people must now go once and for all.

iv) There are many achievements of the people of the State – there are many institutions at the level of the people which must always be appreciated and all efforts must be made to enable these time-tested institutions to serve as vehicles of development to enable people to rise from the present frugal economy to modernity, making this transition without major disruptions in the social fabric.

6.  In Nagaland, ordinary life has been subjected to extreme and excruciatingly painful conditions since 1988, largely by the “national workers”, whose activities were driven by peculiar and anachronistic ideology. It was quite difficult for anyone even to see the above four principles, and not to talk of implementing them. However, the years after 2000 have slowly lifted the fog and people have learnt to formally say “no” to the perpetual demands of insurgents. The Prime Minister’s visit could not have been more timely and useful in the context of North East.

7.  Inspite of (may be because of) the times of severe troubles from 1988 to 2000, some important trials had been done to find local knowledge based solutions to peoples’ problems and in terms of constructing management structures and a work culture conducive to these local knowledge based solutions. In the period between 1992 and 2000, so severe was the insurgency and anti-insurgency situation that as many as 4 IPS and IAS officers were assassinated by the insurgents. The impact of these was as desired and visualized by the insurgents – the entire government machinery came to a halt, no one would venture out to rural areas for fear of life.

8.  And therefore, the above “search and find” type of projects could be designed with officers recruited into the team on the basis of voluntariness. Thee search and find approach has revealed why things work and why they do not. I am very happy to say that lessons of the search and find projects have been assimilated into the administrative wherewithal of the State.


 Dialogue A quarterly journal of Astha Bharati

Astha Bharati