Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Arms of Comfort ------ A short story

(this is my second short story

http://www.washingtonbanglaradio.com/content/62799211-arms-comfort-nirendra-dev-english-short-story-wbri-online-magazine
(it was used by Washington Bangla Radio)

“The north east of India should no longer be a playground for Indian
army and the self-styled freedom fighters or whatever name they are
known today,” chuckled Capt. Devkant Basu as he hung up the telephone.
The land-line telephone calls have minimized to rarity these days so
much that the receiver carried some dust on it. Dusting off the black
telephone set and the table, he thought it was over 20 years now since
he had left Nagaland. “Jantrikata amader grash korchche (The machines
and the machine age are eating up all our time),” he remembered his
father often saying in chaste Bangla as he was reflecting upon the use
of mobile handsets during last 10 years in his life. The land-line
phone is hardly in use these days.

Captain Dev, as he was known during regiment days had served with The
Hill Rifles, the famous anti-insurgency crack force --- also known as
the friend of the hill people. He had given up the military boots
after a combing operation around Akuluto region – an insurgents
infected pocket in rural Nagaland. The excess committed by his jawans
with the latent support of superiors in the force had left him
disturbed. He knew, he could not continue in the same force yet again.

Despite being the protectors and friends of the frontiers for over 100
years, he was aghast when his unit had to carry out a series of
indiscriminate raids, torturing and intimidating innocent tribals –
including embarrassing women and children. His immediate superiors
supervising the operation and the government both in the state and in
Delhi had given message trying to reinforce that they wanted to allow
Akuluto to bleed to teach the supporters of militancy a lesson!

Capt. Dev had since his voluntary retirement taken up several
movements for the welfare of the forces personnel and the civilians in
states like Manipur, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir. But his social
work is actually easier said than done.

These days, at least Capt. Dev knew, it has become fashionable to
speak about human rights and demand revocation of controversial
legislations like the Armed Forces Special Power Act.
Under AFPSA, many think, states like Nagaland and Manipur, reflect a
violent society and the armed forces only cannibalizing their role.
There are hundreds of human right activists and as many NGOs these
days who make a living by attacking the armed forces and the so called
draconian laws that give them unbridled power.

Capt. Dev had always tried to be reasonable while taking up issues and
always focused on both sides. Consequently, he is thus disliked by
both the camps often -- activists as well as the armed forces.
However, he always thought a microscopic section would admire his
sincerity and objectivity.

He was getting ready for a visit to Nagaland and neighbouring Manipur
in the far off northeast India. The mission will be to enlist on the
spot reports so that the civil society leaders in Delhi can argue and
take up well the demand for revocation of the Armed Forces Special
Power Act. A noted Gandhian from Maharashtra has already announced a
front in the national capital in support of the demand. By August 15,
the Gandhian has also threatened to sit in a week-long dharna, the
sit-in-protest.

The flight was via a brief stopover in Kolkata. As the small Indian
Airlines aircraft was about to land in Dimapur airstrip, in close
proximity to the Hill Rifles Training Centre complex; his memories
flashed about olden days.
He recalled some anecdotes – some friends – some good and a few not so
good ones.

One thing he did not like those days was the double standard of the
local police. Many a times; Hill Rifles jawans of the intelligence
unit would gather volumes of information after working long hours
through days, questioning 100 old local suspects and accomplices in
and around villages but police would hardly reciprocate on those by
arresting members of the banned insurgent group.

The flight to Dimapur was occasionally bumpy due to inclement weather.
The sari-clad visibly aging airhostess served him some snacks and
coffee.

Suddenly he remembered about his friend Ramola Christine, a police
officer with a difference. Unlike many in her department, Christine
was sincere and objective. Despite being a local tribal, she did not
mix her professional duty with her being a Naga. So was Capt. Dev, a
thorough professional.

This mental wavelength had brought them together. They often worked
jointly on a few missions and produced successful results.

They also exchanged books along with notes about movement about some
top underground leaders.

Within days of their acquaintance, Capt. Dev knew that Christine had a
good network of local informers and that often proved vitally helpful
for Capt Dev and his unit.

But he has not heard from her for ages. For first few years, since he
quit Nagaland and the force, they spoke over phone, exchanged
Christmas cards and even once in a blue moon dropped letters. But
slowly all faded.

The Naga insurgency and the missions for military men like Capt Dev to
crack the spinal cord of militancy, the local population’s support,
was like a fertile land --- unexplored in more ways than one!
It was also a murky pond where everyone tried to be fishermen –
fishing out of the troubled waters, as the time-tested saying goes.

Besides being a sincere and also a hard worker who could give up
weekend breaks for “good assignments”, Christine was also a stubborn
sort of lady.

Stubbornness ran deep in her vein, Capt. Dev had told her many times
as Christine would often report to him about fights with her bosses –
men bosses – in a typical patriarchal society of the Nagas.
But Christine was much of an independent mindset who refused to be
slapped into obeisance just because her bosses or the political
masters of the day desired so.

Even years after he left Nagaland, Capt Dev knew Ramola Christine was
not married. She had written her about adopting a small boy, Dadiram,
a Nepali lad – whom she had first hired as a helping hand for her
domestic chores.



The thought about Dadiram made Capt Dev slightly optimistic. At least
he can help him know more about Christine. But he also did not know
much about Dadiram other than his first name and that he was serving
as a police informer. Long years after his secondary-level Class X11 –
education, Dadiram had employed himself as a police informer,
Christine had written to him long back.

Thus, immediately after landing at Dimapur, as he was joined by a
former police officer, Limatoshi – the first thing Capt Dev wanted to
know was about Dadiram. Some how he thought, to hit upon any
discussion all of a sudden about a local woman would not go too well.

Limatoshi was the local representative of Capt Dev’s NGO in Nagaland.
He had planned for a week-long tour of interiors of Nagaland where in
army operations had been carried out recently even as there have been
fierce armed group clashes.

But the talk about Dadiram had left Limatoshi surprised. Personally,
he did not know much about Capt Dev. They had interacted twice during
seminars and conferences in Delhi. Limatoshi had offered to carry the
NGO’s flag in Nagaland and was easily accommodated as regional
coordinator.

Limatoshi had heard about Dadiram as a police informer but did not
have any information off hand. He requested Capt Dev for sometime and
promised to get back to the hotel room with some information by
evening.

In his hotel room, Capt Dev dragged out his survey papers from the
suitcase, gave them a quick glance and ran through the list of
questionnaire quickly.
He also glanced through local news papers and did some stray surfing
over his laptop on the internet.

By evening Limatoshi came along into his room with a lanky young man.

He is Dadiram, you were looking for, said Limatoshi thinking he has
able to please Capt Dev.

The young man was still giving a curious look at Capt Dev. “I am just
an informer Sir …… I don’t know these guys much,” he seemed to cry
fearing the stranger but a well-built officer like man could be an
intelligence sleuth and could apprehend him.

“Calm down” – ordered Capt Dev and then he turned towards Limatoshi
and thanked him profusely for doing a quick job.

To his utter surprise, Capt Dev glanced towards Dadiram yet again and
strangely felt the spark of connections with Christine. Nothing is
permanent except transition, he read somewhere and that’s the life.
Minutes before he was sad, clueless on how to find his lost friend
Christine, but the sight of Dadiram gave him hopes.

He was unmindful and even clueless to an extent about what was going
on in the minds of Dadiram and even Limatoshi.


To squeeze out some moments of privacy with Dadiram, Capt Dev than
handed over his survey related papers to Limatoshi and also a dairy.
“Please study these papers carefully; we have to start some interviews
by tomorrow morning itself. I want you to be well versed with our
project,” he told Limatoshi.

Within minutes, Capt Dev was alone in the room with Dadiram even as
the latter was extremely baffled and looked clueless.

Capt Dev looked healthier and obviously better-fed and more happy than
Dadiram though the Captain knew he had nothing much to cheer about in
personal life. Dadiram was apparently in one of his best outfits – a
neatly ironed pair of jeans and a brown open-necked shirt. But his
shoes were dusty and the material a bad substitute for leather.
Informers, as everywhere, must not be paid well, Capt Dev thought for
a while.
From his vast experience, he knew that life for most police and
military informers was often dreadful and how they still discharged
their duties and generally remained law abiding.


“So Dadiram….,” Capt Dev threw up his right hand to shake hands with him.

“Yes sir,” he said rather sheepishly shaking the hands with the shy of
a timid man still not sure of himself.

“Kab sey yeh kar rahe ho (Since when you are providing information to
police)? asked Capt Dev.

“Quite a few years now sir,” he chuckled.

“What about Ramola Christine? Where’s she?” the question came a
shocker for Dadiram. He was virtually sweating, more in surprise than
fear – thought Capt Dev.

He repeated the question again.
The reply had left Capt Dev shell-shocked.

It is for last 6 years, Christine is in jail convicted of indiscipline
while in uniform and also a co-accused in murder of two senior police
officers.

“How could she do it ….,” he screamed.

“You are right sir…. She has been framed,” asserted Dadiram, a more
confident man now as if for long he has been wanting for someone who
too would believe that Ramola Christine was innocent and say it
openly.

Dadiram then said he could arrange a meeting for Capt Dev with
Christine. She would like it; he said adding that Christine has not
met many friends for long.
“I have heard a lot about you from her,” Dadiram said before leaving
the room and promising to arrange the meeting at the earliest.

The next morning Capt Dev woke up to rural fresh air, cocks crowing
and birds chirping. He loved the birds in these hills. These flying
creatures elucidate life’s desire for freedom – eternal freedom.
Suddenly the thought about last night’s meeting with Dadiram made him
happy. He remembered the reason of the meeting and felt the excitement
about his possible meeting with Christine.
Guided by Dadiram, Capt Dev walked towards the designated place in the
prison where he could meet Christine.
It was a small room with few wooden benches and roughly maintained
tables. A tiny counter was cut out signifying that it was probably a
canteen for the lower ranking prison staff. The green paint on the
walls was peeling.




Christine was sitting in one corner with a naked bulb in the cob web
hanging overhead. The atmosphere was dark, enough to give a vibration
of depression.

“Do you recognize me?” Capt Dev asked modestly.

Christine gave a vague smile, trying to brave through the
circumstances she was today.
The contrast was palpable. Capt Dev pictured the past days - her
powerful breasts above a firm abdomen. All that beauty is lost
somewhere. But she still drew Capt Dev’s attention, he presumed.

“I did not know all these …. Not that I could have helped much. But
may be I could have tried,” he said trying to give her a few words of
assurance that all is still not lost.

Christine gave a blank look and slowly extended her hand towards Capt
Dev’s right palm resting casually on the table. She wanted to say
something but a pal of gloom had already descended in the room. Her
eyes were doing all the talking but the lips were shut and dried. No
tears rolled by and rather Capt Dev for a while thought his own eyes
were more moist than her.

But then without his knowing, Capt Dev pulled back his hand. The
gesture did not miss Christine’s eyes. She knew her friend was
hesitant to even touch her. After all, she is a prisoner behind the
bars.

The thick air seemed to have blown over.

A lot has changed everywhere. Human life is run more by practical
considerations than the emotions. Emotions are only lived momentarily.
A few years means a lot of time space. Each year – 365 days and a few
366.

“You must go back to Delhi…,” she said. “You are also grown old and
have a responsible life”.
Capt Dev wanted to say something. Christine waved her shivering hand
preventing him from doing so. “I always longed for some arms of
comfort Captain but you do not live by wishes alone”.

Her natural aggression and stubbornness, something Capt Dev knew well,
surged and she set focused on her goal to go back to her cell. She
gazed out towards the prison main gate as if she was directing the
Captain to conduct a ‘quick march’ outside the prison walls.

(ends)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Pawns ---- A Short story

By : Nirendra Dev

The Operation ‘Freedom from Terror’ seems to have taken a decisive turn. The US-led coalition forces are set for victory following the fall of Taliban. Half-a-dozen daily newspapers lay tossed aside. It appeared a lazy morning --- the time piece moved at a lingering pace. The war has meant different things to different people.
“We were opposed to American unilateralism. The US hegemony is now knocking at our doors,” screamed a communist leader in New Delhi’s famous Ajoy Bhavan even as his fellow comrades appeared reconciled to the ensuing electoral debacle in hitherto red-bastion, the state of West Bengal.

Vidyasagar was preparing to go for a walk along the beach at Mumbai’s famous Chowpaaty. Unknowingly the riot of sights and smell left him aghast momentarily. Yet, he thought that was the place he could go around. Chowpaaty in Mumbai, one-time ‘Bambai’, is the best place for a loner to feel that he is not alone!

The rise and fall of sea-waves, the mingling crowds, the resourcefulness of a faceless Mumbaikar all combine together to make a rainbow coalition. Vidyasagar was unsure, as he reflected walking towards the water, dirty water, on why he was recalled from Kabul. He had thought of a little longer innings at Afghan capital particularly after the successful battle.

The US-led forces were rejoicing the moment. The Taliban has been crushed! This was unthinkable. “But we did,” said the NATO force commander.

New Delhi had played a crucial role in the decade long struggle, especially at the fag end, the decisive period of any war. The political leadership wore a ‘smug grin’, as newspapers reported and the government of the day could show a thumb to its detractors.

“The Indian government, after years of playing the Muslim appeasement card, took a decision and stuck to help the US-led forces fight terrorism. It has been crushed,” said the Prime Minister in his national televised message. For long, his government was at the receiving end of a smear campaign for being corrupt and Hindu fundamentalist; now all seemed to have silenced.
Politics always enchanted Vidyasagar.

He was in Kabul and few sensitive Afghanistan pockets like Kandahar as part of a cover up operation for the intelligence agencies. It was a tough assignment.

The Chowpaaty resembled a sprawling fun-fair; except, as he knew, that it is on 365 days a year. Nothing seemed to have changed at Chowpaaty.

The dirty stinking water seemed too familiar. “We know each other too well,” the waves seemed telling him.

He used to come to this place about five years back; when as part of another cover up operation he was deputed to work as a freelance journalist in Mumbai.


Even as he was lost in the thought of the past, the constantly shifting crowd were unmindful of his presence. The crowd here does not allow anyone to settle down. Vidyasagar thinks of making way back to his apartment. He finds a place to sit on the sand for a while --- as the chai-wala and other hawkers pass by. He does not intend to pick up anything. Chowpaaty snacks, as he recalled, were big hit once. They still might be.

Rosalin Upke used to be his permanent companion to these places. But today, he was not sure of her whereabouts. As she gone back to Konkan belt, her native place; or still around in the city?

The loneliness of the fading afternoon cast a gloomy mood over him. On a similar afternoon, a few years back, Rosalin had suggested Vidyasagar, “I wonder why you are not proposing me for the marriage”.

“Even without that, you are more with me,” he had replied – probably concealing from her that his job while allowed him to befriend a daughter of a senior civil servant, but there was a ‘ban’ for marital relationship.

“You cultivate sources ….. not relatives,” one of his bosses used to say.

Vidyasagar’s reply did not amuse Rosalin. She knew the guy is avoiding the main issue.


But it was getting late! “Doctor has already given the date ….. I cannot hide all these any longer,” she meekly told him.

A stunned silence filled the atmosphere as they were at a loss – unable to measure for the first time what lay ahead.

A number of permutations and combinations went whirling through his mind. Right from his first meeting with Rosalin, Vidyasagar knew, he was drawn to her. She too liked him. But then, why the hesitation?

Thinking about the past is no panacea to all problems. “Please have something sir,” a teenaged or even less by one year or so hawker insisted.

Vidyasagar was somewhat annoyed. Rosalin had vanished from his thought and the dirty sea water again threw in fowl smell. Just then his mobile rang!

He had to attend to the caller. The young hawker boy just could not fit in his thoughts!


‘THE COMPULSION TO BE RIGHT IS THE ENEMY OF CREATIVITY’, he saw a best seller book on sales. The title attracted him. Who bothers about the author and the content, he thought for a while and picked up the book.

My life has been a tale of lost opportunities, he again told himself walking back to his apartment.

In the night, he went out for dinner; Mumbai ishtyle!

He ordered for ‘pao bhaaji’, something he relished always. Only the Mumbaikar knows the virtues of pao-bhaaji. As he licked his fingers – he thought this was his private space in the midst of thousands of others - moving around in the city of ‘functioning anarchy’.

He walked back to his room. It seemed cooler. That’s again the strangeness of Mumbai; the evenings get cooler and often pleasant.



He should not be alone tonight, Vidyasagar thought; after all Mumbai allows all that liberty. Long back, he knew that things can be arranged at half-an-hour notice.

“Well, I will try this out,” he told himself.

Vidyasagar was in a specific lane – being directed by a pimp. “Saheb, don’t forget my cut?”, the fellow said virtually dancing on his toes directing Vidyasagar to a particular floor.

When was the last time, he tried something like this? Well, a few months back in Kabul. The young Afghani damsel was pretty, modest and energetic.

“In Mumbai, girls can also sing,” the pimp chuckled yet again. Vidyasagar knew all that.

But the sudden downpour almost spoiled his night. The girl he was going to meet, had already left her flat ‘on hire’. “Don’t worry sahib, I can take you to a better stuff,” the pimp literally prayed.

Vidyasagar was annoyed. Somewhat superstitious. It’s a jinxed night. He thought of coming back to his room.

But he allowed the physical interest to prevail over the dictates of his mind. He agreed to the pimp’s suggestion and walked towards another by-lane.
There are certain times in life when every place gets surrounded by a radiance of romance, he thought.

"Hope I am not making a mistake …,” surprisingly an empty feeling inside the stomach made Vidyasagar feel slightly ill he crawled upstairs.

At last he walked in a cabin and was ready for the awkward meeting.

What arrested Vidyasagar’s attention was the bunch of fresh smelling red roses arranged carefully in a cheap vase. The Mumbai’s famous Gajra – of white jasmine lay around virtually inviting the desired lover in him.

Vidyasagar stared at the girl, gave a good glance and appreciated her figure. He has done these exercises many times in life.


Life seemed to have taken an u-turn and he found himself facing some moments that were gone. Rosalin Upke used to greet him with such red roses in her rented apartment. Rosalin, he always thought was his first love.

But he had ditched her due to the call of the duty. Since then he has spent many nights with one-night stranger-friend --- more of a temporary bed partner.

He had turned more stone-hearted! Literally. At least this was the phrase she used for him in her last letter.

But slowly all his thoughts seemed getting lost in a harsh environment. The ambience in the small room charged up his blood and body as he felt attracted towards his gorgeous hostess. The chiffon saree was beautifully placed over her body but betraying her deep naval even as long slender arms and neck were all bare – inviting him.

The night passed on pleasantly. Just then there was a buzz in his mobile. He jumped up from the bed. It was still a misty morning 4.45 by his watch. The girl had also woken up and taking a puff at the cigarette.
“You are a gentleman,” she remarked giving him a character certificate.
“But not everyone thinks like you….,” he said.
“Why Saheb, your wife does not like you. Or she cannot satisfy you,” the damsel quizzed.
“What you have to do with all that?” he shot back.

She remained silence as if she wanted to protest for his remarks in his silence. Vidyasagar dressed up and made a call to his caller. There were few important instructions from his superiors.

Slowly the morning was dawning over Mumbai. He got ready to move out before it’s too late. Normally, he avoids making his habits of these night stays a public knowledge. His job required him to be more careful.


“You are hurrying up for your office sahib? You know, my sister Rosalin was betrayed by a gentleman like you. She thought he would marry her. But he fled, said his des-seva job and bosses would not allow him to marry?”

The remarks left Vidyasagar stunned.
He wanted to ask some questions but his voice had gone into silence.

Vidyasagar knew he was getting nervous just as those suspects arrested and put into questioning before intelligence sleuths. Still he braved through his momentary hesitation and asked her, “where is your sister now?”

“She is rotting, what else,” Vidyasagar’s one-night hostess remarked.

That put Vidyasagar into a more dilemma.
The thought of Rosalin Upke almost veiled his eyes with tears. He never imagined that one day he would be put into such a quandary.

He again asked, “rotting …. Where?”.
The lady did not reply. Vidyasagar was getting shattered more. Why is she not speaking up and telling Vidyasagar that her sister Rosalin is not Rosalin Upke he knew.

He glanced at the red roses on the table. They seemed to have lost the fragrance as well as the romantic aura of last night. Where is Rosalin Upke, he wondered yet again.

The time passed by and Vidyasagar thought it was high time for him to move out of this place.

Suddenly there was some spring in his feet and he walked away trying not to look back; not even to take a glance at his last night partner’s face. Was he scared?
What if she resembled Rosalin Upke?
So he has slept with both the sisters? Is it being decent?

Only a few hours back, the girl in the special cabin gave him a sort of character certificate – gentleman!
Do gentlemen behave like this?


In the night, he recalled his physical desire was so dominant that he properly did not care even to take a closer look at his partner’s face.
Her physique arrested his attention so much that he got lost in that, penetrating himself to the most.
The smell of her sweat threw away an aroma of unknown happiness.
He had massaged her body and stimulated erogenous zones and she kissed him, allowing him to penetrate he had growled in pleasure.

Just then there was a call from his superior; ordering him to try to zero in a young damsel who could be utilized for a large operation in Thane district, in the outskirts of Mumbai. “Well, I could have one soon sir…..,” he replied remembering his meeting with the previous night’s companion.
Life must go on; he thought and more so for pawns and even a patriot! like him!!
In the game of chess, he knew, once the game is over, the pawns and the queen go into the same box.

(ends)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Expulsion of Khaplang from NSCN(K) - A Turning Point

In a major and unprecedented development, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-Khaplang faction) last night passed unanimous resolution in an emergency meeting and removed their supremo S S Khaplang as the chairman and also expelled him.

The decision was taken after a marathon meeting of the national hoho (national assembly) of the outfit at Khehoi camp near Dimapur in Nagaland where all key militant leaders and armed functionaries including Khaplang’s longtime associates like self-styled General Khole Konyak and Kitovi Zhimomi attended.
The main charges against Khaplang are “dictatorial and remote controlled type of administration”, his decision to remove ‘General Konyak’ as the chief of armed wing of his group and his non-committal approach towards Naga reconciliation.
“Khaplang allegedly not only hampered efforts to bring peace and reconciliation in Naga homeland but also remained non-committal on all the burning issues owing to his self-exiled nature of existence for more than ten years,” intelligence sources said attributing the remarks to a statement from the outfit after the emergency meeting.
The disgruntled NSCN (Khaplang) functionaries have since elected ‘Gen. Khole Konyak’ as the acting chairman. The Khole Konyak cap was not happy with Khaplang’s constant refusal to permit “participation of the group” formally in the reconciliation meetings with other militant groups like NSCN (Isak-Muivah) since September 18th, 2010.
Contrary to the wishes of a formidable section of NSCN(K) functionaries, Khaplang, according to intelligence sources, Khaplang had also refused to meet NSCN (IM) leaders Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu earlier this year when the two leaders visited Nagaland.
The government of India and the intelligence agencies are keeping close eyes on the development as the episode smacks largely of ethnic feuds.
The impeachment and expulsion of Khaplang would essentially mean that the potent militant group NSCN will have now three factions - one headed by Swu and Muivah, another headed by ‘expelled’ Khaplang and the third to be led by Khole Konyak and his associates like Kitovi Zhimomi in the NSCN (K).
The split in NSCN (K) has alerted the security agencies as all such splits in guerilla groups in the northeast is always followed by intense tribal feuds. S S Khaplang, who is originally a Hemi Naga from Myanmar is not a suave operator and prefers to stay ‘underground’ and function from hideouts, holds considerable support among tribes in Mon, Tuensang and Kiphrie regions in Nagaland and also parts of Arunachal Pradesh. He is at present reportedly operating from his camp in Pangmi jungles of Myanmar.
Khaplang had originally distanced himself from Phizo’s Naga movement and was heading a fledgling Eastern Naga Hill Revolutionary Council fighting both Myanmar and Indian army.
He was dragged to ‘Naga movement’ in 1975 after Phizo-led NNC had split. Khaplang along with Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah formed NSCN but the NSCN split in 1988 after bloody clash between the loyalists of Swu and Muivah and Khaplang where in over 300 cadres of different tribes were reportedly killed.
At one point of time in 1990s, NSCN (Khaplang) was alleged to have established strong nexus with former chief minister S C Jamir especially for ‘financial support’ in its warfare against Muivah and Swu’s group. The charge has been, however, denied by Mr Jamir vehemently.

Khaplang's enunciation in Naga movement vis-a-vis Indian government and groups' rivalry only after Shillong Accord of 1975. The bitterness in NNC reached a crescendo, when Muivah and Swu declared that they would not accept any settlement “short of total independence”. Soon the split started surfacing among the lower level functionaries and cadres. Some group clashes were reported providing first signs of major crack in Naga underground and also in the Naga society. Even Phizo was not spared. The indisputable icon of Naga movement was for the first time being pushed to the wall.
I have referred about these in my book 'The Talking Guns: North East India'. "This was the time when Government of India’s sagacious role was put to test. But believing the age-old governance theory, which was popularised during British rule – the Divide and Rule, the officials worked overtime to further DIVIDE the Nagas “to weaken their movement”.
On their part, the pro-Phizo camp was surprised but did not wish to give in before the new upheaval. Fearing some unprecedented actions from the rebels Muivah and Isak Swu, the pro-Phizo group first struck and in a bloodless coup led by “Brigadier” Khule and “Brigadier” Subong Noksyu “arrested” Muivah and Swu in September 1978."

However, with the Nagas involved in internecine killing themselves and New Delhi either oblivious of the developments or were “enjoying” the split, it was for China to “plant and push” a Burmese ethnic Naga Shang Nu Shangwang Khaplang, then coordinator of Eastern Naga Hill Revolutionary Council, to fish out of the troubled water.
Khaplang, otherwise not known as a suave and astute functionary, succeeded in working out reconciliation and “set free” Muivah and Swu in July 1979.

In later years, late flamboyant former Chief Minister Vamuzo had charged Jamir with “maintaining links with NSCN (K) and also assisting it in its warfare against NSCN (IM)”. In fact, there also came a court case that funds from state lottery was pumped into the Khaplang camp at the behest of Jamir.

Jamir has, however, in no uncertain terms denied the charge vehemently including within the state assembly during much repeated debates on the vexed question of politico-underground nexus. Once he told me in an interview for ‘The Nagaland Times’ (Dimapur) and ‘Eastern Panorama (Shillong)’ “I am the most harassed Naga politician …..I have never met Khaplang”.

(ends)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bad season for Congress, fear of Ramdev haunts it

It is a bad season for Congress.
At last, Ramdev has put the party into edgy.
Now, barely few hours left before Yoga Guru Ramdev
sits on his fast after his prolonged two rounds of talks with the
union government on the black money issue failed, the Congress leaders
were looking for cover even as all-season vocal leader Digvijaya Singh spoke out openly against the Yoga Guru.
"Right from putting up the pandal to organise the meetings, everywhere
there is RSS," he told reporters even as the two union ministers Mr
Kapil Sibal and Mr Subodh Kant Sahai were engaged in closed door
meeting with the Baba for over four hours.
The Congress is apprehensive apparently that such an agitation on an
emotive issue like corruption could cost Congress in UP elections
due next year and also against the UPA government as various
corruption issues had already embarrassed Dr Manmohan Singh regime.
"If you want to teach yoga, I have no problem, but if you want to do
politics, then join the fray,” Mr Singh virtually threw a challenge.
Mr Singh alleged that Ramdev has been collecting money even from
corrupt people.
It was Mr Singh, who earlier protested against four union ministers
meeting with Ramdev in the airport, had yesterday dubbed Ramdev of
being "more of a businessman than a Sanyasi".
In a television interview in the evening, Mr Singh also claimed that
he had evidences against Ramdev’s collection of funds and will come
out with all that “when the time comes”.
He denied there was “no divergent” of views in the Congress on the
Ramdev although he remains only Congress leader who is speaking
against Ramdev.
Mr Singh also linked former BJP leader Mr K N Govindacharya appealing
to the Ramdev for launching a cruade against corruption.

Earlier in the day, even at scheduled press briefing contrary to the
aggressive stance taken by the party on the government deputing four
ministers to placate Ramdev to call off his proposed agitation, the
Congress spokesperson Mr Abhishek Singhvi declined to make any comment
on the negotiations between the government and Baba Ramdev.

"The government is talking to Baba Ramdev. There is no need for the
Congress to react. It is a process of negotiations between the
negotiators on both sides," Mr Singhvi said.

The party had said on Wednesday that neither the party nor the
Congress president Ms Sonia Gandhi was not kept in the loop about the
decision by the government on its decision to send its key four
ministers to the airport to receive Baba Ramdev.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had written a letter to Baba Ramdev a few
days ago urging him not to go ahead with his fast and assured him that
the government was serious to tackle corruption and was taking all
possible steps in this direction.
Mr Digvijaya Singh, however, maintained that as a sensitive
government, the ministers had their own reasons to go to the airport
and talk to Ramdev on his proposed protest fast.

(ends)