Naga youth aim for role in peace deal

Naga youth aim for role in peace deal

Kaka Lotha, 21, is busy preparing for her Monday morning classes at Patkai Christian College, where she studies History major.

Like any other aspiring young Naga, Kaka, who stays in a hostel in Dimapur, wants to do well in life and serve the Naga society. 

And she believes the Naga peace deal can only succeed when the younger generation’s opinion is counted, a sentiments that now echoes across Nagaland.

“I feel like there should have been a series of round-table talks with youngsters. Naga political groups should try to have peace among themselves before they go to the Centre. Since we are only silent spectators, it appears more like a one sided-affair with the NSCN(IM) participation. Young people like me don't even know what the accord is about. Ironically, the prime minister claimed the issue was resolved. Does New Delhi and the NSCN(IM) even know the issues in Nagaland and its younger generation have changed over time? We want to get involved as stakeholders to chart a roadmap, but who is listening to youngsters in Nagaland?” said Kaka while hurrying to class.

For her, a key issue is terrible roads and the poor public transport system.  “My house is in Senjum Lotha village in the Dimapur district, and yet I live in a private hostel in Dimapur town and study in a private college, as I cannot commute every day from home due to bad roads. Parents spend their life-savings to get their children educated in private colleges in Dimapur,” said Kaka.

With no medical College and hardly any reputed technical college in Nagaland, hundreds of Nagas go to cities like New Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune for higher education. Most do not return.

“This is causing a huge brain drain. Peace talks have given a picture to the outside world that Nagaland is terrorist-infested. That’s a thing of past, Now every young Naga is educated, hooked on to social media, and into entrepreneurship. Both the Central and state governments, however, have been attributing the lack of development to the peace talks and insurgency,” said Oijen Jamir, a young postgraduate who runs a civil service coaching centre in the heart of Dimapur.

“The guitar, not the gun, rules the mind of young Nagaland. We have huge human resource potential. The problem is there is a lot of misconception about Nagaland's insurgency and conflict in the rest of the country,” said Betoka Swu, 32, a young Naga
musician.
 

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