India is an interesting case. India’s mainstream media rarely talks about India’s development stories or India becoming a better place to live and breathe. Instead, every news channel keeps shouting about electoral politics, politicians and their hatred for each other. But, let’s keep all that mess aside. Let’s talk about change. A positive change, bought by the common citizens of this country and which is hardly noticed by the people.
So, here is such a story from a remote Indian state of Nagaland. It is a story of change from chaos and uncertainty to Peace and stability. There are many unsung heroes of this story. But they were never talked about. Unfortunately, not many of us have even heard of ” Janjati Vikas Samiti”, -an organisation which is architect of this change. This RSS affiliate is working relentlessly in India’s North – East, without any greed for money or fame….But just for the utmost dedication to the cause of the nation.
Although Nagaland is an inalienable part of the republic of India, citizens of mainland India don’t care much about it. The state makes headlines only in its election period. The state is not easily accesible. To worsen their case, Nagas don’t look like Indians either. They have completely different facial looks. They often face discrimination in metro cities of India- mostly by the elite citizens.
Nagaland was just a land of local inhabitants – who used to live in forests and follow their customs, traditions and celebrate festivals – no business with the outside world. But this peace could not last forever: especially after the British conquest. British conquest was obviously followed by their religion. Missionaries entered the area. Churches were built. People were converted.
Even after the British departure from India, religion did not vanish- neither did the missionaries. Interestingly, consecutive congress governments never tried to intervene in the church malpractices – instead, they silently supported church. Obviously, the next job assigned to church was to bring massive instability to the region.
It is an easy task to infiltrate fear in minds of minorities- Especially, in a country where a single religion prevails. Church used the minority card to further their own agenda. India, with its stable borders and peaceful states would have easily progressed, which would have resulted as a challenge to the white supremacy and a nightmare for the west. Church was at its full pace during the 1980s and 1990s. Church indirectly formed and supported many militant groups. Militants, on their part, never missed an opportunity to destabilise the region. “Indian dogs go back” was a common line on the walls of towns and villages.
But RSS can never get caught napping on issues of national security and sovereignty. Many volunteers of RSS gradually entered the state – with the aim to bring Nagas into the mainstream of Indian nationalism, imbibe national values in them and most importantly, to bring back the stability and peace to the region.
These volunteers had a mission, they had a national cause. This was never an easy task. Terrorists outfits were after their lives. Even the name of RSS used to trigger many christians of the state. Volunteers of the “Samiti” faced brutal attacks many times. But RSS never left the ground. They built schools, hostels and many other basic facilities for the state. They convinced the locals to get their children enrolled in these schools. They faced every problem but never gave up. After efforts of almost two decades, a new Naga generation was there, with a sentiment of national thought and patriotism. Nagas were assured of their identity, beliefs and customs. RSS never tried to “Saffronise” the state. Instead, they added splendor to local customs. This behaviour of RSS increased locals’ support to them. Even today, if you visit the state you will find swayamsevaks having chats with Nagamese as if they are a part of the families. This was not a sudden change. This change resulted from countless efforts of several unidentified sevaks of this country.
Today, Nagaland has changed a lot. It is almost free from militant activities and instability. Peaceful democratic elections are conducted every five years. Tourists and businessmen from mainland India can tour and trade in the state. But this peace is not free of cost. The credit of this peace and progress of the state; or atleast a small stake of it goes to RSS’ Janjati Vikas Samiti.
We, as a nation should salute their bravery and nationalism!
-Prasad S. Joshi