Mizoram: The glass ceiling shattered – nomination of Nirupam Chakma as the BJP candidate for the lone parliamentary seat is the result in itself

I believe that the nomination of Nirupam Chakma as the BJP candidate for the lone parliamentary seat of Mizoram is an extremely important milestone in the narrative of Mizoram State. It is a clear message on political plurality in the State which had been restricted to Zo political parties or Zo candidates. It was unthinkable that a Chakma shall be given MP seat by a major national political party. That has been made possible yesterday by the BJP. Considering that major political parties including the BJP refused to give a single seat to the Bru candidates in the last Assembly elections in Mizoram, I hope that the BJP has learnt its lessons quickly.

I usually do not comment on candidatures but since Nirupam Chakma’s nomination goes beyond politics, I thought of commenting. I am sure his nomination is something being debated both in Chakma and Mizo societies.

A very few Chakmas shall question candidature of Nirupam Chakma. It is part of democracy – Nirupam Chakma is, after all, a party candidate.

But don’t be disheartened by questions of those who have a tunnel vision, who are incapable to envision the larger picture and context, do not have the basic intellect to analyse the long term implications or simply, unable to ever rise above the narrow self-interest to address the community interest even if the community interest is always the excuse. Such people exist in every society and every movement – when East Timor held the referendum for independence in 1999, 21.5% of the Timorese “REJECTED” independence from Indonesia. It is not the poor Timorese or those who faced gross human rights violations who questioned the need for independence. It is those who benefitted from the Indonesian State including the socalled intellectual lot who wanted to become part of the larger Indonesia. It is my belief that the percentage of such people among the Chakmas in Mizoram would be every less given that the State government had not created patronage like Indonesia. Mizoram State has only gifted one after another discriminatory law as the demand for the abolition of the CADC remained the common refrain of the political parties in the State.

I am quite sure the nomination of Nirupam Chakma has sent a shock wave among many Zos. Not because he shall necessarily defeat other Zo candidates but the very notion that only Zo community members can be the candidates for the lone MP seat from Mizoram stands shattered. I am also sure those who accept plurality among the Mizos, it is a welcoming change.

My best wishes to Nirupam Chakma as to other candidates of Mizoram. If those who accept plurality have become substantial in number in Mizoram, surely he can win. If he cannot win this time, I am quite certain the precedent has been set. In this age of globalisation, there is no escape from opening up the closed societies – Mizoram cannot be an exception. Mizoram has become more pluralistic than before, and it shall open up more like all post independent and post modern societies. One day even the non-Zo minorities can become the Members of Parliament from Mizoram. If Mr H. T. Sangliana can become an MP from Bangalore, why not a Chakma, Bru or any other community from Mizoram. This is also a lesson BJP must learn with respect to Bru candidates in the future elections – BJP cannot be more “Zo” than the “Zo” political parties.

The struggle to make India and indeed, the world, more pluralistic is an evolutionary process of human civilisation.

Let us celebrate one more significant step towards making Mizoram more pluralistic – Mizoram needs it more than any other State.

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