ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Study of the Kuki Zale’n-gam

Nationalism, Ideology and Consensual Democracy

Since its inception, the Kuki National Organization's objective was the creation of a state, Zale'n-gam, in India and Myanmar. The KNO advocated a liberal democratic political system. However, in the course of the movement, the KNO evidently departs from this ideology. From 2013 it advocates what it calls "consensual democracy" as a new political ideology. These contours of Kuki nationalism, the KNO's political ideology and the changing political landscape post-2013 are analysed here.

The formation of the Kuki National Organization (KNO), a “powerful ethnic militant organisation” representing ethnic Kuki people living in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar (or Burma), had a bearing on the development of Kuki nationalism. Historically, Kuki people who waged war against British imperialism were divided by them into three nations – India, Bangladesh and Burma – converting them into an ethnic minority. This led the Kukis to demand for their pre-British status. Before the advent of the British, the Kukis were politically sovereign. The demand for recognition of this fact by the governments of India and Myanmar is the first constitutional objective of the KNO (Haokip 2010: 379). But decades ago, the Kuki National Assembly and later the Kuki Zonal Chiefs’ Council submitted historic proposals for a “Kuki state” to the then Government of India in 19601 and 1970,2 respectively.

An Overview of Nationalism

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