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By : Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd)
A great deal of time have been spent in the print media for the past several years desperately addressing the core Naga Political issues that concerns our immediate lives, the lives of our present children and most importantly, the lives of our grandchildren and the great grandchildren that will surely follow long after we are all dead and gone, whose lives will be measured by the legacy we leave behind for them today. This is the ultimate call of duty to honestly search our Christian hearts and find an honourable solution that upholds the dignity and identity of all Nagas as free people. It is imperative that the decisions we take must be based on true Christian humility and equality that emphatically transcends all personal ego considerations … because what we do today will irrevocably define who we really are for all times.
It is only in times of death of people we love that we are seriously reminded of the transient nature of life.  It momentarily registers in our minds the utter meaninglessness of amassing wealth beyond our basic needs, security and comfort zones… because each one of us, without exception, are fated to depart from planet earth at the appointed day of Our Lord the way we came…empty handed. No matter how much power, riches or self esteem we may like to credit ourselves with in our lifetime, our little footprint on earth will eventually be wiped out by the sands of time and forgotten. I repeat…No matter who we are…no matter how many AK 47’s we wield… we will all still die empty handed as God decreed. Was this not the case for our respected Late Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman, NSCN (IM)? Will it not equally be relevant for Ino. Th. Muivah, our General Secretary NSCN (IM)? Yes, as mere mortals, the desire to go down in history as the ‘Father of the Nation’ is extremely tempting without doubt but is it worth destroying the sanity of peaceful future of the generation to come…just trying to satisfy our present individual lust for a reputation we cannot take where we are going? Would this really matter after we are dead and gone?!
The elementary principle of forgiving others and expecting forgiveness in return is certainly a fine Christian gesture. It is however the ‘historical principle’ that NSCN (IM) keeps doggedly harping about and expecting all other Factions to come on board their bandwagon is the area that causes severe indigestion…so let us try and address this subject objectively.
Despite varied customs and traditions, the one common ancestral trait that stands out significantly amongst the Tribes, is our predominant traditional sense of honour. It is within these confines of honour that the Nagas and the NSCN (IM) need to evaluate this ‘historical principle’ more sensitively. Firstly, that same ‘political principle and political history’ germinated within the minds of our uneducated Nagas of Nagaland who cherished freedom dearly. Secondly, from a factual standpoint, when Nagas of Nagaland were mercilessly being subjected to inconceivable, inhuman treatment devoid of any human dignity at the hand of our enemy with their fate hanging in a balance, there were other brothers beyond our boundary watching it happen right before their very eyes and yet had no political consciousness or inclination to join the fray in response to the desperate cry for help to them by the Nagas of Nagaland. At that desperate time of 1962, Nagas of Nagaland could only boast of a handful of graduates in the Naga National Movement (NNM) whereas our Southern brothers, more specifically our Tangkhul Brothers, had 264 graduates at that very point of history… as confirmed by no less a leading personality as Late Scato Swu, the President of the Federal Government of Nagaland… but our Tangkhul brothers declined to lend a helping hand as if this was someone else’s war! This is not an anti-Tangkhul sentiment being expresses. This is a recorded history being shared! Captain Vighoto Swu, with his small band of patriotic Naga Army, was sent as a special envoy to create awareness and plead to our Tangkhul brothers to join the Naga National Movement (NNM). Not only were they unprepared to join the NNM but their indifferent response was to do nothing when their Tangkhul CIDs informed the Indian Army of the whereabouts of Capt. Vighoto’s boys. As a result Capt. Vighoto lost a couple of his comrades (Tukukha and namesake Vighoto) shot by the Indian Army and his Sergeant Nikhaje arrested at Chingai forest. The 52 Villages of East Tangkhul area in between Kuchangpong Village and Senakathel Village were fully aware of the desperate plight of this ‘special envoy’ team struggling in their jungles without food but were collectively afraid to help them…and did not help them. Capt. Vighoto’s troop suffered starvation for 14 days (May 5 to May 19, 1962) in the Eastern Tangkhul jungles before being able to somehow crawl back home, having dismally failed in their mission.
Dispassionately being evaluated…would such treachery be traditionally considered worthy of brotherhood within the mainstream tribal community … no matter which tribe they may belong?  Would not our traditional honour demand condemnation of such behaviour devoid of courage and ostracise them from any Tribal responsibility?! Customarily speaking therefore, our Tangkhul ‘Brothers’ would traditionally be duty bound to render an official apology to the Nagas of Nagaland for their past apathetic indiscretion to restore their honour first to begin with, let alone being tolerated for their domineering takeover of the NNM and negotiating our destiny without letting us know what is being hatched on our behalf! This can seriously be construed as the highest traditional insult no Tribe with honour would be prepared to swallow! Yet this is the greatest quality of the Nagas of Nagaland. The bottom-line is this: the Nagas of Nagaland have exercised matured wisdom by not taking our Southern brothers to task on this issue. Instead the Nagas of Nagaland acknowledges that the times have changed from brawn to brain and also credits our Tangkhul brothers in the NSCN (IM) for being better disposed to carry out mental exercise of a complex negotiation with the GoI as compared to the present brains of Nagas of Nagaland within their fold. Our Southern Brothers must believe that the fair-minded Nagas do not grudge them this ground reality and in fact wish them all the best of luck for all our sakes. The only thing that any right thinking Nagas of Nagaland would find it difficult to agree and vehemently oppose is to have our fate decided without our knowledge or consent. In the absence of Late Chairman Isak Chishi Swu, the sensitive tribal equation hangs in an imbalance ever so glaringly for all to see. The Indians have always looked down on the Nagas as secondary human beings unworthy of real consultation as history would testify. Our Tangkhul brothers must fight this same temptation of undermining the Nagas of Nagaland by giving lectures for hours and then claim it as a ‘consultation’ and an ‘endorsement’ to suit whatever designs they have. No real honest consultation has been had concerning our present Naga political logjam to date and their guarded secrecy is not helping to clear this air of suspicion. A high profile Tangkhul member of NSCN (IM) had the audacity to tell me that he felt that the general illiterate population of the Nagas of Nagaland will not understand the complex nature of the ongoing negotiation with the GoI and therefore the secrecy! I was wondering whether he knew that there was also a literate section of equally concerned Naga population who just might understand what is going on? Our intelligence is not equal to their? Was that what he was implying?! Anyway let’s move on….
It is at critical time in history such as the present, that our ‘political principles’ must broadly be put on the table for honest review…not with the intention of demeaning one another but to reduce the level of arrogance with a more mutual reconciliatory attitude in dealing with each other with due humility and respect as equals. Candidly put…the top heavy Tangkhuls presence in the NSCN (IM), armed with AK47, are now unabashedly riding a horse that historically belongs to the Nagas of Nagaland that they refused to ride before 1964 Cease Fire. The Nagas of Nagaland are still feeding this horse despite the hardships of unreasonable multiple taxation being extorted…just so as not to lose our common identity as free people. Historically, NNC/FGN was our only original democratic Political Institution that the people identified with…not Mao Zedong’s communism. That NNC self-destructed with Shillong Accord (SA) 1975 is a common knowledge. That NSCN came to being to keep the Naga National flag flying may also be considered a reasonable argument except for the fact that sincere efforts were not seen sufficiently to retain a united democratic house by taking a challenging but right option of impeaching Mr. A.Z.Phizo (AZP) and Naga Parliament officially condemning the SA 1975 even if AZP did not, rather than start a self-perpetuating new Faction so casually with alien philosophy. AZP was not above the law…however worshipped he may have been at that time. The GoI knows for sure that SA 1975 is a redundant document that the Nagas spit upon. So instead of defining SA 1975 as a defilement of a ‘political principle’ and using it as an excuse for disunity, collectively condemn it in no uncertain terms even now and forge a unity under it or by any other name if NNC is not considered as a common acceptable political platform. The unforgiving attitude of magnifying the human error of others while losing sight of our own is a hypocrisy Nagas desperately need to overcome. Meanwhile, no Faction with a modicum of traditional pride will want to join the bandwagon under the present terms. At his age, Mr. Muivah must surely understand that time is no longer a luxury. It is important for him to also believe that the Nagas are not all that unmindful or ungrateful to underwrite all the life sacrifice he has sincerely made in having reached the present status of negotiation. A united house of all Factions will surely continue to acknowledge him as first amongst equals. The masses would stand behind him and ensure such an outcome if right steps are taken towards unity…and together even if a chicken is brought home at the end of the day…Nagas will still rejoice with him and truly celebrate “Nagaland for Christ”.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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