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(Speech delivered by Niketu Iralu on Nov. 7 in the inauguration of Naga Archives & Research Centre, Dimapur, Nagaland)

C Rajagopalachari was the first Indian to be Governor General of India. He was the last Governor General of India as after him the title was discontinued.  Rajaji, as he was usually called, visited Shillong in I think 1948 soon after India’s independence. Representatives of various tribes and communities from all over Assam came to meet him. Before he met the people lined up outside the Raj Bhavan, an official announced that each delegation was allowed only a few minutes to say a few words. Pfürhitsü Terhüja and AZ Phizo had come to represent the Nagas. Pfürhitsü stood erect and looked straight, displaying the striking colours of his tribe. His right hand held a shining spear thrust into the ground at an angle. His words to Rajaji, the respected “warrior from the South,” clarifying the Naga political position, were strong and clear. After listening to his first authoritative sentences Rajaji turned to Phizo who was translating him, and asked, “Who is he?” Before Phizo could reply, Pfürhitsü looked at the VVIP and declared with deliberate firmness, “I am a man!” His English came from his years as a DB of the British DC in Kohima. Well trained in handling such situations the Naga spokesman continued with increased vigour. His allotted time was over and the official on duty said so and tried to stop him. Rajaji turned to the official and said “Why are you disturbing? I want to hear what this man has to say”.  Pfürhitsü was able to say what he had come to say taking the time he required.

About two years ago I gave a talk in Guwahati at the Vivekananda Institute of Culture of the Ramakrishna Mission. I was asked to speak on the Nagas, their history and their culture. The audience was made up of Assamese, Bengalis, Marwaris, Punjabis, and others. They were men and women who were doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, professors, writers, journalists, government servants, and so on.  I narrated what Pfürhitsü had said to Rajaji in Shillong over 50 years earlier and said the heroic struggle of the Nagas represented our people’s attempt to tell India and the world that we understood ourselves to be a people and a nation as justified by the facts of our history and the sacrifice we had made to defend our identity. And our defense of what we believe to be important for ourselves does not mean we are against India or any other nations in any way because we regard ourselves as an honourable neighbour with a history that deserves to be respected, though we may be very small in size and number.  

At the end of the talk the distinguished Assamese physician who had chaired the function said to me, “That story of the Naga leader saying ‘I am a Man’ to Rajaji has touched me”. He said it made clear the reason for the Naga struggle and the human crisis it has produced. The understanding and goodwill he showed touched me and gave me hope. The memory of that occasion has never left me.

What we are doing here today is very important for us. In establishing Archives to preserve collected documents on what has happened in our recent history, we are affirming to ourselves that our aspirations and beliefs and our struggle for them are important to us. Aspirations and dreams felt and understood in human hearts, minds and souls set human beings apart from all living beings and define our unique common identity we call humanity.

But mankind today is threatened by the chaos and destruction produced by the clash of aspirations of different peoples, nations, cultures and civilizations. 

It is natural and important for our proper growth in all dimensions of life that we too, like others, aspire and dream and struggle to consolidate our identity as we have done. We regard this inaugural function today as a humble but serious attempt to pass on “a legacy of hope” from the meager progress made thus far to the coming generations.

It represents our assessment of ourselves, and our determination to learn to go forward with others as we should. Yet we are keenly conscious that Nagas are just at the start of their journey in a world where others far larger, much more experienced, than them are shaping the course of events. I am saying this to say we consider the coming of our two closest neighbours, our distinguished guests from Assam and Manipur, to be with us on this occasion as a highly valued gesture of friendship and goodwill. You have accumulated so much more than us from your wider, longer encounters with others in the world from which we need to learn for our own future growth.

Now coming to paying tribute to our people, I start by expressing my sincerest appreciation to Rev Dr VK Nuh for his pioneering initiative in getting this Archives established today. It is a priceless contribution to our society.

Conscious as I am of our serious shortcomings and of the consequences of our mistakes and wrongs we have done to ourselves and to others over the years of our crisis, I do believe the pioneers of the Naga struggle did the right thing in launching their struggle. I do believe also that by taking their stand to desperately defend their identity based on the facts of their history, the Nagas have achieved something, they have covered some distance, namely, that they are a people and a nation. To limit the status of nationality only to those who have become members of the elite club of the UN is a conceptual construct made by a few old nations in a hurry. Membership of this Club is not the final word on the stories of peoples and nations. The world and mankind are going to discover possibilities for societies and communities to live together than what have prevailed thus far.

So I pay my humble but deeply felt tribute to our people for the tenacity and courage they have shown thus far to assert what they believed was true, right and honourable for themselves. They launched out without counting the cost because they could not know what it was going to be from their limited exposure to the wider world.

What I want to emphasize is that we urgently need to know ourselves correctly without fear or pretense. If compared to others we have discovered we have completed only up to Upper Primary School level, we do not need to waste our time and resources and damage ourselves by regretting we are not able to do what others who are University graduates are capable of doing and achieving! We need to discover what we have achieved and know that we are not more than what we really are. But we need to rejoice and find confidence in the fact that we are not less than what we are. The Nagas of today should be humble, compassionate towards one another, realistic, responsible, and intelligent enough and build on the foundation your grandfathers and pioneers have achieved and passed on to you.        

Feeling for one’s own identity and defending it, at the same time accepting joint responsibility by all to help one another to learn to live together in mutual trust and goodwill is now the toughest challenge for all mankind. For that way alone we will be able to grow safely together on this planet earth, our common shrinking, threatened sanctuary.

I want to end with Cardinal John Henry Newman’s well-known observation:

“To live is to grow. To grow is to change. To grow fully is to change often”.

This surely is the clear unquestionable roadmap we have to understand and accept for the challenging years ahead.



By Reena Nongmaithem

Imphal, Nov. 15: The Historic Langthabal Palace which was listed under Manipur Ancient &  Historical Monument And Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1976 and Rules 1979 by the Government of Manipur on 9 September 1981 does not seem like a protected area, instead it has become a vast dumping ground.
The whole Imphal city is on full swing in preparation for Sangai Festival which is scheduled to begin from Nov. 21, with the luxurious decorations, rejuvenating of Kangla Pat (Lake), constructing Sanjen Thong (Bridge), and arranging whatever the State can do to attract as much foreign and domestic tourist as they can. Very unluckily this reporter today witnessed the Memorial site of Maharaj Ghambhir Singh at Langthabal situated at Manipur University campus seems to be completely neglected by concern department and authorities.
The site which was once to be the Royal Palace during the reign of Maharaj Gambhir Singh, the then Maharaja (King) of Manipur and which was announced as Maharaj Gambhir Singh Complex some years back by the Government of Manipur is now covered with full of disposed garbage which was left over by some uncivilized picnickers inside the complex.
The Memorial House (Meetei Yumjao) symbolising shrine of the king has not been well maintained as no repairing has taken place. The condition of the wooden made sustainable bridge built over the Chandranadi River, the only entrance to the site is in danger to cross as the wooden bridge may break anytime.
The complex which supposed to be well maintained having high potential to draw tourists has now filled with bushes.
It may be mentioned that many a times the issue of continuous negligence of the historic Langthabal Palace by State Government and concern Department had been raised by certain organizations. But still no sign of effective protection of the site remains as mere a dream.

Sunday, 15 November 2015 17:04

Battle royale to be fought in Imphal

Iboyaima Laithangbam

Imphal Nov. 15: By any standard the two by-elections in Imphal are politically insignificant and the tail will never wag the dog. What happens in a tiny state like Manipur is of no political importance to the country. However the battle royale will be fought on November 21. The political significance gathers national importance since it will be the den fining moment on the entry of the BJP in the state politics and sounding the death knell for the Congress which has been dominating Manipur with almost politicians being hamstrung by the powerful chief minister for the last 14 years or so. The leaders of the two national parties which will have a straight neck and neck fight are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters. The lone candidate who is on a fishing expedition in both the constituencies is regarded as a mere stalking horse and he cannot be the tipping point. The only main issue in these by-elections is the territorial integrity of Manipur and both the parties are trying to convince the voters that while the opponent is out to disintegrate Manipur their party has been championing the cause of the territorial integrity. But then happenings which had threatened to affect Manipur’s ancient territory are too recent to be forgotten by the people. The national happenings have little impact in the NE region and it remains to be seen whether the Bihar debacle will adversely affect the by-elections. As Gaikhangam said that as the mountains are very high the Modi froth cannot make a landfall. He must accept the fact that at the same time the Bihar happenings cannot have an immediate impact now in Manipur. Though millions of rupees, liquor and other items were seized in Bihar there was no report of distributing Rs 5000 each to the voters shortly before the castings of votes. The news reports in the local media on this shame at Hiyanglam have not been contradicted. Since the stakes high this time there may be windfalls for most of the voters. But then politics has been a big business in Manipur. A candidate buys vote and when he becomes the minister he will demand something for the services to be rendered. The national political leaders will eye the two constituencies since the outcome will be the political barometer.

Sunday, 15 November 2015 17:03

General Strike Called

IT News
Imphal, Nov 15: General strike of 48 hours starting from the morning 5am of November 16 till the morning 5am of November 17 has been called by Joint Action Committee against the brutal killing of Md Hasmad Ali @ Oja Babu of Keirao Makting Awang.
JAC took the decision during a public meeting held at Keirao Makting Youth Club today morning as the state government as failed to fulfilled their demands to nab the culprit responsible in killing Md Hasmad Ali @ Oja Babu despite the memorandum which they have submitted to CM, CYCM and SP Imphal East on November 3, 2015. JAC urged for support from different civil societies of the state, organizations, clubs and meira paibis.

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