Naga-Assam (Ahom) boundary
Naga and Ahoms had a good relationship be-fore the British occupied the whole area. Naga lived on a freeland even before coming of the Ahoms, since Ahoms invaded this fertile land of Brahmaputra Valley under the leadership of King Sukapa who ruled in Ahoms Kingdom i.e. 1228 – 1260 AD.
While Koches invaded Ahom Capital in 1563 many Ahoms took shelter on Naga Hills mainly in the areas of Ao’s, Phom and Konyak. In such a contest of supremacy over the Ahoms, Kings; Princes and officers are said to have approached the Nagas of those area and even recruited them into Ahoms regiment. It was very unfortunate that most of the Ahoms rulers were hunted by rivalries both from within and outside. They often took refuge in the Naga Hills and saved them. Mention may be also made of Prince Godapani who wandered in Naga hills while hiding himself from Laluk Burphukan a claimant to the Ahom throne. Nagas sympathized with Prince Gidapani, gave shelter and offered every form of assistance.
He stayed for some time in a few Ao Villages then proceeded to Phom area and Konyak area and then he married a Konyak girl named “Watlong” daughter of Thawang, later on Godapani ascended to Ahom throne in 1681 A.D and assumed the Ahom name, “Godadhar Singha. As a token of gratitude for the unflinching support and assistance rendered by the Nagas, including the Ao’s, the King not only offered valuable presents, but also plot of land called khills and fishing right over the waters known as “Bheels” on the understanding that they would desist from making predatory raids into the plains. These land were called ”Naga Khats” and were managed by the Assamese Agents known as “Naga Kotakis” whose duty was to communicate between Ahoms and the Nagas.
The Ao’s derived considerable benefit from their good relation with the Ahoms because by honouring it they enjoyed the privilege of the ownership of then Duars (means gates).
The Duara were open in three places :-
1. Dupdur Duar
2. Sharingia or Assiringa Duar.
3. Hatigaria Duar.
There were others Duars in the North, i.e. Namsangya Duars for Koyanks Nagas, and the South Doyanga Duars of the Lotha Nagas. Each Duars were held by Naga Kotakis, and jointly held by group of Naga Villages. Taxes were paid partly to Naga Kotakis and partly to Nagas. The Duars was open in the place of Naga Khats which was offered by the Ahom King.
During the Burmese invasion of Assam, (Burmese known to Ahoms as Mahn) The Ao Nagas, true to their tradition stood solidly by the side of the Ahoms. The reign of terror let loose in Assam by the combined forces of the Burmese and Singphos. Their ravages, plundering, wanton killing of the Ahoms were beyond human tolerance, so Ahoms rushed to Naga hills. The Ao Villegers were alarmed and alerted to fight the common foe, while batches of warrior were sent to the plain it is said that warrior from Aonokpu village and Lirnen village fought with the Singpho marauders in the plain. Thousands of Ahoms took shelter in the lower ranges in Ao areas for safety. They were spread up to Ao villages in the upper ranges. Their stay can be proved by different monuments and places.
Gadadhar Singh died in February 1696. During his time one important development was the construction of Dhodar Ali, which runs from of Nowgong to Sibsagar.
According to the book, “North Eastern Frontier of India by Alexander Mackenzie, Page 98, para 3, “The rapid extension of Tea cultivation along this Frontier gave rise to considerable correspondence between 1869 and 1873. The limit of Lakhimpur and Sibsagar to the south was above noticed, the old frontier roads were called the Dhodar Alee, and Ladoigarh road. This frontier line is called inner line. “The Tea planters had long since in many places, both in Lakimpur and Sibsagar taken up by lands south of revenue line, in some instance panging revenue to us, and in others i.e. Naga Chief Page -99 Para (l) run thus :- “Under the provision of the inner line regulation already described, such a boundary was accordingly laid down, compensation being paid to the Nagas for the area occupied by those Tea garden which lay beyond the inner line”.
“The Kotakis were instructed on behalf of the Nagas to look after these Naga- Khats reserved for the Nagas in the plain, the Kotokes were to maintain a channel of communication between Ahom Kings and the Naga Chief”. North Eastern affairs” page – 26.
It is well understood that Dodar Ali was the boundary between the Ahoms and Nagas and the Naga Khats belonged to the Nagas given by the Ahom King in the plain area.
Though, Naga hills district was created in 15th November 1866 under the Bengal province including Assam and 1871 Assam, comprising all the north east tribal areas, except Arunachal (it was under North East Frontier Agency) brought under Assam province. After India became independent, Assam State remained the same including tribal areas.
Nagaland State was created on 1st December 1963 out of blood and tears under the condition of an agreement known as 16 Point agreement between Government of India and the Naga People Convention (NPC) it was strongly opposed by the Naga Freedom movement, then Federal Government of Nagaland Under the 16th points agreements serial No. 12, run thus, “All the reserved Forest and other Naga areas will be returned to the Nagaland with clearly defined boundary under the present settlement”.
The above statement is clearly shows that all the forest and the lands belonging to Nagas should be re-transfered to Nagas, agreeed even by the Government of India. It may be included all the forest in the foot hills and land including the Naga Khates which was offered by the Ahom King.
The detail of the Naga forest which claimed by Assam including the following places:
(1) Diphu reserved forest, (2) Rangma Pani Reserved forest (3) Doyang reserved forest, (4) Kaka-donga forest (5) Desoi valley (Tsurang valley (6) Teru valley (7) Geleki Forest (8) Abhayapur Forest (9) Delli Forest.
The above forest and valleys are part and parcel of Naga area.
In context to recent movement of All Assam Student Union (ASSU) claiming Tzurang Valley (Desoi Valley) at Ao Naga area is un-imaginable. Instead of claiming it, they should return the all Naga Khats which falls on plain area, particularly Hatiguria Duar (at present Hatiguri is located between the Mariani and Titapar it is about 30 Km from Tzurang river towards Assam). The Naga area should include all the Naga Khats which was given by the Ahom King.
Therefore, Assam is the real encroacher and aggressor. They never realized the good deeds of their forefathers and their Kings, and kindness by the Nagas during the days of tragedy. It is not bad if the ASSU come to Naga Hills and visit the place and monuments where their forefathers and kings took sheltered during the time of famine and from their enemies.
The present claim by the Assam basing on several survey lines like 1925 line is created by their own interest, without the knowledge of the Nagas. Assam is the mother of all the North East States, she would shun all Greediness and behave like a good motherhood. Otherwise there will be never peace and tranquility in relating to boundaries with all her neighboring States.
M. Imyu Longchar, Para-medical Colony, Kohima.