His Excellency Dr SC Jamir was the chief guest at the friendly football match between the Tangkhul Shiroi Lily Club and the Longterok Ao Football Club organized by the Cultural and Sporting Club of India on 12 July at Kirorimal College ground, New Delhi, where he pointed out that since Christianity was brought to the lands of the Ao and Tangkhul Nagas by Rev Clark in 1872 and Rev William Pettigrew in 1896 respectively, they, the tribesmen are enjoined upon with greater responsibilities to spread the message of peace, love, brotherhood and compassion in the region which has been afflicted by violence, bloodshed and turmoil all these decades. He had also expressed his happiness that the friendly football match was organized and held in such a cordial, bordering to filial, atmosphere and stated that Nagas belong to the same family and that there is no reason why there should be hatred in the same family. His Excellency, therefore, failed to understand why anybody or any organization can conclude that he is exploiting the tribes or using them, like the NSCN (IM) alleged “as his political playthings”. Politics and religion are two totally different spheres of human activity, and how a call by a Christian to fellow Christians to spread the Gospels could be linked to politics or tribalism, is beyond comprehension. In a land ravaged by hatred, killings and misunderstanding all these decades; where the people are fed up with violence and abnormal prevailing circumstances; where the sole yearning of the people is for peace, peace and peace alone. His Excellency felt that the most appropriate and effective remedy would be to ignite the hearts and minds of the people with the message of the Lord Christ – love, compassion and goodwill towards all fellow human beings. Unfortunately, there appeared to be some section of people who disagree with this line of thinking. However, His Excellency is steadfast in this belief and no amount of argument or criticism can shake his faith that Christ-like living alone can heal the wounds, reconcile the Naga people with each other and solve the many ills of the Naga society.
Just as it had been a surprise to His Excellency the news report in one of the national dailies “if” he could be “sold” to the NSCN (IM) as a “mediator” by the Centre, it has also come as a surprise that the NSCN (IM) should hasten to respond critically to this speculative news report which did not have any named or verified source. As far as His Excellency is concerned, there is no veracity in this speculation and he considers it as a figment of somebody’s wild imagination. To be very realistic, it is absolutely improbable that any Government will utilize the service of any Naga as a mediator in the on-going political talks between Naga groups and the Government of India since any Naga would naturally be in favour of his own people. However, it does not behoove His Excellency, or any organization for that matter, to split hairs over a mere contrived news report which is unsubstantiated at best.
His Excellency had also expressed his opinions on the concept of Sovereignty vis-à-vis the Naga political movement. He is of the considered opinion that there is definitely a longing, an aspiration in the hearts and minds of not only the Nagas but the entire Northeastern people which could not be, and still can not be articulated clearly in our own dialect or language. All this while, we have had to resort to the English words and phrases which are alien to our psyche and ethos and, therefore, could not exactly convey what we aspire for. Over the many decades since the Naga movement started, the very concept of Sovereignty has also under gone a world of change and is no longer the same as it was fifty years back. Global realities have changed and so have the traditional concepts changed the world over. Moreover, His Excellency believes that the aspirations and urges of the Nagas do not really conform to the Western concept of Sovereignty which is generally subscribed by the Government as well as people of India, and therefore, he called upon the younger generation to have a fresh look at the real meaning of Sovereignty in the context of the tribal communities. He further stated that with sufficient safe guard for political, traditional, economic, social, cultural and religious identity of the Nagas, the Naga concept of sovereignty may find an honourable place in the Indian polity. In this context, he made a brief and relevant reference to the Memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission in 1929. It may be added here that his interpretation of Sovereignty and his clarion call is, in no way, “rhetoric attack” on any organization as construed by certain quarters – it was an expression of his honest views and opinions.
The old issue of the booklet Bedrock of Naga Society which has been raised and clarified and nauseam in the past, and whose purpose – of generating a debate – has been served, has somehow been raised once again. But this is totally out of context with the present topic at hand, namely, the views on the concept of Naga Sovereignty, and revival of this old issue after such a long gap of time is quite mysterious. His Excellency feels that this is a non-issue which does not deserve any more debate.
He appealed to all concerned to put to rest all speculations, surmises and conjectures which have appeared in several newspapers in the recent past. At the same time, His Excellency also appealed to all not to jump the gun after going through speculative and imaginary news reports, but to be reasonable and practical in one’s thinking or utterances.
OSD to Governor, Goa