When I joined NSCN (IM) i.e. in the year 1991, I joined against the wishes of many people especially people who were living close by me, including neighbours, friends and relatives. Because, they loved me and did not want me to be separated from them and allow me to live a life of hardship and risky. As it is every a human heart does, they wanted me to be together in all good and bad times, in happiness and in sorrow until death do apart us. Yet then, I firmly believed that I was born as a man in the midst of situation like this in our country to fight and liberate our people. So, with a painful heart I left my home and loved ones behind, fixing my eyes on what is unseen but eternal.
Now, after serving 17 years, I left the NSCN (IM) on the night of 24th December, 2007 as my conscience no longer permit me to continue as a soldier under the present style of NSCN (IM) government. I don’t want to go in detail what I felt and experienced in the NSCN (IM). I mean the ugly side, but would like to share some words that I thought were a rightful free expression of my views and a useful sharing for all of us. Because, I still hope and would labour that, good or bad all national workers irrespective of which faction we may belong should realize each one of our own fault and come together under one umbrella to unitedly fight for our freedom. In today’s situation, whom do we call reactionaries and who are we to claim as revolutionaries. Defection between factions is rampant, today’s IM bahadur fighters will be tomorrow K bahadur fighters and vice versa. The leaders stick to their so called ‘National Principle’ but their government is running like a joker. The kilonsers, steering committee members and army commanders are busy amassing wealth. The kilonsers, steering committee members, tatars, secretaries and regional authorities are increasing year after year, month after month as if the underground government is solving unemployment problem and giving them jobs. There are beautiful laws, army rules & regulation, party discipline etc. within it and more and above that, latest new directives were issued from time to time but no person in authority have the mind or the courage to enforce it. They are timid and powerless when it comes in the matter of enforcing ahzas for the strengthening and betterment of the organization and the government, but powerful and stubborn in indulging corruption and partialities.
Drinkers, heroine users, drug abusers and even persons with HIV positive are abound among the cadres of the NSCN (IM). Partialities, isms and distrust within the organisation are beyond tolerable but who care for that. An army cadre may become a drug addict, may be fallen to serious illness, may get injure in fighting or may be defected to other factions, nobody bother about that. The junior cadres, the lower ranks are not being cared, loved and kept under the control of the leaders. There is complete chaos, some may go and some may come. Some may remain because their tribe is in dominant of that faction; some may defect to other faction because he found no justice. Some opportunists may always remain or join in the faction which they think is most powerful and controlled maximum areas of Nagaland or important places like Dimapur, Kohima and National Highways.
The greatest factor that hinder in enforcement of the ahzas within the army is that, most of the over smart army personnel who are responsible for loosening of discipline and breaching of Ahza/ NARR are the very men and confidants of unit commanders, thereby blocking the way to implement the rules. Again, most of the incompetent army authorities are the men and confidants of the highest leaders of NSCN (IM). Though, at present, they may be called incompetent or may indulge in anti-people activities, in the history of the NSCN (IM) ups and downs, they were the backbone and had contributed their best. So, as it is unfair to victimize them, the ahzas ought to be remained in name without implementation. All ahzas remained in name. Repentance and reformation within the organisation, and strict rules to be adhered by all NSCN (IM) members were time and again announced in the Newspapers but no authority mind about it. May be, it was announced in the newspapers to let the public read and make the NSCN (IM) look alike as a white-washed tomb. When public uproar in any part of Nagaland because of the underground cadres’ excessiveness or because of its authorities interfering in public affairs, the voice of the people were suppressed instead of dealing our own cadres and mending our own ways. Those persons who are brave in suppressing the voice of the people and those who hated the other factions bitterly are regarded as staunch men of the organisation.
So, if this is the situation, where is the question of ‘National Principle?’ We cannot blame the Indian government, S.C. Jamir, RAW or any other outside forces responsible for this. Many of our young men born with high patriotism spirit came to join to fight for the precious cause of “Nagaland for Christ”, but instead of getting encouragement and guidance, they faced lot of intolerable things contrary to the life of a revolutionary. So, many of our comrades hoping to find a little better in the other group used to go and come. And because of this, our leaders call them reactionaries, traitors and anti-nationalists and hunt them down to kill, and many were killed without having the slightest scruple. Please do not destroy them, they have not taken a single pie from the Indian govt., RAW etc., it is purely because of the lack of guidance of the leadership that our friends and our young men are in confusion. As for me, I fear God; I will not be part of the present day style of NSCN (IM) government anymore. Out of love for my country and my people, I joined the organisation, why should I agree to be employed in destroying our own people.
To be frank, it is not today that I have these things in my mind. Though, I was in the NSCN (IM), some years back that I began to realize ‘Unity first, Solution next’ is the right thing. Please don’t misunderstand me, it is not that I never have faith in the NSCN (IM) and its leadership. It’s NSCN alone that rejected and totally condemned the Infamous Shillong Accord, it alone fought the occupational forces of India and Myanmar for all those years through until India admitted that ‘Naga problem cannot be solved militarily’. Thus, the Naga freedom struggle movement continue to keep burning, and not only that, NSCN alone was the source of inspiration and encouragement for all the other revolutionary groups in the South East Himalayan Region. That was how many of our Nagas’ youth who were born with patriotism spirit and fighting spirit got attracted to join the NSCN, and I was one of them. The admission of Naga Nation into the fold of UNPO and various progresses made for the furtherance of Naga cause in the international arena were all achievements of NSCN (IM). The wisdom and capability of our leaders of how they dealt with the Indian government and the way of how Ceasefire was brought about in the highest level between as two entities were all praiseworthy. The recognition of unique history of the Nagas and its situation in Nagaland by the Indian government is one of the biggest achievements for the Nagas.
However, in spite of all these, the more important thing is, as lovers of our country and its people our priority should be for the safety and welfare of every citizen. We owe to show them love, teach them love and show them our oneness. Though, India is a multi nationalities and multi religions country, during their freedom struggle movement they stood as one. They broke the barrier of religion and caste, they shouted slogan like ‘Hindu-Mausalman ki jai’ and drink water from the home of a Muslim by a Hindu and vice versa. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian Nation took most care for the harijans (untouchables) and worked hard for the upliftment of them in the society. There was not a noise about him or because of the Gujaratis. He loved all citizens equally and all citizens across the country look up him equally, whereas, this is not among us.
So, why are we in a hurry for a solution when there is sharp division among the Naga society. Nagaland is too small to be divided as that of the Chinese between the communist and the nationalist. Which party will be driven out to form a Naga Taipei in Nagaland? Nagaland is not a small world that one should dream to create a history of one’s own tribe. It is that we stand as a Nation because of our faith that Nagaland is God’s purpose and with the proudness of our heart as a brave people. Apart from God and without the unity of our family there is no hope to see a new Nagaland. But, some want to claim victory and some opportunists want to reap together with them. That is why some section of people both underground and over ground are in a hurry for a solution before unity, knowingly the solution which is in sight for them would never be a type of solution which we can call an ‘Honourable Solution’ for the Nagas. Seeking solution excluding some section of people and seeking to exclude some section of people from among the Nagas are both unacceptable. In today’s Naga underground politics some tribes are no doubt pursuing a policy of domination over others. This is very dangerous and has to be corrected at all cost among us before we seek solution with India and Myanmar. There are some people and tribes who do not have their stand at all, whichever group is a little stronger or is under control in their area, they work together with them for their safety or in the other way for their own benefit, this is more dangerous. Still, there are many among us who in the guise of ‘Freedom Fighters’ take advantage of everything and keep on destroying us. But, knowingly we all fail to fight it back and put it right, this is our greatest failure. When Nagas were once called naked and had nothing, we chose freedom and dare to fight the mighty India and Myanmar. Today, when we become more advance, educated and can be more aware of our rights, we become more coward and live in confusion…this is ridiculous. How can we go on hurry for the solution when our house is in disorder and our people are heading for a civil war. Who is to be called blameless among us? We are all unworthy to be called as national workers, we had done more harm than good for the people.
Therefore, if we are for the Nation, unity is a must before anything. And in this regard, I would like to appreciate the stand of the Eastern Naga People which they always voice and stand for “Unity first, Solution second’. I always take the voice of Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO), the Konyak Union, the Eastern Naga Students Association (ENSA) etc. and as well as the words of the leaders of National Workers from the Eastern Nagas as sincere and sweet, a real concern and an effort to unify us and rebuild our Naga Nation. For me, if the task of unification of all factions is accomplished and the whole Naga people become as one, the national workers really begin to work for the people and fight for its freedom and the people look up and take us as their ‘Freedom Fighters’, that much is sufficient. I will be always happy to stand in the war front to fight for my people and for the cause of “Nagaland for Christ”.
Maj. Z. D. Akho.