|11 may NPN
Historical facts cannot be changed to suit the whim and fancy of any person, clan or tribe in Nagaland. Nagas are very sensitive to this and believe that whosoever does so or tries to do so will face punishment from God. The Emrem-changki clan’s claim of being one of the founding father clans of Changki Village does not seem to pass the test of Historical evidence. More ever by trying to change their name from Emremchangki to Changkiri (which is the original name of the present day Changkija) to Changkiri Enrem (substituting the ‘M’ in Emrem to ‘N’) does not fool the rest of the 12 other clans of Changki Village nor the rest of the lipokshirs (oral historians) of the Ao Tribe who are assidously preserv-ing the history of the Aos. The following are some of the discrepancies in their tall claims :-
1. Since the time of recorded history their forefathers have always used the name Emremchangki. This is evident in the village registers as well as the church wedding entires in the old government records (early 1900s) whereby one of the Emremchangki forefathers was appointed as the Tobashi. The government record clearly and distinctly shows his surname as Emremchangki. (The word ‘Emrem’ in Changki language is used to signify someone who has adopted another clan as father. That is why when they adopted the Chankiri clan forefather as their father they were allowed to use the tittle Emrem-changki). As you know such practice is also common in other Ao villages as well as in other Naga Tribes.
2. In the early 1960s the Emremchangki clan laid claim to the use of the name ‘Killing’ who happened to be the founding forefather of the Amri clan. (The Amri clan along with the Changkiri and the Longchari clans were the founding fathers of Changki Village. The Kudu clan were the fourth founding father but this clan is now extinct.) If they have laid claim that ‘killing’ was in fact their forefather who was of the Amri clan then by what twist of history are they claiming to be the Changkiri clan today. The second question is in the eyes of the Emremchangki who then are the Changkiri (Changkija) clan? Will they cease to exist in spite of all the historical evidence and the simple fact that today they exist and the remaining 12 clans of Changki village unanimously acknow-ledge this fact. None of the 12 other clans in Changki village ever dispute the fact that the Changkiri (Changkija) clan are one of the original founding fathers of Changki? Who then is the aggrieved party, the father or the foster son who is trying to usurp the father’s original title (clan name)?
3. In one of the rejoinders published in the newspapers they have said that the name Emremchangki is not “acceptable” to them. That is alright. But this does not give them the right to usurp somebody’s clan name either. In Naga custom and tradition this is not only unheard of but also makes a mockery of the traditional history of the Nagas. If they wish to change their title they should trace their ancestry and with proper customary and traditional etiquette they may do so. But not by usurp-ing another clan’s title nor by misrepresenting their history and claiming to be the founding father of a village against all historical fact and rationale. If they (Emrem-changki) still claim to be a founding father of Changki village they should show historical evidence with proper ancestral lineage and ‘witnessed’ by other clans and village councils.
This sad episode has left a bitter taste in the mouth of not only the Changki people but also the rest of the Ao’s. Cannot the Emremchangki leaders accept the sworn word of their neighbors (the rest of the 12 clans of Changki village) with whom they have co-existed for the last many centuries or are we all liars? Do not make us Changkians in particular and the Ao’s in general look so absurd in the eyes of the rest of the Nagas. I sincerely pray to god that better sense will prevail. It is now up to the Ao senden in all their wisdom to break this impasse and settle the matter with wisdom and foresight. All eyes are upon this case which has far-reaching ramifications for the Ao’s as well as the rest of the Nagas. I pray to god that his blessed wisdom and guidance be with all members of the Ao senden so that there is no political interference and only truth will prevail.
A. Longkumer, Dimapur.