The ideologies and principles of the Nagas are simple even today. However one needs to understand the historical background and ethos of the Nagas before one goes to scrutinise the present clash of ideology and principle. The main ideology and principle during headhunting was to bring prosperity for the village (society) and to be a man of integrity with high dignity. But today do we have the same ideology and principle to bring prosperity and to be a man of integrity with high dignity?
With great optimism and zeal – the Naga Club was formed in 1918, which was later re-christened to Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946. In Naga political history, the first clash of ideology and principle was observed in 1956 when there was clash of ideology and principle between Phizo and his colleague late Sakhrie, who believed in non-violence – adopting the principle of Mahatma Gandhi. On January 18, 1956, Sakhrie (former General Secretary of the NNC – who resigned from NNC for its extreme and violent means) was assassinated for alleged co-operating with the Indian Government and anti-NNC activities. “Many others who openly opposed the movement also met with the same fate” (Alemchiba: 1970).
The NNC wants complete Independence from India however some of the Naga leaders have different ideology and principle to solve the Naga problems; they want to solve the problem by creating Nagaland a new State and accepting the constitution of India, which clashed the ideology of the NNC. 5years after Sakhrie’s was assassinated, on 20th August 1961, Imkongliba Ao was assassinated and Dr. Imkongmeren, the architect of the NPC and formation of Nagaland State was assassinated on 22nd Aug. 1961 by the underground Nagas since it clashed the main ideology and principle of the NNC to have sovereign Naga Nation. Seemingly then, the NNC want to liquidate all the people who ever compromised from its main agenda of complete independence from India. “According to him (Phizo) the Naga People’s Convention was no more than a ‘puppet assembly’. The people will accept neither the Indian ‘bribe’ of statehood no India’s offer of ‘internal autonomy’ as something to be eulogized. It is only a means of conceal her (India’s) heinous crime against humanity” (Daili-Mao 1992:75). In the process of struggling to have Nagas right to self-determination, many precious Naga lives had been lost but the Nagaland becoming a State under the constitution of India in 1962 may be a great success according to the Naga People Convention as seemingly there is more peace and unity restored in Nagaland State. But according to the NNC and Naga people as a whole, it was indeed a stumbling block to the Naga National Movement (NNM).
The violence and hostilities continued even after the creation of Nagaland state, and the Nagaland Baptist Church leaders felt the exigency to restore peace and the Peace Mission was thus formed on February 24, 1964 which later steered the Indian State and the Federal Government of Nagaland to declare the bilateral ceasefire on 6th September 1964. There were six rounds of talks in Delhi from February 1966 to October 1967 but those talks borne fruitless. In June 1967, R. Suisa and Vizol – the two Naga respected elders went to London and met Phizo, then the President of NNC and brought the news that he was not willing to participate in Indo-Naga peace talks. With this news, there were two group formed as pro-Phizo and anti-Phizo (Sema group). On June 22, 1967 the General Kaito Sema, the former commander-in-chief of Naga Federal Army organised his own force. His brother Khughato Sukhai also resigned from the Prime Ministership (Ato Kilonser) of the Federal Government on October 24, 1967 as he lost the confidence of his colleagues for not being able to bring any fruitful solution even after six rounds of Indo-Naga peace talks. He also joined in revolutionary group with his brother Kaito Sema but was assassinated on August 3, 1968 by suspected Naga Federal Armies. On 1st November 1968 anti-Phizo groups with other nine tribes formed the Council of Naga People (CNP) and unanimously elected Kughato Sukhai as the President. The following day, the CNP declared the formation of the Revolutionary Government of Nagaland (RGN) and Mr. Scato Swu – the former President of FGN was elected as the Prime Minister of RGN. “The main objectives of the new party were among others, for the integrity of Nagaland, peaceful solution of the Naga political problem, and peaceful coexistence.” (R.Vashum 2000:91). However the FGN and NNC alleged and accused them as ‘renegades and traitor’ who worked with the Indian security forces. The objectives or ideology and principle of the RGN seem to be provoking but the splendour of RGN shattered in a short span when about 1500 men surrendered at Zunheboto to the Government of India on August 16, 1973 under the leadership of General Zuheto and Zekiyhe. General Zuheto was given rank of BSF Commander and Zekiyhe as Deputy Commander, and Scato Swu was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha. The clash of RGN and FGN ideology and principle also came to end but the division created in Naga underground was a great impediment to the NNM.
The Shillong Accord, in 1975, termed the most gullible act of the NNC, was another great stumbling block to the NNM, which showed another clash of principle of the Naga leaders. Under the leadership of Kevi Yallay, the younger brother of Phizo and other four members came to accord with the Indian government –L.P. Singh representing the Indian government. Some of the NNC members in Peace Camp (PC) were still waiting for peace and promise from Indian government. The people in PC may be remorsed for trusting the Indian government but the fruit of their gullible, had to be reaped.
The Shillong Accord precisely revealed the clash of principle, which earlier the NNC was deadly against such kind of ideology and principle. According to earlier ideology and principle of the NNC, all those members in Shillong Accord were supposed to be assassinated. However there seemed a trivial amendment in their principle of assassinating those who went against their ideology and principle and those who rebelled on Shillong Accord took different ideology and principle (perspective) and formed their own group. Through this accord, the accordists lost their vision and main ideology and principle of the NNC by accepting the petty promises given by the Indian government. The rebel group under the leadership of Th. Muivah condemned the Shillong Accordists as a traitor, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN); Isak Chishi Swu became the Chairman, S.S. Khaplang and Muivah remained the Vice Chaiman and General Secretary. However the glories of NSCN ruptured shortly when he NSCN was split into two groups as NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) on 30th April 1988.
The main ideology and principle of the NNC was not to compromise with India government and accept the constitution of India for solving the Naga political problem and the same ideology and principle was passed to NSCN. However due to lack of communication and misunderstanding between the Naga leaders, the NSCN was split after a bloody spurge led by S.S. Khaplang who accused Muivah and Isak Swu to co-operating with the Indian government and of moving towards a settlement within the Indian Union. From the view point of S.S. Khaplang, it may be a genuine act as it went against the ideology and principle of the NSCN. However carrying out such a barbarous act without further communicating with other leaders was indeed regrettable. Many precious Naga leaders were assassinated since 1956 due to their misconception of killing, lack of communication and understanding among the leaders. If our Naga leaders adopt the principle of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology and principle of non-violence, today we may be in different phase (better situation) in Naga National Movement. After nine years of NSCN split, the Indian government had taken into confidence with the NSCN-IM and the ceasefire was declared in 1997 between the government of Indian and the NSCN-IM to have the Indo-Naga political talks. The NSCN-IM having Indo-Naga talks with Indian government – at the Prime Minister level without any condition solved the earlier misconception and accused by S.S. Khaplang. Today the NSCN-IM is having unlimited ceasefire with the government of India and the Indo-Naga peace talks seem going on in right direction. However some people may be sceptical about the present Indo-Naga peace talks.
Today the Nagas are in cross-roads in different aspects with clash of ideology and principle. The NSCN lead by Tangkhul and Sumi became the most talks in Nagalim from 1988-2000 but the progress and the glory of their leadership seem vanishing after 2000 AD due to lack of transparency and mobilising power. There were also many fratricidal and other problems encountered by the Naga people during this period. The formation of NSCN-U in November 2007, under the leadership of Azheto Chophy and Kedolu is another clash of ideology and principle of the Naga leaders even though it was alleged to be ignited by an Indian army officer. Today the NNC, NSCN-IM, NSCN-K and NSCN-U have their own ideologies and principles; some of their ideologies and principles are appreciable but some may be unfeasible. After the formation of NSCN-U, it becomes a hot talk in Nagalim and around the world and we may need to ponder on the ideology and principle of the NSCN-IM and NSCM-U, which seem to have different ideologies and principle when it comes to unification and allotment of different posts. When we talk about the clash of ideology and principle, we also need to observe the different ideologies and principles – which are applied by different insurgent groups. Today the Naga civil leaders and Naga people may need to study the different ideologies and principles of different factions and support the faction, which will bring peace, development, prosperity, unity and reconciliation in Nagalim without compromising the dreams and aspirations of the Naga people. (To be contd.)
– Dr. Thohe Pou