Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope, A brief history on Naga Reconciliation Meeting

NTIMES 1Mar: Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope, February 29, 2012

A brief history on Naga Reconciliation Meeting

 

Introduction:How overwhelmed I feel in this historic moment to stand before our Naga leaders and my fellow citizens of the land. Seeking God’s strength and wisdom, I stand to report back to the Naga people of the Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope, that began four years ago. We can’t help picturing the scenes of our journey across the spectrum of Naga history.

 

Recollecting the historical events within the last 48 months of the Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hop –commendable achievements leading to the present situation is in our records. With optimism, the Naga political groups have torn down the wall of separation built over time by accumulated hatred, bitterness, malice and slander. They have taken the courageous leap towards a common humanity by transcending the fences that have divided us, and today it is a fact that they are sitting and eating at the table together and talking rationally as brothers and sisters on issues of a common future rather than be haunted and victimized by the past.

 

Respecting our common humanity and a common political identity based on the unique “political and historical rights of the Nagas,” are zealously affirmed and guarded. The secret of the power to restrain, first, from the “self”, a priceless spiritual and ethical strength is becoming a part of our ethos. This truly exhibits a growing sign of personal maturity. In turn such a development in the case of the individual has led to a collective restrain. Our sincere appreciation and a loud applause to the Naga political groups!

 

At the centre of the Journey of Common hope, the historic signing of the “Covenant of Reconciliation”, subsequently reaffirmed on September 18, 2010, has an abiding significance for the Nagas.

 

Therefore, we appeal to the Nagas, particularly to the average intelligentsia, that today is not the time to breed dogmatism that has dogged us so long. In honesty, we must dismiss all forms of parochial interpretations and interests and affirm and re-claim what is duly ours through peaceful avenues.

 

I. History –The Naga De Facto:

 

In the first place, the impetus of Naga Reconciliation of all the Naga parties in armed and non-armed conflict was for them to reconcile under the inalienable principle of “. . .the Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas.” {Please note that in April 2008, when the Naga Reconciliation Process began, the concerned Naga groups were NSCN (IM), NSCN (K), NNC/FGN (Singnya and Zhopra), NNC/FGN (Dr. Senka Yaden and Nagi), and NNC (Adino Phizo) and in June and in October 2011, there were further “splits.”}

 

Without a tinge of doubt, as matters of fact, the Nagas have a detailed historical documentation of our rights. A few of these are:

 

1. Naga People’s Memorandum of 1929, known as the “Simon Commission.” 2. Memorandum to Akbar Hyderi, June 26, 1947.3. Declaration of Naga Independence, August 14, 1947.4. A Z Phizo’s Memorandum to C Rajagopalachari, November 22, 1948.5. A Z Phizo’s Memorandum to the President of Republic of India, January 1, 1951.6. The historic “Naga Plebiscite”, May 16, 1951.

 

There is no question whatsoever, that Nagas have the right to “sovereignty” and be “independent” the way the Nagas have “expressed” and as deemed fit. Notwithstanding, the fact of the Naga inalienable history, the Government of India outright refusal to understand neither gave a sympathetic hearing, least not to mention, of recognizing it. Our saga attests to the fact of “non-acknowledgement” of our rights by the Government of India. “. . . .The Indian leaders blinded by their aggressive ambition to respect and regard the sovereign existence of Nagaland* perpetrated naked aggression on Nagaland in 1954. Thus the undeclared war broke out between the two peoples of India and Nagaland.” (Naga National Workers List, Prepared by Federal Government of Nagaland, 2006, in the Foreword)

 

Repeated memorandums and declarations by Naga leaders to the Government of India (GOI) from 1929 onward remained frozen in Delhi. Nevertheless, having realized by the GOI that the granting of statehood to “Nagaland” in 1963, could not salvage the Naga political rights and therefore, under the initiation of the “Peace Mission”, the GOI declared a “Ceasefire in 1964” in Naga inhabited areas. This led to the 6 round of talks between GOI and the Nagas under the leadership of the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), lasting for 18 months – from February 1966 to October 1967. It is to be noted that during these 6 rounds of talks the Federal Government of Nagaland, “. . . . .Presented the case of the Nagas in 14 points. . . . .to which the GOI could take any steps.” (The National Rights and movement, NNC, Nagaland, Kohima, 1993, p. 134).The 14 points were primarily what earlier memorandums and declarations had stated namely, pointing to the Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas.

 

After a gulf of 34 years, the GOI, this time, acknowledged that the case of “The Indo-Naga political problem cannot be solved militarily. . . . . . it is not a law and order problem as it is a political issue” (Report from NSCN/GPRN). Despite the statement of the GOI in 1997, it took another 5 years to acknowledge, this time, retroactively to all the memorandums and declarations of our leaders and hence, declared to the Naga people, through the collective leadership of the NSCN, that the political and historical rights of the Naga people “IS UNIQUE” and hence, “The Uniqueness of Naga History.” (July 11, 2002, Amsterdam). In his letter to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, May 10, 1986, Dr. A Z Phizo, referring to the Naga rights, terms it as the “. . . . Unique Position of Nagaland.” (A Brief Account of Nagaland, Prepared by Federal government of Nagaland, Ministry of Rali Wali, June 2000).

 

To be sure, with the recognition of the uniqueness of Naga history by the GOI, the historical and political rights are inherent –namely, sovereignty. The matter remains for the Nagas on how we exercise our sovereignty. This is our common agenda.Throughout our history, whatever achievements have been accomplished by the Naga leaders must be understood as belonging to the Naga people. Dr. A Z Phizo, and sons and daughters of the land, under the banner of the NNC gave Nagas the impetus for protecting our historical and political rights and in the course have sacrificed their lives. The honor and full credit of the historical fact of “Awakening Naga Nationalism” goes to NNC.

 

Along the same path of Nationalism, the official acknowledgement on the part of the GOI on the “Uniqueness of the Political and Historical Rights of the Nagas,” through the Collective Leadership of the NSCN/GPRN deserve its due recognition as a historical event of the Nagas. Sovereignty:

 

An important matter, if not the most important for the Nagas, is the word “Sovereignty.” Though, important as it may be, this is a word we avoid discussing for obvious reasons. Even so, there is nothing to fear by putting across the table of common belonging. Often with much patriotism and fervor the word “Sovereignty” is uttered which requires careful and thorough understanding. After all, sovereignty is ours (Nagas) and therefore, we must remain undivided and cohesive of our common belonging. Let us make no qualms! This is a matter of fact.

 

Enshrined in the Yehzabo of Nagaland are the following lines: “We, the people of Nagaland, solemnly acknowledges that the Sovereignty over the earth and the entire universe belongs to Almighty God alone, and the authority of the people to be exercised on the territory is a sacred trust from God, who sustained our forefathers, the national workers and our people through the years . . . . (The YEHZABO of Nagaland, Federal Government of Nagaland, 2006 Amendment).

 

In the final analysis, “Sovereignty” resides with the people. Explicitly, the Naga people have said, “We want to be a nation . . . . and the right of the people (Naga) must prevail regardless of size” (NNC).

 

By tacit understanding Nagas have chosen to stay inside ones “land” and not “emigrate” nor to be incorporated in the “Reformed Scheme of India” (The Memorandum to Simon Commission).

 

What is of crucial importance is that the Naga people have safeguarded our land. This is “Popular Sovereignty”, that, sovereignty lies/resides with the people. Hence, the land, its people are “inalienable” (Simon Commission).

 

To be sure, in safeguarding our land and its resources lies the Naga sovereignty. By saying that “Sovereignty lies in the people”, Nagas are saying that we have more authority over the land and resources and it must be protected at all costs.To put in another ways, Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over our geographic areas, namely, our Naga territory. It also means, although the government seems to have a lot of power, the people have the power to make changes. In democracies it is the legitimate authority of the citizens.

 

II. A Shared-Collective Future:

 

Any group of people who believe in themselves as a nation must vigilantly safeguard itself in all its fronts. In our context, above all, this urgently requires magnanimity –“manifesting generosity in forgiving insults and injuries.” The culture of resentment and envy and high-mindedness must immediately give way to a shared-collective future.

 

Nagas must learn the art of political realism against the odds of sheer personal and “factional” emotionalism. All emotions of anger, hatred, vendetta, revenge etc., are unjustifiable, no matter how much one tries to rationalize.

 

Today, to put it conservatively, the average Nagas, are yearning for an end to all forms of armed confrontations, coupled with charged emotions. The moment has come for our “national leaders” to start treading the path of freedom together. The question today is whether our common belongingness will continue, or fall into decline.

 

The nation that ceases to expand its consciousness begins to die at that very moment. Once, a nation loses its conviction of truth, doubts and self-doubts rob it of its will and strength. Such a nation declines as a moral influence and as a force to be reckoned. Our goal must be realigned in order to re-establish our historical and political rights –“the uniqueness of Naga History.”

 

Finally, we have not shut the door of Naga Reconciliation. All who are committed to the principle of the “Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas” and the steps taken so far, are welcome!

 

FNR (Wati Aier)_________________________*Nagaland: The usage of the word “Nagaland” should not be taken as per the State of Nagaland under India. In its original meaning, the word “Nagaland” means the lands inhabited by the Nagas in India and BurmaSome Facts: From March 2008 to February 2012 (47 months)• There were six important “Naga Gatherings” with a maximum attendance of 49 Naga Organizations.• Meetings at home with combined Naga political groups (Joint Working Groups) till date: 82 times• Meetings outside of the country with the combined Naga political groups: 12 times• Highest Level Meetings of the Naga Political leaders: 12 times• Combined tours to different parts of Naga areas: 11 times• Special programs and events: 11 times• Meeting individual Naga political groups: 278 times• Meeting Mr. SS Khaplang, Chairman, NSCN: 5 times

 

29th Feb. 2012

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