By Rev Dr VK Nuh
The Naga National Council has its roots in the Naga Club of 1929, which submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929. The second stage of its development can be seen in the Naga Hills District Tribal Council established in April, 1945 by C.R. Pawsey, the then Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills.
One finds many parallels in the formation of the NNC and the Indian National Congress. A British administrator A.O. Hume founded the Indian National Congress in 1885. Hume’s concern in forming this Indian political body was to give them political and administrative training in self-governance. Similarly, C.R Pawsey, the Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills played a pivotal role in the formation of the Naga National Council. Mr Pawsey’s concern for the disunited Nagas led him to form the first political body called Naga Hills District Tribal Council. His aim in forming body was to unite the Nagas and also for repairing some of the damage done to the Naga villages and Naga economy by the devastations of World War II. Like the Indian National Congress, the political objectives of the NNC also were not very clear in its formative stages. However, while the Indian National Congress took many years to form itself into a political platform for voicing its national rights, the Naga Hills District Tribal Council (NHDTC) within a year transformed itself into a Naga political institution. The NHDTC was thus formed in April 1945. The following year, on 2nd February 1946, the NHDTC met at Wokha and changed its name to the Naga National Council (NNC).
Naga Leaders like Phizo, Aliba Imti, T.Sakhrie and many others were thus proving to be very fast learners in chalking out the Naga Political rights as well as charting the destiny of the Naga Nation.
The NNC was formed with the aim of uniting all the Naga tribes under one political umbrella. It was first formed with 29 members representing the various tribes on proportional representation of one member for every 10,000 people. As to its membership, every Naga born of Naga blood was by virtue of birthright a member of the NNC. From its very formative years it was a Naga people’s political institution supported and financed by the villages. Contributions for its maintenance came in the form of membership fee of Rupees 2/- and even pumpkins, paddy, cows and mithuns. The NNC was closely knitted together through the Central Council, Tribal Councils, Regional Councils and Village Councils. From its very inception the policy of the NNC was to establish a sovereign independent Naga country and to develop it according to the indigenous Naga democratic customs and culture.
However, as is true of any organization there were people in the NNC who were more moderate and shortsighted in their political vision for the future of the Nagas. In fact, a careful analysis will reveal that there were three categories of people within the NNC at this stage:
1. Those that were for total sovereignty from the beginning and never compromised their stand to date.
2. Those that wavered at the beginning but were eventually won over to the majority body and became faithful to date.
3. Those that wavered from the beginning and eventually went for full cooperation with the Indian Government.
Of these three categories of members in the NNC, the first formed 99.99% of the Naga population, which was clearly shown through the plebiscite of 1951.
Another group of a few individuals belonged to the first group at the initial stage but when the war broke out and they realized that they had to pay a price, they made a complete turnaround and joined the last.