A call for new strategies for the oppressed Nations of South Asia

By: Kaka D Iralu

All the smaller nations that were forcefully stuffed into the British created modern Nation States of India, Pakistan and Burma are now fed up with peace talks and negotiations for a solution to their political problems with these three Nations. These smaller Nations are- in the context of North East India- Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. In the Burmese context, they are the Kachins, Karens, Shans, Mons, Wa’s etc. In the context of East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh, the victims are like the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
In ancient South East Asian history, these smaller Nations were never a part of the British created India, Burma or Pakistan modern Nation States. For example, in the case of Burma, prior to the Panglong Agreement of 1947, there was no union of Burma. Up to this point of Burmese history, three quarters of the present Burmese territory which comprised of all the mountainous frontiers were inhabited by non Burman ethnic peoples like the Kachin, Karen and Shan Nations etc. As early as 1922, the Karenni and Shan territories were recognized by the British as sovereign States. Central Burma or the predominantly Buddhist Ava Kingdom existed as an independent kingdom only up to 1886 when the British after three wars completely defeated the Burmese kingdom and added it as a province of their empire in India.(Information source: “Life under military rule,” A report by the Naga youth organization, Burma, 2010 and other historical documents).
However, all these independent Nations in South Asia were just dumped into the belies of this British created, post colonial Nation States in 1947 and 1948. The British on their departure also armed these modern Nation States with a lethal arsenal of modern weaponry which included light armored tanks, aero planes, heavy artillery and heavy machine guns. This arsenal of weapons sealed the fates of the smaller Nations from asserting their rights to independence.
When they protested against this historical injustice done to them, they were simply silenced by the overwhelming populations and military hardware that were bequeathed to these newly created Nations by the departing British Government.

And as history rolled on from the 20th century to the 21st century, the story and plight of these smaller Nations have been a story of “Beaten up Nations.” Yes, their villages were burnt to ashes, their women raped, their young man tortured and they were forced to flee their own ancestral lands ending up as pathetic refugees in neighboring states like Thailand, China and even the West. Back home, their ancestral lands now lie sodden with their ethnic blood and uprooted broken lives. Just visit some of the refugee camps in Thailand and India and any white foreigner will see the reality of what my pen is trying to paint.

And now we hear the white races are coming back again to their former colonies for a second exploitation of south Asia’s mineral and economic wealth. This second incursion will come through the “Look East Policy” sponsored mostly by the Indian and Burmese Governments. Now, if these smaller oppressed Nations do not collectively assert their national rights, this new policy could disastrously end in a second rape of South Asia where only India and Burma will gain from the adventure. Presently both India and Burma are committed to building international highways that will connect Burma and India to the rest of the world.

Once these roads are built, our gold, our precious stones, our metals, our decorative marbles, our forest wealth, our horticulture, agriculture and herbal wealth will all steadily disappear from right under our feet. They will be shipped away to western countries by foreign multi millionaire companies in collaboration with the Governments of India and Burma. They will also eventually build giant dams across our Chindwin and other big rivers to tape hydro power to their own countries. Such plans are already under consideration and execution. Our rich irrigable and agricultural lands will be submerged under such gigantic hydro electric projects presently being undertaken by Indian, Burmese and even Chinese Governments.

Fellow oppressed Mongolian Nations of south Asia, know this fact that this wealth does not belong to some Bihari or Tamilian politician in Delhi. It also neither belongs to some Burman Princely descendant or a Burmese General. These gold and silver are our God given and ancestral protected wealth that rightfully belongs to us and our children.
For the moment, these second Colonial powers are dolling out a lot of their money for our so called development. But mind you, in the long run, they will eventually reap back hundred folds of their spent money through doing business with western Nations exploiting our economic wealth. (Unfortunately, some of our present political leaders are lavishly enjoying these dolled out money and think that their fenced walls and the accumulated wealth within, is the end of economic growth in south Asia) !

But despite these short sighted and day dreaming political leaders, when this second economic invasion of our lands come, we all must stand together as a federated Union and confront the Western European Nations and collectively say; “The land that you now tread with economic interests is not Indian or Burmese lands. We are the rightful landowners of this portion of south Asia. Therefore if you want to do business, talk with us.” Such a stand and confrontation is historically, politically and legally valid and viable. It can also be defended in any international court of law. Such an act on our part may also politically rectify the historical injustice inflicted on us by yesterday’s European Colonial powers. Fellow South Asians, sixty years of political oppression caused by a collaborated act of the Indian, Burmese and Pakistani politicians along with the British Colonial powers of yesterday must finally end through such a concerted act and stand on our parts. Indeed it is high time for us to make a collective stand and free ourselves from both colonial as well as post colonial tyranny.

Nagas and Chin are two separate entities

DIMAPUR, MARCH 13, 2013 (MExN): The Eastern Naga Students’ Association (ENSA) has strongly condemned the statement of U Win Myint the Deputy Union Minister for Immigration wherein the latter had stated that Nagas are one of the 53 ethnic minorities in Chin state.

According to a press note from ENSA, the controversial statement was made during the first session of Parliament on 27th February 2013. The Deputy Union Minister was responding to a question put up by U Aung Thein MP who represents Ywa Ngan constituency of Shan state. “Who are the 135 tribes in the country?” was the question put forth to the Minister. In reply, U Win Myint included Nagas under Chin State in his statement which was termed as “shocking and an insult” to the Nagas particularly in Myanmar.

“It is not only insulting to the Nagas but also an insult to the article 56 (a) of Chapter II of the constitution of the Government of People Republic of Union of Myanmar which clearly stated about Naga Self-Administered Zone under Sagaing Region”, said the ENSA.

It was informed that following this controversial statement, the Naga MPs had also sent a letter addressed to the Speaker Lower House of Parliament for clarification on March 5.

However, due to non-response, the Naga Student Youth Federation Yangon organized press conference at Hotel Yuzina Yangon on 11th March to express solidarity and also to show that Nagas and Chin are two different entities and that Nagas are not Chin.

In this connection, ENSA urged upon all Nagas wherever they are to be aware of our unique identity and rich history and called upon every sensible Naga to condemn such unbecoming and immature move to belittle the identity of the Nagas.

Meanwhile in a separate press note, several Naga organizations have reiterated on the identity as a peoples. “The Naga people are the Indigenous people in Myanmar and India and we have our own dialect, culture, customs, long history and distinctive identities”, stated a joint statement issued by Eno HninWa (Chairman), Naga Tradition and Culture Sub-Township Committee, Yangon; Eno ZawWint Phyo (Secretary) Naga Hills Development Network; Eno Naw Aung Sann (President) Naga Student Youth Federation, Yangon; Rev. Eno Sein Maung (General Secretary), Naga Baptist Convention and Rev. Eno Tsimuthong (Pastor) of Naga Baptist Christian Fellowship, Yangon.

According to the joint statement, the region in which the Nagas are residing has been recognized as the “Naga Self-Administered Zone” in the 2008 Constitution of the Union of Myanmar as per their “cultural distinctive identities, geographical territory and population ratio”.

As such it stated that including Nagas among the 53 tribes of the Chin ethnic group cannot be totally accepted. “The baseless, unacceptable and non-logical reply of the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population can impact on national unity and reconciliation”, it stated. The joint statement has asked for an addendum on the nationality lists legally issued by the State.

Full Joint Statement on Naga People’s Proclamation is given below:

Naga People’s Proclamation with Respect to 135 Nationalities of the Union of Myanmar
Published on 14th March, 2013
The PyithuHluttaw, Lower House of Representative U AungThein from the YwaNgan constituency in Danu Self-Administered Zone, Shan State raised the questions about 135 ethnic nationalities of Myanmar in 20th day meeting of the sixth session of the 1stPyithuHluttawheld in 27th day of February and Deputy Minister U Win Myint for Immigration and Population replied to these queries. The desire and proclamation of Naga people on this reply are as follows.
1. The Naga people are the Indigenous People in Myanmar and India and we have our own dialect, culture, customs, long history and distinctive identities.
2. The region in which the Naga are residing has been recognized as the Naga Self-Administered Zone in the 2008 Constitution of the Union of Myanmar according to their cultural distinctiveidentities, geographical territory and population ratio.
3. The reply in the parliament in which the Naga people are included and put in the 53 tribes of Chin ethnic group can not be totally accepted,
4. The baseless, unacceptable and non-logical reply of the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population can impact on the national unity in the time of trying to get the national unity and reconciliation.
5. The recognition of Naga people as the tribes in the other nationalities that is opposing the reply of the ministry of Immigration and Population are seriously rejected.
6. We deeply and seriously request to re-issue the making amendment and addendum on the nationality lists legally issued by the State.
7. Besides the Naga people are being displayed and featured as the tribes of Chin nationality in the Union National Races’ Village the Naga traditional appurtenance and utensils are displayed as the Chin national races’ traditional objects. Seriously requested to remove and withdraw these displayed and disclosed items and materials like that as soon as possible.
8. We seriously demand and request any person, any organization or any business institution not to mention, describe or refer the Naga people and Naga Region intentionally or unintentionally as the tribes or region being under other race’s or region’s
EnoHninWa (Chairman)
Naga Tradition and Culture Sub-Township Committee, Yangon

Naga Hills Development Network

EnoNawAungSann (President)
Naga Student Youth Federation, Yangon

Rev. EnoSeinMaung (General Secretary)
Naga Baptist Convention

Rev. EnoTsimuthong (Pastor)
Naga Baptist Christian Fellowship, Yangon

‘Cock’ grows; ‘Hand’ shrinks

NTIMES 11MAR: ‘Cock’ grows; ‘Hand’ shrinks

DIMAPUR, MAR 10 (NPN) : NP Election Statistics
Nagaland assembly election 2013 had fewer candidates-185 as against 218 in 2008 and 225 in 2003.

The NPF in its maiden election in 2003 set up 54 candidates and won 19 seats, polling 2,64,534 votes (29.76%) ; in 2008 it set up 56 candidates and won 26 seats, polling 3,80,964 votes (33.62%); while in 2013 it set up 59 candidates and won 38 seats (after one was adjourned) polling 506025 ( 46.89%) and showing a remarkable increase in vote shares in subsequent elections.

Success and Failure percentages

Success and Failure percentages

In contrast, the Congress in 2003 set up 60 candidates and won 21 polling 3,18,671 votes (35.86%) ; in 2008, the Congress set up 60 candidates and won 26 seats polling 4,11,100 votes (36.28%). In 2013, the Congress set up 56 candidates (election in one was adjourned) and won 8 seats and its vote share plummeted to its lowest at 276742 ( 25.64%).

In the 2013 general election, the NPF which won 38 of the 59 seats contested, scored 64.4% in success rate while the Congress won a lowest ever tally of 8 of the 56 seats it contested with a success rate of only14.5 %

In 2003, the NCP contested seven seats but drew a blank and polled 17,726 votes(1.99%).In 2008 it won 2 out of the eight seats contested polling 45,397(4.01%) and in 2013 it won 4 of the 14 seats it contested, polling 63026 (5.84 %).

The fortunes of the BJP, which contest 38 seats and winning its biggest ever tally in the north east with 7 seats in 2003;showed a consistent dip in 2008 when it won only 2 of the 23 seats contested. In 2013, the BJP won 1 of the 11 seats it contested.

The JD (U) had won 3 of the 13 seats it contested in 2003 and in 2008 it drew a blank in the 3 seats it contested. In 2013, JD (U) won 1 out of the 3 seats it contested.

The United Naga Democratic Party (UNDP) which entered the fray for the first time in 2008 and then in 2013 drew a blank.

For the independent candidates, the number ‘7’ appear to be ‘lucky’ as Independent candidates won 7 of the 17 seats contested in 2003 and seven of the 33 seats contested in 2008 and again winning 7 of the – seats contested in 2013. NPN