‘Nagaland tribes’, the latest bone of contention

bY Thepfuhouvi Solo

9 Jun. 2013

It appears some of us take ancient Traditional Story the same as recorded History. This is like taking (Kubiraj) Alchemy, a combination of Chemistry, Magic and Philosophy of the middle ages the same as modern Scientific Medical Knowledge. Some Nagas tend to take ancient traditional accounts as Gospel Truth if it happens to be of his or her community but as Apocryphal if it is of other Tribes.
We expect others to respect our Traditions, but are hesitant to give the same respect to others; moreover, we sometimes place our mouth where the knee properly should be in talking about others. We need to learn to respect the views of others if we want others to respect ours so that the world considers us respectable, reasonable and rational persons.

First of all, some Nagas conjecture the forefathers of all Naga Tribes to have lived together as brothers and sisters of one family in one determinate place in the dim past. There are no archeological or Traditional rational support that place all Naga forefathers living as brothers of one family in one place in time immemorial. Some Nagas seem to have migrated directly from Myanmar, some from Manipur and some others from across the Burail range to present Nagaland.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no story, traditional or not, of any one Naga being the Patriarch of a Naga Tribe in the manner Abraham or Jakob of the Jews is. The overwhelming majority of Nagas today does not even remember the names of their forefathers beyond the 7th Generation which is roughly only some 210 years, whereas even 1000 years in the history of a People is just like a Second in the history of the civilization of a People.

We can estimate the accuracy of our memory of ancient unwritten accounts of dim past of time immemorial when the overwhelming majority of our Children today do not even remember the recorded history of the Naga People just 63 years ago of how we became a People starting with the Naga Institution of Naga National Council!

It takes many many generations of man to evolve a distinct Language; the existence of distinct Language in each and every Naga Tribe indicates the existence of distinct Tribes since time immemorial. The British Colonial forces scribbled the Ahom word ‘Naaga’ (pronounced Noga) into written ‘Naga’; prior to that, the scantily dressed or undressed people living in the many hilltops, were not united into a single Naga People. The Tribes lived separately in Villages completely sovereign of each others and often coveting the heads of the other Villagers! No two Tribes lived in haphazardly mixed Village Territories of one another. Each Tribe lives in separate distinct Territories.

Nagas never knew themselves or lived together a united one People before the mistaken Assamese word Noga was scripted Naga in Roman Letter by the Colonial British and Christianity of the American Baptists, united them into One People.

Last year on 18th August 2012, in the News Papers, I wrote an Article on: “Who is a Naga Tribe?” because I felt the question should be clearly settled in the minds of all of us Mongolian Hillmen of the North East, who considers himself or herself a Naga is a Naga. Unless this Idea is clear in the Naga Tribes, the Writer felt difficulties may arise in future. Today, I feel a perverse glee the difficulties I apprehended have come earlier than expected. It has come as a result of the recent Cabinet’s hasty declaration of the Rongmeis, overwhelmingly a Naga Tribe of Manipur as a “Tribe of Nagaland” and thus opening a hornet’s Nest.

A Tribe of Nagaland, or of Assam, or of Arunachal, of Manipur or of Myanmar, has political rights only of the Territory he/she is in. Manipur was a highly placed Princely State earlier when present State of Nagaland was only a small lowly erstwhile Naga Hills District supposedly of Assam.
When Nagaland was only an AREA called NHTA (Nagahills Tuensang Area), the Chief Executive Councilor Late P. Shilu sent Executive Councilor Late Chiten Jamir went to Manipur to invite Naga Tribes of Manipur to join Nagaland on the verge of becoming a State but the Nagas there preferred to stay in the Princely State than join Nagaland. Nagas or Non-Nagas, preferred not to be of Naga Hills before it became enviously Nagaland of today with special extra-ordinary Constitutional provisions.
This is the way people behave historically Naga brothers or not, and the Leaders of Nagaland would do well to have this historic perspective in deciding the future of the Tribes of Nagaland. Nagas of Nagaland did not get Nagaland for nothing; India gave Article 371A to Nagaland not for nothing.
Late A.Z. Phizo President of the NNC was not heard for a long time in the Jungles of Naga Hills in spite of very intensive Intelligence search. Rumors began to spread he even died: Delhi took the rumors and had given up Phizo alive.

The Naga People Conference Leaders were having talks with Jowaharlal Nehru in Delhi for the future of NHTA.

Then, one fine morning, out of the blue, suddenly UK Papers reported Phizo is in London and Indian Papers splashed the News in their Front Pages: ‘PHIZO, NNC President landed in UK’. Equally unexpectedly, Nehru easily agreed for Nagaland State with Article 371 of the Indian Constitution for the People of Nagaland. A very learned youth once described this Writer specifically by name in the News Paper that I am a person “who knows nothing” for my saying ‘TENYIMIE’ is not a single Tribe but a group of Tribes.

Some goodly years have passed and I presume I deserve a modest degree of promotions! So, at the risk of being now called ‘a deranged person with perverse views’, I would audaciously suggest the TENYIMI UNION should be disbanded for the future good of Nagaland. The Tenyimie consists of a convenient number of Nagaland Tribes together with one or more from the outside. Each Tribe in the Tenyimie has a distinct Language of its own. Necessarily, each Tribe has the Bible and the Hymn Book of the Church in its own tribal Language not intelligible to other Tribes.

When everything is said and done, the single most important criterion to distinguish Tribes is its LANGUAGE. If two People speak two different Languages, they are in all probability, different Tribes; they may have one or two human practices in common but that would not make them one Tribe of one Culture.

To the best of my knowledge, officially Tenyimie (Tenyimi) is not declared a single Tribe, yet once notified, its contents will act like the Trojan Horse and Zeliangrong or ANY non-Nagaland Tribe combined with one or more from Nagaland, can easily be passed off as ‘Nagaland Tribe’ to the ultimate undoing of the Nagaland Tribes of Nagaland. Once the Fence Wall is breached, the Vineyard is not safe from the Wild Boar, -very unchristian language but 5 wise Virgins of New Testament could not share their limited Oil with their other 5 virgins friend in the middle of the night.

Tenyimie (Tenyimi) is not yet become a Tribe but under wise Coaching Class; Tenyidie, the Angami language, had been recorded in the Census Papers as supposed to be the Mother Tongue of Tenyimie, – little far fetched in that people who do no understand a word of Tenyidie (Angami) are supposed to declare Tenyidie as his/her Mother Tongue!

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