Nagaland Tribes: The Latest Bone of Contention” by Thepfulhouvi Solo appeared in The Morung Express on 09.06.2013. Tenyimi People’s Organisation (TPO) is compelled to respond, after careful analysis, as the article calls for certain clarifications for public interest on the historical stand of the Tenyimi family of Naga group through this rejoinder. In 2009 also the said writer seemed to have tried to confuse the Tenyimi family, by saying some of the tribes wear loin cloth while others are kilted, meaning that they are not from the same genealogical lineage. It is not the dress but the blood lineage and affinity that bind the Tenyimi family together. TPO Research Committee was constrained to give a rejoinder which appeared in the local dailies on 30.11.2009.
It is the considered opinion of the TPO that if the writer first understood the important features of family, clan and tribes based on blood and culture line, he would never advocate for the disbanding of the Tenyimia people’s family. As far as TPO is concerned, we uphold the fact of our history handed down to us through generations of our forefathers that the generations of Tenyiu are known as Tenyimi or Tenyimia and Tenyima. The TPO is an organization of genealogical lineage without political agenda, reorganized after a gap of many generations with utmost commitment to their affinity, wrestling culture, promotion of their Tenyimi language, literature, cultural values, traditional heritage and customary practices.
TPO units are spread over three states viz. Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. Recognition to each other is a continuous behavioral attitude in Tenyimi family before and during the British regime. For instance, traditional wrestling was a common sport of all Tenyimi, organized during the construction of the Naga Civil Hospital Kohima. The same wrestling culture of Tenyimi goes on till date. We are a group of people who grew and multiplied through blood-lineage, cultural affinity and Tenyimi is a canonized term that everybody knows. To the TPO, Mr. T. Solo’s suggestion to disband the Tenyimi family is a serious uncalled for insult. Before he asks for such a wild suggestion, he would better disband his personal family to prove his sincerity to Naga unity, if the disbanding of a family can bring about harmony and unity to a society. If any Naga tribe takes TPO as a casually formed, artificial or farcical organization then it only reveals their ignorance. Naga society is uniquely made up of clans and khels at the base and the community at the higher level in terms of socialization. Charity or unity begins at home and not otherwise.
Another significant feature is the family and clan based on blood relationship of male line. Evidently, a clan spread over to many villages and several tribal communities. As per the initial representation of the report of the Research Committee of TPO, many common religious practices are revealed amongst the Nagas in sub-fields of cultural study. Certain clans of Sumi, Ao and Lotha communities are also from the Tenyimi lineage. However, those datas are yet to be authenticated and needs more data analysis. The writer’s unprovoked call for the disbanding of the Tenyimia Union for future good of the Nagas is in itself an attempt to destabilize the long tradition of the priceless Naga social fabric which is cherished by all Nagas. TPO has never and ever attempted a policy to dislodge the harmony of any tribal identity so associated till today by claiming that such clan belongs to Tenyimi group, so as to maintain the unity of the big Naga family.
Our objective and attempt is to authenticate the inter-relationships that exist for historical reconstruction and a closer intimacy between various Naga tribal communities. In terms of language and culture variations, TPO agrees that all TPO units have different labels of languages, however, our languages are not distinct from each other at all levels. The main activities of the TPO at hand are those conducted by Ura Academy: promoting Tenyimi language, an Institute of World Languages for study of different languages, protection and preservation of our natural ecosystem, organizing and promoting the heritage of our wrestling culture, etc.
TPO is not a fabricated organization with opportunistic motivation for political gain. It is the apex body of the Tenyimi family striving to get to know one another better, to co-operate to deepen their unity, drawing strength and wisdom from their shared roots, originality, identity and common lineage. Every Naga has multiple-identity from personal to family, to clan, to village, and the wider Naga family gradually becoming a people. The said writer will have a wild goose chase if he thinks that TPO will bow down to his perverted version of distortion and destructive intention.
Vice President, TPO