Father of the nation without a nation

By: Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd), Fotest Colony, Kohima

It is rather comical and amusing that few Nagas are vehemently squabbling over the whether Mr. Phizo can or cannot be called the “Father of the Nation”. This is an honorific title conferred to a man considered to have been the driving force behind the establishment of a Nation. In simple terminology a recognized Nation must first exist for the application of such a title. I said it is comical because we do not have a Nation of our own yet and amusing because we are wasting our time fighting over a fatherhood of a non-existing nation. Without doubt, Mr. Phizo at this point in time, qualifies to be referred to as a father but beyond this…without a nation? What? We cannot preempt a nation that is still being fought for. Should that Nation ever become reality, it still remains the prerogative of history to confer or defer this title from the ground realities events. It will not happen because one is able to exert brute force.

This brings us to the oft repeated and childish concoction of twisted Naga history by Mr. Kaka D. Iralu. His myopic rendition of Naga History reduces it to irrelevance as seen from his response to ‘Lt. Col.’ S.A Chishi. (25th August 2013: Nagaland Post). Though this letter has not been addressed to me I too react since he has written it for the information of all Nagas.
NNC and the FGN are the two sides of the same coin. NNC cannot discard the action of FGN when the going gets rough and wallow in its glory when the time is congenial. But Shillong Accord was signed jointly by the representatives of NNC and the FGN with the tacit understanding and approval of people like Zashei Huire and V. Metha. It is a blatant lie to claim that “NNC had nothing to do with it”. It is the same expression made by Madam Adino in her Naga Independence Day message which sounded as awful and as hollow.

The Federal Emergency meeting held from 29th November to December 1st 1975 at Ura Dihoma was not a fictitious gathering. Just so that the people can judge for themselves let me once again quote verbatim, the relevant segment of the resolution of this meeting:
(Quote): “A careful study along with the implications of each item has been made and decision taken is as follows:-

The Emergency Meeting, having received the Report from the Federal and NNC Representatives on the Shillong Accord, and having made a serious study of the matter, urged that the Accord be forwarded to Mr. A.Z.Phizo, President of the Naga National Council and Representative of the Federal Government of Nagaland Abroad, for his consent, and hereby re-affirmed that the Talks between the Government of India and the Nagas be conducted by him, so that the final settlement that could be reached with the Government of India might not leave any trail of bitterness among the Nagas”.(Unquote) These same words have been repeated in a statement on 30-12-1975 by Mr. Zashei Huire. He has further said (Quote) “THEREFORE, the Naga Federal authority is morally and legally not competent to include the Number One (1) and the Number three (3) of the SHILLONG ACCORD until this subject is taken up by the competent authority.

We are only competent to carry out the No.2 of the Shillong Accord. We would expect that the Government of India will come to appreciate our present position,” (Unquote)
Clause II of Shillong Accord was implemented. One would be a fool to act upon an agreement that one does not recognize. Clause (I) and (III) was officially forwarded to Mr. Phizo for his co nsent. Does this sound like Shillong Accord did not happen?

From the entire record stated above three things should be clear to anyone with a gray matter. 1. The Shillong Accord was signed by NNC and Federal Government Representatives as confirmed in the Emergency meeting of FGN; There are other sources which confirm this fact. The feeble excuse made by Madam Adino that “some of our people were mislead” in her Naga Independence Day message is a clear admission of an act having been committed, mislead or not. It was all the more reason for Mr. Phizo to officially denounce this stupid mislead Accord instead of being “not silent”.

2. Clause ( I ) and (III) were officially repeat officially forwarded to Mr. Phizo for his consent; It was his National Responsibility to officially reply to the official correspondence and not ignore it. Even as the President of the NNC it was not his personal prerogative to exercise his own whims to reply or not to reply. It was an official obligation that he did. If “He simply did not give recognition to the Shillong Accord”as Kaka says, what was his problem in not being able to communicate it to the FGN accordingly? Laziness? Or that he could not bring himself to officially condemn his own brother’s commission?

3. Clause (II) was accepted and acted upon; This part, we and the world knows. Did Mr. Phizo reprimand Mr. Zashei Huire for implementing this part of the agreement that he did not recognize? The fact that it was acted upon registers the reality of a serious agreement. Mr. Phizo seemed to have given up on the Nagas with his ultra “not silent” indifferent wisdom.
Does all the above proceedings of the Federal Government of Nagaland give the readers a feeling that Shillong Accord 1975 is someone’s fictitious story that did not happen, as expressed by Madam Adino in her Independence Day massage and continues to be harped upon by blind loyalist like Mr. Kaka D. Iralu?

Did Mr. Phizo think that Mr. Zashei Huire was a nursery school boy and his forwarding such an issue of National importance unworthy of an official response? Mr. Phizo “was not silent on the Shillong Accord” says Mr. Kaka D. Iralu.

“He simply did not give recognition to the Shillong Accord” Imagine peddling an atrocious excuse like this! Please do not keep insulting the Nagas with this repeated myopic crap. Mr. Phizo’s “Not silent” and “Did not give recognition” left his flock in a serious state of confusion that resulted in the fragmentation of the Organization. Mr. Phizo undid his life work and brought down the house he had built.

This is what history will record. No Naga will deny Mr. Phizo’s critical contribution to the National Movement but he has left behind a poor legacy in the aftermath. It is unfortunate that his daughter, who could set the record straight, has instead opted for the path of perpetuating the chaos left behind by her father.

Father of the Nation? Which Nation… Confusion? If the fanatically irrational loyalist still want a temporary title usage for Mr. Phizo, the only title readily available is a “Father of no Nation” because we do not have a Nation and the rest…History will decide in its own sweet time if ever.

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Response to Khekiye
Kaka D. Iralu.
27 Aug. 2013

If you want to deride and condemn my 16 years labor of writing about our history as “childish concoction of twisted Naga history” and “myopic crab”, you can have the privilege to do so. I can take all your criticism in my stride as a Naga gentleman. So go ahead brother and write even more derogatory criticisms against me, for I am not the least bothered about your opinion on me. As for me, I stand by what I have written and will apologize to anyone, only if they can substantiate their accusations with historical facts and documents.

You may also please note that my so called concocted history contains many names and father’s names and village names with dates including so many Sema martyrs who laid down their lives in defense of our sovereign nation. But as for your understanding of what a nation is- our views are worlds apart. As far as I am concerned, whether India or the UN recognizes it or not, a nation is a nation if they have a concrete historical record about their forefathers and a concrete geographical land that they have inhabited for thousands of years. Such a nation has its own inalienable right and prerogative to declare its own independence irrespective of anybody’s consent or approval. As far as I am concerned, Nagas too are such a nation.

When hundreds of thousands of Nagas have laid down their lives so that you and I can have a country we can call our own, please do not insult their sacrifices as sacrifices for a non existent Naga nation. For 62 years, their blood and their tears have stained the very soil on which you and I have built our homes and raised our children.

As for your other allegations that “the Shillong Accord was signed jointly by the representatives of NNC and FGN with the tacit understanding and approval of people like Zashei Huire and V. Metha,” let the NNC and FGN leaders reply you. As for me, I am not an official of either organizations and their officials also have no obligation to defend me or my views. Like you and me, they also all have their flaws and short comings, and I am not a fanatical worshiper of either Phizo or Adino or any other leaders of our nation.
With very sincere respects for an elder brother.

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Open letter to Khekiye K. Sema

Thihü Khamo, assistant secretary,
Federal Government of Nagaland
28 Aug. 2013

We are aware of your writings appearing in the Nagaland dailies which could make our people confuse and also make a gap between you and the Naga nation. Therefore, we want your valuable time to have free and frank discussion on 2nd September, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in Transit Peace Camp, Kohima.

You may not have much knowledge about the Naga historical background of the Naga nation because from your youth till your retirement, you were in the service of Government of India. It is natural that the amount you devote your life in another nation’s service the deeper you ought to understand the policy of that nation, likewise the more the Nagas suffered in the hands of India and its Armed Forces the deeper we understand the Naga nation.

The struggle for Naga freedom is more than six decades, still than by God’s grace there are some few national leaders who can share with you the facts and historical background of the Nagas without any reservation.
The Naga nation is not saved by man but it is the purpose of God’s plan to be a nation among nations. Many a time we desire to have an open discussion with intellectual Naga people like you and share the love of God that God had shown to our people doing miracle things in this long journey. We eagerly well-come you to meet us on the appointed date which will bring benefit to both of you and the people of Nagaland. The Naga nation does not belong to only one person but is a common property of every Naga and Nagas as a whole.

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A Response to the Open Letter to Thihu Khamo Asst. Secretary, Federal Government of Nagaland

Mr. Assistant Secretary, Federal Government of Nagaland, SIR,

I thank you for your ‘invitation’. While doing so, may I also full heartedly endorse what you have said that “Naga Nation does not belong to only one person but is a common property of every Naga and Nagas as a whole”. It is precisely because of this reason that I have been making efforts within the limits of my understanding to generate a fair open minded public discourse to establish clarity rather than confusion for all our sakes. If you are confused by my points of view it is your responsibility to come and have it clarified, otherwise express your own in the public domain for the people living in the ‘common Naga Nation’ to decide for themselves which of the view is correct, rather than issue an ‘invitational’ summons with a rigid date , time and place to teach me history lessons. I was never too keen in attending class during my collage years and that habit has still not waned. However, since this is a common issue that concerns all the Nagas, I would gladly participate should you call for such a meeting of all the Factions (which should invariably include the Accordist and the Non- Accordist factions of the NNC and the FGN), all the Tribal Hohos and all the other NGOs so that together we can have a full fledged debate to clear our heads.

Thank you for humbling me about my lack of “much knowledge about the Naga historical background of the Naga nation” because from my “youth till my retirement”, I “have been in the service of the Government of India”. I would assume that with your numerous sacrifices for the Nation made from your Transit Peace Camp, Kohima, you would have attained the status of a demi-God by now to know and impose who has and who has no knowledge of the Naga history, especially with a gun in hand. Yes, I readily agree that I don’t know much and have an open mind to always welcome an opportunity to learn more, but certainly not under unhealthy environment. Let me just say this as simply as I can for you to understand that I consider myself as being a thorough Naga with all my limitations. Let me also tell you this, that having served under the Government of India did not necessarily involve a dilution of my pride of my identity as a Naga. Every bit of that service period has been spent to render the best I can for the welfare of the people of Nagaland not any place else. Neither have I served with a closed up mind not to see the blatant hypocrisy within the once proud united national movement and the mockery we have made of the sacrifices of the generation that went before us.

It is very sweet of you to want to “share the love God” with me. Personally I am a God fearing man and I have yet to get over it. Besides, enlightening me alone in some quiet secluded corner would not solve the Naga confusion or problem.

It is your privilege to invite me and it my privilege to humbly decline your invitation. So thank
you again.

Khekiye K. Sema

Remembering Martyr’s day – 27th August 1948

In September 1946, the Naga National League (NNL) was organized to consolidate the Nagas of Manipur in order to bring together the Naga people separated by colonial boundaries.

The Nagas of Manipur were independent of the Manipur Raja before the advent of the British. Even after the British came, they were administered by the political department of the British Crown. The Manipur Raja and his darbar administered only the valley area till 15th August 1947.
After 15th August 1947, when the paramountcy was transferred to the Maharaja of Manipur without the consent of the hill people, the NNL stated the Nagas of Manipur will not remain with the Meiteis since the latter had never conquered the Nagas and declared that it would be impossible for the Nagas to preserve the best of their culture, tradition, customary laws and political practices should the Naga people and their land be split up and placed under different influence and politics.

The NNL expressed their strong desire to merge with the Naga Hills District of Assam through the BOYCOTT of the preparation of electoral rolls in Naga areas. The first General Election under the Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 was held in June 1948. The Nagas in Manipur boycotted the election.

They thereafter launched the “NO TAX CAMPAIGN” when Maharaj Kumar Priyobrata Singh was the Chief Minister of Manipur. The Campaign was spearheaded by Mr. A. Daiho(Mao) and Mr. N. Modoli(Poumai), President and Secretary respectively of the NNL. The Nagas in Manipur refused to pay the annual House Tax to the Government of Manipur and instead submitted their annual house tax to Charles Pawsey, D.C. of Naga hills of Assam at Kohima.

It was an act of defiance against the Authority of the State, under which the Nagas of Manipur had been placed without their consent. It was also a means of putting pressure on the Indian Government for securing the merger of the Nagas in Manipur with the Naga hills District.
27th August 1948 “ MARTYRS’ DAY” :

The Manipur Maharaja, Budh Chandra sent a combined force of Assam Rifles and Manipur Police to arrest Mr. A.Daiho and other leaders. Equipped with machine guns the Assam Rifles took position in and around Mao Inspection Bungalow in war like fashion and indiscriminately fired at the volunteers/ students of the Mao-Maram Tribal Council (now Mao, Maram, Poumai, Thangal and Upper Zeliang) who were blocking the road leading to the residence of Mr. A. Daiho.
In the firing, the followings were killed/grievously wounded :

Name Village Status
1. Mr. Asiisii Hepuni Punanamei Volunteer(killed on the spot)
2. Mr. Mahriili Lohrii Kalinamei Student (killed on the spot)
3. Mr. Modo Kholi Kalinamei Student (killed on the spot)
4. Mr. Daikho Hesho Chowainamei Khullen Volunteer (succumbed to injuries)
5. Mr. Obow Adani Punanamei Volunteer (succumbed to injuries)
6. Mr. Kaisii Mathibo Punanamei Volunteer(Expired-12thAug, 2013)
7. Mr. Obow Ashiho Punanamei Student(Still alive)

Many other male and female volunteers and students received injuries from bullets, rifle butts, lathis, and boots of the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police on that day.

The indiscriminate firings and use of violent force finally succeeded in dispersing the demonstrators and the two leaders viz. Mr. A. Daiho of Song Song village and Mr. N. Modoli of Tunggam village along with Mr Kaikho Dili of Tadubi and Mr Athikho Sibo of Song Song were finally arrested. The arrested leaders, all the dead bodies and injured persons were herded away to Imphal in the Assam Rifles convoy. After being kept at Imphal Central Jail, Mr A. Daiho and Mr. N. Modoli were shifted to Dum Dum(now Kolkata) Central Jail as political prisoners.
In memory and honour of those who suffered and made the ultimate sacrifice for the integration of all Nagas, sixty-six years ago, the Mao Students’ Union has perpetuated this day in memory by observing it as “The Martyrs’ Day”. As the event is a landmark in the history of political movement of the Nagas in Manipur, the observation is being organized this year by the Mao Council under the aegis of the United Naga Council (UNC).

Build people not buildings

By: Robert N. Solo, T. Khel, Kohima Village.: 30 Aug. 2013 12:41 AM IST

When I am on the road, I see many churches all over Nagaland, some are very big and some are small, but sometimes I wonder, what the hell are these beautiful churches doing? What is the use of all these material things? Do we really have good Christians in Nagaland? Now it is high time that we become Christ oriented not just church buildings. I noticed that some preachers are so concerned about development of the church who just hang around the offices for funds and don’t give a damn about people and the faith, as a result the church produces monsters in the society. Some churches are led by bureaucrats who are supposed to be in office but they just ignore their duty to wear the mask of a good person in the church; we revere and respect those who are ignoring their duty in the office and serving in the church wearing all sorts masks to prove themselves, so we are also not less than these corrupt officials because we are encouraging them. Even thieves look at their leader with great respect, and honour him as if he is the most ethical person in the world knowing very well that he is a thief.

K. N. Kumar an IAS officer said in one of his speeches, ‘It is very sad that today people are building only buildings, we are the government to build people but unfortunately we are just building buildings.’ This person is atheist who openly claims he doesn’t believe in God, but I see God in whatever he does, I see a deep spiritual gifts in him too. He is one of those who has inspired me so much because of his unselfishness, he is changing the face of Meghalaya because of his ethics and purity. In Nagaland hospitals are built uselessly because there is no doctor to serve poor people, there are officials in a certain area where people are so lazy even to go and draw the salary so they ask people to bring it to their homes. After seeing all the suffering of the people, my conclusion is that, if we don’t address the need of desperate people, we will give birth to more desperadoes for more bloodshed. Many people are despaired, and they are the most dangerous people for our tomorrow.
The government never give so much salary to get very rich as to have all the luxury cars and assets which our officials are having, there are shares for even for the poorest and the weakest and the most uneducated people. To get good education and good medical treatment is our fundamental right, we are not asking it from NPF or Congress party, it is from the central government so no one has the right to take it from us.

No matter how far and remote we may be, we deserve a good road because Delhi has sanctioned enough money for it. Had the money been used judiciously, our roads would have been better than the roads of Shillong and Sikkim because the schedule rate for making road in Nagaland is the highest. Nagaland doesn’t need money, we need ethics to build people. NPN