Naga Nationalism and the Present Naga Generation

By: D.Neli Koso, Kohima

Naga Nationalism was borne out of our wise Naga elders’ hearts. Their vision to let the Nagas stay a free people should remain as what our elders intended it to be. But what has become of our movement for freedom today? We have so many groups claiming to represent the Nagas’ aspiration. There is no denying the fact that multiple – taxations needs to stop sooner than later. We have divided ourselves into different groups, fighting each other to the advantage of our adversary. All the groups need to get back on same track as one single entity to deliver the so called final lethal upper cut to the opponent’s jaw. When can all the groups get back on track to do that? The sooner the better no question about that.
Who will do the necessary ground works for such a venture?  Will it finally be FNR which has tirelessly been pursuing for reconciliation of the different factions and the possibility for the formation of a Naga National Government? Or will the recently formed ACAUT’s initiatives in some ways force the different groups to come to some kind of understanding amongst them? Can one Naga National Government be formed and one Naga Nation and the One –Tax slogan become a reality?

The recently held rally by ACAUT in Dimapur was attended by thousands of people which included a large number of youths. The youths are the pillars of tomorrow, so the saying goes and the youths today are rightly worried about their economic survival tomorrow. So, when multiple -taxation was imposed, they rose up as one protesting against the perceived wrong.

However, except for this show of emotional outpouring at the rally, our youths today seem to lack the knowledge of how the Nagas’ struggle for political sovereignty was necessitated and the reason why the Nagas had to take up arms to defend themselves from the aggressor India and this lack of historical perspective among the young participants may well become a contributing factor for many a participant who might opt out of ACAUt’s movement in the future as the phrase “little knowledge is dangerous”  dawns upon them.

When one is familiar with the historical background of an issue, it becomes easier to surmise the cause of a problem and the remedial measures thereof needed to solve it. However, the -inter- factional Naga -family issue is complicated because blood has been spilled and many lives have been lost.
Today, I think parents have a duty to educate their children on the issue of Indo-Naga conflict. Parents would be failing in their duty as a Naga if our Naga history which is a story of suffering and sorrow is not made known and told to our children so that they can know the cause of the problem and be in a better position to solve the problem.

The past has led to the present and the present will lead to the future. Therefore, for the future to be good the present will have to be corrected by looking at the past mistakes. Without historical knowledge of the Naga movement our children would be ill-equipped to fight the good fight and mere knee-jerk reactions would just be short term remedies at best.

As narrated to me by some elders, during the 1940s to the 1960s Naga nationalism was at its peak and the majority of Nagas supported the Naga National movement in one capacity or the other.
A good number of the educated Nagas in the 1940s and 50s had joined NNC then, as it was the political body of the Nagas at that point in time. However, from the 60s onwards, the educated class became more inclined towards joining the new government of the newly created state for jobs, as avenues for jobs became available after Nagaland attained statehood.

Today, we often tend to shrug off and ignore our brothers – in – arms as a bunch of illiterates who are good at nothing except at extorting and sometimes brand them as misfits of society. But, are we justified in branding them so, although we sometimes do so understandably at the spur -of -the -moment emotion or in a fit of anger?  As is the case in every organization there are bound to be rotten apples in the basket, no doubt about that.

However, to all those National Workers who are and have been tirelessly sacrificing everything for the just cause of the Nagas, they will be rewarded one day for their sacrificial service. We the Naga public would be failing in our duties if we also only look and point at their mistakes (no doubt mistakes should be pointed out and ultimately rectified) but we also do need to acknowledge the sacrifices of the National Workers. The hardships faced by them in the line of duty will never be able to be comprehended by us the public.

Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches and therefore both the Public as well as the National Workers only knows where their shoe pinches them! In the end, let both the Public and the National Workers learn to understand and appreciate each other’s difficulties and begin to respect one another’s point of views in the days to come: On the other hand, let bygones be bygones and may all the different Naga factions forge into a single Naga National Government for a brighter future of all Nagas as per the wishes of the Naga people. -NPN

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