Dear Fellow Nagas,
At the very outset I extend my warmest greetings to this august gathering.
Today, I am proud enough to say that I have been a true Naga patriot having sacrificed sixty years of my life fighting occupation forces of India and Burma. Nagaland is God’s gift to every Naga and for this I have given my blood, sweat and tears. Thousands have sacrificed their very lives and many are still alive to share their heart rending tales fighting common enemy shoulder to shoulder and in profound unity.
They say ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ this was true during the early days of our struggle. We were welded together in a single fold and Naga unity was like an impregnable fort capable of withstanding enemy onslaught. As we marched on towards our National goal, initially Naga National workers were divided into three commands namely, Northern command led by Ao officers, Southern command led by Angami officers and Central command led by Sema officers. Gradually the bonhomie, cohesiveness and solidarity among the Nagas began to diminish but the national spirit was sky high.
It is my hope and belief that the spirit of Nationalism will never isolate us. The same spirit must be awakened in us once again thereby a united pursuit to our undying national goal could be achieved. Unless a people come together with purpose, peace will remain elusive. Our past achievements, our labor, efforts and sacrifices will have no meaning; solution will remain a mere dream.
To create a common future, our positive vision must be grasped by the Naga people. There is a great danger in defying peoples will.
For instance, the first interim Government in Nagaland was ushered in through the effort of men like Dr. Imkonglibe Ao, Longna Tawang and others. The ramifications were far reaching and Dr. Imkongliba ultimately paid with his life.
Secondly, the swift formation of Revolutionary Government of Nagaland (RGN) initiated by Gen. Kaito did not help the Naga cause much as it collapsed and the members surrendered on their own violation to the GOI, without making any political commitment.
Thirdly, the signing of Shillong Accord further brought misery and misunderstanding among Naga brothers. More Indian Military was poured into Nagaland bringing untold suffering to the Nagas. With the death of thousands of Nagas in eastern and western Nagaland began the fratricidal killing among the Nagas began.
The split within NSCN in 1998 is another tragic chapter in Naga history. It was a culmination of simmering tension within the leaders. Ideological differences, administrative differences, clash of ego among the leaders took an ugly turn. Killing of Nagas by Nagas was shamefully justified while preaching ‘NAGALAND FOR CHRIST’
Presently, some of our Naga brothers have accused my Government of hobnobbing with the GOI and inching towards finding a solution for only sixteen tribes in the present state of Nagaland. Many are accusing GPRN/NSCN of ignoring the rest of the Nagas of Manipur, Auranachal Pradesh and Assam. This accusation is visionless, shortsighted and illogical. We should not daydream anymore. The state of Nagaland is the sheet anchor if we are to reach to our people in our ancestral land. It is our launch pad to continue strengthening social, cultural, historical and emotional connection among the Nagas. I will not indulge in whipping up sentiments and emotions by forever shouting pan-Naga solution, sovereignty or integration of Naga homeland. We become smaller and smaller in the eyes of our neighbors and our enemies multiply and gang up to ridicule us. What I know is Naga people and their land was divided by the occupational forces in the past. Nagas even in the state of Nagaland are a divided house today and honorable political solution with the GOI is still illusive.
I am a eternal optimist and a peace lover therefore my advice to the dedicated leaders, the intellectuals and the political conscious Nagas is: if we focus our mind and spirit to true peace; if we act upon what we say during peace meetings, I believe acceptable political solution with GOI is not far from us. Watching silently and observing from the top will not make anyone a patriot. The NGOs, the intellectuals, the believers in Naga nationhood must stand and participate in nation building. Protracted Indo-Naga political problem needs concerted effort. GPRN/NSCN informs the GOI that unless an acceptable political settlement is inked, thousands of stubborn Naga youth shall rise and claim their God given land.
I thank the Naga Churches irrespective of denominations, the FNR, the apex Naga frontal organizations, the tribal bodies, senior citizens, the mothers, the students, the Naga well-wishers in Nagaland and around the world. NPN
BY: Gen. (Retd.) Khole Konyak, The President, GPRN/NSCN