Today one of the main reasons of not being active in mass participation in Naga National Movement (NNM) is due to people’s bankruptcy in Naga historical background. If we know the Naga history, we cannot resist from supporting the NNM. I have got lots of questions that rise in my mind when I think the need of writing Naga history and introducing Naga History as school and college textbooks. Some of the most important questions are – Is there any nation in this world without any written history? Why Naga history need to be written and included in schools, colleges and universities syllabus in Nagalim? Why is it important to know Naga history? Do you think there is less mass participation and support in Indo-Naga talks due to lack of knowledge in Naga history? How many of our Naga educated people know in details about the Naga history? Why many educated Nagas are poor in Naga history? Do you ever come across any word mentioning about the Naga history in Indian history? Do you think it is high time to write Naga history for school and college textbooks? What is our government, Naga historians and scholars were doing in last 50 years? Why none of our Naga historians, scholars and leaders realize the importance of introducing Naga history in school and college? What are the main obstacles that we the Nagas could not write the Naga history and have Naga history in school and college textbooks?
(A Political Perspective)
– R. B. Thohe Pou
There are many books written on Nagas by foreigners, Indians and Naga scholars. However, it is quite bizarre that Naga history is still not written even for school and college textbooks. The Nagas want to be an independent country but whether it is really desired or not, it is high time to write Naga history and introduce in schools, colleges and universities textbooks…
In this article, I may not be able to answer all the above questions. However I believe that the government, Naga philosophers, thinkers, writers and leaders would answer all the above questions. We, the Nagas have enough historians, philosophers, scholar and writers. Nevertheless, it seems the Nagas are so callous to write Naga history. I am sure that it would not be an easy task to write Naga history but there are copious of documents and books, which we can write the Naga history. We the Nagas study Indian history, but do we study Naga history in school or college level? I personally feel that if the Naga history had been introduced in school and college textbooks in 1950’s or at least by 1980’s, it would have awoken the hearts of the educated Naga people with alacrity to participate and extend more solidarity to Naga National Movement or Indo-Naga peace talks.
Today, many educated Naga people have no inspiration and conviction and not ardently supporting the NNM due to lack of Naga historical knowledge. There are many foreigners and Indians who know Naga history better than the Nagas in Nagalim. Unless we know the Naga history, it will be difficult for active mass participation in Nagas struggle for integration or sovereignty. There are many educated Naga people who are dithering to participate in NNM because they have not even browse the Naga history; they are not aware of the Nagas right to self-determination. How can we anticipate the layman to know the Naga history when the educated people do not know the Naga history and are bewildered?
In the present scenario, the urgent need in Nagalim is to impart the knowledge of Naga history to the mass. There is not any specific written Naga history book. However we can read from different books and we need to have lots of seminars on Naga history among the educated Naga people also along with the laymen. The Naga Civil Society (NCS) are actively involved in spreading the Naga issue to many civil societies in India through documentary movies and printed books especially to the non-Nagas. I am sure that it would definitely a help to the civil societies to understand more about the Naga issues and problems. Recently I got a VCD (documentary movie, Naga Story-the other side of silence?) from Mr. Shekho George (a civil society active member) and I have screened that documentary movie in Interdisciplinary Discussion Group, University of Pune and a discussion based on that documentary movie was discussed. There were lots of responses from the imminent Professors, Research scholars and other students. I personally feel that all the educated Naga people should have thorough knowledge on Naga history or whatever we know about Naga history, we should pass on to the Naga friends and non-Naga friends.
There is little written Naga history for school textbooks in Nagaland State but that is not enough and we need to include more even for school level and include the whole history in college level. It is very late by now to introduce the Naga history in school and college level. However, ‘Better late than never’. We do not know how long it will take to solve the Naga political problem. But I am optimistic that Naga problem will be solved in our life time or generation. Even if the Naga problem is solved and Nagalim becomes an independent country or what ever it may be, the Naga history cannot be snubbed and throw into dustbin. It is high time that we the Naga scholars need to write Naga history for school and college textbooks. If our senior Naga writers and government of Nagaland would have taken the initiative to write the Naga history earlier, by now all the educated Naga people might have good historical background.
Today if we ask the graduate or Post Graduate student about the Nine Points Hydari Agreement, s/he may say, “I am not aware of that Agreement”. Recently, the Naga Students Union, Pune (NSUP), held their 24th Annual Literary and Cultural Meet on 26th January 2005, and in that Quiz Competition, a question was asked, “When was the Shillong Accord made?”, the quiz participants answered, in 1962, 1963, 1972 etc. Finally the question was passed to the audience. Then some of us raised our hands and I said, “It was in 1975”. However the Quizmaster said “Sorry, it was in 1965”. Then I was little bit embarrassed. I went home to check again from the book and I found that the Shillong Accord was made on 10-11 November 1975. See – this is how some of our educated people have the knowledge about the Naga history. I doubt that many of us know when the British first came to Naga Hills, Formation of Naga Club, NNC, Nine Points Agreement, Shillong Accord, Breaking up of NSCN, ongoing peace talks etc.
There are many books written on Nagas, however only the Naga writers, scholars, leaders and very few people who are interested in Naga struggle for sovereignty read the books. One of the important reasons or attributes that the school or college going students do not read the Naga book is that all the books are not easily available to all the people; it is mostly confined in some good institutes or Universities in India. I am from a remote village, Senapati District Manipur and I was not aware of the Naga history before I take up my PhD research work. And like me there are more than 90% of the total populations of Nagas who do not get the facility to read the books on Nagas, which is written by foreigners, Indians and Naga scholars. The price of the book on Nagas or any book on Tribal is relatively costlier than the school or college textbooks. We the Nagas or Indigenous people are poor and there are many students who do not have money to purchase their school or college textbooks so there is no question arise to buy and read the book on Nagas. I think the best way for all the Nagas to know or read the Naga history is to write the Naga history and introduce in school and college textbooks, so that all the books are available, affordable and accessible to all the people. I can confidently say that unless, we know the Naga history, we cannot expect active mass participation in Naga National Movement. As a Naga it is a great shame incase we do not know anything about the Naga history.
In conclusion, I would like to suggestl the Government of Nagaland, Naga Hoho, NSF, Naga Mother’s Association, UNC and all the Naga leaders to consider the importance and need to write and introduce in school textbooks. Secondly, I would like to suggest conducting lots of seminars on Naga history with the Nagas and non-Nagas in different cities, towns and villages. If the government of Nagaland, Naga Hoho, NSF,UNC, etc feel the need to write and introduce the Naga history in school and college textbooks, I am sure there will be some people like me who would love to invest their knowledge, time and energy to write Naga history for school and college textbooks.
Note: (This article was earlier published in www.kuknalim.com in Feb. 2005)