Dimapur, May 19 (EMN): The NSCN (IM) has condemned the “diabolic and outrageous” military action of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) coordinated by the Indian security forces in Naga villages along the Indo-Myanmar border.
“The chaotic situation thus created by the blatant offensive of the Tatmadaw has destabilised the livelihood of the Naga villagers as the Naga people are made to bear the brunt of the Tatmadaw onslaught. What has happened to Hoyat and Laonyu villages is just another act of treachery which will not help strengthen the peace process started by Myanmar government under the 2012 ceasefire agreement,” read a press release from the group on Sunday.
What is important for the Myanmar government, it stated, is to take cognisance of the historical and political rights of the Nagas and go for peaceful means because neither India nor Myanmar is an enemy of the Nagas.
“Aggression of the Indian armed forces in collaboration with the Myanmar armed forces on the rights of the Nagas in that part of Naga territory in the guise of flushing out the Meitei armed groups – UNLF, PLA and ULFA from Assam is a naked and deliberate violation of human rights.
Given the hostility shown by the Tatmadaw’s operation in the so-called Indo-Myanmar corridors, the road to peaceful solution may get jeopardised if they fail to recognise the need for trust, respect and mutual understanding that goes together in solving a political problem that is more complex than one could see.”
Under such circumstances, it stated, Naga people cannot remain “aloof from what our fellow Nagas in the east under Myanmar occupation” are going through at the hands of the Tatmadaw. “We are one Naga family and we express profound solidarity with them at this critical stage of their suffering.”
Also, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) stated that it was deeply disturbed with the ongoing situation of armed confrontation between the Myanmar army and the NSCN (K), resulting in suffering of innocent civilians and destruction of properties in Naga villages in the Naga Self-Administered Zone.
“We send our message of solidarity and hope to the civilians whose safety, livelihood, properties and physical movements are being threatened and denied,” read a statement on Sunday.
It appealed that the recent armed confrontation, “which is buttressed by regional national security interests”, should not sabotage the mental, economic and physical well-being of innocent Naga civilians.
“That conducting armed confrontation, torture and harassment of people and destruction of properties in civilian inhabited areas must be avoided; that the Myanmar army and NSCN-K work to honour the regional-level ceasefire that was signed in April 2012; that intervention of Naga community leaders, humanitarian aid and human rights workers be made possible based on accepted international principles.”
In a separate statement, the Naga Mothers’ Association also expressed deep concern at the sufferings meted out to Nagas in Myanmar. “As mothers who seek peace within all Naga inhabited areas and for our people as well as our northeast neighbours, the NMA strongly appeal to the Burmese authority, the Tamadaw, the NSCN (K) as well as the Indian army on the borders, to ensure that initiatives for peace is upheld for the sake of the people, the unarmed population whose lives and property are endangered through such violent incidents,” it stated.
At the outbreak of the First world war, the British who were ruling over the Naga hills, enlisted approximately 2,000 Nagas, mainly through the initiative of Deputy Commissioner Herbert Charles Barnes, for what was designated as the Naga Labour Corps. The first batch was dispatched on April 21, 1917 for France, and they sailed for that country on April 26, 1917.
Arriving in France in two main groups (688 men on June 21, 1917 and 992 men on July 2, 1917), they were initially divided into the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Naga Labour Companies but to avoid confusion with other Indian Labour Corps units serving in Mesopotamia at that time, these companies were renumbered as the 35th, 36th, 37th and 38th (Naga) Labour Companies. The Naga Labour Corps worked in various places around France and Belgium on salvage work, road repairs among others. They returned to India in mid-1918 A.D
As agreed upon earlier Kuhoi Zhimomi son of a legendary Sumi warrior chief Sukhai Zhimomi was chosen to command over the Naga Labour troops, Hekiqhe Awomi of Surumi village as his assistant, and KHAKHU DIGHALI of Lazami village was choosen as the leader over whole coolies of the Corps.. They were each directed to carry a set of traditional attires along with their spears and machetes, they were divided into groups and made to swing their machetes and spears high into the air and vent out their typical Naga war cries while thumping their feet on the ground. Meanwhile, the Britishers were keenly taking every pictures of this flamboyant movements and later on this pictures was circulated into the Germans territory and made a propaganda that the Britishers have bought an extraordinary race of people called the Nagas from the North Eastern side of Indian sub-continent to fight against the Germans. The British used the Nagas in their psychological game against the German.
It is worth mentionening here that, out of the 2,000 Naga Labour Corps, 1000 belonged to Sumi Tribe and out which 50 was from Lazami village alone.
“Enlisting 50 men from a particular Naga village during the time is no less significant”.
The ablility to gather as many as 50 labourers from a single Naga village is due to the fact that Lazami village was one of the largest villeges in the whole of the Naga Hills even during those days. Moreover, there was one popular and influential Doobashi (Interpreter) at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Kohima Elakha by the name KHUPU KHUWO who also happens to be the First Doobashi (Interpreter) among Sumi Naga tribe. Perhaps, the D.C used this man’s popularity to enlist as many as labourers from his native village.
Men who returned from France formed a socio-political association called the Naga Club with branches in Kohima and Mokokchung immediately after their return in 1918,”. It was this association that submitted a representation to the Simon Commission in 1929 to “Leave Us Alone”, conveying the right of choice of self-determination of the Nagas when the British left India. Thus, The Lazami village had contributed no less in the shaping the present Socio-Political condition of the Naga people.
List of WW-I Participants from Lazami Village and their brief biography:
1. Khakhu Dighali:
Khakhu Dighali was the third and youngest son of Zashena and Tijili. During the first world war he was appointed as the head over all Coolies in the Naga Labour Corps. When the team was sailing towards their destination in Europe, the ship in which they were travelling came under heavy bombardment. In the ensuing battle, Khakhu Dighali saw one Brithish officer (Anonymous) on the brink of drowning. Seeing his officer in distress Khakhu Dighali yodeled “aeu-he-he” (Sumi War Cry) and saved the officer’s life. Therefore, after the war, the officer send a recommendation letter to the then Deputy Commissioner of Naga Hills District at Kohima to reward Khukha Dighali for his bravery. The recommendation was complied and Khakhu Dighali was appointed as “Doobashi” in 1918 A.D. He served as doobashi till 1948 A.D.
After retirement from Doobashi, Khakhu Dighali continued to serve the Naga people in different capacities:
Some of the position held by Khakhu Dighali after retirement from Doobashi are listed
a. SDO Mockokchung : Just before the departure of British from the Naga Hils, Khakhu Dighali was given charge of SDO Mockokchung for Few months. This information has been traced and confirmed from the Centenary Jubilee Souviner of Mockokchung Township. However, the date and year in which he discharged SDO duties is vague.
b. 1948-54 : First Chairman, Bench Court, Pughoboto 1955-59.
c. First Angh (Governor) in the NNC from Pughoboto Range.
d. Died 20th July 1964.
2. Khupu Khuwo:
Around 1845-47 The British Expedition team arrived at Lazami Village for the third
time in little over a decade after the first British Expedition team under Captain Jenkins and Pemberton set foot in the Naga Hills. The team was lead by Major John Butler (sr). During their period of stay at Lazami Village, an Orphaned boy Khupu Khuwo use to fetch water for the Expedition team in exchange for a day’s meal. In course of time, Khupu Khuwo learned Assamese, the language that was a medium of communication of the time. Learning Assamese language proved to be very crucial as it Broke language barrier between the Villagers and the expedition team. Thus, suddenly, an orphaned boy became the most important person in the village as his service was required by both sides for communication. Nevertheless, before any significant development took place, the Expedition team was recalled to Assam due to Dalhousie’s non-intervention policy towards the Naga Hills.
After the withdrawal on Non-Intervention Policy in 1866, the British expedition team started constucting Kohima-Tseminyu-Wokha-Mockokchung road as part of the design to contain restive Nagas tribes of the Barail Mountain range and to protect Assam plain from raid by these Naga tribesmen. A small connecting road meant for horse-drawn cart was also constructed connecting Kohima-Tseminyu-Wokha-Mockokchung road from Kasha junction till Lazami village, and a Bangalow was aslo constructed at Lazami village. In a nutshell, this road was constructed around 1870-75 A.D. It may be mentioned that Khupu Khuwo asssisted the British team and played a major role in constructing the above mentioned road.
By the time Captain John Butler (Jr.), the Political Agent of the Naga Hills Distrcit arrived at Lazami village, Khupu Khuwo was already a household name. It took no time for Butler to identify Khupu Khuwo and their friendship blossomed in no time. Together, they constructed a motorable road from Kohima-Tseminyu-Wokha-Mockokchung road to Lazami village. This road was called
“JOHNY LAGHE” meaning “JOHNY’S ROAD” named after John Butler Jr. and can still be seen at Lazami village. In all probability, Khupu Khuwo was appointed “DOOBASHI” by John Butler Jr. around 1875-76 A.D. Thus, KHUPU KHUWO’s name is etched in history book as the first person among Sumi Naga tribe to be appointed to the acclaimed post of Doobashi.
When the First world war broke out, Khupu Khuwo was serving as Doobashi in the Kohima D.C office under J.H Hutton. He took active part in enlisting the Naga tribesmen in the Naga Labour Corps. Probably, it was due to Khupu Khuwo’s influence and leadership that the Sumi tribe, numbering 1000 men, consituted the single largest tribal representative and Lazami village (Khupu Khuwo’s Native village) numbering 50 men consituted the single largest village representatives in the Naga Labour Corps.
It is also worth mentioning that, Khupu Khuwo was a personal friend and colleague of J.H.Hutton. He was also one of the three interpretors of the Author of “the Sema Naga” and “J.H Hutton’s Tour Dairy in the Naga Hills”. In the acknowledgement note of the later, J.H Hutton wrote, “I am indebted to my friend Khupu Khuwo of Lazami village….”
After conclusion of the First World War, Khupu Khuwo was awardeed “The Medal for Faithful Service” by the British Empire. The photograph of the Medal is enclosed herewith at Annexure-I
3. Kiviye Khuwu:
Kiviye was the eldest son of Khupu Khuwo. Answering to the call of duty, Khupu Khuwo enlisted his eldest son in the Naga Labour corps much against the wishes of his wife and the villagers. Thus, the father-son duo bravely represented Sumi Naga Tribe in the Naga Labour Corps.
There is no record about Kiviye Khupu returning to the village after the war . Hence, in all probability he was killed during the war.
4. Akhalu Sakhama:
No other detail infrormation about Akhalu could be furnished. However, The “BURMA STAR MEDAL” awarded to him is still being preserved by his offsprings. The Photograph of the Medal is attached herewith at Annexure-II
5. Musalho Tsuipu:
He was appointed as Military Interpreter (M.I.) after First World War. He probably died
without a natural heir.
6. Chinisho Tsubohu (Futhena Clan):
7. Khakhu Shukupu:
8. Chinisho Zalipa (Kappo Clan):
9. Khumtsa Amiyi:
10. Ghuzhui Kithonu (Futhena):
11. Asau Saghunu:
12. Asapu Lokunu (swunetho)
13. Khulu Ghuzhukha:
14. Inatha Kulhoba (Tijimi Clan):
15. Zashaena Kurubo (Futhena):
16. Asapu Kuhoyi:
17. Axhi Shelaba:
18. Kupfuna Kamtho:
19. Hethana Swu (assumi):
20. Punaha Tsubaxa:
21. Punumixi Muzakinu:
22. Ghucho Baghu (Kappo):
23. Khulu Kilivinu (Futhena):
24. Kupuna Chuwokha (Assumi):
25. Asapu Jikhapu (Wotsa):
26. Khulu Tuyinu:
28. Nishena Wozami:
29. Khupu Saishe (Tsuipu):
30. Ghukhana Inaghonu:
31. Nishena Ghileshonu (Tsuipu):
32. Kikhu Ghuzuinu:
33. Khumtsa Munumixinu:
34. Punaha Kholau (Kappo):
Although there is no dispute about the figure ”50”, the names and details about the rest 26 men could not be furnished at the moment due to paucity of information and lack of time. However, the Lazami Village Council and every individual citizens shall endeavor to collect the name of the remaining WW-I participants from our village and submit to the concerned Authority in the near future.
NEW DELHI, Aug 16: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has issued a no objection certificate to the Centre in considering the Arunachal Pradesh government’s proposal to amend the list of Scheduled Tribes of the State.
The Arunachal government had proposed doing away with the category ‘any Naga’ tribe and instead recognising the tribes of Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa and Wancho. It has argued that this would be in the larger interest of people belonging to these tribes.
According to the minutes of the meeting there are no other tribes “under the umbrella of any Naga tribe”. So, the “state government’s proposal to replace Naga tribes with Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa and Wancho should be accepted,” the state government has proposed which the NCST has now given a no objection certificate to.
The State government has also proposed the deletion of Abor tribe from its list of Scheduled Tribes claiming there is no such tribe there. Among the other amendments, the state government has also proposed, replacing the tribes of Khampti, Mishmi from its list and replacing them with Tai Khamti, Idu. According to the government, there are no Khampti and Mishmi tribes.
The entity of Momba – another categorised Scheduled Tribe in the list should be replaced with the terms Monpa, Memba, Sartang and Sajolong, according to the proposal.
According to the modalities, the state government has to refer the proposal Register General of India and NCST before it is sent to the Cabinet.
The state government has declared that there are no tribes by the name of Abor, Khampti, Mishmi and Momba in the state and so the proposed amendments should be approved. newindianexpress.com
July 30, 2018
Z.K. Pahrü Pou
Mission Colony, Pfutsero
*History of the Meiteis (Manipuris):* In the past, Meitei kingdom was known as Kangleipak. The present name ‘Manipur’ evolved along with the sanskritisation of Meitei population during the 18th century. The Meiteis have a long history which dates back to 33 AD. The Royal Chronicle known as “Cheitharon Kumpapa” has the chronological order of Meitei Kings from first century till the late 1940s. However, with more confusion exists than clear evidences, there is much contestation on this claim. A noted Meitei scholar, O. Tomba Singh, in his book “A Need to Rewrite Manipuri History (1993)” opined that the record of Royal Chronicle is debatable because geological excavations suggest that the entire Manipur valley was under water till about 500 years ago. Prof. Jyotirmoy Roy, in his book “History of Manipur (1973),” wrote that although the sea receded (the present Loktak Lake), the valley portion of Manipur remained under water for a long time. If we are going to believe the Royal Chronicle dating back to 33 AD then we may conclude that the Meiteis have settled somewhere else and migrated and settled at the present site in about 500 years ago. The Kangleipak kingdom was confined to Imphal Valley extending to Kabaw Valley which was gifted to Burma.
*Past Relationship of the Meiteis and Nagas:* Nagas did not live under monarchical king like Meiteis but each village existed as a sovereign and republic nation. They lived as free people and had very less contact with outside world. Unlike the Nagas, the Meiteis often wage wars with the neighbouring Kings such as the Burmese and Tripuri Kings. Interestingly it is on record that the Nagas extended helping hand to the Meitei Maharajas in times of danger and wars. In 1717-18, the Raja Garib Nawaz requested the Naga Chiefs to him attack Samjok. According to K. Gyanendra Singh, in his book “Security and Development: The Political Economy of Insurgency in Manipur, 2011), Raja Garib Nawaz was a man who practiced both vaishnavism and militarism. His constant war efforts had led him to develop cordial relationship with the Nagas. Again when the Burmese troops attacked and took possession of Kangleipak for seven years, all the Meitei men fled to the hills from the Valley for safety. During this Seven Years’ Devastation (Chahi-Taret Khuntakpa, 1819-1826), the Tangkhul Nagas generously gave shelter to the Meitei brothers (See Prof. Jyotirmoy Roy, “History of Manipur (1973). Probably some Meiteis permanently settled in Ukhrul district. In this context, it is not difficult to understand why Meiteis consider the Tangkhul Nagas as ‘elder brother.’ In appreciation of this humane gesture, the Tangkhul Nagas were given prominent place in some of Meitei religious ceremonies even today. When the Nagas had given their best for the protection of the Meitei Kingdom, should not the Meiteis reciprocate the Nagas with the same good gesture today?
*The Nagas in Manipur state:* Although Nagas do not have their own written record, their oral traditions pointed out that they were the first settlers in Manipur. T.C.Hudson, in his Book, “The Naga Tribes of Manipur, 1996 (reprint), also mentioned that the Nagas were well settled than their counterpart in the valley. However, due to topographical location, the Meiteis had rapidly developed themselves. Cutting short the story, the coming of the British to Manipur had colossal impact on the sovereign right of the Nagas. The British helped the Meiteis to drive out the Burmese. Gambhir Singh was made the ruler of Manipur. By 1872, the British along with the combined forces of Raja Gambhir Singh began to intrude into the Naga territory. However, in 1891, war broke out between the British and the Meiteis. The Meiteis were defeated and British took control of the whole of Manipur. The British main interest in Naga areas was to collect taxes and use them as porters. It allowed the Meitei Raja to conquer some of the land of the Nagas on the condition that Meitei Raja would help the troops of the British to go to Burma without any hindrance. Later on, this has resulted to the Naga Raj movement by the Zeliangrong Nagas in Manipur. The British knowing fully that the Meiteis and Nagas were of different ethnic communities kept them under different administration. According to N. Ibobi Singh, the hill territory was separated from the general administration on the plea that ‘the hill people are not Manipuris and have entirely different customs and languages’ (The Manipur Administration 1707-1907). The distinct identity of the Nagas from the Meiteis was recognised even after India’s Independence under the Article 371-A. The British and the Independent India had then fully recognised the fact that Meiteis and the Nagas were of different ethnic groups. The Naga leaders of the past who have agreed to stay in Manipur (when a new state was curved out from Assam) might have assumed to be saved because there were many provisions that safeguarded the interest of the Nagas. The fact that Meiteis and Nagas are different needs to be recognised, respected and accepted by all so as to evolve a harmonious and neighbourly relationship among all the communities.
*Problem of an-inch of land:* The total area of present Manipur is 22,327 sq. Km, out of which the hill areas cover 20,126 sq km and inhabited by the tribal people. The tribal people (Nagas and Kukis) settles in the hill areas and the valley is dominated by the Meiteis. The Naga people live in their own land (hill area) so as the Meiteis (valley area). The dominant Meitei community who keep saying that ‘not even an inch of land in Manipur will be given to the Nagas’ is nothing more than to insult the Nagas. The Nagas have been living in their own land since time immemorial. There is nothing such as ‘‘smaller or greater Naga land”. Wherever the Nagas are living for centuries, rightly the land belongs to them. If the Nagas have seized any part of land and forest that belong to the Meiteis, I am sure the Nagas will be happy to return them. The Meitei elites must come out with concrete historical proof which village or parts of land of the Meiteis have been seized by the Nagas in the history of Manipur. Let’s call spade a spade. We can’t live together with lie. Nagas in Manipur are not asking for even ‘an inch of land’ that rightfully belongs to other community. The Nagas are just pleading the Government of India and the Meiteis to recognise and respect what is rightfully belonging to them since time immemorial. This can be done through readjustment of the existing state boundary under Article 3 of Indian Constitution.
*State wide Bandh/protest in Manipur:* The Meitei CSOs are gearing up to organise with what they called as ‘state wide bandhs or state wide protest’ by ‘the whole people of Manipur’ against the imminent signing of Indo-Naga political talk. Look at the fact. Out of the total area of Manipur state, the so-called ‘state wide protest’ or ‘bandhs’ will affect only about 2000 sq km (valley portion). So the right term should be ‘Valley wide protest or bandhs’ by the ‘Meiteis’. Using the phrases such as ‘state wide bandhs’ or the ‘whole people of Manipur’ is misleading and a blatant lie. These are used just for media propaganda. On the other hand, it gives the impression that ‘Manipur’ means only ‘the valley portion’ and ‘the whole people of Manipur’ simply mean ‘Meiteis’. Therefore, it is even safer for the Meitei community to be specific by saying that the bandhs/strike will be affected in the Valley and imposed by the Meitei community. Of course, it is no surprise, to see some Naga people ( especially Naga Chameleon politicians) with vested interest (or some common people out of compulsion) speaking to media about the unity of Manipur during every protest or bandhs. Such voice cannot and does not represent the interest of the whole Naga community.
*Save life, Save Neighbours*: Nagas have lost thousands of its brave men and women for the cause of freedom. Meiteis have lost 18 precious lives on Naga issue on June 18, 2001. Let’s not sacrifice any more life on this issue. Enough is enough. Meitei elites may kindly give up the temptation to play the role of BIG BROTHER for the Nagas. It only provoke to anger the Naga population when some Meitei politicians shouted that ‘there is no Naga in Manipur’; ‘the Meiteis will take extreme step if special status or any type of alternative arrangement’ is made for the Nagas. These are not brotherly and sisterly words. If Meiteis really love the Naga people, then they should not stop the GOI to develop the Naga people through certain special arrangements.
It is time for Meitei elites and politicians to think beyond the solution of the Nagas for the development of Meitei community. We need to live side by side as good neighbours. We need the help of each other to grow and develop in the modern world. If Meiteis have political rights, then they should tell to the Government of India and get it. Nagas would be very much happy to see them fully developed and well secured. Even if Nagas are separated, Manipur will continue to be a state with 40 MLAs intact. Geographically, Manipur will be still bigger than Goa. Meiteis will live in peace without any disturbance from the Nagas who are considered to be ‘trouble makers’ in Manipur. Instead of standing in the way of Nagas’ solution, it is time for the Meiteis to search ways and means to build up good relationship in the aftermath of Naga political solution with India. Nagas owned their freedom and they have every right to decide for their destiny. Any community or party that hinders the Nagas from achieving its aspiration will be considered as ‘enemy’ by the coming generation.
By: Tuisem A. Shishak
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1).
The rest is history. Now decide for yourself whether what the RSS-controlled BJP Government is doing in Nagaland and the North-East isn’t how Satan in the guise of a serpent deceived Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden so long ago. The whole creation has been in a mess ever since.
The announcement of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly election (2018) has already opened Pandora’s box. Already ten political parties are in the fray, with only one regional party totally committed to regional development. Unless God’s people wake up and exercise their Christian responsibility prayerfully and wisely, this year’s election may turn out to be the most divisive and destructive ever. Even now it has the appearance of an uncontrollable “monster.”
For the first time , the RSS with their Hindutva ideology has decided to challenge the Church of Jesus Christ in Nagaland, in Meghalaya, and surely in Mizoram in the near future. Victory for the RSS-controlled BJP in the Nagaland State election and the two other Christian-dominated North-Eastern states means enslavement of the North-Easterners and persecution of the Church.
Hence, Christians everywhere, listen to the Bible: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
In 1963 the Central Government in New Delhi created “Nagaland State”, and in 1964 a Delhi-imposed full legislative assembly began functioning. In all the subsequent elections the Church (overwhelming Baptist and Roman Catholic voters in Nagaland) selected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to govern Nagaland State. What happened to “Clean Election” all these years? I am persuaded that the Church– Christians in Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram– is really the culprit for all the corruption because we the Church, we corrupt church members, knowingly continue to elect corrupt church members as MLAs in every election.
Almost all Nagaland MLAs and Government bureaucrats are likely to be members of a local church. Today nobody denies that Nagaland is one of the most corrupt states in India. Don’t we realize that the Church (the vast majority who are Baptist Christians) again will decide who will form the next government in Nagaland? What an awesome task of the Church before men and God! It is the same in Meghalaya where the Church (Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics) will decide who forms the next government, and the same in Mizoram where the Church (Presbyterians and Baptists) will decide their next government.
In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle wrote: “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand-fold.” Thomas Aquinas, centuries later, said that little errors in the beginning lead to serious consequences in the end.
How could these overwhelming majority Christian states — sink to the bottom of the moral totem pole? Let us add the five Christian-dominated hill districts of Manipur (Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Churachandpur, and Chandel) where similar corruption abounds. Please read Patricia Mukhim’s article, “Where is Christ in the Government?” (Morung Express, 3/1/18, p.5). The Church is reaping what she has sown.
Whether “solution before election” or “solution after election” or “never solution”, the struggle for clean elections will continue. Free and fair elections are essential for the formation of any democratic government.
What does ”clean election” mean, and how a clean election can be achieved, have been discussed threadbare in the church, in the public square, on school/college campuses, thanks to the Nagaland Baptist Church Council’s (NBCC) leadership with the backing of the Nagaland Joint Christian Forum (NJCF), and several NGOs and civil societies.
This time the Church has invested more time and energy in efforts to ensure a clean election. Many excellent rules and regulations, which are mostly ignored, have been laid down which the political candidates and the electorate are to abide by. But still the essential “one thing” found wanting in the Naga Church today is spiritual and moral power…“having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim.3:5). Today’s Church has failed to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). The love of money has just about destroyed the testimony of the Church. We compete only in who can build the largest church building (mostly with money stolen by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who then donate it to the church). But we forget the main mission of the church: building up believers in the faith and making disciples of Christ at home and around the world.
If we want a clean election, the Church must first confess her sin and be clean, spiritually and morally. “If my people… will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron.7:14). The Church must never be unequally yoked with any secular government. The Church sins when morally corrupt politicians and government officials are permitted to occupy the pulpit. The Church sins when corrupt money and corrupt people help build worship centers and gospel ministries and missions.
The Church is truly a fellowship of Christ’s followers. She is the body of which Christ is the Head. To Him alone the Church owes her allegiance, not to any human agent or organization, including the so-called “high command” in Delhi or any underground group. Only then can the Church confront the secular, corrupt world (politicians, bureaucrats, national workers, etc.) with the Word: “Thus says the LORD GOD.” Such a Church remains prophetic. Any local church that ceases to be prophetic becomes pathetic, serving the world rather than their Lord.
Linked to Nagaland’s soon-coming Legislative Assembly election is the RSS influence which has been secretly, and subtly, permeating, like a deadly chemical or virus, into the various parts of the North-East for decades. The RSS was founded in 1925 by K. Baliram Hedgewar from Nagpur, who, among others, agitated for strict segregation of Hindus and Muslims. Some of the most prominent RSS members deeply admired Facism and Nazism, the two totalitarian movements which swept through Europe in the early 20th century. We are told the RSS was outlawed by the British and was even occasionally banned by the Indian government after independence. Naturam Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, was a member of the RSS. Senior RSS members had direct links to both Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany. Madhavarao S. Goldwalker, known as the brain of RSS, was the second RSS chief, who enthusiastically advocated for an India dominated by Hindus. From its genesis, the RSS openly espoused militant Hindu activism and the suppression of minorities. This brief RSS background can help us understand something about the current BJP-RSS nexus.
Yes, RSS’s ultimate objective is to establish a Hindu Rashtra (nation or kingdom) and the Hindu religion: a Hindu theocratic government. The current BJP, officially formed in 1980, is the successor of the BJS party, which itself was the political arm of the RSS. Indeed, BJP is the political arm of the RSS. We are told most BJP workers were hardcore RSS people. We believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajna Singh, President Amit Shah, and several more Ministers, are hardcore RSS members. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwati is now the voice of the RSS founding members; he is also a major voice in BJP’s policy-making and policy implementation. In other words, when we talk about BJP government, we are talking about a RSS-controlled government. How can any true follower of Jesus Christ be a primary member of the BJP-RSS? The world knows Hinduism is a religion, and RSS is a radical-violent-intolerant-racist-Hindu-politico-religious group.
Since the current BJP government assumed power at the center in 2014, there have been appointments of more and more hardcore RSS members as state governors, government bureaucrats, heads of educational institutions, organizations, including India’s President (a Dalit) and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, both of whom are active RSS members. Congress Party President Rajiv Gandhi said, “In every single ministry in India at the national level, there is an OSD (officer on special duty) from RSS working with the minister. . . . The minister is not operating on his own” (PTI). The list goes on. What about the drastic increase in harassment, torture, burning and murder of Christians and their churches, Muslims and their mosques, Dalits and all the other innocent minorities in India? In recent times RSS cow vigilantes have become active in all BJP-ruled states, with the loss of many lives, especially Muslims and Dalits.
Saving cows by murdering human beings created in the image of God is an abomination to Christians and Jews. By the way, Christians in India and around the world must never forget that horrific murder committed by the Bajrang Dal, an ally of the RSS, by burning alive the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Odisha in 1999 while sleeping in their vehicle. Just as the 12-digit Aadhaar number being issued to every Indian, the BJP-RSS government is set to assign each of India’s milk-producing cow a cheap, unique identity card or UID, first proposed in 2015. A Hindustan Time report says that this year’s Central Government budget shows an allotment of Rs. 50 crore for 40 million cattle. Incredible! What is being done about the poor and marginalized millions of citizens, who are treated as lower than milking cows and sacred bulls? The caste system will always keep India divided… “Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all” (Prov.22:2).
With regard to Christianity, the RSS, along with other radical Hindu groups such as the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Bajrang Dal, and Shiv Sena, are anti-Church, anti-Christian. Hinduism and Christianity are diametrically opposed in their beliefs and practices. Time and again Indian Christians have been accused of converting Hindus to Christianity by force or through allurement by material benefits. The same accusation against the Hindus is neither permissible nor acceptable as true. In Christianity, forced conversion is no conversion at all; every individual person must by faith accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Today the church is weak because many church members are not spiritually born-again believers and today’s church loves mammon (money) more than her Lord and Master, Jesus Christ: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Tim. 6:10). “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father (God) is not in him” (I John 2:15). “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).
With money and manipulation, BJP-RSS has already formed the governments in Arunachal, Assam, and Manipur and in Goa. Their hidden/open strategy now is to capture politically the whole North-East. This they could do if they succeed in installing BJP governments in the three Christian-dominated North-Eastern states. The life-and-death question before the Church is: Do we want BJP, the political wing of the RSS, to come and control our government, telling us what to do and what not to do? What to eat and what to worship? And that with carrot and stick (gun) like what happened to the Nagas in the nineteen fifties and sixties? Can Christians and RSS be equally yoked? “For the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5 ). “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.” (Exodus 20:1-3).
Even the overwhelming moderate Hindu majority in India condemn RSS’s Hindutva ideology of discrimination against Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and all the religious and racial minorities in India. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwati repeatedly says: “Everyone born in India is a Hindu.” Hinduism is the only religion of India. Even Muslims are Hindus by nationality, they are Muslims by faith only. Prime Minister Modi stated in Bengaluru on February 4, 2018 that all Indians are Ram’s children. Dare Mr. Modi consider Nagas and other tribals as Ram’s children? Christians are considered “foreigners.”
Even tribal Animists are considered former Hindus; hence “homecoming” programs are organized by the RSS. What about the Freedom of Religion acts adopted in Odisha (1967), Madhya Pradesh (1968), Arunachal Pradesh (1978), Chhattisgarh (2000), Gujarat (2003), Himachal Pradesh (2007), Rajasthan (2008)? These acts are primarily for checking proselytization. But anti-conversion laws also have been passed, prohibiting forced or money-induced conversion. Checking conversion to any other religion has been one of BJP-RSS’s goals. In 2013, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, now the Vice President of India, had declared that his party would bring a nationwide anti-conversion law if elected to power.
When Christians make up less than three percent of India’s population, and Hindus being more than 80%, why are the Hindus so afraid of the Christians? What is the rationale for having passed Freedom of Religion Acts in so many overwhelmingly Hindu-dominated states? Now Mr. Naidu wants a nationwide anti-conversion law. These RSS leaders must be convinced that the Christian God is the only true God; otherwise why should they be so afraid of the Christian God?
BJP-RSS want to make Arunachal Pradesh a Hindu majority state through ghar wapsi (homecoming), bringing non-Hindus (Animists and Budhists) back to the fold of Hinduism. Now Mr. Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh (Union Minister of State for Home) and Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary in charge of the North-East are busy trying to make Nagaland another Hindu state. Who knows those forty-thousand khakhi-clad RSS soldiers who paraded in Guwahati in January, are likely to be already all over Nagaland State incognito.
The saffronization of education (for ex. changes in Indian history) began during the tenure of BJP Prime Minister Atal Vajpaya. Of course, Vajpaya was a moderate, reasonable Hindu. Now things have become worse. Proposals to introduce things Hindu abound: Bhagwat Gita reading as the national book; Hindi, Sanskrit and yoga compulsory in schools; saying or singing Vande Mataram, Bharat mata ki jai, glorifying and exalting Mother India as god or goddess. PM Modi has already declared Christmas (December 25) as Good Governance Day, and Good Friday as Digital India Day. What’s next is anybody’s guess. Even if the BJP is voted into power in the North-East, they say beef-eating will not be banned here. Now BJP is saying: election for solution, meaning BJP, if voted into power, will right away solve the Naga political impasse. One has to be gullible to believe that the BJP-RSS government can’t find solution to the Naga political crisis before election, only after the election.
Even Arun Shourie, himself a radical Hindu, and a cabinet minister during the previous BJP government of Atal Vajpaya, has said this about Modi and his government: “Modi and Shah are everyday espousing RSS values, these are their values. . . .
‘It is a decentralised emergency… a pyramidal mafia state, where local goons belabour anyone whom they think is doing something wrong. The central people will look the other way. The central people will provide a rationale for the goondas at the local level. Like ‘gaurakshaks’, like ‘love jihad’ –this becomes the rationale for me to beat up anybody. It’s not love for the cow but just an instrument for domination… you don’t bite your neighbour, you have a dog to do that. So that’s being done'” (Morung Express, 20/1/17, p.7).
Let’s talk about development. During Vajpaya’s time it was “Look East”; now under Modi it’s “Act East.” The BJP government seems to be more action-oriented than the Congress Party, thanks to Modi’s convincing speeches. But could it also be true that in the words of Congressman Sanjay Jha, “Development is only a facade to actually pursue the Hindutva agenda in India.”
As the time for election in the three North-Eastern States nears, as late as February 8 Modi and BJP-RSS leaders loudly declared in Assam that their top priority is to develop the North-East based on three cardinal principles: “Trade, Tourism, Training for youth, which would unlock the gate of self-employment.” Is that how much the BJP-RSS love people in the North-East? Well, don’t be so sure. Very often the BJP government tends to impress upon us that the so-called new four-lane national/international highway being constructed in the North-East is primarily for the benefit of North-Easterners. Far from it. Once linked to Yangon, Myanmar, the four-lane highway will become the major commercial route for India to do the maximum business with South-East Asian countries and beyond. Even construction of railway lines to all hill state capitals may turn out to be a curse, bringing all kinds of unwanted non-local criminals to rural areas. India still has many vast undeveloped rural and hill areas, mostly due to poverty and illiteracy.
Why doesn’t the BJP government make the education department corruption-free, to begin with; invest six percent of its GDP in providing quality education to the tribals, dalits, Muslims, and all the down-trodden minorities in India? Quality education need not be expensive. Hi-tech education benefits nobody in remote rural and hill areas. Let us start with low-tech. I think Gandhiji, who was always concerned about the welfare of the poor in India’s villages, would still recommend E. F. Schumacher’s book, SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL for rural-tribal economic development. High-tech education cannot be swallowed without proper digestion.
Our children have to be first prepared to appropriate every high-tech development. Right now students have no foundation. They must start with intermediate technology which Schumacher calls “Appropriate Technology”, the kind of technology which can be developed, maintained/repaired and improved/modified mechanically or electrically in the village. Such technology is still not available for the majority in remote rural regions. Yes, we need better roads and electricity and drinking water. Otherwise, development doesn‘t mean a thing to the village poor and illiterate.
The most complicated issue being faced by the Nagas of Indo-Myanmar is the more than 70-year old Naga political crisis still remaining unresolved. Nagas had hoped a final solution would be forthcoming not long after the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) arranged a ceasefire in 1997, over 20 long years ago. Yet even after two and a half years since the signing of the “Framework Agreement” on August 3, 2015 between the NSCM-IM and the BJP Government in Delhi, a solution remains as illusive as ever. For months the discussion among the Nagas throughout the Naga-inhabited areas of Indo-Myanmar as well as among the peoples of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has centered around “Naga Integration.” We keep hearing conflicting reports about the Framework Agreement (FA) contents. The NSCN-I-M leadership has said again and again that physical or geographical integration of all the Naga areas is an essential part of the FA. On the other hand, Home Minister Rajna Singh and the Government interlocutor R.N. Ravi say that physical integration is not part of the FA; they have assured our three neighbors that not even an inch of their land will be given away while finalizing the Naga final accord. Who is lying or who is telling the truth? The Nagas have said many times that they only want integration of their God-given lands. The last thing the Nagas want is taking away lands which genuinely belong to their neighbors. We can understand the opposition of the three Chief Ministers of Assam,
Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to the consolidation of all contiguous Naga areas because the size of each neighboring state will be reduced just like Madhya Pradesh when Chhattishgarh was formed; UP when Uttarrakhan was formed, and Bihar when Jharkhand was formed, all according to the constitution of India. Why should the Nagas be treated differently? Is it because Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are now BJP-RSS-ruled states? The latest deceitful ploy of the BJP-RSS is “Election for Solution.” Is the BJP-RSS government really going to solve the more than 70-year-old Naga political nightmare following the 13th Nagaland State Legislative Assembly election? The truth is more likely that this is another deceitful ploy to form a BJP government in Nagaland State.
Why was the BJP the first to withdraw after having agreed, along with all the other contesting political parties, NGOs and Civil Societies not to contest the election before solution of Naga political crisis? Can anyone trust the BJP-RSS? I have always said that the Nagas should never trust the Indian Government until the Final Political Agreement is signed between the Government and Naga Representatives, witnessed by a third country, preferably the United Kingdom or USA or both.
The Congress government had over 50 years to solve the Naga problem, but they blew it. The Naga integration struggle is due to the unfinished job of the Congress government when they created a Nagaland State consisting of hardly one-fifth of the Naga territory in Indo-Myanmar. Will history repeat itself or will the current BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi at last administer justice by letting all the Nagas of Indo-Myanmar dwell in peace under one political umbrella?
As of now, Nagas have not made any headway either under the Congress party or under the BJP. Instead, the trust deficit with both the two major political parties is very much alive today except it’s getting worse and worse due to RSS’s control over the BJP government. So far it’s all full of deceit and lies. Unfortunately, not just the Naga public and state government (politicians and bureaucrats) but even NSCN-IM leadership and all our other national movement leaders have been fooled several times all these years, and will yet be fooled in the future because they have also made themselves untrustworthy by serving Money rather than the God of the Bible. It is tragic, because Naga national workers have genuinely suffered much for the cause of the Naga Nation, but as Christians, they have sinned against God by indulging in things immoral, unjust, and have become corrupt like the over-ground politicians and bureaucrats. These facts must be acknowledged and confessed before the God of Creation so His blessings may start flowing again.
We must not wonder why it has taken so long to settle the Naga political issue. Could the number one cause be SIN? Militarily, the Nagas are like grasshoppers between two giant elephants: Myanmar and India. Our only hope is Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe and the Savior of mankind. Our only weapon is moral and spiritual and the Word of God. “. . . Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Right now worldliness has become our god. “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise”(Ps.51:17). I would urge our Naga national workers that from now on make sure Jesus Christ is seated at every peace conference. After all, He is the Prince of Peace. Lasting Peace will come to Naga-Land when Jesus leads the Naga Peace Team.
With all the imperfections and failures of the Church, it must be made crystal clear that the Church still is our only hope for the Nagas, and will remain indispensable for the very survival of the Naga Nation now and until the day Jesus Christ returns to earth. Hence I fully endorse the resolutions adopted by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) during its 21st triennial convention at Impur. NBCC has called on “believers to choose between the ‘trishul’ and the cross amid growing concerns of voters getting seduced by money and development offered by those whose hands seek to ‘pierce’ the heart of Jesus Christ.” (“NBCC sounds battle cry against Hindutva forces,” Nagaland Post, 10/2/18, p.1).
Dear beloved Nagas: Our problem is not with the Hindus, only with the RSS with their Hindutva ideology. Like in the days of the prophet Elijah, surely God must have reserved at least seven thousand believers in Naga-Land “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (I Kings 19:18). I call upon you to rise and “build the wall and stand before me (God) in the gap on behalf of the land so I (God) would not have to destroy it (Naga-Land)”. Watch and Pray! But be sure to vote, every Christian in Nagaland State.
Let us save NAGA-LAND for CHRIST. So God, help us!