Present crisis in the Nagaland state of India

By: Kaka D. Iralu

The reasons for my apathy and indifference are because of the following reasons:

1. This state of Nagaland was born at a time when 645 Naga villages were burnt to ashes by the Indian army and every family in Nagaland was mourning the deaths of over a hundred thousand Nagas who had perished in the holocaust. They died from starvation disease, rape, torture, murder and bullets and bombs from both the air as well as ground assaults. This happened when about 100,000 Indian soldiers invaded Nagaland from 1954-1960. (For details of Indian army deployment in this period, read “Uncovering the political lies that have covered Indo Naga politics from the 1940s to the present. Pp.27-32)

2. Despite this bloodbath, on the home front, the then valiant Naga army was able to resist and “hold the line”against this invasion force for 5 long years from March 25, 1955 to July 1960. In the international front, Phizo had miraculously found his way to London on June 12, 1960. His first press conference in London raised a furore as the world press came to know about what India was doing to Nagaland. At this point of human history, the whole world was weary of wars as the Second World War which had devastated the whole world ended in 1945. In this war weary climate, the whole world was looking to India-the biggest Democracy that had come into existence through none-violence. India’s spokesman Nehru was the “Darling” of not just Asia but even Europe and the West. People flocked to listen to him as he thundered “We want no forced marriages or forced unions. This great republic of India is a free, voluntary, friendly and affectionate union of the states of India.” Therefore, the Western world, scandalized by what Nehru was doing to the Nagas scheduled another world press conference for July 26, 1960 in London. Phizo was ready to present his booklet “The fate of the Naga people- An appeal to the world” in this Press Conference. In this book Phizo had documented all the non-violent diplomatic actions that the NNC had done to declare their position both to India and the world for 9 long years from 1946 to 1955. Phizo had also compiled all the violent activities that India had done to the Nagas for the 5 long years from 1955 to 1960. His book ended with the plea that an international body should be immediately sent to Nagaland to verify his charges of India’s genocidal attempts against the Nagas.

 

3. Realizing that both Nerhu and India could suffer a terrible embarrassment at the international level, an Indian Dakota was sent to Jorhat on 24th July and 19 members of the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) were quickly flown to Delhi and the 16 Point proposals were submitted to Nehru on July 16, 1960. This was the same day that Phizo met the international press conference in London. The NPC was earlier mobilized and raised by S.M. Dutt, the then Deputy Director of the Indian Intelligence Bureau. B.N. Mullik in his book “My Years with Nehru” had disclosed that S.M. was the “originator” and “Chief architect” of the Naga people’s Convention. As stated by Mullik, this Naga people’s Convention was raised in order to nullify the 1951 Naga Plebiscite which had been conducted under the leadership of the NNC. Therefore in order to nullify the all Naga political institution and its works by another all Naga tribal Council, the NPC was raised with the Indian army giving protection to all the delegate members in their first second and third conferences at Kohima, Ungma and Mokokchung . The Indian Government had co-drafted the 16 point Agreement with these Naga NPC collaborators so that an impression can be given to the world that Nagas had themselves asked for a state under the Indian Union. This Delhi saw, was the only escape route for India from facing an international charge of invading Nagaland which had declared her Independence one day prior to India on 14th August 1847.

4. Following the developments from July 26, 1960, on December 1, 1963 an Indian Nagaland state was finally inaugurated which had entrapped all Nagas under the Constitution of India for the past fifty one years (1963-2014).
End notes: As for the 99.9 Nagas who had voted for an Independent Nagaland and have also laid down thousands of their lives for that independent Nagaland, they had nothing to do with this treacherous betrayal of the 16 Point Agreement. As for me, the sooner this state disintegrates and disappears from right in front of our eyes, the better it will be for all future Nagas. Let India also withdraw all her financial assistance to Nagaland because this money has converted Naga Christians from worshipers of God to worshipers of Money. The then Congress party of India that gave birth to this state of Nagaland had the obligation to feed this baby of their womb for all these years. However the present BJP party has no obligation whatsoever to keep feeding this illegitimate child of the Congress. Just let this illegitimate child (Indian state) starve to death- for that will be good for both India and the Naga people. As for a detailed account of all that I have challenged in this article, read “Uncovering the political lies that have covered Indo Naga history from the 1940’s to the present. It is available in all the major bookstalls in Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung.

 

ON THE RECENT RACIAL ATTACKS OF NAGAS IN INDIAN CITIES AND HINDU NATIONALISM

 

By: Kaka D. Iralu October 28, 2014.

To begin with, nations and nationalism are interconnected. In this interconnection, it is nations that give inspiration to nationalism. Therefore, without nations, there can be no nationalism.

On the other hand, Race and Racism are two different things. Race is the existential reality of a people living together with a common physical, historical and cultural entity. Racism on the other hand, is a thought or assertion on the part of certain races who think that their own race is superior to other races physically, historically and culturally. Racism is influenced by religious beliefs or philosophical world views.

Presently, with the racist attacks on North East citizens in Delhi and other Indian states, some Nagas seems to be worried about a Hindu nationalism attacking Nagas in Indian cities. This fear is however totally misunderstood.There does not exist such a thing as a Hindu nationalism because only the presence of a nation (and not a religion) can inspire nationalism. As for Hinduism, it is a religion and not a nation. In the same vein there also cannot exist such a thing as a Christian nationalism that can incorporate all Christian races into a common Christian nationalism. Here again, this is because Christianity is also a religion and not a nation.

As for the existence of a very real Hindu cultural racism, the present ruling BJP party which is inspired by the RSS religious ideology upholds this Hindu cultural ideology. In their terminology, they call this Hindu cultural ideology as “Hindutva” or Hinduness. It is also a fact that they are trying to impose this Hindu cultural ideology on the rest of all the citizens of India.

On the one hand, Hinduism is a religion that tries to swallow everything into itself. As such, Hindutva also advocates Hindu cultural nationalism. According to Hindutva writers like Savarkar and Golwalkar, other minority groups like Christians and Muslims are all foreigners in India’s Hindustan. Golwalkar in his book “We, or Our Nationhood Defined”, wrote:

(Quote) “The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture… or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen rights.”(Unquote) (Source: “India: The Grand Experiment” by Vishal Mangalwadi p.285)

Here, their goal is cultural imposition of Hindu culture on the rest of the Indian citizens. If it is to be defined in clear sociological terms, it is not Hindu nationalism but Hindu cultural imposition. Their political ambition is more of a religious Hindu imperialism than Indian nationalism. But whatever their politico-religious ambition may be, India can never have a common Hindu culture that can embrace all the various races and cultures of India into one family. This is because India is a sub-continent inhabited by many races and not a country inhabited by a single race. As such, there also cannot exist such a thing as an “Indian Nationalism.” The only valid and real nationalism that can exist in India are for example, Punjabi nationalism that is fighting for a country of their own called Khalistan. Or the Tamilian nationalism that is fighting for a Dravidisthan of their own. In actual fact, at its best, whatever is called Indian nationalism can only be described as “Indian enthusiasm over the undefinable concept of a Bharat or Hindustan that has never existed in anthropological secular history.” This 19th century idea of an India was conceived and made in England through British trained Barristers like Gandhi and Nehru and grandiosely set up by the British on their departure from their South Asian Empire in August 1947.

But as for factual anthropological and historical records, there has never existed such a thing as a common Hindu race that has inhabited India in a so called “Ram Rajya.” Belief in the existence of such a fantastic Hindu past civilization is mere fictitious mythology.

On the factual side, it is a fact that different races that have inhabited the Indian sub Continent had adopted the Hindu religion and created their own racial cultures over the centuries. Examples of these racial cultures influenced by the Hindu religion are the Tamilian Hindu culture or the Kashmiri Hindu culture. But as to race, these two races are totally different races and Tamilian Hindu culture is different from Kashmiri Hindu culture.

Coming back to the recent attacks of Nagas and North Easterners in Indian cities, the attacks are all Indian racial attacks motivated by Indian racism.

Now, as stated earlier, Race and Racism are two different things. Indian racism – especially Hinduism influenced racism – is very much influenced by Hindu religious beliefs of caste ism. In this Hindu religious belief, some castes are born to rule others while the other castes are born to serve those who are born to rule.

There are of course many good Hindu Indians. But the typical Hindu Indian, influenced by his religion of caste ism thinks that because of his caste status, he is a superior being born to dominate or rule what he believes is the lesser born tribal of other races. On the other hand, the Naga tribal for example, being born an equal to anybody else and never ruled by any political or religious order (in the form of castes) can never take a racial insult without retaliating. The result is a cultural clash. This is a clash that these two species of human races will always have, when they come into social contact! Their future too as one nation is unthinkable.

This is precisely the reason why Nagas have been fighting for their independence from India right from 1929 to the present.

Rejoinder to “An open letter to theologians & pastors of Nagaland,”

By: Wungtei Buchem, Signal Phom Colony, Dimapur.

It was yet another provoking letter to be read. Took it as a constructive comments with appreciation and herewith a not of response. I’m a current student of theology and not yet worth a theological scholar/Theologian nor an acclaimed preacher. I’m in the race too! I’m very sorry to learn that you have hardly been to a church which emphasizes holistic wellbeing that considers socio-political, eco-cultural and spiritual aspects of teaching and preaching in the pulpit. It is saddening to even know that you have only been hearing semons on salvation, heaven and life hereafter. I’m fascinated that people like you could openly ask a public question on the trends of biblical preaching and teaching which is greatly welcomed.

Yes Bible is not the creation without nation. Out of the historical-nations and people, historical narratives emerged, prophets spoke, kings and queens played their part and in all of it there was a conflict confrontation between God and gods of the nations far and wide. Scripture has its own socio-political background, culturo-anthropological residues, methods and models of prophetic transformation, sinfulness of individual/nation(s) and righteousness of individual/nation(s), God acted as the final judge and there is where much talked about salvation was/is defined. Bible does talks about human and ecological rights and also their denied rights, God in the Bible also talks about the oppressed and the oppressors (perhaps you have rightly understood it). Infact the nature of the people in the Biblical nations were hyper political, hyper ambitious, with each one looking for an opportunity to have dominion over the other whereby they become economically powerful, religiously influential and politically right. Perhaps you and me are interested to see the relevancy between the historical past and the present socio-political scenarios and expects that the contextual message be interpreted. As a theological student I’m educated that spiritual wellness is determined equally by physical, economical, psychological and social wellbeing. So I too strongly believe that a talk about heavenly salvation cannot do away with all these aspects pertaining my whole existential being. Ironically, to a beggar in a fast metropolitan city where he/she gets no place to sleep, cloth to wear and water to drink, speaking of the gospel of John 3:16 would not help much but the graceful offer of a cup of coffee and teaching him to make his/her living might be a better gospel, eventually leading to personal conviction and destinity to Christ. His/her salvation is made whole. This is a silly example with greater  lesson as far as Kaka D. Iraly would cite AFSPA, land issues, or I would add, the existing issues on rights, dignity, domination and various resistance ideologies. Until these measures are equally mattered where is what Jesus said “I came that one may have the fullness of life?” and without this “fullness of life” where is liberty? Where is rest? Where is peace? And where is salvation?

Nagas have come of time that visibly or invisibly we are under the web of psychological trauma, political unrest, economic and academic deprivation, culturally alienated etc. People who study Indian society and tribal Indian readings will aptly understand when I say this but it is true. Our nation is not free to grow! We are being bound? Many tribals/Nagas fail to live the “fullness of life.” There is no “free(dom)” in our hearts though we hear sermons on “spiritual freedom” as long as our nation, our land, our systems are full of “fear(dom.)”. Interestingly, when Ana Hazare fasted for less than a week the Lokpal Bill was made to reality; how about Irom Sharmila from Manipur who fasts for more than a decade but the AFSPA still reigns? Where is justice? Who is oppressed and who oppresses? What would Jesus do?


Yes Kaka is right when you talk about Bible as the basis for coding civil laws, laws on human rights, bible and ecology, economy and others. Respect and appreciation is reserved for churches, theological scholars, pastors and social reformers who have spoke and is still speaking for the peace in our nation, like prophets who safeguards the rights of the powerless, the weak, the oppressed, who dares atleast at heart to go against AFSPA, who do criticizes consumeristic heartless wealthy mammons, corruptors/nations that ruin other’s wellness. The task still remain as Kaka questions solemnly, can we Naga speak about nation and power politics? As demanded by situational needs, Biblical interpretation is made living and dynamic when one read the scripture from the lens of the reader’s context. Issues about nations and politics in the Bible is a distance past history, however it is made relevant when matters at put in context.

It is encouraged that preachers and teachers of the Biblical Theology widens the dimension of the concept of human holistic liberation-freedom and salvation. So that each subject matter pertaining human life here on earth, societal life, life as a nation, people and politics, spiritually and salvation aspects are altogether not neglected but inclusive and contextual. For, faith is not only a vertical focus but also a horizontal focus. God in heaven must be saying “all is well up in heaven but the world.” Salvation is here and after too. Dear Kaka this is me not trying to preach here but a solidarity rejoinder and a little bit of a reponse with appreciation.

An open letter to fellow theologians and pastors of Nagaland

By: Kaka D. Iralu

Dear colleagues,
In all my years of attending Church services for over the past half a century, I have never heard of a sermon preached on the subject of nations or politics which is related to the existence of nations. Is this because the subject of nations or nationhood is a non existing theme in the Bible? As for me, to my utter surprise, I discovered in 1997 that the Bible mentions the word “nation” and “Nations “481 times in the Bible. On the other hand, the word “salvation” is mentioned only 163 times in the Bible. (This Kakastatistics is based on Google search and I am not here implying that the word nation is more important than the word salvation)The point that I however want to make is that, though the subject of salvation is almost always mentioned in our church services, why have we been silent on the subject of “nations” for all these years? Another point I would like to mention here is the fact that, without the fact of nations and their existence, the subject of salvation would have no meaning whatsoever. After all, God did not send his son into the world to redeem the material world or the animals inhabiting the planet earth! Sadly, the word or the theme of nations or politics is almost a word of anathema (Forbidden) in our Churches. As for myself, I have been writing and speaking on this subject for the past 17 years.
As far as we Nagas are concerned, this subject of our nationhood and its implications has devastated our lands for the past 62 years (1947-2014). In this long period of time, many thousands of Nagas have sacrificed their lives for our national politics and cause. The survivors have also been so badly affected by its repercussions that today; our society has now become a society where our economic lives, our professional futures and even our very survival as a nation is under threat. And yet, will the theologically trained Nagas still keep mum and silent over these issues and only preach about heaven and the afterlife?
The Bible clearly declares that God is the creator of nations. It also states that He is the giver of our geographical lands (Acts 17:26; Dt 32:8 etc). As such, it clearly infers that the political and geographical sovereignty of any nation on earth is a right already granted to all nations by the sovereign God of the universe.  Can India then forcibly occupy our God given lands and claim that Nagaland is Indian Territory and Nagas are Indians? Can they butcher over two lack Nagas with their military might and impose heinous laws like AFSPA and persecute Nagas for over half a century? When all these most ungodly and sacrilegious activities have been perpetrated in our lands, will Naga theologians and the Church just stand by and watch? Is the Indian state imposed in Nagaland a divine will of God to which every Naga must bow their heads to? When some of our own so called national leaders are rampaging across our lands killing our own fellow Naga Christians and extorting every citizen of Nagaland with their slogan of Nagaland for Christ, will the Naga theologians and Churches just cower behind the four walls of their Churches and say nothing? Fellow theologians, is there really nothing in the Bible to be said against all these evils in our lands?
When will we ever search the scriptures and come up with Biblical injunctions and teachings to combat all these evils perpetuated in our lands for the past  more than six decades?
Any reader of the Bible will inevitably discover and realize that the Bible is a book about creation, nations, anthropology, history, and political rights. In fact almost all the Constitutions of the world and Civil Penal Codes of Governments on earth (including that of India’s too), are based on the Ten Commandments of God as enshrined in the Bible. Also all the universal declarations of human rights declared by the UN are based on Biblical laws and rights commanded by God. Besides this, the Bible is also a book about ecology, economy, agriculture etc. and man’s responsibility to nature as God’s regent on earth.
Why then are Naga theologians silent on all these issues of life that are pertinent for our survival and our existence on earth?  “Glory hallelujah” will be the day our Churches and theologians begin to speak on these issues from the thousands of pulpits across the length and breadth of Nagaland. Only such a day will usher in the Kingdom of God into Nagaland and make our land a glorious land whose God is the Lord (Ps.33:12).