By: Dr. R.B. Thohe Pou
It is true that Nagas from other states and nation do not have the same privilege as the Nagas in Nagaland State under 371 (A) even though that Article was part and parcel of the struggle of the whole Naga people. And it is so incorrect for you to accuse the whole Naga tribes outside Nagaland State of trying to share in the privileges enjoyed by the Nagas in Nagaland. You also do not need to feel sorry or worry for the tribes outside your Nagaland State as they have their own land and food to survive. Even if the present Nagaland state becomes a Sovereign state, Supra State, Pan-Naga Nation or whatever that the Naga people may decide – the present Nagaland state will continue to have its own share. No one is taking that away from you.
Why are you so happy and complacent with the present State of Nagaland, which was created in the name of the entire Naga people? If you think the Naga Plebiscite of 16th May 1951 was undertaken only by the Nagas from the present Nagaland state you are terribly misinformed and may need to go through the history of the Naga Plebiscite again. And if the ‘Plebiscite’ were really a matter confined to the present Nagaland State tribes only then it does not represent all Nagas and must be deemed invalid. However, the Indian Govt. is no fool and would not have agreed to the peace-talks without any condition at the Prime Ministerial level if they thought it was an issue concerning the State of Nagaland only.
Just to jog your memory let me remind you that the southern Nagas did take an active part in Naga National Movement (NNM) from the start till the present day. A few prominent leaders worthy of mention here are Late A. Daiho Mao, Late Suisa and Late Sani Dahrii (who was also a Shillong Accord signatory). The Naga Club was formed in 1918 and during the heights of Haipou Jadonang’s civil disobedient movement in 1929 in the Naga Hills, the Naga Club submitted a historical Memorandum to the Simon Commission in Kohima, in which it demanded that the Nagas be excluding from the proposed ‘Reformed Scheme’ of India. Jadonang started a religio-political movement in 1925 to overthrow the British rule in Naga areas. In 1927, he prophesied the end of the British rule, which provoked S.J. Duncan, the then SDO at Tamenglong, to issue a warrant of arrest against him.
By 1930, the movement had spread to all the Naga Hills but Jadonang was arrested by the British in 1931 and later hanged to death. After his death Gaidinliu, his cousin sister who was only 16 then, succeeded him as the spiritual and political leader. However, she was also arrested in 1932 and by 1934 the movement came to end. Phizo moved his base to Burma in 1935 and later returned to Nagaland in 1946. “By this time the issue of Naga Self-determination had well gripped the minds of the Nagas, and public opinion had already been moulded against the continued dominance of the British Indian over the Nagas” (M.Zinyii:1961:11). The NNM was directly or indirectly influenced, emboldened and shaped into the present form by Jadonang, Gaidinliu and the leaders of the Naga Club. A.Z. Phizo, he whom we lovingly call the Father of the Nation came into picture only after the foundation was laid by his predecessors, in the same manner like how the NSCN came into picture after the foundation was laid by the NNC.
The Naga leaders from the present Manipur state closely worked with Late A.Z. Phizo for an independent Naga land. The Naga National League (NNL) also determined and declared to all Nagas NOT to pay house tax to the then Deputy Commissioner of the Naga Hills, Assam and as a result the Assam Rifles killed three persons and injured many other people during a protest. Afterwards the NNL President, A. Daiho, was arrested and imprisoned at Dum Dum jail in Calcutta. One should never forget that the present State of Nagaland was a fruit of the struggle of the Naga people irrespective of geographical location and one should refrain from trying to suppress the movement whilst remaining oblivious to the plight of Nagas outside Nagaland State. The GOI has poured in several crores of rupees to suppress the NNM and today it appears that your stomach has been too fattened and that you have forgotten the past and present sacrifices and hard labour put in by the Nagas from all the Naga inhabited areas.
It may be constitutionally impossible to share in the privileges of the Nagas in Nagaland State, which they enjoy under Article 371 (A), but it is an insult to the Nagas outside Nagaland State when you make the analogy of the ‘rich man’ and ‘Canaanite woman’ in the Bible as everyone knows who you are referring to as the rich man and the Canaanite woman in the Bible. It is tasteless to say the least.
With reference to your article, “Globally utopian, locally empty” you seem unsurprisingly contented with your retired life devoid of any future hope or vision in life. But today the Naga youth have a dream to live life on a global scale – Nagas may be economically backward but their preferred life style is no less than the people from the developed countries of the world. You may be happy with your retired life with your pot of hard earned money as a former IFS officer but the Naga youths today have a vision and future hope, unlike you. And who are those people from outside the State who illegally collect Tax over the barrel of a gun? We have too many factions and we should not allow anyone from outside the Nagaland State or inside the State to collect tax illegally. But that will happen only if we together bring a solution to the Naga problem.
If Thuingaleng Muivah is not talking about a Sovereign state anymore – the NSCN-K, NNC and other Nagas still are and aspiring to have our Nagas’ Rights to Self-determination. Why have you become so complacent with the present Nagaland State? As a retired IFS officer, you surely have the intelligence to know that a Supra State or Pan-Naga State is definitely possible even under the Constitution of India. It is shocking that you dismiss the same as impossible. If Sovereignty, Supra State, Pan-Naga, etc. are impossible, we have indeed been fooled by the so-called Naga national workers. Why are the common people silent? Why are over ground Naga leaders still morally supporting the Naga national workers? Why are you (we) paying tax to the Naga underground cadres? Naga political issue is not just a Nagaland state issue but it is one of the most serious problems in India and unless the Naga political problem is solved, there will be no peace in NE India or in India. I still believe and have faith in the Naga historical facts and in inalienable right to self-determination.
“The Manipuris claimed all the Catchments Areas of present Nagaland that drained into the Doyang River as their Territory . . . the Roads in Turkey today follow almost the same ancient Road alignment Evangelist Paul walked from Tarsus to Ikonya or to Galatia in the days following the death of Jesus” If there is no such concept as “Consent of the People” and rights of the people and we simply follow the old roads or demarcations of the ancient Kingdom, all the catchments areas of present Nagaland that drained in to Doyang River should be given to Manipur state as claimed by Manipuris and the present Nagaland would have been under Manipuris or Ahom kingdom (Assam today). So are you saying that the present state of Nagaland should be under Assam?
“Some Nagas talk about some SUPRA NAGA STATE or PAN-NAGA STATE. But when not an inch of Assam or of Arunachal or of Manipur or the ENPO can detach into a separate State: forget talking about Supra State or Pan Naga State; they are just Utopia talk” Are you saying that there is no single Naga living in the present States of Assam, Arunachal, Manipur and Myanmar? If the British or Indians had not divided the Nagas using the present artificial boundary and instead decided to follow the old roads how did the present state of Nagaland or the other States or countries come into being?
During this critical period of the NNM with talks happening at the highest levels there will be ups and downs, allegations & accusations, tinged with a mixture of hope and doubt. Naga scholars, intellectuals, right thinking people, etc. can contribute their constructive thoughts and suggestions to improve the present situation and to bring a lasting solution to the Naga political problem. However, planting doubts or creating rivalries and divisions within ourselves will only worsen the prevailing situation. Let us hope for more of the former from such an accomplished intellectual like you.