Naga Flag and Constitution in our Identity


Everything has its own name and identity. Every nation has its own Flag and Constitution. We recognize and acknowledge different entities through their distinct culture and identity. What is the Naga identity as a Nation without a Naga Flag and Constitution? A flag is a national symbol. A national flag represents and symbolizes a country. It will be difficult to name a country without its flag and a constitution. Every country has got a specific flag as their national symbol. The Constitution is the fundamental blueprint of a country; it helps the government operate and also protect the rights of the people in the country. It explains their obligations. For Nagas, the people have a unique history with the Naga National Flag and Constitution as our identity and that is the reason why our Naga national movement continues to live on and it is why the Government of India recognized our unique history.

Naga National Flag (Zhie-ralha) and Constitution (Yehzabo) is our identity and also our road to sovereignty. The Naga Flag was first hoisted on 22 March 1956 at Parashen, near Sendenyu village, Rengma Region, Nagaland, when the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) was formed. Unless we get our own Identity there is no reason for the Nagas or for any Naga negotiator to accept any kind of economic package. Nothing less than the Naga Flag and Constitution should be accepted by any Naga negotiator or by the common people. We Nagas have our National Flag and Constitution, and if the GOI is sincere and committed to their Framework Agreement in recognition of Naga unique history, they should also recognise the Naga flag and constitution.

Both Nagas and non-Nagas have talked extensively about the Naga integration, and some Nagas presume that a Naga Flag and Constitution without integration is meaningless. However, what would you prefer – Naga integration under the Constitution of India or a Naga Flag and Constitution outside the Indian Constitution? Obviously, its always better to have our own Naga Flag and Constitution with integration outside the Constitution of India – which means having our own national identity. Our Naga flag and constitution is our identity – the symbol of our Naga nationality. Economic packages and Naga integration cannot be our Naga identity.

Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution

Accepting Naga Integration without Naga Flag and constitution could lead to the Naga national movement dying a natural death. Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution would be the same as the present state of Nagaland or like forming a state with same commumity or like the state of Mizoram where all the Mizos live together under one unit under the Constitution of India (their national identity is lost). A temporary Naga physical integration is insignificant without the Naga Flag and Constitution. Accepting Naga integration within the Constitution of India as a Naga political solution will be a suicidal step for the Nagas and a big blunder for the GOI as well.

Naga Flag and Constitution without Naga integration

The present artificial political boundary is not a serious problem or threat as Nagas want to live unitedly under one administrative unit. Nagas can always come together when our national identity represented by the Naga Flag and Constitution is duly recognized by GOI. The reason why GOI is always apprehensive of bringing the Nagas under one administrative unit is because that could unite the Nagas and pave the way for Naga sovereignty one day. Which is why GOI always strives to divide the Naga using various means and will continue to mislead and break up the unity of the Nagas so as to weaken and smother the Naga National Movement (NNM), but it is also the responsibility of our Naga people to stand strong regardless of the adverse weather they may encounter.

In conclusion, our Naga leaders and the common people should clearly understand and know that no Nation has ever negotiated for its Flag and Constitution after the Peace Settlement, and one needs to understand that it will be unfeasible to negotiate further for our rights to self-determination democratically when our Naga National Flag and Constitution is compromised by the present peace talks. It is also important for the Nagas to remember that it took years to come around to creating a Framework Agreement and to reach the present stage of negotiation because our leaders never compromised on the idea of sovereignty (Naga National Flag and Constitution), otherwise the Indo-Naga strife could have ended within a few years simply by accepting some economic packages or integration of Naga people under the Constitution of India. Our Naga national workers have had peace talks for the last 22 years, and we should be ready to continue to support the peace talks for another 22 years if the present talks could not bring about an honorable Naga Political Solution.

A brief history of the NagaLabour Corps

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:

27. Kivikhe:

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.

Compiled By:-


NPF President Neiphiu Rio tenders resignation letter

DIMAPUR, DECEMBER 8 (MExN): Nagaland State Member of Parliament to the Lok Sabha, Neiphiu Rio today tendered his resignation as President of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), and accused Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang of carrying out a signature campaign behind his back.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, Rio said that he had only taken the mantle of NPF President after Zeliang “had misunderstandings and conflict” with the former Chief Minister and then NPF President Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu.”

“I attended a meeting of Legislators at the State Banquet Hall wherein I was compelled to take up the responsibility of Interim President of the NPF. Much against my wishes, the Honorable MLA s and yourself included, pressured me to accept the president-ship even though I had clearly voiced my reluctance to be elected as interim president. However, since the whole House was unanimous that I be elected as interim president, I humbly accepted the imposed responsibility…” he added.

“Now, you have led a signature campaign to go back to Dr. Shurhozelie and remove me as the President. As stated, I took over the presidenship on the demand of the MLAs and party leaders under your leadership and your request. Therefore, if you were of the opinion that I am no longer required, then it should have been informed to me and I would have willingly resigned, as I only took up the responsibility due to the request of you and your colleagues. It was not necessary to carry out a signature campaign behind my back,” the Lok Sabha MP said.

Rio further said he would inform the Election Commission of India on his decision to step down as NPF President.

On Nagas of Nagaland State Political solution

By: Dr.R.B. Thohe Pou

The Naga population in 2011 is about 4 million. And the Nagas live in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh (North East India) and Myanmar. The Nagas are comprised of various tribes, and the Nagas are culturally, socially and ethnically different from the mainland Indian. Culturally or ethnically, there is not any affinity between the Nagas and the Indian except that the Indian have forcefully invaded the Naga country and occupied in Nagalim since 1956.

How the Nagaland state was formed?
Some of the Nagas of present Nagaland state have forcefully formed the new state of India known as Nagaland state. Now some of the Naga leaders of Nagas of Nagaland want to have a separate Naga political solution for the Nagas in Nagaland only. Do you think that giving Naga Political solution for the Nagas in Nagaland will be easier and more feasible than bringing the Nagas under one administrative unit? The GoI not willing to integrate the Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit should not be the reason for demanding a separate Naga political for the Nagas in Nagaland only.

The present Nagaland state was allowed to form by GoI without much effort. In fact, it was formed in order to erase the concept of the Naga national movement and to smother the Naga national movement. The GoI treacherously enticed some of the Naga leaders, and eventually formed the present state Nagaland. All the Naga architectures who helped to form the present Nagaland state were alleged to be assassinated by NNC as the Naga national movement cannot compensated in exchange of Nagaland state formation. One should not be too proud and too complacent of having a state like Nagaland under the constitution of India as it was formed to weaken and smother the Naga national movement.

With the formation of Nagaland state, many Nagas in Nagaland are enjoying the fruits of the Nagas (Nagas in Naga land or Nagalim) as the Government of India have been pouring a huge amount of budget EVERY year to Nagaland state to fool the Nagas, and to pull down the Naga national movement. And depending on this easy money from the GoI, many Nagas have gone crazy after money and became lazy unlike their counterpart Nagas who are struggling hard toiling soil with their sweats for their living. It’s very unfortunate and sad that some of the Nagas including the Naga leaders have totally forgotten the purpose of their forefathers’ national movement who have sacrificed their lives for the future Naga generation.

Many Naga people have been observing and crying silently in their heart what were happening recently in the present state Nagaland. And it’s indeed very unfortunate that something is going beyond the state of people mind to continue observing silently. What’s there for the Nagas in present Nagaland state without the Nagas from other parts of the Nagalim? And what’s there for the Nagas in Myanmar or Manipur or any other state without the other Nagas? Do you think that the present Nagas in Nagaland state have become more powerful, popular and bolder without the Nagas from other parts of the Nagas? Do you think the wisdom of some Nagas are taken back by God? Do you think that GoI will pour in more money to Nagaland state if the Nagas in present state of Nagaland demand for a separate Naga political solution?

Some of the Naga leaders from NNC claims to be the sole representative of the Nagas in Nagaland (Nagalim)? And they also claim to be the only Naga National movement which can bring Naga political solution. Do the NNC also endorses the claims of Naga political solution for the Nagas in Nagaland state or do the NNC stands for the whole Nagas?

*What is the main purpose of Naga National movement?*
Is the Naga national movement started by Naga Club and later by the late Phizo – the father of the Naga nation is only for the present state Nagaland state? Even if some of the Naga leaders from the present state Nagaland state are brainwashed by Indian money and other facilities available in the state, and might have forgotten the main purpose of our Naga National movement, anyone can ask any non-Nagas on the purpose of the Naga National movement.

What are the main reasons of some leaders in present state Nagaland who have totally lost their mind, memories and Naga political history from their mind? The main purpose of our National movement is very clear from the beginning till today. And even though some of the Nagas including some of the Naga leaders in present Nagaland state have lost their mind, memories and forgotten the Naga political history, but we should be happy that more than 99% of the Nagas are for our Naga National movement to bring a honourable solution.

*Who recognized the Naga national movement?*
1. The Naga national movement is recognized and supporting by UNPO. The UNPO has recongised Naga as one of the indigenous nation, and give their support for our Nagas rights to self-determination.

2. The Naga International Support Center, Amsterdam, a human rights organization recognized and support the Nagas rights to self-determination. Some of the other Naga factions also trying to connect with NISC to get international support from outside.

3. The Baptist World Baptist Alliance (BWA), also recognized the Naga political problem, and gives their prayer support for Naga reconciliation and early Naga political solution. The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from July 4 to 9 in 2011, affirmed support to the long-protracted Naga issue and with the affirmation, a total of 120 nations federating with BWA would focus to advocate the Naga issue to all corners of the world through prayers.
4. The Indian Government recognized the Naga political problem and the uniqueness of the Naga history, and thus a ceasefire agreement was made to process the Indo-Naga peace-talks.

5. Based on recognition of uniqueness of the Naga history and Naga problem is a political problem, the GOI also made a Framework Agreements on 3rd August 2015.

Then how comes that suddenly some of the Nagas in Nagaland have changed their demand from Naga political movement into Nagaland state political solution? The Nagas outside the present state Nagaland may not have the rights to interfere in state political issue. However, every concern Naga has the rights to interfere in the state political affair when anything that goes against the interest of the Naga national movement. The Naga nationalists were working on to bring all the Nagas (Nagaland, Myanmar, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) as one nation since 1940s.

*Is the Naga nation only for the Nagas in Nagaland state?* Why some of the Nagas of Nagaland have changed the Naga national movement into Nagaland state movement? Why some of the Nagas of Nagaland have lost their vision and hope? Today, some of the frustrated leaders who believe in “Divided we retain our leadership; united we lost our leadership” are leading some section of the Naga people. And some of the Naga gullible people are following them too. Leadership changes too. There can be misunderstanding, jealousy, hatred and ideological differences within a faction, tribe or nation. And out of frustration, hatred, ideological differences or other reasons – some of the leaders may want to retain their leadership by forming a few faction or organization. But one should not mislead other people to pull down the national movement. And also one should not change the Naga national movement into Nagaland state people movement. Kuknalim


AFSPA be there and Educate the Armed Personnel

Let normalcy return, then we will look into it. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be not be revoked in Manipur, said Shivraj Patil… (Sunday express: 8/8/04). Even if there are not any chances to revoke the AFSPA this time in Manipur or any parts of India. Let the Armed Personnel go to school and educate themselves not to harass, rape and kill the innocent civilians taking the advantage of AFSPA.

Do you think the civilian sponsored the insurgents? Do you think the villagers feed with good food and hide them in their houses? Do you think the innocent people are happy with the insurgent problems? Do you think the state government can solve the insurgent problem in North East India? The Indian Express, Journalism of Courage, also writes, No central leaders has even initiated a dialogue with the insurgents The Union Home Minister said, We cannot force them to talk to us But the question is, Is it possible for the State government to solve the insurgent problem in Manipur or any other states in India? The innocent villagers (civilians) are helpless under insurgency threat.

In the same situation, the State Govt. also helpless to deal with the insurgents and they have not even authority to grant the demand from the insurgencies. The Armed Personnel easily beaten up, rape and kill the innocent civilians taking the advantage of AFSPA. The innocent villagers are helpless when the insurgents with sophisticated weapons demanded to give food or shelter. Like the Armed Personnel, the insurgent takes away like chicken, pig etc without paying a single penny. How long the innocent villagers can feed the insurgents? Do you think that the innocent villagers love to feed and hide the insurgents? If the insurgent forced to take shelter or food in your house what will be your reaction?

Is it your life more important or losing your one-day meal or sleepless night? It would be good to ponder yourself if you are in such situation. The underground generally lives in the forest. As they also human being and they take food. When they are hungry, they go to the villagers for food and if the villagers refused to give the food, they are sure to get gun butt or any big stick around them. The civilians are always helpless and in dilemma. The Cinema halls are closed down in Manipur. Even the local journalists are helpless. The local polices are helpless. Yes what the police with Rifle can do. The insurgents have sophisticated weapons. When the Armed personnel come to learn the insurgent taking food or hidden in the villages. The Indian Army especially the Assam Rifles easily beaten up, rapes and kills the innocent villagers. It is the innocent villagers who give 

Food and shelter to the insurgents but they would give only when threat comes from the insurgents. Not one works and lives for other people. After my matriculation, once one of my friend and I were forcefully taken to the jungle as a ransom for the villagers for not giving money to the insurgents. Bu later we were released after the payment to the insurgent. Please do not blame the innocent villagers. When any of the paramilitary is going to North East India, they give a special training and instruction about the N.E. people.

The Indian paramilitaries are taught and impaled the strong idea against the insurgents by saying that they are your enemies. But the fact is that the insurgents are not against the Indian paramilitary forces but they have their own demand from the central government and it needs to be solved through peaceful dialogue with the insurgents. Be a good soldier and fight against the Indian enemies but do not harass, rape and kill the innocent people. Most of the Indian paramilitary forces have just pass Class VIII and they have no much knowledge to analyze about the critical situation. But since the army officers are educated and they should teach their children not to harass, rape and kill the innocent people.

The Indian Army also human being like, any other human being. They have their own children and wife to feed and want to live in this world. They are not the suicide squad. Why forcing the Indian armies to fight against the insurgents? Armies are easily killed in ambush. All the citizens of India should appeal the Indian government to take initiative to solve the insurgency problems so that our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who are in Indian armed force are not sacrifice as a ransom for not taking the initiative by the central govt. to solve the insurgency problem. Many armed forces do not want to die simply and they are angry when their officers send them to fight against the insurgents in the village.

And when they could not find the insurgents in the village, their anger leave on the villagers as if the innocent villagers had done something wrong to them. But they should always remember that it is not the villagers who create problem but the insurgents. The Union Home Minister said that they cannot force the insurgent to talk to them but how can peaceful solution can bring forth without a peaceful dialogue with the insurgents. Will you not say anything to your black sheep in your family before the whole family is defamed and destroyed? If you think so, let the insurgents continue to growth in North East and other parts of India till they are strong enough to disturb or destroy the whole India. Otherwise it is high time for the Home Minister to take initiative to solve the insurgent problem in India and educate the armed personnel not to harass, rape and kill the innocent people.

Cpoyrigt @thohepou 2004



Land and border disputes

By: Z. Katiry (Ex-MLA From Meluri:    26 Jul. 2015 1:02 AM IST
(From previous issue)
6. Political boundaries demarcated by the Britishers
Verrier Elwin had written in his treatise ‘’The Nagas in the 19th Century’’, Henry Harvesham Godwin to read what -Austen’s name is mentioned in it, not only as an explorer and geologist, but also an expert topographical drawing of who first went to Burma (now called Myanmar) where he explored the navigable waterways of the Irrawady delta. In the early part of 1856, he was attached to the Trigonometrical Survey of India to assist the first survey of Kashmir. He surveyed the great Karakoram glaciers together with the giant mountains that enclose them. In 1862, he mapped the northern border of the Pongong District on the Western edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and the following year he proceeded to Bhutan for mapping the areas between Sikkim and Punakha and the neighboring regions.
Godwin-Austen’s next assignment came when he had to survey Assam where he commanded the party and fully engaged in the survey of the Garo, Khasi and Jantia and some parts of the Brahmaputra.
In 1872, after 2 years leave, Godwin-Austen returned to India, much to the relief of his department. On his arrival, he was appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Survey with the assignment to survey and lay fixed political boundary between the erstwhile Naga Hills and Manipur and also to explore Patkoi range. A host of British officers, namely :- Captain Butler, Dr. Gordon, J. Johnstone who was Boundary Commissioner 1881-82, Lieutenant Ridgeway, Godwin-Austen’s two associates – Hinde and Ogle who were Assistant Surveyors and may others involved in the survey operation as the situation was slowly stabilizing. Dr. Brown became Political Agent in Manipur in 1868, and in 1873, he went with the Survey Party to settle the boundary between the erstwhile Naga Hills and Manipur.
The British officers seemed to have acquired an indefatigable spirit of hill-walking only when they landed in our country and began survey operations by walking through difficult terrains and hostile environment which was physically and mentally knackering. But years after, they were accustomed to such vagaries of nature that, on one occasion J. Johnstone had to say “hill-walking no longer tired me”. He went on to say, “Life is never monotonous as I take long walk everyday round the hills for important works”.
In the early part of February 1884, J. Johnstone, accompanied by Lieutenant Ridgeway, an interpreter and some men had visited Meluri, Akhegwo, Lephori (the writer’s village), and thence to Somrah (now in Myanmar),Wahong, Nganchan, Lasour of Tangkhul area, and on February 13,1884, he revisited the place where he encamped on the ground they occupied in 1881-82, when he was Boundary Commissioner. The next day he inspected the boundary pillars he had set up in 1881-82, and found intact which he said was a satisfactory proof that the settlement was not unacceptable to either Manipur or Burma.
7. Why boundaries are needed?
It is well known even to a man in the street that boundary demarcations are the imperative need, not only between nations and states but also between the tribes, villages and individuals in order to avoid any conflict that might arise in the absence of it. It was not a thought-out modern concept but it was there since time immemorial, if we care to read Deuteronomy 27: 17, 32:8 and Proverbs 22: 28. The Bible warns us the danger of removing the ancient boundary pillars set up by our forefathers as it would invite God’s wrath. It is also equally important to know that if boundary demarcations are not done by taking the consent of people into confidence, it may cause prolonged conflict and can eventually lead to intense conflict between the parties involved in the dispute where the bullets would be flying freely as we have often witnessed in the past, if misrepresentations in the map are not rectified or done away through mutual understanding or an official adjudication.
The tragedy was that, in the case of boundary demarcations between the erstwhile Naga Hills and Manipur, and with other neighboring states, the British officers had done all in a haste in an arbitrary manner without the consent of the people affected by such demarcations, nor on demographic line but on watershed principle of Jigsaw puzzle to suit their day to day administration, with their extremely vile policy of divide and rule, and also for the purpose of revenue collection within the British administered areas as it is evident from what is written in “The Nagas in the 19th century ’’ at page 178 which goes like this:“In November 1875, the Chief Commissioner reported that the number of Naga villages tendering revenue to our political officers was increasing”.
The Nagas who were totally ignorant due to illiteracy at that point of time, did not oppose such operations but allowed things to happen according to their whims and fancies even though they could see their territories and its people being traversing out into different administrative segments only to be assimilated later on to the socio-cultural and political identity of the dominant groups in their respective States. Whereas, in the other parts, such operations were opposed physically and politically as Dr. Gordon-Austen, in his own words stated that they were “physically and politically opposed to such operations”.
(To be concluded)

Land and border disputes

By: Z. Katiry (Ex-MLA From Meluri:    25 Jul. 2015 
1. Why is the Naga society beset with so many internal disorders and conflicts?
Many thoughtful persons agree that something manifestly is going wrong with the Naga society but nobody cares to assume responsibility to define the nature of its causes and formulate a solution for the same. Why are there too many internal disorders and conflicts? To this, I can say without hesitation that all our internal disorders and conflicts that beset Naga society is due to the many unsettled conditions which we now need to identify and discover the hidden assets for rebuilding the Naga society. The volatile situations that often emanated from border and land disputes which are spreading across the state and beyond like virus is slowly eating into the vital parts of our collective future.
Look, the situation that has been going on between Konyak and Chang who could not see eye to eye for the past so many years which has already cost loss of many valuable lives; the recent clash between Yimchunger and Chang over land dispute leading to extreme form of raw vandalism to properties of one tribe by another; the frequent border clashes that involve between several villages of Nagaland and Manipur states under Phek district in the most virulent form for the past many years; the intermittent border clashes between Assam and Nagaland states in the Karbi sector; the recent border conflict between SAYO and Mao community¬¬- all these and others, have destroyed a sense of oneness amongst the Nagas almost irreconcilably.
It is indeed tragic and painful that, at the time when Nagas are sorely in need of unity for achieving our common goal, there are irreconcilable conflicts everywhere over boundary issue which can potentially affect the collective destiny of the Nagas. The malaise had reached to such a level that a day is not far off when the unity of the Nagas may be torn asunder beyond any possibility of gluing back together the bits and pieces. A warning bell has already been sounded that the Nagas need to be very careful and cautious in tackling issue that affects the whole Naga people. Let the NGOs and Civil Societies in Nagaland seriously think about setting up module for peace advocacy, although few feel strongly about the need for it as peace-making is a very tedious process. We need to set our house in order immediately.
2. Why peace is needed?
Peace is pre-requisite to development. As such one of our deals must be peace, based on understanding and self-restraint. Tragically, our relations among our own people as well as with people of neighboring states are far from ideal at this present time. It will do us immense good if each one of us realizes that our future depends on peace. We need to give increasing talk to people around us including others about the need of peace.
It should be kept in mind that every issue can be moderated through enormous respect for reality, and the reality can emerge only when both the parties involved in the dispute can come together with open-mindedness and engage in serious discussion to involve ways and means for meaningful solution. All issues are not insoluble; they are all soluble if we are honest, sincere and determined. The party that lays false claim must admit to being wrong which is not a weakness but a process of healing the wound, for both cannot have right. The lost of a case in the court should not necessarily be construed as a humiliating defeat.
3. Why border and land disputes are rising increasingly ?
Land represents the single most important source of livelihood. People everywhere clamor for land. “The proletariats need land”, said Karl Marx in his Das Kapital. At one point of time in the distant past in our Naga society, lands were aplenty as the population was thinly scattered, and they were in no way pressed for land and its resources as there were vast areas of uninhabited virgin forests. They also did not appreciate the value of land unlike people of our time due to ignorance. They roamed and roamed about like gypsies without any emotional attachment to the land. Apart from this fact, the Nagas were migratory in nature. Their slush and burn agriculture practice accounted for this migratory nature. They kept shifting from place to place along with the shifting of cultivation in that they would abandon their old temporary make-shift huts and move on to a new place near the site where they would decide upon for the next slash and burn cycle.
With the passage of time, people ceased to be nomadic as population was growing exponentially and land and its resources were depleting correspondingly. In fact, we are already at a level where our small planet can no longer support the weight of our population. It is due to this population pressure on land and its resources that border and land disputes are bound to arise at an alarming rate, often creating volatile situations everywhere which are beyond control even by the government authorities. According to 1961 census, the population of Nagaland was recorded as 3, 69,210 only. In 2001 census, the population of Nagaland has shot up to 19, 90,636 with decadal growth of 64.05% as against the national decadal growth of 21.54% (which has almost tripled and abnormally very high). If the decadal growth of population of any given census exceeds 23%, it is said to abnormally high.
This being the trend of population growth, the policy makers and planners should give serious thought to it as the exponential growth of population can have serious impact on the society of the future. We also need to tell our people how they must utilize their land and its resources wisely in such a way that they are not swiftly exhausted in their greed to gain short-term easy money. A resource-starved State like ours where economy is extremely fragile, compounded with insurgency problem and acute unemployment problems, has assumed threatening dimension. Considering all these, we are indeed heading towards the worst of times if we fail to formulate appropriate policies and programs based on visionary and futuristic approach so as to salvage our collective future. In this kind of land you get back less than what you had invested.
4. Type of boundaries:-
There are two types of boundaries:-(1) Traditional boundaries which were in existence since time immemorial and(2) Political boundaries which were demarcated between states by the British government in India for the purpose of revenue collection within the British administered area. At some stretch of length, both descriptions coincide.
5. Traditional boundaries:-
Except for interstate boundaries, all other boundaries such as between tribes, villages and individuals in every village are all traditional which are upheld and protected/safeguarded by the customary law and practices which were considered as sacrosanct and inviolable. These traditional boundaries are more authentic, binding and lasting as they have been there since time immemorial much before the British came to our land. The jurisdiction of every Naga tribe or village is clearly delineated from the other mountain spurs, hill ridges, rivers or streams as boundaries to avoid any conflict between the tribes or villages, and these are upheld and protected by the customary practices. The boundaries between individuals are marked out by stone pillars, and any removal of these ancient pillars was considered taboo, and worthy of death. Even the Bible says so, in Deuteronomy 23:27 and Proverbs 22:28. There is three categories of land in almost every village with a few exceptions. They are:- (1) Individual land, (2) clan land and (3) Village community land. Whereas lands held by individuals are meant for agriculture farming, lands held by clan and village community are basically meant for cane and bamboo growing and include reserved forests.
(To be continued)