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.

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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.