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.

“The Position of Rongmei Recognition” : A Response

By Theja Therieh, Secretary, I&P, NTC & Lendinoktang Ao, Acting President, NTC

Apropos to the article captioned “The Position of Rongmei Recognition” by Rongmei Council Nagaland (RCN) represented by its president  James Akham which appeared in the local papers on 10th & 11th April, 2014.  The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) is saddened  to note the wild derogatory phrases used for paper war by the RCN referring the NTC  as “ some sections of leaders in the pretext and aegis of NTC or ENPO is generally reflecting or indicating certain defects notion or rationale deficiency of the Naga society… the syndrome of shortcomings… discriminative motive” or “ The communal issue-based composing NTC…  creating  false  public opinions, fallacious notions and out-rightly denying the fellow Naga brothers without realizing the facts, logic and the deserving status of the Rongmei citizens in the state… politically tempering… the advantages of the many evil designers etc”  While the article is published for the consumption of the public at large, the contents directly accused NTC, hence this response to set the matter straight. NTC respect the feelings of RCN, however some of its accusations and conclusions are generalized and baseless assumptions, not factual and even recklessly selfish and one-sided. Our main concern is that needless misunderstanding, distrust and resentment from false propaganda not be passed onto one another among the pan Naga brethren.

It is important to clarify that the Rongmeis were brought to Kohima under temporary permit by the British during the early part of the last century for scavenging profession at Kohima, this may not be misread or misinterpreted .That there are no names of Rongmei in the electoral roll of 5th Dec 1963 under Kohima District, as certified by the Joint Chief Electoral Officer & PIO, Kohima vide his letter No. ELE/RTI-2/2013/1758 Dt. 12/03/2013 and also there are no names of Rongmei in the electoral roll of 5th Dec. 1963 under Peren District as certified by Asst Election Officer & PIO Peren, vide his letter No. ELE/RTI/2010-13/639 Dt. 10/01/2013. The RCN while clarifying the statement of Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) admitted “there is no Rongmeis land in Peren District till date” as appeared in Morung Express Dt. 30th Sept. 2007. The right of recognition as claimed by RCN is baseless and is only creating animosities, distrust and resentment among Naga family. 

The Hon’ble Guwahati High Court in W.P.(C) No. 4519/12 for compliance of the order Dt. 22/11/2012 also passed an order addressed to the Chief Secretary, Nagaland as : “steps are being taken not to issue Indigenous Inhabitant Certificates to the members of Rongmei Community in violation of the abovementioned conditions stipulated in the Notification dated 28.04.1977. It may be stated that the names of the members of Rongmai Community did not appear in the Electoral Roll on 5.12.1963 and also they did not fulfill the other conditions stipulated in the abovementioned Notification dated 28.04.1977. Hence, you are hereby requested to comply with the aforesaid direction passed by the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court and not to issue ‘Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate’ to the members of Rongmei Community.” Therefore the claim of 1313 of Rongmeis purported to have settlement in Nagaland prior to 1st Dec. 1963 is bogus. Their claim of the so called “deserving shares” and accusing others of “the many evil designers” or claiming their recognition “enlarges or increases the grant of appropriation central provision”. Challenging the legal status of NTC and Christian faith is difficult to be understood. 

The recent controversies on the genuineness of Shri Sachui Kamei, S/o. Talung Kamei a Rongmei candidate who claims to be held from Zeliang Tribe was issued an Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate and Scheduled Tribe Certificate by the Deputy Commissioner of Kohima during 2004 qualifying him to seat for job interview in the Social Welfare Department who was later selected for the post of LDA-Cum-Computer Assistant against the seat reserved for Zeliang Tribe(BT). The NTC questions as to how a reserved seat against Zeliang Tribe is given to a candidate held from Rongmei Community and how an Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate is issued to a candidate who did not satisfied the criteria as laid down in Govt. Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated kohima, the 28th April, 1977. This blatant act of the State is one glaring instance of the State allowing the non-aboriginal tribe to take advantage in snatching away the rightful share of the genuine citizen of the State. This is a shameless attempt to forcefully snatch away its brother’s share leading to the most unwanted inter-tribal conflict that is destroying our bound of unity for the Nagas. 

Some Angamis and Semas had temporary settlement in and around Tadubi and Kangpokpi of Senapati District prior to the creation of Manipur State due to Indo-Naga warfare. As such they were listed as recognized tribes of Manipur as per law of Manipur state but they did not own any village territory as a community in Manipur, therefore they never claimed any benefit at any time, whereas in the case of RCN who owns no village territory claiming their recognition in Nagaland as their birthright is an expression of greed, selfishness and legally not tenable. This is the difference between the Rongmei Council and the Nagas of Nagaland. The RCN comparing themselves to the Cacharis and Kukis who have several villages prior to 1st Dec. 1963 and were listed as Indigenous Inhabitant tribe during the state formation and thereby gaining political mileage, ability to manipulate the present Govt. is not good for the health of the pan Naga community.

The NTC has serious reservation on the issue of recognition of other tribes apart from the Naga tribes of Nagaland State as indigenous inhabitant tribe of Nagaland. The fact is that the Rongmei Tribe recognition has already created precedence. Henceforth, when any Naga tribe from outside Nagaland State applies for the same has to be treated at par with the Rongmei lest it would be discrimination. Rongmei tribe recognition has open a flood gate, now the Nagas of Nagaland would be overwhelmed and stampeded as has happened in the last recruitment drive of Graduate Teachers of 2012 in peren District of Nagaland as a consequence of recognition accorded to Rongmei tribe. 

(To be concluded)

Try to see beyond illegal taxation and extortion

NTC and ACAUT can be a good platform to start Nagas’ Unity and Naga People Mass Movement (NPMM) IF: some of the prominent LEADERS and Facebookers stop trying to implicate the other Nagas as supporter of only one faction, stop considering other Nagas as less Naga, consider all the Nagas as one, focus only on the main issues, and work for Nagas’ Unity.

NTC may be there. ACAUT may be there. Taxation may be reduced, or there may be only one Taxation, but Naga faction will remain the same next many years UNLESS there is Naga People Mass Movement and solve the Naga Political Problem. And tomorrow again you may say, “this taxation is too high”. Lowering tax or paying only to one Government may be a temporary pain relieve for some of the Government employees and businessmen, but this is not the end of suffering from taxation, threat, oppression or whatever you called it.

The ultimate solution will come only if the Naga Political Solution comes. And this Naga Political Solution may come only if the Naga People are UNITED and start the NPMM. Let the Naga public with their prominent leaders (tribal Hoho) and factional leaders decide the Naga’s future or what the Naga people want today – sovereignty or whatever the Naga leaders and public decide for the good of the Naga people.

Paying tax to one Government and lowering taxation would definitely help to breathe better for the Nagas. However, I want to look beyond this temporary relieve which will haunt us back shortly without solving the Naga political problem. Our present leaders need to be more foresighted and think for the Naga younger generation by helping to solve the Naga Political solution instead of trying to bring little relieve to their generation by lowering or paying tax only to one Government.

If you think that Naga public have the voice and they can do it, the Naga public leaders should start uniting the Naga people and then bring the factional leaders to reconcile and unite. Which will be easier to unite – the Naga public or Naga factional leaders? The Naga leaders may need to study on this aspect and try to bring together the Naga people.

We the Nagas need NTC and ACAUT kinds of organisation to fight against the corruption, illegal taxation, extortion and to work for the development in Naga dominated areas. HOWEVER, IT SHOULD NOT COMPROMISE the unity of the Naga people. Sometime, the public may simply follow their leaders and the organisation like NTC and ACAUT need to work systematically, professionally, tactfully, intellectually and diplomatically with the public support without compromising the unity of the Naga people.

Today, it is the time for the Nagas to reason together, move forward together, work together and see beyond our own family, village, tribe and state. However, if we continue to think and see only for our families, village, tribe and state, the Naga people will continue to suffer many more years regardless of any state or country they live.

@Dr. Thohe Pou