Rungsung Suisa: a pragmatic and relevant

By: U A Shimray

In the mid 1940s, Naga leaders like Mr. Rungsung Suisa from Ukhrul region, Mr. Athiko Daiho of Mao, and Mr. Teba Kilong from Tamenglong strongly advocated for the Naga integration of Naga areas of Manipur with Naga hills of Assam province [Nagaland]. R. Suisa beliefs that consolidation of all Naga people under one political unit is one important agenda in Naga political struggle. He ridiculous the Naga National Council [NNC] demand for complete sovereignty. In the 1960s, Mr. Rungsung Suisa initiated that Nagaland and India form a federation or Link or Relationship to solve the Indo-Naga dispute but the proposal was totally rejected as the NNC stick to Naga sovereignty.

Indeed, the ongoing Naga political talks, Nagas are willing to explore, an appropriate federal relationship with India, governed by the agreement in such a way that it cannot be changed unilaterally in the future by either side. At the same time, Naga civil society organisations demand for the Naga integration now play significant role in regions politics. Either Naga integration or federal relationship talking now is already envisaged and proposed by R. Suisa. Rejected agenda during his time now become relevant in the contemporary Naga politics. Today, R. Suisa’s idea rejected as unworkable is one of the important agenda in Naga peace talks.

R. Suisa: Unsung Leader
In short, Mr. R. Suisa biography can be described as- teacher, missionary, politician, revolutionary, thinker and settled down as vegetable vendor in Dimapur town [Nagaland]. In other words, R. Suisa is a Pastor, MLA, MP [Lok Sabha], Naga revolutionary [underground], later resigned from NNC and ventured to put up his proposal of India-Naga issue as Naga well-wisher. Mr. Suisa was born in Somdal Village, western side of Ukhrul district [Tangkhul Nagas region] of Manipur in 1907. Passed Matriculation Examination from Jorhat Christian High School, Assam under the Calcutta University which, during that period covered the present North Eastern region and Bangladesh [then East Bengal], and topped the University of the year.

R. Suisa began his multi-career as missionary at Pudunamei Baptist Church, Mao [Manipur]. In 1946, the President Manipur State Darbar [PMSD] nominated him as a member of Manipur Constitution Making Committee [CMC]. In the process, R. Suisa and other hill leaders [tribal] demanded that the hill areas should be allowed to secede from Manipur Kingdom after five years if they desired. The hill representatives of CMC declared as: The Principal of equality and freedom as applied to all without distinction of caste, creed and race shall include the right of any section of the Hill Peoples to secede at the end of the five years period should condition within the Constitution not be satisfactory.

The first general election in Manipur was held on 1948. Mr. PC Deb, the Returning Officer of Manipur declared R. Suisa elected uncontested to the Manipur State Assembly from No. 7, Talloi Hill vide notification dated June 1948 [Manipur State Gazette June 30, 1948 Part III]. He then served in that competence till the Assembly was dissolved just after the Manipur Merger Agreement with the Union of India.

He became an MP in the second Lok-Sabha on Congress ticket from Manipur Outer Constituency [1957-1962] and was fitted in various Committees of the Parliament. He was later directly involved in Naga politics by serving as Assistant to vice-President, Naga National Council from 1964-1966.

Journalist Harish Chandola comments Mr. Suisa As I Know, in Legacy of R. Suisa, 1976] as: But his first concern was to unite his own Naga people whose land had been divided by the British colonial power arbitrarily.

The Proposal
The foremost alternative proposal of Naga problem was propounded by Mr. R. Suisa however, the NNC rejected such move. Mr. Suisa informs Mr. Zapu Phizo, President of NNC that the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was ready to settle the Naga issue and place his proposed resolution. Instead of taking rational thought to the proposal, the NNC warned him with dire consequences if he persisted with his effort. At the time, the struggle is nothing less than complete independence.

R. Suisa’s proposal in short, was to have a Link or Relationship between India and Nagalim. The brief abstract of the proposal includes:
1. that Nagaland and India form a federation.
2. Nagaland and India will have a pact on defence, foreign affairs and communication.
3. some subjects of common concern to be selected if required.
4. except for the above mentioned subjects, “In all matters of her own affairs and self-concern, Nagaland will be sovereign.

R. Suisa who envisages ahead of his time and his in-depth understanding of Naga issue is pragmatic and logical politics. R. Suisa opposed the NNCs propaganda Nothing short of complete independence; Nothing to do with India and he term as meaningless political cry. He further denounced ego on fighting, something will be coming from outside to the aid of solution of our problem. He considered Naga people alone have to find out the solution. However, R. Suisa became unwelcome person at Chedema [peace camp]. In his later age, he landed up as vegetable vendor and buried at Kala Kaphung [Mound of Mirror] at Hongman village, Senapti district [far away from his native village]. His life itself is political statement. To remarks, Suisa lived for his beliefs.  Courtesy: kanglaonline.com

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Suisa’s Proposal on Naga Political Solution

WHICH WILL BE THE MOST WORKABLE IDEA

FOR THE SOLUTION OF INDO-NAGA POLITICAL DISPUTE?

Herewith attached are the copies of the two rejected proposals of the last Peace Mission and that of R. Suisa, by this it should not be taken for granted that the said two proposals have been produced with the intention of forcing them on the unwilling parties, whereas these are reproduced or the purpose of informing the general public the simple facts regarding the last Indo-Naga negotiations starting in the later part of 1964, ending in the middle part of 1967, because during the said years, inspite of having several talks, neither party put up any proposal for discussion to be taken as a basis for negotiations.

O, see, what an extra-ordinary political talk or negotiation it was! There would have been nothing wrong in rejecting the said two proposals had two parties put up their own counter-proposals, they might have not been able to come to any conclusion or agreement regarding the conditions for the settlement of their dispute but they should have touched the points, whereas most strangely the two parties ended their talks in accusing each other for violation of cease-fire agreement; thereby it shows that both parties either did not have any clear cut ideas of the nature of their dispute and the remedy thereof, or they were not confident enough in themselves to be competent to solve the problem, this statement may cause some offence but their performance have exposed them.

Now in the minds of the general public of Nagaland and India, naturally there arises the question as to who and who would be the competent authorities or parties to bring the solution of the long standing dispute, why should the general public ask themselves such a question? It is whimsical on the part of the general public in putting such a question? No, not in the least, rather the blame must have to be laid on the shoulders of the last two negotiating parties, why? because instead of solving the problem, they had rather made the problem more complicated and every politically conscious person knows how the situation has become more complicated, but to the unwatchful, as there is no open fighting, apparently peace might seem to be ruling, whereas actually peace has become far remote than it was before the talks started.

Then it will not be out of place for the general public to ask within themselves as to what types of politicians their leaders are:

a)         The tendency of an extremist is, by all means at any cost, to knock down those who do not agree with him or perish himself in the struggle.

b)         A fanatic wilfully goes on his own way whatever be the end.

c)         A good liberal is always ready to adapt himself to the changing conditions. d) A bad liberal has no aim of his own, he s the drifting ship in a sea.

e) A moderate never allows bitterness, hatred and wrath to get upper-hand, he is always cool, he thinks more of the future; he tries to mould the future of the nation.

f)  The whimsical is always guided by his irrelevant imaginations, O! how unreasonable it is to think that one can live without relationship with neighbours, whereas in practical life, bad or good, relationship with neighbours is a must unavoidable thing or life; thus naturally the good one has to be chosen.

Lastly, this appeal is to thee, 0, thou politician, in case if thy idea is rejected as unworkable, be thou not offended or if thou hast not contributed any ideas, then why not scrutinise the ideas others might be contributing from among which the most workable one has to be selected.

But which will be the most workable idea?

The most workable idea will be that one which will bring mutual benefits to India and Nagaland in future.

28/12/1968

(R. Suisa)

1.         It has been a matter of considerable satisfaction to the Peace Mission, as to all others in Nagaland and in the rest of India, that since firing ceased on 6th September, 1964,fortheflrsttime in ten years people in Nagaland are experiencing what normalcy is. The Peace Mission feels that it is the moral obligation of everyone in Nagaland and, more so, of the Peace Mission) in whom so much confidence and faith have been reposed) to see that this peace becomes everlasting in Nagaland. It is in pursuance of this that the Peace Mission is addressing this communication to both the parties.

2.         But first it should be placed on record to the honour of both parties that have been in conflict that the attempt to find peace and agreement to a cease-fire was an adventurous step which issued from their deep desire t find an honourable way to terminate such a bitter) wasteful and protracted conflict.

3.         The marked difference in the atmosphere that prevails in Nagaland today as compared with that prevailing prior to the cessation of operation will probably be only realised by those who have lived or worked in Nagaland where there was fear as soon as darkness began and a sense of insecurity resulting from the ever present possibility of sudden violence. Today, the people are returning to the normal occupations. Families are being re-united) the biggest harvest for many years has been gathered and there is a feeling of hope in Nagaland which makes every delegate engaged in the peace talks only too conscious of the heavy burden of decision on those who have to take it) the life and happiness of so many being depending on the decisions that are taken. In all this it is fair to pay tribute not only to the Government of India for their humanity and imagination) but also to the leaders of the Baptist Church for whom this initiative was the result of much thought and powerful consideration of the good of both India and Nagaland.

4.         The Nagaland Peace Talks, which started on 23 of September, 1964, have now come to a stage, where the NFG Delegation have placed their demands for consideration by the Government of India. This was in response to the statement of the leaders of the Government of India delegation of Chedema on November 14, wherein the Government of India also stated their position and understanding of the problem, as they saw it.

5.         The Nagaland Federal Delegation have claimed that the Nagas had never been conquered by the Indian Army or ruled by an Indian Government, although their territory had been forcibly annexed by the British Army and the British Government about a century ago. Nevertheless, their right of self-determination, they claim, belonged to them separately as a people from the Sovereign Independent State of India, and they; are now demanding recognition of this independence, which, as they say, India herself demanded and heroically struggled for under the historic slogan of Swaraj.

6.         The Government of India’s position on the other hand, is that Nagaland formed an integral part of part of India before 1947 and that, with the Transfer of Power to India by British Parliament, Nagaland became part of India in the same way as all other States in India. At the same time, the Government of India claims that they have already accepted the need for granting the fullest autonomy to Nagaland by constituting the State of Nagaland, so as to ensure the fullest development of the Nagas and to guarantee their ethnic and cultural entity and to ensure their traditional right and their resources accordingly, the Nagas are not ruled by any alien power but are ruling themselves.

7.         The peace Mission notes that as section of the Naga people accepted the status of Statehood thus conferred upon Nagaland as being in their best interest. Another section did not consider that it satisfied the aims and objectives they had been fighting for. Thus, there are those two divergent positions of the Government of India and the NFG confronting each other.

8.         Though the two positions appear to be far apart, the Peace Mission believes that, with goodwill and understanding on both sides, a solution acceptable to both can be found.

9.         As earlier stated, the Peace Mission reiterates that it is under an inescapable moral obligation to ensure maintenance of peace and settlement of all outstanding problems through peaceful means. The Peace Mission believes that there is no human problem that cannot be solved by peaceful means. The Peace Mission further believes that the Governments concerned and the people concerned share and subscribe to this view.

10.       While the Peace Mission fully agrees and endorses the principle that all subject peoples have the right to self-determination and that no group of people is competent to rule over another, it also has to invite the attention of the Nagaland Federal Government to certain historical processes that had taken place to give birth, to the Union of India and to the emergence of the great concepts and ideals underlying the Union Constitution.

11.       The British had conquered at several stages and in diverse manner, various parts of the Indian sub-continent, comprising different ethnic groups, political systems and religious beliefs. However, under the aegis of the Indian National Congress and since 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, those various different peoples, representing diverse linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious elements, came together against foreign colonial rule and developed a consciousness of nationhood. Unfortunately, this common struggle against foreign imperialism, that had welded those diverse peoples n the Indian sub-continent into one nation did no somehow have an appreciable impact on the Nagas. This was, no doubt, due to the policy of isolation and exclusion, so deftly practised by British rulers, who believed in creating pockets contrary to each other and hoping to rule in perpetuity by dividing the peoples. In any case this great national movement of unification which freed India including Nagaland from the yoke of foreign rule, did not bring within its embracing sweep the Naga population to the same extent as it did the other parts of the sub-continent. Thus, in 1947, when all the diverse peoples of India who had been brought under British rule, voluntarily agreed to form the Union of India and to share in the common endeavour to ensure that in this great Union the ideals of Fraternity, Liberty, Justice and Equality, as enshrined in the Constitution are fully achieved, for the common benefit of all, the same response and sense of participation was not noticeable in the Naga areas.

12.       The Peace Mission, in the circumstances, appreciates and understands the desire of the Nagas for self-determination and their urge to preserve their integrity. The Peace Mission also appreciates the courage and tenacity, displayed by the Naga people in endeavour, to achieve this goal. The objectives which they placed before themselves in their memorandum ‘Naga Peace Declaration dated the 17th December, 1964 and addressed to the Peace Mission, namely, their desire to find peace, their, resolving to maintain their integrity and to resist entanglement in war, are all extremely laudable and should commend themselves to all peace loving people. It is, however~ to be noted that this Declaration, in itself, does not resolve the political issue. Therefore, some appropriate meeting point has to be found, where the aims and ideals of the NFG can be achieved, at the same time, making it possible for the Government of India to accept these within the framework of the political settlement to be mutually agreed upon.

13.       The Peace Mission in the pursuit of a settlement through peaceful means, ‘} to which the Government of India as well as the NFG equally subscribe, to which the Government of India as well as the NFG to consider seriously whether such a meeting could not be reached. On the one hand, the NFG could on their own volition, decide to be a participant in the Union of India and mutually settle the terms and conditions for that purpose. On the other hand, the Government of India could consider to what extent the pattern and structure of the relationship between the Nagaland and the Government of India should be adapted and recast. So as to satisfy the political aspirations of all sections of Naga opinion and to make it possible for the ideals of peace as expressed in the Naga Peace Declaration to be substantially realised.

14.       The Peace mission would like, in all earnestness, to impress upon both sides that the approach, herein suggested, is not only the fairest, but the only practical one in the given circumstances, and it fervently hopes that it will commend itself to the Government of India as well as to the Nagaland Federal Government.

15.       The Peace Mission reiterates that the peace now obtaining in the Nagaland should be made everlasting. With that object in view, the Peace Mission offered certain suggestions, whereupon both the parties had unequivocally affirmed and declared that they would renounce war and violence as a means for political settlement. This declaration of renounciation of war and use of armed force; it is earnestly emphasised, must not be deviated from by any means. The Peace Mission’s proposal, following this bilateral declaration of renounciation of war, to deposit all underground arms in safe custody and to withdraw all Indian security forces from law and order duties could not unfortunately be implemented.

16.       Nevertheless, the Peace Mission would earnestly desire that, in faithful pursuance of the Declaration of renounciation of use of armed forces, both parties take concrete steps to remove all frictions. There have been numerous complaints and counter-complaints from both. The Peace Mission would suggest that the NFG require all arms issued to its forces to be concentrated at one or several places, in their armories and under their custody, so that there can be no basis for any future complaint of their forces parading with arms or extorting money or supplies under threat. They should also seriously ask themselves whether further recruiting and movement out of Nagaland towards Pakistan does not create an impression that these are only acts preparatory towards resumption of hostilities and, if so, they should take remedial measure by putting a stop to such recruitment and movement. The Government of India should ensure that its security forces and the civil administration do continue to abide strictly with the terms of the agreement, both in spirit and letter.

17.       The Peace Mission makes a fervent appeal for consideration of the suggestions contained n this paper and for all action that is possible for the maintenance of peace.

Date: 20(12(1964

Sd/-

(Bimalaprasad Chaliha)

Sd/-

(jayaprakash Narayan)

Sd/-

(Michael Scott)

The question of disintegration of present Manipur nor integration of all the Naga territory is a new problem

Personally to me neither the question of disintegration of present Manipur nor integration of all the Naga territory is a new problem or an impracticable proposition under the present internationally changed situation.

As a matter of Fact, while i was an MP in Indian Lok sabha, in one of the meeting of Manipur advisory council in New delhi. I had before my fellow two meitei MPs in the present of the late Home Minister GB pant, told very frankly that someday disintegration of present Manipur would be an inevitable phenomenon and naturally the Nagas would have to join their Fellow Nagas and if they so choose even the Kukis too should be given as far as geographical position permits, the choices to join the Mizos who are more akin to the Kukis.

And in the Year 1962 as the govt. Of India refused Nagas of Present Manipur State to join their fellow Nagas in present Nagaland. The then Manipur Naga council had to boycott the then general election in hat year, as the consequence of which we were detained in Dum Dum Jail for about one year.

In the year 1966 again in my proposal. I had also mentioned that the size of the future Nagaland would be – “Return and integration of all portion of Nagaland Territory.” so the things have not been done secretly, some may not like this idia, yet justices has to be done to the tribals also and the sooner people realise his fact the better it is.

All the Nagas have also realised that they have been belied and without all Nagaland territory being integrated, present size of Nagaland alone would be a mock Nagaland.

Now withstanding that there may be some people who may be deadly against disintegration of present Manipur and to such people, high or low, i would like to appeal to their common sense by this simple question then…where is now Hyderabad whch Was 16 times the size of Manipur.? If so, then the Nagas or those who are in favour of disintegration of present Manipur would thay be taken as fanatices.? However let us not quarrel among ourselves over this issues but wait patiently for the future.

Now fortunately or unfortunately Indian parliament Is dissolved and a mid term poll is going to be taken shortly, thus is my appeal to politically conscious people that no trouble should be created during the mid term poll for lok sabha in Manipur outer constituency, let any one contest as he likes, whereas the people should act according to their conviction. By tis i should not be misunderstood that i believed this will solve the present conflict between Nagaland and India but what i say is that there has been bitterness between india and Nagaland for too long a time, whereas Nagaland and India have many common interest of both parties to solve that conflict through peaceful means as eaRly as possible and live in amity with each other for mutuals benefits. So it Will be no political wisdom to add bitterness any more, raher it will be our boundy duty to wipe off bitterness through mutual respect for each other.

Lastly, it is my appeal to the Meiteis who are living in the valey at present Manipur that they should not be carried away by their whims, whereas it will be wise for them to work for their future good by looking for the way through which they could live in good relationship with the tribals who are geographically surrounding them on all sides.
May God gives us all his wisdom to live in peace with one another Amen.

(R. Suisa)
Dimapur, Nagaland
21/1/1971