Greetings to you all on this 70th Naga Plebiscite Day, the 16th May 2020. On every important national day of the Nagas such as today, the foremost thing that comes to our mind is the gratitude to the Almighty God for His unceasing blessings and protection given to the Nagas all these years. May God continue to protect and guide us always.
Every year as we commemorate this historic day, it is an occasion to observe with utmost respect and reflect on the significance and the important step taken by the Nagas of the day at the right time. The occasion is also to draw strength and inspiration to move forward, to remind us of the herculean task in organizing and conducting this voluntary Naga Plebiscite led by the leaders of the Naga National Council (NNC) beginning 16th May 1951 on the issue of whether to join the Union of India OR to remain in our age-old independence. It is pertinent to mention that the then President of NNC, A Z Phizo was 47 years old at that time and most of his colleagues and associated were much younger. And they were backed by the astute patriotic Nagas in every village and region. As a consequence, the result of the Plebiscite was overwhelmingly in favour to remain independent. This verdict is not erasable and is a sacred pledge given by the Nagas for one nation and for one Nagaland. Which the present generation and coming generation must cherish and uphold at all cost and at all time.
Looking back at the history of the Nagas from time immemorial, our forefathers never surrendered our land to foreigners and had passed on that legacy to the present generation. Prior to the aggression of India on Nagaland, the Nagas staunchly resisted the incursion of the British from 1832 to 1879. Where intermittent wars were fought here and there in the Naga country. The last battle was fought at Khonoma on 22nd November 1879. In which the British force was led by Brigadier-General Nation. After a fierce battle, it is recorded that “the Naga retreated to a strongly fortified position”. The General unable to pursue them decided to follow the process of blockade. This had not deterred the Nagas that they organized themselves in good strength within a span of hardly two months and carried out a counter-attack on a British Tea Garden in Assam in later part of January, 1880 and “executed a most daring raid” and returned safely. This amazed the British. Having seen the resilience and determination of the Nagas they entered into a verbal peace agreement with the Nagas on 27th March 1880 at Mezoma.
In a way, it is regretted that due to Coronavirus pandemic we are not able to celebrate the day in a grand manner as we used to in the past years. And yet, we should be thankful to God that we are protected from this dreaded disease. In this difficult and trying time of pandemic, we are all learning important lessons of discipline, self-reliance and community living as a people. Let us continue to pray that this diease is shielded from us and it is removed from the face of the earth.
May God Bless Nagaland: Urra Uvie
Addino Phizo, President, NNC
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