Upholding sovereignty is the chief goal of a nation. Hence, when the people and the land are under assault, defending them becomes the most challenging task of a nation. Nagas were never Indian nor Burmese. From the time the idea of nation-state dawned upon the Nagas, our forebears knew that resisting the might of the British Empire and that of India and Myanmar would be a colossal task. This challenge has demoralised many cowards, but our mothers also had birthed many sons and daughters who are of noble heart and who would be brave enough to fight for the nation.
The imbroglio between India-Myanmar and Nagalim is not a contest of strength, but about upholding the latter’s political rights that are rooted in history. To defend one’s nation, one must understand the core principle on which one’s position is anchored. For us, the principal reason is the political rights bestowed on us by God the creator. Our worth and our covenant before God cannot be undermined. We need not inflate our strength nor trivialise our capabilities. We need not let our adversary cut us down to size with its malicious propaganda.
Viewing the world through the prism of power alone, ruling out the question of right and wrong, eventually leads to the conclusion that the weak are born to be ruled by the strong and the poor by the rich. Such perspective will crumble in the face of truth and civilisation built on such scaffold will fall to pieces.
In the struggle for Naga’s freedom, the adversaries have thoroughly exploited our weaknesses to prolong their unworthy and illegal occupation of our land. Government of India (GoI) has impaired the moral authority of many educated Naga leaders, making them ineffective and unproductive for the Nagas. In doing so, our adversary has used Nagas’ failing as their greatest scheme to divide and rule.
India today acknowledges and recognises our right to self-determination. However, there is also a section within her that wants to backtrack her commitment using our own Naga people as an excuse. Indian agencies have sown the seed of division, hatred and greed among the already susceptible Naga nation. Someday, the world shall surely question the sincerity of the GoI for failing to execute various agreements signed between India and the Nagas. That day, India would respond to the world saying that it is the Nagas who have rejected for honourable political settlement and have accepted for something else. The failure to differentiate between a sovereign future with little extra efforts now and the lost future with frugal present would be a blunder for the short-sighted Naga leaders. These leaders are those who choose the latter in the name of political expediency. However, such voices will continue to serve as bottleneck for prosperity and unity not only at the national level, but even at the village level with their narrow outlook.
No matter how small Nagas are to India in terms of land and population, Nagas have rights to be free which is grounded in our historical location, and therefore our assertion that we are neither Burmese nor Indian have legitimacy. Since the time of the colonial British Empire till
date, Nagas have never marched beyond the border to wage war; we have only defended our border from external aggression. Albeit, the peace talks linger for over two decades, if the adversary betrays us, Nagas will be on guard to defend our honour.
To that end, it is vital that Nagas remain united and display maturity and responsibility for each other’s well-being. We need to be prudent in our comment in the media, including social media. Freedom of expression is a key feature of a free society. However, using this freedom to spread hatred between various political and tribal groups, within and without arbitrary administrative boundary, is not acceptable. Poisoning the young minds with unfounded fear and fiction is not only morally wrong, but politically destructive.
NSCN has never divided the Naga society on the basis of ‘primary and secondary stakeholder’ of Naga cause. NSCN has been working all these years towards fostering unity among the family. It is in this spirit that NSCN continues to abide by the Covenant of Reconciliation signed twelve years ago under the aegis of Forum for Naga Reconciliation. We all have to admit that some of the mistakes and wrong perpetrated to one another cannot be undone. It will be futile to continuously argue on the mistakes committed, intentionally or unintentionally, in the journey of freedom. History has sufficiently warned us about repetition of such errors.
Today, I pray for wisdom for all the Nagas to collectively work to heal the badly wounded nation. We need to shed our personal differences and come together. Many of us have become too sensitive to how others hurt us while being not sensitive enough to how we hurt others. As sons and daughters of the soil, and as responsible heir to our legacy, let us keep building Naga nation as our national vision. Our common aspiration and vision for a Naga nation must outshine our petty differences and adversary’s policy to divide us.
Kilo Kilonser, GPRN
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