Durbar Hall rechristened ‘Dr Imkongliba Hall’
Kohima, January 26: Former Governor and Chief Minister, Dr S C Jamir on Sunday rued that over the years the 16 Point Agreement had been scorned and maligned by vested interests, even by those who are enjoying the fruits of Statehood.
“In their mistaken and often comforting belief of complete knowledge and factual consciousness, people are perilously inclined to apply distorted logic, analyze half-cooked information and draw faulty conclusions on matters requiring detailed and meticulous understanding and scrutiny”, said Jamir.
Jamir, who is the only survivor among the 21 NPC signatories of 16 Point Agreement, was speaking during the Governor’s At Home on the occasion of 71st Republic Day at Raj Bhavan and also the unveiling of the plague rechristening Durbar Hall as “Dr Imkongliba Hall”.
The 16 Point Agreement signed between the Naga Peoples’ Convention and Government of India in 1960 led to the formation of Nagaland state in 1963. Dr Imkongliba was the first president of NPC and also the chairman of Interim Government in 1963.
As the only living signatory to the 16 Point Agreement of 1960, Jamir placed on record the incontrovertible reality that the NPC always dedicatedly endeavoured to create a favourable political environment so as to lucidly and unequivocally highlight the foundational basis of the legitimate demands and long felt political aspirations of the Naga people before the Government of India.
He said that the widely acknowledged, hugely debated and often irrationally maligned 16 Point Agreement was evolved after exhaustive and widespread deliberations by the representatives of the 16 tribes of Nagaland, and it was a prominent milestone in the chequered political history of the Nagas.
The solemn and unanimous resolution of the NPC was to salvage the hopes and aspirations of the Naga people, he said.
Jamir said that the 16 Point Memorandum was conceptualised and drafted very consciously and judiciously, factoring all the prevailing exigent and strenuous socio-political realities so as to act as a basis for an honourable resolution to the vexed Naga problem.
After examining in depth the historical and political records of the Naga National Council, the Naga Peoples Convention included Article 371 (A) as one of the most important demands during the negotiation with the Prime Minister of India in 1960, he said.
Jamir wanted the younger generation, especially young political leaders of the state, to clearly understand how and why the NPC emerged in the Naga political scenario, so that a true perspective can emerge on the ideas, ethos, activities and goals of the NPC in the context that concentration camps, cultivations were denied, male folks were either herded to jails or engaged in forced labour.
“Fear and suspicions dominated the minds and souls of the people. This was a long gloomy and agonizing nights for the people,” he said, adding that in this dire situation, the NPC was organized and operationalized to redeem the pride and honour of the Nagas.
There were only two options left – either to surrender and again become district of Assam or find an alternative to safeguard the political entity of the Naga, he said.
“The NPC had opted for the second option and because of that today we have our elected Government to shape our future according to our own choice and design,” he said.
Dwelling on the present scenario, Jamir said the greatest need in the current political scenario in Nagaland is to recognize and conform with the contemporary realities and steer with them.
“All indications show that we are on the threshold of a new dawn for a united, peaceful and progressive Nagaland and in this new dispensation the people of Nagaland in general and the leaders in particular should completely bury their hatchets and with we Christian spirit reinvent, redesign and revolutionize the new Nagaland to measure up to the sanctity of the declaration of our Churches – Nagaland for Christ,” he added.
The many slips between cup and the lips is befitting comparison with Naga politics, he said. Reiterating that NPC was sure of its hands, cups and content, Jamir said there were now slips between the cup and the lips as the cup in the hands of the underground continues to avoid the lips.
Governor Ravi in his address said “today many of us can only try and imagine under what extraordinary circumstance walked together keeping their heads cool, taking whatever best for the people, who were caught in the crossfire”.
When all around the guns were moving, these people clubbed together displaying an extraordinary sense of unity because
All the 16 tribes and leaders they walked together deliberated and pursued a path in the best interest of the people of Nagaland, he said.
“I salute their extraordinary courage, and political maturity because not being swayed by the emotions of the people, they could access what was in the best interest of the people,” he said.
India, being newly independent had not yet overcome the trauma of partisan, the people of the NPC realized that it was the opportunity to get the best deal for the people of Nagaland because as the time passed, a more self-confident India could not have perhaps agreed to what was agreed at that point of time.
“I wonder if only anyone could imagine getting something like Article 371(A)”, he said, adding that they brought not only a state and much more than is the special state.
It was done pursuing the path which Mahatma Gandhi had done, he said.
Today, by dedicating and rechristening the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan after Dr Imkongliba is just to say that “we haven’t forgotten you… you live in the hearts of people of Nagaland”.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in his speech called upon the people to remember the sacrifice made by Late Dr Imkongliba Ao, the first president of NPC.
“His selfless effort along with his colleagues under the banner of NPC was instrumental behind inking of the 16-Point Agreement which led to the formation of Nagaland state,” he said adding that Dr Imkongliba was a man of great commitment and values with a far-sighted vision to bring all Naga brethren together in finding a practical solution during the turbulent time in the Naga history.
Later on, he became the first martyr of the 16-Point Agreement for Nagaland State, he said.
It is the collective effort of NPC to salvage and bring peace to our land, Rio said while convey sincere regard and gratitude to Governor Ravi for naming the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan after his name.
Dr Imkongliba’s son, Tali Longkumer also spoke on the occasion.
On the occasion, the Governor and his wife also felicitated the 21 NPC members which a shawl and citation. Family members of those who passed away received it. The 21 signatories include: Dr Imkongliba Ao, J B Jasokie, S C Jamir, Kheloshe Sema, RC Chiten Jamir, Goyiepra Chakhesang, T N Angamim, Etssorhomo Ezung, Tanwang Konyak, P. Demo, Imtichuba Chang, Lakiumong Yimchunger, Bautung Phom, Sentisi Rengma, P. Shilu Ao, R. Khathing, Loyem Chang, Chingai Konyak and Hokishe Sema. (Page News Service)