When British imperial power came to India, there were over 562 princely states. For centuries, major Indian political lineage, viz. Maurya Dynasty, Gupta Dynasty and Mughal Empire attempted to unify these princely states but failed. Then came British rule where the native experienced servitude and exploitation under foreign power evoking unrest in all spheres. Crimes and murders increased, street quarrelling and clashes became a daily affair. The crisis endangered not only the British regime but the locals as well. Therefore, European thinkers such as Allen Octavian Hume, ICS (a Retired British Officer) made an appeal to educated Indians:
And if amongst even you, the elite, fifty men can not be found with sufficient power of self-sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative, and if needs be, devote the rest of their lives to the cause, then there is no hope for India. Her sons must and will remain mere humble and helpless instruments in the hands of foreign rulers, for ‘they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.
After Hume’s appeal, 72 Volunteer came forward from different parts of India and thus India National Congress (INC) came into existence. Surprisingly, on December 30, 1885, W.C. Banerjee, became the first President of INC and he happened to be a Christian. Thereby, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians came together and one accord fought for free India. When the time came for Great Britain to relinquish its hold on India subcontinent, two-nation theory emerged.
India was portioned into Hindu majority India and Muslim Pakistan. Today, India stands with pride with dignity as one of the largest democratic nation in the world, but also continue to celebrate its rich legacy as an ancient civilization.
The day when the issue of partition came, Naga People decided not to join either India or Pakistan. Naga delegations approached Mahatma Gandhi at Bhangi in 1946 to express their inability to join Indian Union. Gandhi apparently said, “I do not believe force union, if you are not willing to join Indian Union, you are free.” But Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister deployed force and annexed Nagaland to India. Therefore, in defense of their country, Naga people responded with armed conflict, beginning in 1955. However, first Cease-fire was signed on September 6, 1964 and talks begun. After six rounds of talk in Kohima and Delhi, in 1966, when Indian delegates rejected the proposed Naga Sovereignty, Mr. Isaac Swu, one of the Naga delegates said, “It would be very unfortunate if that were to be Indian stance, we would be forced to adopt other method and seek an unknown destiny.”
When the talks came to a deadlock, the Nagas adopted new policy, with unknown destiny and fight for another 55 years costing tens of thousand lives.
Thank God, today, eleven Naga political groups have laid down their arms and have come forward to the table of peace talk. We hope that this is God’s given opportunity. We are praying that political wisdom will prevail for both sides and that honorable and acceptable solution will come sooner than we have expected.
Rev. Dr. V.K. Nuh
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