My beloved Nagas,
By Grace of God, I bring greetings and salute you on this occasion of the 67th Naga Plebiscite Day.
The Political history of the Nagas is unblemished and flawless. The position we reached today is only because our past generations had meticulously and tactfully handled our history and passed it to us. However, the present generation, many had forgotten or do not value our past history, our rights, our sufferings and the good deeds done by the past generations. Brushing aside our history, many started to narrate the stories implanted by our enemies thereby distorting our historical facts.
Therefore, on this historic occasion, let us once again relate the “Naga Political History” accomplished by our forefathers whom the most erudite nation of the 19th century “Britain” termed them as “Savage” or “Naked” Nagas.
The “Naga National Movement” or the “Naga Political History” started with the submission of the “Memorandum” to the Simon Commission by the Naga Club on 10th January, 1929 when the Commission visited Kohima. History tells us that a British trading company came to India for trading and later on controlled the whole Indian Sub- Continent. The British India Government controlled Assam as well. In order to protect their interest in Assam due to occasional raids of the tea gardens in Assam by the Nagas, the Britishers invaded and controlled a small portion of Naga country and termed it as “British Naga Hills of Assam” in the later part of the 19th Century.
In order to study the constitutional reform in India, the British Parliament constituted the Indian Statutory Commission, commonly known as the “Simon Commission” which came to Kohima in 1929. On being asked whether the Nagas would like to be under the New Reform Scheme on the departure of the British Government from India, the Naga Club through the memorandum submitted to the Commission categorically stated that “Nagas are not Indians”. If the British Government is to leave India, Nagas should not be left with an unknown people (India), but the Nagas should be left free as before and not under any Nation. The crux of the Memorandum is “Independent Nagaland”.
The British Imperial Government after discussing the Simon Commission report in the Parliament brought out the “Government of India Act 1935” wherein the Naga Hills were placed under “Excluded Area”. The fact of placing the Nagas outside the Reform Scheme as “Excluded Area” has been a cause of envy for some, dispute for some others whereas for India, it was a cause for hatred and bitterness. However, majority of the Nagas do not consider this in its depth and that is why we are having misunderstandings.
If the British Imperial Government were to transfer power to the Indians in an amiable and peaceful atmosphere, surely the British Government would have carved out the Naga inhabited areas to the Nagas. Unfortunately, due to the World War II coupled with the fighting between the Hindus and Muslims for Hindustan and Pakistan, transfer of power had to be carried out hurriedly which has tilted the balance of power to the Indian side.
Sensing the imminent departure of the British from Indian Sub-Continent, the Nagas formed the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946 following the Naga Club and voiced the rights of the Nagas to the outside world.
If there were to be no Naga National Council, the Memorandum of the Naga Club of 1929 would remain a mere story only. However, the formation of NNC has revitalized the Naga Memorandum of 1929 and made it as the basis for the Naga National Movement.
The works of Naga National Council
The Naga Nation is one. The Nagas have been living together continuously as one and has not parted at any point of time. During the British time, our people were referred to as “The Nagas” and “Naga Hills” only. It was the Naga National Council which gave the name “NAGALAND” which included all the territories which were given or ceded to others without the consent or permission of the Nagas. This territory was given to the Nagas by God and therefore it is inhabited and named by the Nagas as NAGALAND. Later on in1963, the Government of India had given a “State” to some Nagas and therefore, the present “State” referred to as “Nagaland State” was an Indian made Nagaland and is not the whole Nagaland, but only a portion of it.
Another notable achievement of the Naga National Council was the declaration of the Naga Independence on 14th August, 1947 a day ahead of India, declaring to the World that the Nagas will be an independent nation.
In order to legitimize the declaration of independence, a plebiscite was conducted by the Naga National Council on 16th May, 1951 and 99.9% of the Nagas voted that Nagas will remain an independent nation. This is how, the Nagas have given their mandate to the Naga National Council.
All these were achieved by the Naga National Council through non-violence, peaceful and in a free and fair manner.
In the 1952 General Election, the Indian Government tried to extent the General Election to the Naga people considering them to be Indians. However, the Nagas completely boycotted the election and not a single Naga vote was cast in the election. What more proof is required to prove that Nagaland is an independent nation?
Now the ball in is the court of the Indian Government. Everything depends on the response of the Government of India. India is a democratic country and if it were to follow democratic rules and pursues the non-violence policy initiated by Mahatma Gandhi, than it should be ashamed of itself. India will have to humble itself again.
As the story goes a tiger killed and devoured the lamb on the pretext that its mother sheep had muddied its water source, so also the Government of India claimed to have inherited Nagaland from the British began the cruel and outrageous invasion of Nagaland. This has compelled the NNC to form the Federal Government of Nagaland on 22nd March, 1956 to defend itself. Since that day, the Indo-Naga war started and is continuing for the last 62 years, yet India failed in its conquest.
The Naga National Political History remains flawless till date. The older generation has laid the foundation and done its part. The future course lies with the present generation. Hope the present generation will hold on to it!
The Naga National Movement is surely a plan of God and we will definitely achieve our objective.
Dated, Kohima, 16th May 2018.
Gen.(Retd) Thinoselie M Keyho, President,Naga National Council.
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