Nagas at a defining moment to be united & exist or be crushed & perish: Rev Zelhou

Nagas at a defining moment to be united & exist  or be crushed & perish: Rev Zelhou
Rev Z Keyho along with Naga Club president Krurovi Peseyie and others during the centenary celebration of Naga Club at Jotsoma on November 29, 2018.
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Jotsoma, November 29: Hundred of people from different walks of life today came together to celebrate 100 years of Naga Club on the theme “Leave us alone to determine for ourselves” at Jotsoma Baptist Church Centenary Ground.
Delivering the celebration message, President of Nagaland Joint Christian Forum Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho said, “We (Nagas) are at the defining moment, either to come together in unity and exist in harmony as Nagas or to allow others to walk on us and crush us and we perish as fools”.
Pinching on the exposed difference over the celebration of 100 years of Naga Club, the clergymen expressed confidence that those who are here today as well as those who could not be here know very well that “a kingdom divided against itself will be ruined”.
He therefore aspired that either the opponents of the celebration to arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become acceptable to all the Nagas be it in the south, north, east, west and central.
Until such time, he said the theme, “Leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times” will be a contemptuous phrase.
Maintaining that “we cannot allow the generations to come to inherit a distorted history”, he said “this history has been our identity as a people and a nation and it will be theirs as well”. Therefore, Rev Keyho said that three things are necessary for the Nagas, that is, humility, reason and love.
“Those who feel they are right must humble themselves without opposing those who are wrong. And those who feel otherwise must exercise their will power to reason without influence. We must learn to love each other as brothers and sisters but we can only learn to love right when we learn to forgive,” he said.
Lamenting that Naga community is fragmenting in all fronts, he said, “We have chosen to be dominated by being politically correct rather than morally-ethically upright”.
The negative influence such as muscle and money power have become the cancer in the Naga society and this is bad politics, he quipped.
“If we believe what the forerunners have done is right we must stand united even if outside forces try to tear us apart that is what a nation must do and Nagas must do likewise,” the reverend added.
Naga Club was for the Naga people as a whole: Krurovi Peseyie
Naga Club president Krurovi Peseyie recalled that the 1929 Simon Commission memorandum submitted by the Naga Club says, “We have no social affinities with the Hindus and the Mahamaduns. Leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
He said the innocent, simple and humble Naga leaders laid an unalterable foundation of Naga Nationalism known as the Naga memorandum of 1929, and the Memorandum of which even the more advanced neighboring Countries did never imagine about.
“We the Nagas ought to deeply thank and pay due honour to the founders of Naga Club, the drafter of the famous memorandum (Rüzhükhrie Sekhose) and the signatories of the said memorandum,” he said.
Without naming any specific organization, the Naga Club president while expressing that “some proud Naga organizations have been using the Building of Naga Club as their offices for more than 30 years”, lamented that there has been no record of remembering and honouring the creators of Naga National Histories and their marvelous deeds.
He recalled that in 1946, the standing Naga Club Building was freely constructed by a contractor whose name is Jodhu Singh solely with private materials on a plot of land which has never yet been acquired by the successive Governments of Nagaland State.
Moreover, the Naga Plebiscite of 1951 was also conducted in and around the Naga Club Building, he narrated while terming that it is a sacred plot of land and the Building is also a sacred one and both of which will always remain the properties of Naga Club.
However, he said that because of some strange stormy atmosphere the Centennial Monolith of Naga Club has been erected in the Memorial Park of Zasibito Nagi (the first Nagas Martyr) at Lievagei, Jotsoma.
The Monolith will always speak the farsighted vision and inclusive language, the Naga Club founders used and how they had laid the first ever foundation of Naga Nationhood, and how they had unified Nagas by their representation to the British Statutory Commission with great wisdom 89 years ago, he said.
“If there is anyone in Naga family, feeling isolated just for the simple reason that one was not a signatory of the Memorandum of 1929, it is nothing less than misconception why because the Memorandum says, “all the Naga regions” and the Founders of the Naga Club also said that the “Naga Club was for the Naga people as a whole”.
Reiterating that the Naga Club is neither for fame nor wealth, he said it is for the truth and goodwill towards all Nagas.
“Live member prays for Naga unity”
Former Joint Secretary of Naga Club and the only surviving member of the erstwhile office bearers of Naga Club under the presidentship of Azüto Rengma, Kewezü Mero said conveyed heartiest and solemn greetings to you the Naga people specially those who are instrumental in reviving the Naga Club and organizing the 100 years.
“Indeed, through this celebration, you have literally revived and sustained the legacy of the Naga Club’s core value and declared commitment: “Leave us alone to determine for ourselves,” he said.
He said that it is our duty to uphold and honour the glorious deed of our forefathers who clearly envisioned the destiny of our people through the submission of the Memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929 on behalf of all the Nagas.
Recalling that the Nagas have travelled a long way and have stood the test of times ever since this historic Memorandum, he said history bears witness and unwaveringly testifies the realities of the Nagas bravery and passions to live free with dignity, pride and self respect.
Toward this supreme cause, thousands have already laid down their lives and many more stands committed to ‘fight on till today, he said while conveying his salutation.
He also took the opportunity to acknowledge the role and valuable contributions of the Naga Students Federation specially in protecting the legacy and properties of the Naga Club till date, besides upholding the rights and aspirations of the Nagas in general over the years.
Descendants hope for unity among Nagas
Prasilie Pienyü, the great Grandson of the founding member and first president of Naga Club, Lt. Rheichalie Pienyü said the foundation of this ‘club’ which basically might have been more of a ‘social club’ grew in time to be in a position to give a pure innocent and clear reply to the “Simon Commission” on the stand of the Nagas which became the foundation of the Naga Political stand.
He maintained that the ability to state our stand very clearly, at that point of time and signed by the signatories on 10th January 1929, can only be taken as a precious gift from God to the Naga people.
Quote a line of the memorandum which reads “We have no unity among us”, Prasilie said our ancestors have in the memorandum, truthfully stated the Naga situation of the past, yet the score line for striking the right note at the appropriate moment enabled them achieve what they desired; to have various Naga inhabited areas as “Excluded Area” in the New Reformed Scheme of India in the British India Act, 1935.
Today, he said “if we the Naga people still choose to drift apart, it is but our own choice”. Nonetheless, he said Naga people have better days at hand for us all to seize the moment to stand united and resolutely manage our affairs in one accord as the Centenary theme is aptly coined “Coalescence”.
Call for strengthening of relation between Nagas and Assamese: ASS
Conveying solidarity message, representative from Assam Sahitya Sabha, Mrinal Talukdar said, “Centenary celebration of the Naga Club is a proud moment for all of us and it is a grand occasion to rejoice, but at the same, it also offers us an opportunity to revisit and critically reflect the hundred-year-long journey and our achievements as well as the failures and shortcomings”.
Nonetheless, he lamented that even after a century the journey is still continuing and the peace negotiations with the government of India are on towards finding an amicable settlement to the political conflict.
“It is also true that the Naga story inspires many ethnic groups and communities of the North East to assert their rights for political identities through both violent and non-violent modes, he said while expressing hope for an early settlement of the long drawn conflict.
He conveyed that Asom Sahitya Sabha firmly believes that the centenary celebration of the Club is also an occasion to further strengthen fraternity and goodwill between the Nagas and the Assamese.
“We strongly believe that the Nagas and the Assamese can live in peace and harmony as good neighbours despite being provoked sometimes to a situation with temporary tensions created by misunderstanding and distrust,” he said. (Page News Service)