The very essence of the Naga political movement is rooted in the steadfast belief that Nagas, hitherto living as independent village republics, should be integrated under a single administrative structure, a national government. Though seemingly divided by different languages of Naga tribes, our pioneering leaders in their God-given wisdom, understood without a doubt, the science and rationale of Naga nationhood. On this foundation, under the banner of NNC, the movement grew to bring all different Naga village republics into a single national platform and to fight for our inherent rights – sovereignty and self-determination. It is this belief and commitment that has helped the Nagas overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. The years of struggle that have been anchored upon the blood, sweat and toil of innumerable sacrifices have now ushered the Nagas into a threshold moment. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the magnitude of the moment is not lost on us. Every possible care must be taken, every extra mile walked and every option must be explored as we prepare for new and better horizons.
Against all odds, starting with our Naga “Magna Carta” – the Memoradum submitted to the British Simon Commission in 1929 by Naga Club, our leaders have established our undisputable historical facts – facts from which the movement has been (and still is) gaining momentum. These range from the declaration of Naga Independence (14thAugust 1947) and its timely intimation to UN, and the plebiscite of 1951.
Significantly and of more recent times, Naga leaders have succeeded in reaffirming its rightful claim that the Naga issue is a political issue to be resolved at the highest level, without any pre-conditions and in the presence of third party.
The unique history and situation of the Nagas has been understood, recognized and accepted. On the back of all these factual legal history, it is the most appropriate time for Nagas to come together and decide our common future.
The tragic consequences of playing divisive politics in the last seven decades underscore the urgency and importance of moving forward comprehensively, and the time is ‘Now’.
The Naga people consisting of more than sixty tribes numbering over 3.5 million and spread across 1,20,000 sq kms covering four Indian states and two countries have stood by one another in the worst of times. We survived! Out of sheer courage, determination and unity. At this fortuitous moment, all these sacrifices cannot be just wished away for the interests of certain sections of people. In such a glorious background, it is but natural for us to note with a sense of consternation at some impending developments. One among them is the Interlocutor and Nagaland state Governor’s letter No.18/GOIR/NPT/2019, calling for a consultative meeting with “the primary stake holders”. There seems to be something that more than meets the eye. We re-affirm that all Nagas, irrespective of geographical location or size, are equal primary stake holders in the Naga journey and struggle. However, selectively inviting only some organizations indicates an insidious design to further divide the Nagas not only along state boundaries but also on the basis of geographical location, size and political allegiance. We have strong reservations against such blatantly divisive overtures. Phizo’s definition of Naga land ~ where there are Nagas compactly in the hills or in the plains, there is Nagaland – must be kept in mind, when we sit down at the negotiating table and ink for honourable and lasting solution.
May we once again remind all and sundry that signing any political agreement at this juncture in the form of another 16-Point Agreement or Shillong Accord, which were at best merely dictates of the GoI, will only bring more division and trigger another fratricidal situation among the Nagas which we strongly feel will not be in the best interest of India in the long run as well. We have been through that before and have no wish to undergo such unfortunate ordeals again.
Of late, GoI taking advantage of the Nagas weaker and smaller situation, has been promoting the emergence of many state centric divergent views and opinions based on regional and tribal lines towards signing of an Indo-Naga political Agreement. We are constrained to reiterate that giving pressure to any NPGs to sign political settlement without proper consultation will create further chaos among the people; and at this point in time, we do not need any process that could be disruptive in nature. Mediocre politicking and political expediency must be done away with at this perilous juncture to realize our long cherish dreams and for the sake of future of both India and Nagas.
Therefore to the GoI, it is our fervent plea that it should immediately cease the colonial approach of “divide and rule” policy towards the Nagas. We urge GOI to consider and deeply research her conscience and uphold the essence of ‘Shared Sovereignty’ by recognizing the Nagas to retain the visages of the flag and Yezabo, as it enters to the final agreement with the GOI. The final agreement must not end in a fiasco but an actual accomplishment towards mutually acceptable settlement.
To the Nagas, as “A house divided against itself cannot stand” it is our fervent plea that we all work together in unison and refrain ourselves from engaging in any process that could entail sending out contradictory worldviews and causing further divisions within the Naga family.
(1) T N Mannen, IAS (Rtd) (2) Dr M.Panger Longchar (3) Prof Sangyu Yaden (4) Pangerzulu (5) Moasangba (6) Lanukaba (7) L.B. Namo Advocate (8) Temjen Paul (9) Limasashi (10) Dr Lanu Longkumer (11) Yashizungba (12) Moa Longkumer (13) Temjenyongba (14) Aoshingang Jamir (15) Temjenkaba Advocate (16) O.Wati Jamir (17) Aodangnok Ozukum (18) Moa Emchen (19) Imtingangshi, Mokokchung Village (20) Yangerlemba Longkumer (21) Imdong Jamir (22) Dr Toshiba Echa (23) S. Pur Longkumer
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