50 years, Hornbill Fest, AIDS
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]here Nagaland politics is concerned, there are several intricate factors involved. Firstly, as the 16th State of the Indian Union, we have much to be grateful for but also to expect more because a mere bone or bones will not whet our appetites for freedom—from want of food, job security, political intransigence et al.
Many VVIPS and dignitaries come to our land on flying visits, definitely enjoy our famed hospitality and then when they go back, our problems are among the numerous agendas they have to deal with. This is understandable. But can they really deal with our political problem? Rather, are they really willing to do so?However, it is encouraging to note that President Pranab Mukherjee has stated that Nagaland and the rest of the nation have a “shared destiny” to move forward together with faith in the common destiny and that our land must take its due place in the country. This sharing has some pertinent implications. We are joined by land and people may go away but we cannot take away our land along with us because it is not possible unless you want to take a few samples of the soil in a bag. The point is that, for better or worse, we are stuck together just as India is with China, her eternal (physical) neighbour.
While adroitly avoiding the issue of Naga sovereignty, the honourable President zeroed in on the fact, and need, that Government of India (GoI) is duty bound to ensure that every Naga lives with dignity having equal rights and equal opportunities. Truly, that is what we really want.
Because of the technological advance world wide, rural mindset is now becoming somewhat redundant. However, since we must go along with the times, it is still relevant never to forget our rural origins—because all cultures and hence, traditions, spring from them in the very first place. What we can try is to improve them somewhat in keeping with the need of the hour.
The Naga traditions and cultural practices are not unique because all other cultures also have their very own unique characteristics. One thing that may still be said for the Nagas is that we are indeed a colourful people despite many shades. The President has also dwelt upon the endeavours of our youth who have tremendous potential to guide the destiny of our nation in their various ways. And that is as it should be so.
Governor Dr Ashwani Kumar who also addressed the mammoth gathering at Kisama on Sunday (December 1) on the twin occasions of Golden Jubilee of Nagaland’s statehood and first day of Hornbill Festival as the chief host, emphasized on the scope of our ability to overcome the difficulties and realize the vision of a vibrant and economically developed Nagaland, bringing about change and modernity in Naga Society.
The Governor also reminded the people to remember and pay homage to the leaders who struggled hard, strived ceaselessly and sacrificed much to bring all the Naga tribes together. In the process, they enabled the creation of a State of our very own which reflects the “identity of simple people living in these remote hill areas.”
All things said and done, the first and foremost requirement for us is to ensure quick all round economic development, employment and better quality of life to our people, the Governor emphasized.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, took this opportunity of reminding the President that it was imperative the 16-Point Agreement of 1960 and the special provisions of the Constitution be honoured in letter and spirit at the earliest.
In this context, he lauded the efforts of the leaders concerned and expressed the hope of Nagas that ongoing ceasefire between GoI and the various Naga nationalist groups will result in an honourable and acceptable solution to the long pending Indo-Naga issue.
Rio also lauded the political leaders, civil servants, church leaders, tribal leaders, NGOs, civil societies who had nurtured the State during its infancy. They continue to bring about peace and development in this trouble-torn State of ours.
However, it must be noted that they also have some shortcomings which they individually must introspect—because on several important issues they have remained silent so far—much to the disappointment of the general public.
Fifty Golden years, Hornbill Festival of Festivals and coincidentally World AIDS Day—all three combine in one day. What luck!
As Rio also said, celebration of our various tribal festivals (which are agri-based) must be with joy and fervour and attraction for tourists is secondary although very welcome. First and foremost is to keep alive our Naga traditions and cultures and to preserve our core identity. Then perhaps our songs, folk dances, and unique cuisine could become our cultural ambassadors to the world.
We Nagas live at a much unforeseen period in world history. Numerous small communities have perished for various reasons. That we are still around may be the will of Providence and for which we must always express our gratitude for deserving such grace.
Therefore, let us honour our blessings with the best that is in our body, mind and soul—not to forget the spectre of AIDS the fight against which the world recognises this day also.