Views & Reviews
A Brief Summary of Naga Political History
As the present talks seem to be coming to a conclusion, I humbly feel that every Naga should have a recapitulation of their history so that we do not end once again in another political quandary without any solution in sight.
Naga history in Biblical and theological perspective.
No nation on earth has evolved from monkeys nor have fallen down to earth from the skies. The Bible is the only book that reveals and records the origin of all nations in human history. The Bible reveals the creation of the universe and the story of man from the Garden of Eden to the end of human history. This is the reason why Naga history is also rooted to the Garden of Eden and the Bible.
In Acts 17: 26, Paul, speaking under divine revelation stated: “And he (God) made from one man (Adam), all the nations of the earth and gave them their respective periods and the boundaries of their habitations”. This shows that the creator of all the nations of the earth and the giver of all national boundaries is God himself. God has also given different periods for the development and formation of Nations. This process begins from a family to a clan to a tribe and on to a nation. In this long process of history, tribes with a common ancestry and culture have often merged together to become bigger nations. Seen from this perspective of Biblical revelation, all nations on earth have their origins from Adam and Eve and have multiplied into the various nations of the earth (See Gen 10: 1-32) Nagas too, like any other nations, originated from the Garden of Eden. But as humanity developed, because of sin, God had to destroy all the nations of the earth in the universal flood (Genesis chapters 7to9). The only survivors of this worldwide flood were the family of Noah. Noah’s three sons along with their wives who survived with Noah and his wife were Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis Chapter 10).
Shem was the father of the Mongoloid race. Ham was the father of the Negroid race and Japheth was the father of the Caucasian (White) race. Under this racial categorisation, Nagas belong to the Mongoloid race. Other nations like the Japanese, Koreans and most Asian nations also belong to the Mongoloid race. Therefore, a brief summary of racial origins or political history shows that Nagas originated from Shem and in the course of migrations, ultimately settled down in the present lands of the Nagas. This land is situated in the geographical location of 25˚60’ and 27˚40’ latitude north of the equator and between the longitudinal lines 93˚20’ E and 95˚15’ E. Their migration route started from Mesopotamia (Iraq) and came across the Middle East via Mongolia Tibet and the Yunnan province of China like many other Asian nations.
Naga history in non-Biblical secular records.
Nagas learned how to read and write only in the late 1870s from the American missionaries. Prior to this, all records of Naga history was oral history passed from fathers and elders to sons and grandsons through the educational institutions of the Naga Morungs. Some of these oral historical accounts even trace our Naga origins to very cold snowy regions of the world. But on top of all these records our immediate neighbours like the Manipuris and the Ahoms and also distant Indians and Chinese have also recorded our presence as a people and nation inhabiting our present geographical lands. For example, Indian historical records like the Rig Vedas and the Mahabharata makes many mentions of the non Aryan hill tribes’ people inhabiting the Himalayan foot hills and the North Eastern regions of the Indian sub continent. These records date back to the 10th century B.C. This implies that hill tribe Nagas had also been living in their lands prior to the 10th century B.C. As for Chinese records “Nagas” means “The people with pierced ears” who fled from the Chinese oppression of forced labour in building the Great Wall of China. Corresponding to this fact, in our own oral history which, (fearing that some Chinese kings might come searching for us to take us back to China), Naga forefathers like the Aos told their descendants to say that as for their origins, they had simply crawled out from some holes under the earth. As for Kachin and Karen records, our forefathers along with our Kachin and Karen kinsman together migrated to our present habitation from China between the 12th to the 7th century B.C. Then there is the records of Claudius Ptolemy who mentioned the Nagas as “Nagaloi” in A.D. 150 in his travel accounts. HiuenTsang, the Chinese traveller who came to India and the Varman dynasty in Assam during the Gupta Empire also gives a detailed account of the Nagas in his travel accounts Si-Yu-Ki in A.D. 643.
Besides these ancient documents, the many battles that the Nagas fought with their Manipuri and Ahom kings from the 3rd to the end of the 19th centuries are all recorded in the Manipur and Ahom Royal Chronicles called the Chietharol Kumbabu and the Buranjis). The Nagas also fought many battles with their neighbour kingdoms like Tripura and the Cachar Kingdoms. Then again, when the British Colonial power stepped into Naga territories in the early 19th century, the Nagas defied and intermittently fought against this Imperial power from 1832 to 1947. In this 115 years of spirited resistance, Nagas ceded to the British Empire only 30% of their over 100,000 sq.km. Geographical territory. The rest 70% remained as “Un-administered” and “Excluded” areas till 1947. It is also clearly recorded in the British records that “No written treaties or agreements have ever been made with any of the Naga tribes. (C.V.Atchinson-Treaties, Engagements and Sanads-Vol. X11, 1931, p 19). Therefore, in a sense, the Nagas were even never conquered by the British during the Colonial period.
The Indo-Naga Burma conflict in modern Naga history.
When the British left their South Asian Empire in August 1947, India claimed that the Naga territories now belonged to the modern India that the British had created and left. Subsequently, after many skirmishes, India moved her armed troops into Nagaland in October 1955. In 1954, hostilities broke out between India and Nagaland and the Indo-Naga Burma war has ever since been raging on for the past 65 years. However, the actual conflict had started right from 1947 itself. All these events have taken place despite the fact that beginning from 1929 Nagas had made their clear political stand for sovereignty and had submitted 6 lengthy memorandums to the departing British power before the transfer of power took place in 1947. Naga leaders of the NNC also met all important Indian politicians like Gandhi and Nehru and also submitted more than 10 memorandums to India before India became a republic in 1953. Nagas also raised their National Flag on August 14, 1947 and conducted a national plebiscite on May 16, 1951 to declare to India and the world that we would remain an independent nation in the comity of nations in the world. But the Indo-Naga-Burmese conflict has remained unresolved till date.
All these historical, political and geographical facts clearly show that the Nagas did not hoist their Independence flag on August 14, 1947 so that they can become a state under India or have a shared sovereignty with India or any other neighbouring countries. Therefore, any negotiated solution that bypasses these political facts of Naga history will never bring any solution to the Naga problem of occupation by India and Burma. Also, any Naga national group that would betray Naga national and geographical identity to any other country would be committing treason against the Naga nation. Such an act would also amount to a treasonous act against God and our ancestors who have given us both our national and geographical identities.
In conclusion, the Indo-Naga-Burma conflict comes down to this International question as to whether a Caucasian nation like Britain can without consulting the Nagas, dissect their Mongolian Naga lands and gift it to India and Burma as presents? The corollary question for India and Burma also boils down to this question: Can these two nations just occupy these Naga lands which had never been a part of their territories all down the centuries of human history? Until these questions are politically and legally resolved from an international level, the Indo-Naga-Burma conflict will continue to shed Naga, Indian and Burmese blood for all times to come.
NB. Details of the many of the above mentioned memorandums, historical records and accounts of the political history of the Naga nation can be found in the book: “Nagaland and India, the blood and the tears or “The Naga Saga” which are one and the same book.
Kaka D Iralu