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Op-Ed

A Response to NSF’s Statement on 100th Year Celebration of Naga Club

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2018 11:34 pm
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Apropos the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF)’s article “NSF on 100th Year of Naga Club Celebration” which appeared in all the local papers of the State in the 20th October 2018 issue wherein the NSF alleged that “the Naga Club was defunct for many years.” The NSF further alleged that the then chairman of the ad-hoc Naga Club Mr. Krurovi Peseyie in March 2018 at his residence in Jotsoma clearly mentioned to the NSF that Naga Club will celebrate only for the tribes of Nagaland state. It may further be mentioned that the NSF claimed that “the Naga Labour Corps” on their return from Europe heralded the formation of Naga Club in 1918, which is the first political and social cornerstone of Naga nationalism, etc.

1. In the light of the above mentioned allegations, the Naga Club is constrained to respond to these wild allegations and distortion of our unique political history to clear the air of confusion in the interest of the future generations. It may be informed that the Naga Club was formed on 7th January 1918, by the then Naga staff of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima. Mr. Rhichalie Pienyü, the then Peskar, became the first President of the Naga Club. He was also the first Secretary as well as the first Treasurer of the Club till 1942. We have sufficient documentary evidences in our possession that the Naga Club was formed on 7th January 1918.

2. It may be noted that the first batch of Europe Returnees of the Naga Labour Corps arrived in June 1918 and the second batch arrived in October 1918. While it may be a fact that the Returnees may have contributed in the after development of the Club, it will be absurd to claim that these Returnees formed the Naga Club in 1918. As a matter of fact, the Europe Returnees formed the Naga Elders Conference (NEC), however, the date or year of its formation is not known to us at the moment. We learnt that the Naga Club and NEC worked together as a perfect family at the same time maintained its distinct separate entity since its inception till the tenure of Mr. Peselie Suokhrie’s chairmanship of the Naga Elders Conference. In view of the aforesaid facts, it is advisable that the NSF maintains the factual history of the Naga Club and under any circumstances, it shall not be permitted to distort the facts of our priceless history.

3. The Naga Club has never been defunct as was alleged by the NSF. During the Indo- Naga Conflict, the Naga Club was lying low due to obvious political reasons, but its members were very much alive and active. With improvement of situation, the new team of Naga Club office bearers were elected on 7th January 1982 under the Chairmanship of Azüto Rengma. Mr. Kewezü, the Joint Secretary is an office bearer of Azüto’s team of Naga Club, who by the grace of God is still alive today. Several attempts were being made to elect new team of office bearers since many years, however, all such attempts failed due to the fact that then existing office bearer would not cooperate, nonetheless, it cannot not be said that the “Naga Club was defunct for many years” as alleged by the NSF.

4. It may also be informed that the representatives of the Tribal bodies yet again, in the last instant on 17th August 2018, endorsed the mandate upon the present office bearers of the Naga Club. The present team of Naga Club since 5 years ago stood firmly on the Naga Club principles of “Nagas without borders” as was more particularly defined and found in the written statement of Mr. A. Kevichüsa, a pioneering member of Naga Club as, “It does not belong to the Angamis in particular. Neither does it belong exclusively to the Kohima people nor to the Christians. It belongs to the Naga people as a whole” (sic).

5. Therefore, anyone including the present Naga Club officers violating these aforesaid principles shall be impeached or terminated from the membership of Naga Club. As such, the question of Mr. Krurovi Peseyie, President of the Naga Club mentioning to the NSF that “Naga Club will celebrate only for the tribes of Nagaland state” does not arise nor the Naga Club have such an agenda for the celebration of 100 years of its existence. In this connection, Mr Krurovi Peseyie clarified his stand in a Naga Club meeting stating, “If I said such a thing to anyone to divide the Nagas as claimed, then, you check me, tell me the truth and throw me out. How can I say such a thing as claimed? I am not a fool nor am I a deer to be shot by the hunters at all the times. These lies were never in Naga culture and we shall never permit such culture during our life time”. Mr. Krurovi Peseyie’s statement is crystal clear to all as was also clarified in the media on 11.10.2018.

6. It is learned that the idea of the great historic agenda of “leave us alone to determine for ourselves” was contributed by some Naga brothers and most probably discussed in detail with the drafter of the memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission in 1929. We perceived this to be a divine intervention for protection of our people from alien culture which formed the basis of our political movement. Therefore, this unique agenda is much more and higher than the present state government and has to be preserved at all costs. Let us not dilute or surrender this unique agenda.

7. It may be informed that it is always the desire of Naga Club that the celebration of the 100th years of its existence with every Naga including the NSF. As such, many of the Club’s meeting minutes mentioned that “This committee shall be constituted after having a consultation meeting with the NSF,” in spite of the fact that presently many tribes from the state of Nagaland are not within the umbrella of the NSF. The Naga Club has the regard for NSF because when the Naga Club President Azüto Rengma and Chairman of the Naga Elders Conference Peselie Suokhrie during their time of crisis approached NSF President Vizolie Suokhrie to lock the Naga Club building with a strong padlock when the Forest Department was about to vacate the same. Vizolie with his NSF leaders executed the task as was directed by the two elders of Naga Club. Therefore, till date the Naga Club gives due acknowledgement to the NSF and shall continue to do the same.

8. The NSF, when invited for a consultation meeting by the Naga Club published in all the local dailies on 28.08.2018, conveyed in the media that they would not attend the proposed consultative meeting and also treated the invitation as an unofficial one. To once again request the NSF, a respected official of Naga Club, Mr. Medoselhou Keretsü, Chairman, Organising Committee, Naga Club, officially met the NSF. However, to the utter shock and surprise of the Naga Club, the President NSF stated that NSF shall not have any meeting with the Naga Club and further stated that the Naga Club office bearers are self-styled, without mandate and if the NSF has any meeting with Naga Club, the position of Naga Club would be legitimised. The Naga Club is deeply saddened by this arrogant approach of the NSF.

9. Every prudent person knows that the Naga Club need not be legitimised by NSF nor recognised by it. The NSF has absolutely no authority to define the Naga Club whether it is self-styled or not. The mandate of Naga Club shall not and cannot be challenged by the NSF. All that the Club is worrying and feels bad about is the arrogant manner of the NSF by despising their elders, fathers and grandfathers. Should this kind of manner or attitude is to continue with our student leaders; does it not undermine the Naga cultural ethos of respecting their elders? As such, it is our constant advice and prayer that they behave as students with discipline, humility, integrity, and purity, free from all political colours. Our wish is that the NSF remains within their territory as they are representing the students’ community today and shall be doing so tomorrow even after the celebration of 100 years of Naga Club. Had they joined the Naga Club to uphold the Naga Club’s principles, the Naga Club would have happily given them the full responsibility of the centenary celebration, considering their human resources and energy. But with the approach of “use and throw” policy, the NSF is requested never to confuse the Naga Club or the Naga public.

10. It is a fact that the Angami Public Organisation (APO) came to the residence of Krurovi Peseyie, President Naga Club on 9th October, 2018 requesting the Naga Club to celebrate its centenary with all the “Nagas without borders” which was whole heartedly welcomed by the Naga Club saying that it was the desire of the Naga Club since its inception. It was so unfortunate to learn that the NSF on the other hand has rejected APO’s proposal of “understanding and to join together for the occasion” after their consultative meeting at Senapati, which is a direct insult to the Naga Community, more particularly the APO.

11. Let us be wise and strong enough to overcome all our childishness, lies, temptations and arrogances which are causing the tendency to break the society and fight amongst ourselves with political colours. But instead come together to uphold the principles of Naga Club for the Naga unity without borders and celebrate the Naga Club Centenary with integrity, forgiveness, love and oneness. This is the very principle on which the Theme of the Naga Club Centenary 2018 has also been coined as, “Celebrating Coalescence.” Whatever has happened has happened and the Naga Club have absolutely no hard feelings against any individual or organisations. The Naga Club has forgiven the NSF, or anyone who has wronged the Club. In the same way, the Naga Club humbly begs of anyone for forgiveness, if at all the Club has unknowingly hurt anyone or NSF in any way. Let there be an accommodative spirit in our midst, let truth prevail in our Naga society, let Divine Peace and Love dwell in our big Naga family today as desired by our forefathers while launching the Naga Club on 7th January 1918, so that we may trust each other, love each other, forgive each other and understand each other “without borders” to remake our Naga world for posterity to fulfil the will of God on our earth.

KN Mhonthung Lotha
General Secretary, Naga Club
Ariyi Neinu
Vice President, Naga Club

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By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2018 11:34:23 pm