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Op-Ed

Changki Village Council: Self-Confrontation and Respecting our Customary Laws as protected by Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution

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By EMN Updated: Feb 15, 2015 9:33 pm
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1. Customary Adjudication with Customary Evidences:
Certain customary laws and practices on which Naga villages stand and thrive as traditional communities, – issues like founding of a village, the village system of governance or inter-clan nomenclature, – are undocumented, especially in the case of ancestral villages, going back to the hoary past, since the Nagas had no script of our own to record events and customary practices of great importance. We do not know about other villages, but at Changki, in case of a village founder’s claim made by a clan, as in the case of the renegade Emremchangki clan members, a few simple but straightforward parameters are applied to decide the case by the Village authority. These are taken as customary evidences:
(i) Does the Emremchangki clan have ancestral village establishment cultivation lands, passed down through the generations as ancestral inheritance at Jangpetkong, the first village establishment location? – No, not one square inch.
(ii) Does the clan have ancestral, village establishment house sites at Ongdien, the village re-location area which is situated at today’s Upper Khel? – No, not at all.
(iii) The first village cemetery, during Changki’s re-location at Ongdien is still in existence and in use, which was situated just outside the northern security gate. If their claim is true about having even today 24 village founder’s house sites, – then has there been any instance of burial of any Emremchangki deceased member at the village founder’s cemetery? – None. All their burials have been at the Cemetery at the Lower Khel, established after Changki’s subsequent extension outside “Ongdien”.
(iv) Of the three groups which eventually constituted Emremchangki clan, two were picked up within Changki territory, known to six clans which were already living at Changki at that time (5 of these clans are still extant, one became extinct), and the third group came to Changki from Longsemdang. Are there any evidences about this third group’s migration? – Yes, solid evidences exist even today.
(v) Though Changki is a village in which all the 13 clans, including Emremchangki enjoy complete equality, we believe very strongly that our history, our customary laws, practices, and their usages, which, woven together, make the living organism that is Changki village Community life, need to be protected, preserved and kept sacrosanct, – recounted by the village elders during traditional occasions. Then, what do the 13 clans say about the founding of Changki? All, including Emremchangki are unanimous in coming out categorically in pronouncing that Emremchangki never was, and can never be made today, through some declaratory order by any Court or organisation, a founding clan. What they are not, how can they be made so, through a declaratory order? How can a firmly established historical fact or event be changed through a declaratory pronouncement that it was not so?
(vi) As far as Changki is concerned, when we came to know that Emremchangki clan had tried surreptitiously and mischievously to give their citizenship subscription in the name of ‘Changkiri’ clan in 2000 A.D. this internal issue, which is exclusively our own, was settled on 25/01/2001 within our own village, in accordance to our own customary laws, and the position re-affirmed more firmly again on 03/11/2014.
(vii) Not created by the British or by the present day State of Nagaland as government servants from different backgrounds in whom some limited magisterial or judicial powers are vested from time to time, Naga village system of governance is rooted in our age-old customary laws and practices, passed down through the generations by our forefathers. Exclusive and internal civil matters, such as in the present Changki case, in our humble but very firm view, should not only be disallowed to be taken outside the village, but no non-statutory outside organisations should ever try to interfere in such village internal matters. If at all approached, the utmost and best service such outside organisations can offer is to advise the delinquent rebels to go back and live peacefully under their village authority. This, in our view, would be one of the effective ways of preserving the provisions of Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution.
2. Emremchangki Renegade’s Philanderings outside Changki’s Customary Authority:
Trying to supplant a firmly established ancient truth, rooted inside your own household which is well known to the whole village, with self-concocted lies through various declarations and pronouncements caused to be made by different outside organisations sounds rather like poaching a full-grown elephant, and trying to bury it alive inside your little kitchen. You not only cannot hide the elephant, but it will tear your kitchen into splinters, and the ancient truth becomes even more clearly visible.
(a) Declarations that cannot change the Truth:
Claiming themselves to be the leading founding clan of Changki, the Emremchangki renegades changed their clan name three times in the Court of ADC (J) Mokokchung, obviously not being very definite about what their new-found clan identity should be. Some people are trying to give the new clan title ‘Changkiri Enrem’, thereby directly interfering in Changki’s internal polity and its founding history, including, by an enthusiastic lawyer, who, playing the role of Almighty God, declared arrogantly that they shall be called ‘Changkiri Enrem’ till the end of the world. Of course, the end of the world, or what may happen the next moment, as every sane person made of dust knows, is not held in one mortal lawyer’s enthusiastic outburst or pronouncement. Others are declaring that they should be called ‘Changkiri’. The only insurmountable difficulties are that,
(i) Their own blood brothers of the same clan Emremchangki would never change their clan name by which they have lived at Changki through the centuries;
(ii) The thought of a renegade group from Emremchangki merging with the one and only distinctively different clan called ‘Changkiri’ while the original Emremchangki clan still stands tall and distinct is an impossible proposition;
(iii) And a totally new unheard of clan name called ‘Changkiri Enrem’ to be given to a splinter group of the blood brothers of Emremchangki while the original Emremchangki and Changkiri clans remain intact and distinctively different, would be like trying to bury not one, but three live elephants, in the same tiny kitchen, to try to bury the great truths with a few shovel-fulls of declaratory soil!
(b) The Lies that expose the Truth:
The heaps of deceptions, manipulations and lies with which the Emremchangki renegades have been trying to bury the elephantine truths of Changki are almost mind-boggling. In 1964, Emremchangki clan disputed with Amri clan, the forefather’s name ‘Keling’ which required witnesses from other villages outside of Changki’s jurisdiction, and so some Dobashis went to Changki to settle the matter. Without our delving into the merits or demerits of the case, while adjucating the dispute, the Dobashis went into the unsolicited territority of naming four wrong clan names as the founders of Changki, – Amur, Changkija, Enremchangki and Pongen.
(i) The Emremchangki renegades quoted and used the Dobashi ruling as the basis of their declaratory suit in 2005, and while doing so, completely nullified the 1964 Dobashi judgement order by naming the Changki founding clans as Longchari, Amri, Changkiri, Kizaketi, Kotolosang, Chao and Chingmi, – totally different from what the Dobashis had named (para 5-7 of their Declaratory suit)
(ii) Also in 1964, as Emremchangki clan, they disputed over an ancestor’s name with Amri clan, but in 2005, after changing their name several times, they finally tried to become ‘Changkiri’, by, among others, giving in their Court Affidavit, the real Changkiri’s founding forefather Changkiba to a fictitious clan called Kotolosang, and then made Changkiba to offer a mithun sacrifice, – never known or practised by Changki people anytime, – enroute to Jangpetkong.
(iii) They then made their fictitious forefathers to sing songs stolen from a Changki Ancestral Songs book published on 01/02/1991.
(iv) Then, a book called ‘Changki 1995’ with numerous errors in clan names banned by the Village Council on 13/10/1996, including Imtajenba G.B. and Council Members from Emremchangki clan in sitting, was produced as evidence in the Declaratory Suit to try to prove that they were the real Changkiri clan, knowing fully well that they were indulging in mischief and deception.
(v) Of the seven clans named by Imtajenba, Lanotemsu and 3 others of Emremchangki clan in their Declaratory Suit of 2005, who according to them established Changki village, Changki people are in deep wonderment about 4 clans named by them, – Kizaketi, Kotolosang, Chao and Chingmi. Where, how, when did they vanish in thin air, because they were never a part of Changki village life at any time?
People say that liars usually tell more lies to try to cover their lies until they become too many and too obvious. People also say that old habits die hard. Angels are created beings. Founding of ancestral villages, in the timeless past? Unless God chooses to reveal to them the facts, the angels would fear to tread into these ancient realms of bygone ages, – but our renegade Emremchangki brothers have rushed into this realm with an armoury of lies and fiction. Fallen creatures that we all are, it would be tough to extricate the seeds of pride, deception and lies planted in the Garden of Eden by the Deceiver of mankind. But the door to forgiveness and reconciliation is still open through the route of humility and repentance before God, and His appointed rightful Changki Village authority and within Changki’s own customary laws and practices.

( LENDIMENBA AMRI )

Chairman
Village Council
Changki

( IMODANGBA PONGEN )
Secretary
Village Council
Changki

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By EMN Updated: Feb 15, 2015 9:33:27 pm