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ENPO aspirations in the frontlines

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By EMN Updated: Jul 31, 2013 11:55 pm
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The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) comprises six tribes of Nagaland, namely, Konyak, Chang, Sangtam, Yinchunger, Kiamngan and Phom. Their habitation spans the four Districts of Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Kiphire. On July 31, or last week of July every year, the Changs celebrate their festival, Naknyulum, for the “victory of light over darkness.” The Eastern Nagaland People’s Union, Diphupar (ENPUD) has completed its 25th year Silver Jubilee as of 5th April, 2013 coinciding with Aoling Monyiu, the premier festival of the Konyak Tribe of Nagaland. Over the years, these Eastern Nagaland tribes have made certain strides in various fields. Earlier, at the inception of Statehood in 1963 all the six Eastern Nagaland tribes were concentrated under Tuensang District. Eventually for purposes of better, more efficient administration as also the yearly increase in population, they now constitute their present Districts.
The ENPUD was constituted keeping in mind the need of the hour for the unity and recognition of its constituents in a cosmopolitan city like Dimapur. and it was formerly known as Tuensang and Mon People’s Union, Diphupar (TMPUD). This organization, however, comes under the ambit of the overall Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) which is headquartered in Tuensang under the leadership of President, Pongam Khiam. Related organizations include Eastern Nagaland Students Union (ENSU) and Eastern Nagaland Women Organisation (ENWO)
Of late, the ENPO had mooted the concept of Eastern Nagaland Frontier State comprising the four six districts and six tribes. The reasons were varied not the least of which being that they had not availed of requisite number of Assembly seats based on the size of their population. The fact is even now they comprise about one-third of the 60 Legislators in the Nagaland State Assembly and they have their fair share of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries.
Another grievance is that our Eastern Nagaland brethren apparently feel a sense of underdevelopment, neglect perhaps, in various aspects, being all under the nomenclature of BT (Backward Tribe). This status is not really unique to them alone. For instance, the Chakhesangs as also a few other tribes are also of BT status. True, they are making strides in various fields but when they score well in the State’s competitive exams, they are more often than not shunted into the BT status thus depriving many who would otherwise have benefited
The whole impasse has come about because when BT status was first legislated, it was meant to pull up the lesser developed tribes to be at par with the more advanced ones, eventually—a sort of emancipation from backwardness. The concept itself was a facility within a facility all with genuine intentions. Perhaps the time is ripe for a review of it all—for the better, of course.
Meanwhile, like all other Naga tribes, the Eastern Nagaland tribes also have their various festivals which form the basis of their culture which in turn is dictated by the type of land which they have inhabited for the past 400 to 500 years. All their festivals are agri-related since each tribal region depends on what the land itself provides. Head-hunting and Animist religion have been overshadowed by the blessings of Christianity. All these form the basis of their character.
Yet another aspect to be borne in mind is that a sizeable number of Konyak and Khiamngan tribesmen are under Myanmar—in addition to other Naga tribes. This aspect has international political ramifications which warrant a separate study. However, Nagas are not the only people to be divided into countries and States. For instance, Kurds are scattered over Iraq, Turkey and Armenia. So also the Uighars (pronounced Weegars) form the majority in the Han-ruled Xinjiang Province of China but are also displaced to Kazhakstan, and Turkmenistan.
Better a bird in hand than two in the bush.

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By EMN Updated: Jul 31, 2013 11:55:57 pm