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Learn to hold our peace and develop ourselves

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By EMN Updated: Jan 07, 2022 10:38 pm
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Naga Club Foundation Day Celebration

7th Jan 2022 at Kohima Village Nagaland

Presidential Address

I on behalf of Naga Club convey our warmest welcome to you all. We greatly appreciate your presence on this occasion when we are commemorating “Naga Club Foundation Day”. As I see it, I believe Naga Club will play its rightful role for our society if on this day every year it becomes known for its factual review of the past, truthful and bold assessment of the present, with the conclusion and lessons thus understood together, the Club contributes its thinking and vision for our people with humble, authoritative confidence.

At the outset, as we today start our review of the progress we have made, we remember with enduring respect, Krurovi Peseyie, our past President, for the exemplary role he played to establish the roadmap the Club has to walk on in the vastly changed times in which we Nagas find ourselves today. He fulfilled his responsibilities with knowledge of the facts of the history of the Club. We mourned his premature departure from us. We remember with deep affection all that he gave so sacrificially.

And with equal gratitude the steadfast role of our distinguished officers such as Mr Khyomo Lotha, former Secretary and Mr Kewezü Mero, former Joint Secretary for the ways in which they have kept the story of the Club alive through the chaotic decades of our Naga struggles. We thank them for passing on the baton to those who have stepped forward to be responsible for the Naga story.     

Our visionary forefathers like Rheichalie Pienyu and his fellow Naga pioneers founded the Naga Club 102 years ago on this day, January 7, 1918. The founders were some of the first Naga elders representing different tribes. The British were the first ever foreign nation and power whose ruthless trespass into their homeland, the Nagas fiercely fought against to defend what was most important to them, their right of ownership of their homeland, their honour, and identity, as understood by them: some of the fiercest battles took place from 1832 -1880. Then the British Government sought peace from the Nagas to end the lengthy wars.  As such,  a “no more fight agreement ” was made in our Naga customary practice in our favour on 27 March at Mezoma in 1880.

However, this was unilaterally interpreted by the British as a small portion of western Nagas, known as Naga Hills District becoming a part of the eastern edges of British India empire thereby violating the said “no more fight agreement”  It is important to point out that therefore it was the British who attempted to made the homeland of the Nagas parts of the India and Burma they had stealthily and illegally created simply by drawing the eastern boundary line of their Empire in South Asia without the consent of the Nagas, the rightful owners of the land.  As such, the Naga Club Nagaland submitted the historic memorandum to the British Statutory Commission headed by Sir John Simon in Kohima in 1927.

In the first place I consider it our duty to declare that we shall never ever damage what our Naga struggle has already achieved from the starting point the Naga Club made and gave to the Nagas. Our forefathers, like other pioneer-creators of nations, somehow realistically survived extremely difficult economic, social and political challenges the turbulent changes the outside world brought to them. The founders of Naga Club understood what the consequences of their decisions would be for the generations coming after them. They faithfully and patiently upheld their time-tested virtues by remaining committed with integrity and unflinching courage to what they believed would be best for the Nagas as a whole.

We shall at all costs and always uphold their’ “unique original stand”, namely,“leave us alone to determine for ourselves”, firmly claiming their right given to them by their history as a people and a nation.   Our Minds and our “Naga National Soul” was never compromised or colonized by any nation till date.  If Delhi thinks that accepting the Indian Constitution by the Nagas under duress will make the Nagas into Indians or accepting the Indian constitution under duress been treated as so called “Naga solution” or “Indo- Naga Final Political Settlement”, then Delhi is very wrong but that would be Delhi’s own business, and the thinking Indians have begun to understand how the Nagas understand their unquestionable history.

Nagas are clear and justly proud that their struggle was not an act of secession, that unlawfully or treasonously violated some solemn agreement or understanding made by them to be a part of the new independent India at any time. Nor was it an anti-India reaction as they were acting on the basis of unquestionable facts of their history and their right to choose their own future as a good neighbor of India as justified by the facts of their history.

The recent massacre committed by the 21 Para Commandos of the India Army in Oting Village, Mon, Nagaland on 4th Dec 2021 thereby murdering 14 innocent persons in shoot at sight methodology and injuring 35 others has sparked huge civil unrest among the Nagas bringing back the sad memories of decades of hardship of military barbaric violence and massacre, pain and humiliation endured by the Nagas on our defense for self-determination and continue to live as a free nation.

The AFSPA is the symbol and face of India which gives the arm forces wide powers to shoot, to kill, to arrest, to conduct warrantless searches and to demolish structures in the name of “aiding civil power”. Equipped with this draconian special powers soldiers have raped, tortured and murdered the Nagas for seven decades without fear of being held accountable. The Act violates international human rights law  including the right to life, the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest and detention and the right to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment. It also denies the victim of abuse the right to seek remedy. Such a draconian law insults our dignity as human beings for all these years, over and above Delhi has apartheid-like casteist attitude towards the Naga people, as such, these evil treatments have been going on for seven decades unabated.

 The Oting killings have brought back to us what happened on March 5, 1995 killings in Kohima Town when  the Rashtriya Rifles began shooting indiscriminately mistaking the sound of a tire busting in their own convoy for a bomb attack. AFSPA simply means this kind of totally arbitrary use of military force by the Government of India to show that our land, its resources, and its strategic geo-political significance for their India alone matter, not us the people of the land.

The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared to AZ Phizo, President Naga National Council (NNC) and the NNC delegates  at Delhi on 11th March 1952 “Whether the heaven falls or India goes to pieces and blood runs red in the country, I don’t care. Whether I am here or for that matter anybody else comes in, I don’t care. Nagas will never be allowed to become independent.

The next Indian Prime Minister who talked in the same tone and manner was Morarji Desai. After refusing to talk to A.Z. Phizo, President of NNC in London, in June 1977 unless he said he was an Indian, he declared:  “Yes, I will exterminate all rebels. There will be no mercy. I will exterminate all. I will certainly exterminate the rebel Nagas. I have no compunction about it.”

                               They said it all honestly representing India what were in their hearts for the Nagas.  However, Nagas are neither secessionists nor rebels, after every massacre of innocent civilian they would condemn them as rebels or mistaken of identity as was in the recent massacre committed at Oting on 4th Dec 2021, Mon, Nagaland.  If Delhi treats us to be its enemy at all times then we shall remain to be so. Goliath the mighty was created purposely by our God Almighty only to promote David, the teenage shepherd little boy who became the greatest King of Israel.Therefore, we must learn to hold our peace and develop ourselves in all areas of life to become the human beings we are meant to be. We know this is the challenge we have to accept. And Naga Club’s role is in helping our people rise to this challenge with hard work, integrity, commitment, courage and non-violence.

Kuolachalie Seyie

President Naga Club

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By EMN Updated: Jan 07, 2022 10:38:26 pm