Let India No Longer Play Childish Games With the Nagas
Today is the 70th Naga Plebiscite Day. And on this auspicious day I would avail the privilege to exhort the Nation with a few choice words. First of all, I ascribe all praise and gratitude to God Almighty. I also greet and salute my fellow Nagas most emphatically sincere.
The Nagas through the offices of the Naga National Council (NNC) had declared our highest aspiration by announcing our “Independent” status on August 14, 1947, one day ahead of India; stating thereby in most sober and solemn terms that the Nagas had never been Indians nor would we ever be, and would continue to remain an Independent Sovereign Nation with her unique identity sublime.
Then on May 16, 1951, in order to further fortify and buttress the profound eternal stand, the Naga Plebiscite was undertaken. The result had been an astronomical figure of 99.9% of Nagas vouching for full Sovereignty. In this singularly spectacular exercise in History the will of the people had been most gloriously manifested thereby proving beyond any shadow of doubt that we were not Indians nor would we ever become Indians: neither by birth nor by choice.
Even then, Government of India (GOI) insisting that the Nagas would be made Indians imposed her General Election of 1952 on us. But the Nagas in keeping with her declared political stand, most faithfully asserted that she didn’t have anything to do with the Indian election and did not cast even one single vote. This momentous act had gone on to further demonstrate our eternal stand all over again: “double proved”, if you would.
In such magnificent ways God had been guiding us to register, consolidate and stockpile our eternal rights while the giant Nation of India had been slumbering most soundly away. And with these God-given rights as our weapons we could most victoriously prevail against the GOI from 1947 right up to 1956 in this epic ‘non-violence and non-cooperation’ war.
Then the GOI came to realise to her utter horror that she had absolutely not even an iota of rights, be it political, moral or any others in this conflict through peaceful means. So she resorted to the immoral, cowardly barbaric path of “might is right” policy and unleashed her unbridled military might upon the unfortunately defenceless Nagas in order to intimidate us into submission: naked invasion in Historical language. The blatant aggression of India thereby compelled the NNC to set up her Government — the Federal Republic Government of Nagaland (FGN) on March 22, 1956 and thence on began the actual physical war of repulsion.
The action of the NNC’s in setting up her Government had been one mighty risk of very grave consequences. It had been a mortal question of “do or die” proportions. Eternal gratitude would continue to be accrued to the NNC for arriving at and executing the right and timely decision. Had NNC not taken this bold drastic measure, it would have been a case of tame surrender, God forbid. The Naga Case could then have ended right then and there: born dead. However, paradoxically on hindsight, the detested invasion of India on the Nagas had come to us as the profoundest of “blessings in disguise”! Whereas the naive Nagas had been lolling in blissful innocence, India most unwittingly awakened in us the need to gird up; and that too with utmost immediate urgency! Due credit is being accorded to the GOI for her (unintentional!) paramount role in uniting the Nagas and forging one formidable Force out of them, thank you very much.
The GOI deployed her well-trained and heavily-sophisticated armed Forces against the deplorably untrained and virtually unarmed Nagas. She had the very wrong notion that the Nagas would easily and quickly be intimidated and overpowered. But most to her horror and consternation, the bravery and grit of the Nagas compelled her to re-visit her haywire plans and after nine (9) years of tenacious military campaigns, entered into the Ceasefire on September 6, 1964 with the FGN. However, Power Politics and not Political Science appeared to have been the guiding principle hereabouts too; since the GOI chose to first grant the State of Nagaland before entering into the Ceasefire, the act of which turned out to be yet another blunder and she had to back out from the honourable agreement and unilaterally abrogate the Ceasefire to her eternal shame and disgrace. In actual reality: the Nagas had won both the battles many times over, be it on the moral as well as the physical fronts.
The GOI had never conquered the Nagas, no, not even for a short instance. The Nagas had never relinquished her rights nor would she ever do so. India’s prolonged unwelcomed presence in Nagaland is but the obnoxious imposition of her monstrous brute oppressive physical power, virtually sitting on us. But for how long would such an insensate force be allowed to continue unchallenged?
Today the civilized World is changing fast. These Global changes would invariably affect India’s policies which in turn would of necessity percolate down to affect the Nagas too; and the changes I could perceive are all moving in favour of the Nagas, the observance of which brings me much delight without end.
My most ardent prayers at this hour: Let India no longer play childish games with the Nagas; and the Nagas to no longer allow themselves to be played games with by India. And yes, whomsoever Nagas are pursuing anti-National paths and activities may please sincerely repent and make amends before it is too late; both for the ‘here and now’ but more so for the ‘then and there’.
Thank you and KUKNALIM.
Gen (Retd) Thinoselie M Keyho President,NNC