March Into the Future
Speech of Gen. (retd.) Viyalie Metha, Kedahge, FGN on the 57th Naga Army Raising Day, at TPC. Kohima, nagaland on 3rd January, 2021.
Chief of Staff and all ranks and file of the Naga Army, my countrymen, ladies and gentlemen, greetings to you on behalf of the Federal Government of Nagaland, on this historic day, the 57th Raising Day of the Naga Army, the 3rd of January, 2021.
By the grace of God we are blessed to be celebrating the 57th Raising Day of the Naga Army. It was 57 years ago, on the 3rd of January 1964 that the Naga Army was established and has fought and protected our right as a people and nation, sovereign and free. Nagaland may be small in terms of territory and population but the God given vision and indomitable spirit of our people as a nation, guided and protected by the grace of God, has brought us thus far. Our Army has valiantly fought the Army of one of the biggest and most populous nation on earth, India. Despite the odds we have survived.
Today, I want to convey to the Nagas in general and the Naga Army in particular some significant historical background of how the Naga Army was raised. Firstly, Nagaland consisted of age old traditional village states and republics but had common ties and a culture and were collectively called Nagas. However, a very negligible portion of Nagaland came to be superficially administered by the British during colonial times. The British were only able to do so after a long war of 47 years in which many battles were fought. The Nagas at this time fought as confederates and finally made peace on our terms without having to sign any written treaties.
After the retreat of the British from our country, Nagaland declared her independence on the 14th of August 1947, one day ahead of India’s independence granted by the British. In spite of the fact that Nagaland had declared her independence India insisted that the British administered areas of Nagaland were part of India. Therefore, the plebiscite of 1951 was conducted with the result of 99.9% which clearly defined that the Nagas would live as a nation, sovereign and free. India, however invaded Nagaland by sending her army to the Tuensang area in 1954, India started her invasion of our country and began to capture our leaders, burn villages, rape our women and killed our men, even children were not spared. All these happened without any provocation or evidence of violence towards India by the Nagas. To protect ourselves in such circumstances the Naga National Council established the Naga Youth Movement which became instrumental in setting up the Naga Safeguard to protect our people from the Indian Army and to defend our right as a Nation. Hence, under such circumstances Federal Government of Nagaland was established by the NNC under the leadership of A.Z. Phizo on 22nd of March 1956.
With the establishment of the Federal Government of Nagaland, the Safeguard was renamed as the Naga Home Guards. The Naga Home Guards lived up to its name by bravely fighting and winning many battles against the invading Indian Army and also captured and seized enormous amounts of arms and ammunition. Besides fighting the Indian Army, the Naga Home Guards also went on several foreign missions in 1962 and 1963 for conventional military training and procurement of arms and became a professional force to be reckoned with. The Naga Home Guards had, thus, come of age and was rechristened as Naga Army on 3rd of January 1964.
To this day since its establishment, the Naga Army has displayed professionalism as an army and has been effective in protecting and defending our country. It had such great impact, that in such a short period of a few months of its establishment a ceasefire was brokered between the Federal Government of Nagaland and the Government of India. India, thus, failed to defeat Nagaland military.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all rank and file of the Naga Army for their service and sacrifice, for God and our country. I would also like for all of us to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty and be ever grateful to God for their lives and the sacrifice they have made. Let us remember that our purpose as an Army is not just to kill the enemy but to also protect our values and interests as a nation. Apart from the weapons of war that the soldiers carry, let our faith be unseen weapon and our discernment of our national right be our bullet and finally let professionalism and decency as human beings be our uniform.
May we march into the future with God as our Light in all our battles.
Long live Naga Army.
God bless us all and God bless Nagaland.