Views & Reviews
Meluri District: A Desideratum of the People
Meluri, home to the people of Pochury and of the 20th Assembly Constituency, is one of the oldest sub-divisions in Nagaland. Late Leshimo Nyusou, the erstwhile President of the Revolutionary Government of Nagaland, also Angh of the Patkai state, and Late Mϋtosϋ, popularly known as Doss, a member of the Interim Body of the former prototype Nagaland Legislative Assembly, were from this sub-division. Having played their parts in the Naga political playground during the formative years of the state, they had represented our people and contributed immensely in nation building right from its inception. In terms of education and economic progress, we are latecomers, but when it comes to the call of duty in defence of our Naga cause, be it in the underground or over ground government, Pochury people have always been in the forefront.
Today, six decades after the attainment of statehood, while the rest of other Naga brothers and sisters have marched way ahead in every aspect, the people of Pochury are still in the same valley where they last saw us. At this point of time, even as Nagaland witnesses the birth of several new districts, the name Meluri doesn’t seem to figure in anybody’s list of the soon-to-be-born districts. Our people think that taking our grievances to the street and screaming our hearts out in order to claim the attention of the government is not our cup of tea. However, our silence is neither a reflection of our lackadaisical attitude nor an indication of the absence of the authenticity of our case. Our ardent wish and prayer is that, because the government of the day has come of age, good sense prevails in the mind of the policy makers and that they address the issue in a civilised manner. The tactic of shutting down institutions and issuing ultimatum to the democratically established government in order to get the job done, which comes from the colonial era, should not be encouraged in our time.
Presently, one question that is doing the rounds in everybody’s mind is whether or not there ever exists a standardised criteria on the upgradation of a sub-division to a district level. Compared to the newly born districts and considering the legitimacy of upgrading Meluri sub-division, we wonder what is holding the government back from taking its executive decision on this issue. If service to the nation or sacrifice for the Naga cause is one such criterion, the people of Pochury have passed the test a long time ago when the entire populace of several villages were ruthlessly decimated. Massacre, bloodbath, atrocity, carnage, molestation, torture and the likes are terms that punctuate the pages of Pochury history. Is population another yardstick? If so, we do not fall short of the number.
Demographically, a homogenous group of people without any issue or history of conflict, Meluri town is an epitome of a serene community. Its peaceful and congenial environment continue to attract people from the neighbouring tribes of Sangtam, Sumis, Yimkhiung, Chakhesang, Tangkhuls, Myanmar Nagas and others from mainland India. Business interests, educational pursuit, employment, government service, among others, are the reasons why every year people are drawn to this magnetic town. There are a good number of government servants from outside the community who initially refused to be transferred and posted to Meluri but have ultimately ended up falling in love with the people and the place. More and more of such people continue to make Meluri their permanent home. If this sounds a little romantic and too good in your ears to be true, seek an audience with them and I assure my point will be vindicated.
How about the topographical and geographical position of the sub-division? Tizu, the longest river of Nagaland flows through the entire length of Pochury land, entering Meluri in the west and exiting it at Avakhung, the border village in the extreme east. Nearly three fourth of Meluri town and village is encircled by Tizu River. The wide valleys and the fertile fields, perennially watered by Tizu River, not only offer ample opportunity for agriculture but they also present vast scope for recreational activities.
Government is aware that the highest concentration of natural minerals is found in Phek district of Meluri. Living on top of rich deposits of minerals, our people are literally walking on streets of gold. Our land is a rich storehouse of wealth that can feed the Nagas for centuries to come. With so much untapped potential buried underneath our feet, no government can afford to look away from the people of this area.
Talk about the prospect of tourism in Nagaland, Pochury land is second to none. Besides the famed Shilloi Lake, the snow-capped mountain peak of Nazϋpfϋ and the mountain top lake of Longchamtsam, adorn with rhododendron of varied colors and a rich assortment of exquisite flora and fauna, expectantly await their visitors.
If Dimapur boasts of its location as the commercial hub and the gateway of Nagaland to mainland India, Meluri stands as the gateway of India to its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, including China, Philippines and Indonesia
Does anyone know of any existing or possible prospect of pursuing a waterway, linking Nagaland with another state or country? That will become a reality in Meluri sub-division in the foreseeable future. How about the ongoing two-lane international highway project connecting India with Myanmar through the International Trade Centre, Avakhung? Having fully understood the paramount importance of strengthening national security in its eastern corridor and the vast economic opportunity to do business with the South East Asian countries, India has initiated its “Look East Policy” and now “Act East Policy.” It is slowly but surely being unfolded in front of our eyes.
The state government of Nagaland and the government in New Delhi know full well the strategic location of Meluri sub-division and the crucial role it will play both in the national and international relation. Meluri has all what it takes to become a district headquarter. It just needs a strong political will to act upon its policy. Our people are waiting for a leader with a strong political will who sees tomorrow and acts on it today. Yes, we demand that the government accord Meluri town a district status it so deserves.
Rümatho Nyusou, Meluri