Views & Reviews
Mourning Khriesavizo and Bendangnunsang and the Question of the Hour
Kaka D. Iralu
Khriesavizo and Bendangnungsang did not die wearing the Naga army uniform or in an open battle with the Indian army. But their deaths are also connected to a wider picture of Naga sufferings and deaths where thousands have laid down their lives so that Nagas can live under their own identity in their own lands without external interference. This Naga Saga of sufferings and deaths has spanned for a period of over 70 years- 1947 to 2017. Over two hundred Nagas have died in this both tragic as well as heroic Naga Saga of suffering and deaths.
The deaths of these two Naga sons have also coincided with the 71st anniversary of the formation of the Naga National Council (NNC) which was formed on Feb. 2, 1946.
However, the formation of the NNC at Wokha on Feb.2, 1946 does not mean that the Naga nation was born only on Feb 2, 1946. Nagas were Nagas long before Feb. 2, 1946. They were Nagas when they submitted the Naga memorandum to the Simon Commission on Jan 10, 1929. They were also Nagas when Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese diplomat wrote about them in AD 643. They were also Nagas when Claudius Ptolemy the Greek traveler and geographer wrote about them in AD 150. Nagas have always been Nagas because God created the Naga nation in the annals of world history. (See Acts 17:26)Yes, Nagas were also Nagas when they fought against all their neighbor kingdoms like the Manipuris, the Ahoms and the Tripuris from the 3rd century to the end of the 19th century in recorded history. They also fought against the British from 1832-1947 as Nagas. And finally, they have again been fighting the occupational forces of the Indian and Burmese armies from 1947 to the present when these two countries dared to invade Nagaland from the late 1940’s. And through out all these years of defensive resistance, Nagas have always been Nagas because God created the Naga nation like any other nations with their own respective national identities and geography. (See Acts 17:26)
Through out all these years of Naga existence and defense of their lands, the unique and outstanding feature of Naga history is that they have persistently remained an unconquered and independent nation. Here, every Naga must know that the unique feature of their history is not their culture or traditions alone but more importantly-their unconquered history. (One of the Chief Ministers of the Indian state of Nagaland had wrongly stated that the unique feature of Naga history that India has recognized is our culture and traditions!
In the final analysis, Nagas have always been Nagas and Nagaland has always been the land of the Nagas from time immemorial. This irrefutable fact is true whether a Naga is a Christian or an animist or even an atheist. The ultimate question before every Naga individual today is therefore, whether every Naga will stand true to their political history and geography and defend their identity or hang somewhere in thin air as both an Indian and also a Naga at one and the same time.
In this connection, a dual identity crisis was introduced into Nagaland when 19 Nagas went to Delhi in 1960 and demanded an Indian state for the Nagas. This demand however was done without the authorization of the Naga national government-the Federal Government of Nagaland-which was at that time running the affairs of the Naga independent nation. Because of this act of treachery, Nagas of today have been forced to live under an Indian state and it’s Constitution which is today trying to force its laws into Naga customary laws and traditions.
And this is precisely the context in which Khriesavizo and Bendangnungsang have been killed opposing this move which is being forced into Naga society through some Naga collaborators of the Indian Government. But allow me here, to make some clarifications too. Firstly, all Naga Indian civil administrators are not traitors who have betrayed their nation. Most of these Naga civil administrators are in Indian Government service in order to earn a living for their families and not for opposing the Naga national government. In fact, in every occupational situation by a foreign government, such things happen. Secondly, not all Naga MLA’s and Ministers of the Indian puppet state of Nagalnd may not be traitors. It is only those Ministers and MLA’s who are collaborating with the occupational forces of India to suppress Naga customs and traditions, who are the real traitors to the Naga nation. In the first place too, it was these Naga politicians who dumped us into the Indian bag (Bosta) in 1960. But I believe there is still a way out of that Bosta. That way out will be: If those who had invited Indians to come and rule us under their constitution, will withdraw their invitation and resign en mass.
In conclusion, God the creator of all nations and our unblemished history defended and handed down to our generation; demand an honest answer from every Naga today as we again mourn the deaths of two of our own sons of the soil. Here, without any prejudice or ill will towards India, the question that I want to ask every Naga is this: Will you be a Naga as God created you to be; or would you rather be an Indian whom God created differently from you? That answer will not come from God who created you a Naga. That answer can only come from you-His creation. And mark my word: No freedom or “overcoming” will ever happen as long as we try to run away from our God given Naga national identity and hide under somebody else’s identity.