Nagas need new awakening, says Nagaland Chief Minister - Eastern Mirror
Sunday, June 11, 2023

Nagas need new awakening, says Nagaland Chief Minister

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Oct 30, 2022 1:11 am
Neiphiu Rio addressing the gathering. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent

Kohima, Oct. 29 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday lamented the absence of a “true” Pan-Naga organisation amid division continuing unabated among the Nagas.

Therefore, Naga society needs oneness, unity, and harmony at the moment, he said while addressing the culmination programme of the 75 years of Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) held on the theme “Call to oneness” at Naga Solidarity Park in Kohima.

He also lamented that ‘many well-intended decisions and actions of the government are often viewed and interpreted on tribal lines’.

“Sadly, even today, we do not even have a single true pan Naga organization, be it a civil society, a tribal body or a student organisation,” he said. 

The chief minister said the Naga movement that started in 1918 under the banner Naga Club was to unite the Naga family as one.

Poumai Naga Tsiidoumai Me (Poumai’s apex student body) presenting a cultural dance during the 75th anniversary of NSF in Kohima on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, division among the Naga family started in the 1960s and is continuing unabated till today. The Naga Nationalists political groups are now divided into several camps while tribalism is raising its ugly head in the Naga civil society,” Rio said.

‘Today, Nagas need a new awakening and concerted efforts to stock the flame of Naga nationhood, patriotism, and oneness. That will be the best way to rekindle the feelings of oneness and harmony in the society,’ he added.

Rio said that nothing could bring the 60 legislators together but the agenda of the Naga political issue to bring a solution, which can be regarded as collective effort in the pursuit of Naga unity and oneness.

Myanmar Nagas presenting folk song during the 75 anniversary of Naga Students’ Federation in Kohima on Saturday. (EM Images)

‘Though Naga movement could not be concluded, government of India has recognised the uniqueness of the history of the Nagas. Therefore, we have to be alert and forge ahead for oneness to safeguard our common interest and cooperation amongst the Nagas,’ he said while urging everyone to make every effort to preserve and protect the rich tradition, culture and customs.

Rio also urged the NSF to play the role of a catalyst in guiding and moulding the youths so that they can live up to their full potential.

“If the youth are conscious about identity and traditions, Nagas will have a continuous growth in the years to come,” he said.

In the last 75 years, the NSF undertook various initiatives to spread the spirit of oneness among the Naga brothers and sisters in Naga-inhabited areas, he said while expressing hope that the federation will continue to use its resources to reach greater heights in the years to come.

A section of the crowd. (EM Images)

‘A Naga will always be a Naga’

Former Minister, Home and Finance, Arunachal Pradesh, Lowangcha Wanglat said that now is the time for the NSF to walk the talk in the new geopolitical reality.

There is an urgent need to reflect and correct the road map, he stated.

He called upon the NSF to play the role of empowering young people who will ultimately break down old stereotypes and barriers.

“A Naga will always be a Naga,” he said, while dispelling notions of “misconceived” people who say there are no Nagas in Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

“We may have different histories and speak in different dialects, but when we look at each other, we see a reflection of ourselves. We only need to appreciate those who are different from us. We are strongest when we see the inherent dignity in every human being. With a distinct culture and heritage, we are a mini Indian sub-continent. We have incredible diversity and yet we are Nagas,” Wanglat observed.

‘To unite every Naga family, there is a need to ensure that everybody has a chance; everybody who is willing to work for it has the ability to dream big and then reach those dreams. Nagas will succeed so long as they are not splintered along the lines of tribes and communities. In unity, we will shine,’ he asserted.

‘Call for oneness getting louder’

Speaking on the theme of the anniversary, Convenor, Planning Committee, K Temjen Jamir, said the call for oneness is getting louder and more urgent.

He called upon all to resolve towards becoming contributing members in order to revive and sustain the spirit of oneness amongst Naga people everywhere.

He added that the theme Call to oneness” invites all the Naga people to participate in overcoming differences and re-dedicate oneself to reclaim the “inherited egalitarian society”.

‘Our Naga oneness was a reality and as such must our people be again. We have to understand one another as equal partners in society whereby our common aspiration can be fulfilled. Our destiny is on the horizon and together we must hasten to arrive at it,’ Jamir added.

Earlier in the day, Neiphiu Rio unveiled the monolith of the anniversary while MLA and former NSF president Y Vikheho Swu unfurled the flag of the federation.

The event was marked by the coming together of Nagas from within and across borders.  

Other highlights of the programme included a poem recital by Sureno Melody Kikon, cultural and special performances by Coloured Keys, Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong, Eastern Naga Students’ Federation, Myanmar Nagas, Poumai Naga Tsiidoumai Me, and Chakhesang Baptist Church Kohima.

North East Students’ Organisation, Assam and Khasi student community also gave solidarity messages at the event.

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Oct 30, 2022 1:11:50 am