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Rani Gaidinliu and Integral Humanism

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By EMN Updated: Oct 25, 2015 9:34 pm
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Jagdamba Mall

Background: Haipou Jadonang was an ascetic by birth who used to go in trances for days together, sometimes for a week and on few occasions it lasted for ten days in one go. By divine inspiration he jumped into freedom movement against British subjugation and missionary menace. Heinous British hanged him on fake and foul charges of murder on 29 August 1931 in Imphal. Young Gaidinliu of 16 took over the freedom movement to kill two birds with one stone – i). to drive out scrupulous British from Naga Hills and ii). to protect, preserve and promote eternal religion of Nagas. Gaidinliu was also an ascetic by birth whoused to go in trances mostly on full moon days (Purnima) from the very childhood. She would burn a flaming fire at a lonely place, concentrate her mind on rising moon in Purnima dusk and meditatetill late in the night. She was a very calm and quiet blissful girl, compassionate, cooperative, hardworking and fearless as well. She was a resolute person with boundless courage and will power. She was a very hard nut to crack for enemies but as sweet and soft as coconut for humanity. The contemporary circumstances pushed her to war field where her guerrilla fighters created havoc for British. British declared her-‘Terror of Northeast’. She started shouldering the responsibility of a renewed freedom movement.She not only accepted this responsibility as one of the many activities in the task of nation building but with her perseverance, purity of character, amiable nature and extra-ordinary organisational skill raised Heraka freedom movement to the supreme among many other freedom movements led by various Janjati leaders in Naga Hills, Northeast region and whole of the country.  The other aspect of her life was the philosophy of Integral Humanism. Her divine approach to living and non-living beings is worth narration and promotion.

Integral Humanism: This is another aspect of her life that is equally rather more important. This other aspect is that she is an original and gifted thinker. Her freedom achievement is a by-product of the philosophy she propounded through her life. Her thinking proceeds from the individual, reaches and transcends humanity stopping only at God or the Ultimate Reality – Philosophy of Integral Humanism (PIH).

PIH has all along formed not only the political philosophy of Heraka movement but has guided its policies whether political, social or economic etc. Her freedom movement and her efforts to protect Heraka religion before the dawn of independence had the sole purpose of achieving Independence.

At this crucial juncture, Charles Pawse, then Deputy Commissioner of Kohima, turned Naga Hills Tribal Area (NHTA) into Naga National Council (NNC) and thereafter Church sponsored terrorism started in Nagaland and British missionary Rev. Michael Scott took full responsibility of its promotion. The extremist secessionist militants killed most of the rational thinkers from Naga society. Even Sakhrie, then general secretary of NNC was gruesomely murdered by none other than his own militant cadres whom he had trained in militancy. The forcible conversion to Christianity was thrust upon by the combine of Church and NNC. The storm of westernisation in the name of modernisation constantly and continuously blew and anybody coming in the way was ruthlessly crushed. This was mindlessly done in quest of establishing a  Christian solidarity with USA, UK and its allied Christian countries in western hemisphere without giving a thought to its adverse consequences the Nagas of today particularly the youths are victim of. The Naga society was described by foreign missionaries and western anthropologists as wild head-hunters, savage, dirty, unclean, naked, raw meat eaters, cannibal, pagan, heathen and satan worshipper. The divine and blissful Naga ladies were cursed as wiled witches and sorceresses who drank human blood to quench their thirst. These ladies were even described as practising baby sacrifices to please evil spirits. They were described as dinning in human skulls.The author of this research paper, Jagdamba Mall, has been in Nagaland from 1975 till now, October 2015, 40 years and toured whole of the Naga areas in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur extensively interviewing every section of Naga society right from chief ministers, IAS/IPS/IFS officers/student leaders/civil organisations/church leaders/missionaries/villagers/employees/tradersliving in Naga houses looking for wild and cannibal Naga described by westerners even in remotest areas in Mon and Tuensang districts of Nagaland, Changlong and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh and all the hilly districts of Manipur but I have not yet found any junglee (wild) so far. The Nagas were described as having no specific religion, no culture and no concept of God. But I found robust and hard-working Nagas, honest and humorous Nagas, god-loving and compassionate Nagas practising philosophy of co-existence and integral humanism. The philosophy of life and concept of God are fully developed which matches any grown eternal religions of the world. The comparison should not be made with Semitic religions like Christianity and Islam because these two Semitic religions are monotheist and have spread through the sword of political powers. They do not recognise any other religion or way of worship. They do not recognise each other as well. That is why both of them have destroyed several religions and civilisations of the world. They flourish under the patronage of rulers. With the help of rulers, Christianity and Islam destroy the native eternal religions. They exist by cursing and condemning other religions. Nagaland is one of the famous examples of such religious intolerance. Mizoram follows the suit.Surprisingly, the converted Nagas accepted that their fore-fathers weretruly junglee (wild) because Church would, in their opinion, never tell a lie. They did not know that Church rarely speaks the truth.Read the history of Church sponsored genocides of native janjatis spread over in 125 countries in American, European and African sub-continents available on Google. Even today’s converted Nagas are so much brain-washed and blinded by Church that they also believe that they are the progeny of jungleeancestors. This is absolutely wrong and an utter disregard to wisdom ofearly Naga progenitors who had well-grown philosophy of life and colourful culture which Church and its henchmen miserably and purposely failed to recognise.That is how the post-independence re-construction work was over-shadowed by missionary movement and secessionist terrorism. But a divine and blissful girl of 16, Gaidinliu though academically illiterate,visualised the godly virtues of Naga ancestors and she constantly opposed the malicious canard spread by church funded writers and preachers.

After the departure of British it was quite natural that their influence on politics, social thinking and ideals in life should have gradually disappeared but unfortunately it was found that the influence was on the increase, converted Nagas were proud to speak their language, respect their manners and dress like them. Not only this, they keep as models before Naga society their social science, their ideas of morality and their political thoughts. The eternal Naga religions, eternal colourful culture, age-old heritage, festivals, customs, traditions, history and vernacular languages were set aside and cursed. Nagas were forced to adopt Christianity at gun point of NNCguerrillas for establishing Christian solidarity to ensure British and American support in the fight for secession of Nagaland from Bharatvarsh.

In this dark age of Naga society, Gaidinliu 16 appeared as the rising sun at the east horizon of the country enlightening Nagas and all other Bharatiya societies in this region. She exhorted, “Really speaking Naga society should have thought of its own ethos. Freedom without it has no meaning. Every society wants to live a happy and prosperous life as per its own nature and that is the motive behind its intense desire for freedom. The society that tries to follow a path of thought and action discordant with its own nature, meets disaster. This is the reason that our Naga society has been caught up in a whirlpool of difficulties. The universal truth and human virtues, mutual trust and communal harmony have disappeared.” Having undertaken the reconstruction of Naga society, it was quite natural for her to think about politics and economics in a fundamental and comprehensive way but her philosophy of Integral Humanism does not stop to Zeliangrong community or Naga society but goes far ahead. Gaidinliu who became Rani Gaidinliu and gradually Ranima to everybody, young and old, without any consideration of her age, used to say, “We must also consider whether we can do something to lift the Naga society out of its confused and bewildered state. Instead of merely being a burden on the country we must contemplate on what we can offer to the country in consonance with our culture and tradition. For the centuries we have been living in isolation in thick forests and hilly tracts repulsing poverty and religious and cultural aggression from British and regaining and rejuvenating our eternal ethos. Now we are free from foreign subjugation, we must make up for this discrepancy.”

The premier Naga civil organisations very often express their concern about backwardness in the field of education, commerce and trade, agriculture, moral values, communal harmony and crisis of cultural identity. They narrate their agony over erosion of rich heritage inherited from forefathers from time to time. Everything is in the state of topsy-turvy. Though there has been a semblance of solution it has not stood the test of the time. Actually the thinking and the experiments have given rise to a huge crop of new problems. The scientific and technological developments have enabled man to set his foot on the moon, yet the common man is neither above want nor has peace of mind. The philosophy of Integral Humanism practised and prophesied by Rani Gaidinliu points a way out of the trouble.

Rani Gaidinliu shows the way: The central idea of philosophy of eternal religion of Zeliangrong community’sPoupei Cheng or Paupei – Chapriak or Heraka is that while humanity and the entire animate and inanimate nature around man are full of almost indefinite diversity, it all has got a common Atma (ethos or soul). The diversity is external and superficial. Because of the common soul, all things naturally are cooperative and complementary.

Man is conglomerate of body, mind, intellect and soul. Therefore, we must think of the well-being and development of all these four consistently with well-being and progress of the society. Along with material development we have to consider the moral and spiritual development also. With all this in view, the Zeliangrong Heraka and other eternal religions of different communities of Naga society have placed four objectives before every individual. They are (i) Dharma (moral duties and divine laws), (ii) Wealth, (iii) Desire and (iv)Complete liberation and Salvation. Everybody has these objectives in mind. But it will be wrong either to assume anyone of these as the soul aspiration for any man or to assume success in it as the only measure of a man’s success in life. The native culture of Nagas considers all these as essential only when Wealth and desire are secured according to the rules laid down by Dharma, the achievement gives happiness to the individual and benefits to the society.

The individual personality made of body, mind, intellect and soul, however, not confined to “I” only but is related to other people around him. And so the society has also to be considered along with the individual.

Society also has its body, mind, intellect and soul and has its four objectives in its life. But since individual and society are one and the same, intact and integral, there is no conflict in their interests; they are mutually complementary and inseparable. When an individual thinks and acts in the awareness that he and the society are a complete whole than only his acting will be conducive to common good.

Any system in which an individual is considered only as part of a large heart-less machine or at the other extreme regards an individual as a self-centred man who does not care for the society, is a defective system. Similarly, any system which takes into accounts only one or two out of the four needs of man (body, mind, intellect and soul) is also an imperfect system.

The ideal man according to this unifying Philosophy is he who takes a view of human life based on the four objectives and works for them, not only this but he looks further beyond the family and the nation right up to the world human community, may he even goes beyond and encompasses  the whole nature and its maker.

If we consider various aspects of life and the systems or arrangements while constructing a plan to guide human outlook and action there will be rapid progress in equality, nationality, philanthropy and world peace; the internal tussle and contradiction met with at the present in the attempts of achieving these ideals will vanish and their place will be taken by cooperation and compatibility. The symbiosis and co-existence will finally take place.

Rani Gaidinliu has been working for propagating this philosophy throughout her life through Zeliangrong Heraka religion and through other Naga eternal religions. She has been preaching universal love in Nagaland and surrounding areas. Wherever she visited in the country she did not miss any opportunity in spreading the mutual trust, social harmony, co-existence and world peace. She was the worst sufferer of terrorism and feudal fight. She knew and had experienced the pain of extremism. She did not want anybody else to suffer the torture and agony of extremism. This is the reason that she had decided to work for communal harmony and world peace.

Western thinking: During 150 years of British rule we have been influenced not only by their dress, style and manners but also by their political, economic and social thinking and way of life. There is a section of Naga intellectuals who have converted to Christianity, saw themselves at the vanguard of Nagas’ journey to modernity. Despite the sustained exposure of this Naga scholarship to the country at large and to the west to a certain extent from 1972 onwards when most of Nagas were converted during British missionary Billy Graham’s missionary crusade in Kohima, they have not yet developed the tradition which are essential to intellectual life. Despite pressing a significant intelligentsia, the orientation of Naga intellectuals is provincial. This is due to drudgery of economic survival, the depressing environment of lone university, colleges and media, the prevailing anti-business ethos, escapist mentality, slothfulness and diversion of talent into bureaucracy. But at the heart of the ‘insulted and injured’ self-image of Naga intellectuals was the confusion over where they stood in relation to others in the country. At one level, nearly all of what certain Naga intellectual refer to as ‘modern thought’ comes to them through England and America via church and medium of English. At the same time, there was the reality of life in a traditional Hindu Naga milieu. It would not be outlandish exaggeration to say that it is impossible for a Naga of Hindu descent to cease to be a Hindu. Today Christian Naga intellectuals have become a queer mixture of East and West, out of place everywhere, at home nowhere.

Today Bharatvarsh has gone a massive transformation: the economic plight of the middle classes is not so dire; England has been replaced by USA, business is no longer an object of disdain and Hinduistic traditionalists revival has become a reality. At the same time, in sheer numbers, the Bharatiya intelligentsia has grown exponentially. It has benefitted from more learning centres, the growth of media and publishing and most important the unhindered access to global currents. The Bharatiya rendered inadequate by the shortage economy has evolved into a self-confident citizen of country that looks expectantly to glorious Asian culture. The Naga intellectuals can draw a lesson from this testimony.

Modern European history dates from the latter half of the 15th century from then to the present times. European social life has been mainly influenced by nationalism, democracy and socialism.

Nationalism in Western Europe: The rise of nationalism has the background of the Roman Empire and the revolt against Papal theocracy. As the head of Christian religion, Pope exercised supreme power over all States in Europe. Pope and his ecclesiastical representatives had the power to punish heretics; punishment could range from imprisonment to death. The right to decide as to who is a heretic was also vested in the Papal authorities. History records innumerable instances of torture and killings during this period which still continues in modern times wherever Church is in controlling position. Several religious reformers revolted against this Papal dictatorship and the foremost among these reformers were Martin Luther, Calvin, Burtrand Russel, Solzhenitsyn and many more. Out of this, Protestant Church and national Church in England, The Protestants did not approve the monopoly and the middleman ship of the Catholic priests in the matters of relationship between man and god.

Slowly, a feeling grew that no power outside a State should be permitted to interfere in not only religious matters but in any internal matters of any States. This background helped the blending together of the two concepts of Nation and State and gave on to nation – States in Europe.

The democracy capitalism, communism and socialism both in theory and practice have given rise the practice of ‘survival of the fittest’ where the rich get richer and poor are alienated, annihilated and alleviated. The socialism propounded by saint Simon, Charles Fourier, Robert Owen and Louis Plane and scientific socialism put forth by Karl Marx have failed to produce the expected result. In the process of solving one human problem it has created more than one. Their dream of a classless society did not come true. And the dictatorship of the proletariat (working class) in communism professed by Karl Marx is failed in Russia, China and all other communist countries.Instead of bringing happiness to the massed, it has caused genocide in Russia, China and all other communist countries. The dissension in any form was a punishable act. The rivers in major communist countries were turned red by human blood caused by genocide of dissenting masses.

Among world democracies, our democracy is the largest judging by the numbers of voters. But a democratic government must be by the people, for the people and of the people. If we judge our democracy in the light of this principle and in terms of democratic traditions of respect for the right of dissent, respect for the constitution and respect for the judiciary, we are thoroughly disappointed. Most of political parties regard democracy as having reference to the method (by ballot) of capturing power and no reference to its use. And so the political parties see no wrong in defeating rival candidates by foul means and then sticking on to power tenaciously by employing all sorts of means – right or wrong. In the economic field, for gaining power competition, conflict and the survival of the fittest are considered, not merely excusable but even natural. The same mentality prevails in the political fields here. Democracy was born to liberate man from the absolute power of the king. But in practice it seems to have become the absolute power of the majority or the absolute rule of a small group.

The Mechanical Industrialisation in the West also has not produced expected result. The cultures of the West were destroyed by the hordes of aggressors. Only Bhartiya Culture has survived the onslaught of the aggressors. But the impact of the mechanised industrialisation threatens to destroy all cultures. It is rapidly undermining human values in life, our ideals, customs and manners, religious sensitivities, the life of the individual, family life and social life.

Whatever little happiness man in different countries enjoyed so far is now vanishing due to urbanisation and industrialisation, mechanical industrialisation has given dynamism to life but not without depriving it of its fellow feeling and compassion. The moral and spiritual values have declined; life has become money-oriented instead of value-oriented. The ancient serfdom was brought to an end by thinkers and reformers by mechanised industrialisation have reduced the people to slavish wage earners. Man developed mechanised industrialisation out his greed and is now ensnared by it.

It is on this background, the philosophy of Integral Humanism enshrined in Heraka Religion and other eternal religions of Nagas, shows a definite path which will lead man on the path to progress, prosperity and divine bliss.

The Zeliangrong Heraka Religion and Unifying Principle: The Universe presents a huge diversity of groups like homo-sapiens, the flora, the faunaand inanimate nature and so on. Not only this, every group shows a vast internal diversity. In-spite of this infinite diversity, the Universe seems to be running smoothly from time immemorial. The Integral Humanism preached and practised by Rani Gaidinliu means relation of man to man and man to animal and man to plant and man to earth and man to nature. She said that people need to remove veils of ignorance from the intellect by becoming aware of true identity as soul innately possessing divine qualities of peace, love and co-operation. This awareness needs to be awakened to dissipate and sublimate acquired demonic traits through the subtle fire of meditation. With the collective practice of spiritual knowledge and meditation, not only the negative proclivities but even the polluted elements of nature can be purified. Ranima proclaimed that spirituality connects the individual to divinity and empowers the soul to resist negative influences, sorrows and sufferings. It is the ultimate stage of an ascetic who remains unmoved by victory and defeat, fame or blame, loss or gain. Such self-mastery is not only the prerogative of saints and sages but can be easily attained by any house-holder with a little awareness and effort. We must take at least one step towards conquering our weaknesses so that slowly and gradually we move closer to attaining victory over them. Sense pleasure is important in human life. But it does not mean that there is no higher happiness.While it is true that sensuous pleasures reach man through mind, it must be recognised that there is such a thing as mind’s own happiness distinctly different from the sense organ pleasures.

Ranima emphasised that it is an important characteristic of intellect to discern what is good and bad, what is flimsy and intense, what is ephemeral and eternal. And so intellect helps man to distinguish between slight and short-lived happiness on the one hand and intense and lasting happiness on the other.  This clear perception prompts him to go in for the latter kind of happiness in preference to the former. She preached that everyone is eternal self. In this light, Nagas should have an approach of ‘local to global’ so that the native eternal religion and indigenous culture are not destroyed. Nagaland has changed from follower of eternal religion to Christian follower but the importance of Ranima has not waned.

Email: jagdamba123@gmail.com

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By EMN Updated: Oct 25, 2015 9:34:58 pm