Views & Reviews
The Kukis in Nagaland are Distinct
Nagas in general, share a common cultural thread which binds them together under one traditional pyramid. But the Kukis on the other hand, are singularly in variance with the Nagas- be it in origin, customs, dances or institutions. And that being said, comparison or generalization of the Kukis with the Naga people in any form or shape, becomes a social fallacy.
Keeping in mind the indelible contributions of the Kukis in Nagaland by virtue of our forefathers, it would be a wrongful act to repeatedly treat the Kukis with contempt or trivialize their role in the History of the Naga Hills.
It is unmistakably clear that the Kukis of Nagaland are not just an indigenous tribe of Nagaland but have been bonafide inhabitants of the land since time immemorial. So the crucial time has now arrived to annihilate the culture of dragging names or playing the card of Tribalism, simply to win political mileage.
1. The Kukis shared good camaraderie with the Angamis much before the regime of the Britishers who later coined the term “Naga Hills”. When we look back, the vivid memories of the oaths and promises exhanged to maintain their friendship even at times of trouble with other tribes, remain fresh in our hearts till today. To mark their devoted friendship, the Angamis (Khonoma) called the Kukis ‘Kocheme’ and the Kukis called them ‘GaalLeng’ (King of war). And as an oath, they drank wine using the barrel of a Gun instead of a mug.
2. When vitriolic hostility arose between the Zeliangs and the Angamis, the then Kuki (Kocheme) warrior Pu. KhotinthangSitlhouKuki (Chief of Jampi) offered brotherly protection to the Zeliangs. And intuma, henimaetc, still remains as a symbolical memoir for those incidents. And in separate occasions in Khonoma, different Khels made friendship (jol le gol) with the Kuki Chiefs of Songlhuh Village (Estd. in 1681) &Haokip- Holkangpa (Chief of Holkang-Halalo) now in Peren District.
3. The Britishers arrived and coined the term “Naga Hills”. As their armed forces needed to cross the rivers during rainy seasons, they requested the Kuki warriors to construct bamboo bridges which the Britishers later changed into a hanging bridge near NH 39 motorable, naming it “KukiDolong”. It connects the then Kuki&Kutcha Naga Area in the 1940s which was later known as the Zeliang-Kuki area in the 1960s and is presently called Peren District.
4. When the Britishers offered the position of a Muhza (interpreter) to the Kuki Chief, KhotinthangSitlhou , he politely declined it and suggested the post to be given to the closest member of his family – his Bepa, PuLengjangKuki, who later went on to become one of the founding members of the Naga Club in 1917 and also one of the signatories to the Simon Commission in 1929.
5. Late. AZ Phizo of Khonoma founded the NNC arm wing in 1946 and Late. PuSeikhohenDoungelKuki was part of the constitution drafting committee. (In his memorial , SM colony still exists in present day Dimapur)
6. The Kukis had participated in the NAGA plebiscite 1951 by giving thump impression.
7. Late. JangkhoseiHangsingKuki was elected as an executive member of the NNC, and went on to become the Head Clerk of the DC’s office in Kohima during the British regime and later, he became the first Member of the NPSC.
8. One of the pioneers of Nagaland is Shri. LutjakaiKuki Ex. Interim Body Member of Nagaland 1961- 1963 , who presently lives in his home town- Ahthibung, a place he founded in 1958 and settled since 1966.
9. In 1964, two Kuki leaders were elected in the 1st General Election of Nagaland. Late.ShriLangkamDoungel ex. MLA & Late ShriLalkholamSinson ex. MLA.were the Kuki representatives in the NLA.
10. A considerable number of Kukis in Nagaland have sacrificed their lives in the past, and may continue to do so in the future too, in-order to achieve our mainstream struggle for peaceful solutions.
11. It would not be erroneous to maintain that the Kukis in Nagaland are different. Though the Kukis and the Nagas remain as brothers, they cannot be confounded as one because we were, we are and we will be always be distinctive in our own way. And keeping in mind the role played by the Kukis in the past historical arena of Nagaland, they deserve love, respect and cordiality from the Nagas, their fellow brethren.
Let us all know that Negativity breeds Negativity and we, as Christians saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, should allow ourselves to forgive and forget the bitter episodes of the past and instil the virtues of benevolence for one another. Because only when we endeavour to live in Peace and Forgiveness, can we eventually create a world of tranquillity for our children. We are just on a journey here on earth and to know that Heaven awaits us is to know the transitory nature of worldly things. So let us take away the heavy bondage of enmity and malice and cultivate love for one another, for the Scripture on the universal verse on Love tells us – “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” and “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God ; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. “ AMEN.
Yours in Him
Rev. M.S. Obedya Haokip