Views & Reviews
The Political Implications of the 1951 Plebiscite
The Naga national Plebiscite of May 16, 1951 was not an internal political event undertaken by our fathers to state their stand to us and our children. Secondly, though there were still many Animists among us at that time, the Plebiscite was not a religious event where our fathers affirmed to be a Christian country of Nagaland for Christ. It was also not a cultural event where they pledged themselves to remain true to our culture. Far from all these internal matters of a nation, the Plebiscite was a highest form of international political action undertaken by Nagas to state their political position to India (and also the world) that the Nagas would remain independent and free from all other nations and their various forms of governments. In short, it was a “Sovereignty Statement” expressed by thump prints.
By all political intentions, the Plebiscite was never undertaken so that Nagas can become a state under the Indian union or to have a shared sovereignty with India. Announcing the purpose of the Plebiscite, Phizo in his letter to the President of India had written thus:
With a view to furnishing the people and government of India with evidential and conclusive proof of their national aspiration for independence, the popular desire of the Nagas in this behalf shall be presented in a collective verdict of the adult population of Nagaland which shall be obtained through the recognised democratic method of plebiscite…to remove any possible element of doubt as to the passionate desire in the hearts of the Naga people for freedom and independence from India.” (Letter to the President of India, dated Kohima, January 1, 1951).
But despite this unique action on our part to become an honourable nation in the comity of nations, India invaded and occupied our country from the 1950s to the present. That however does not mean that we have therefore lost our sovereignty or independence. On the contrary, what our fathers have done on our behalf can never be undone or nullified by India or the whole world. On the part of the present generation, our duty is to hold on to the political statement and implications of the Plebiscite of 1951. As long as we have done the right things based on the right historical facts, the results and rewards of our actions will be vindicated by God the author and sustainers of human history. On the historic occasion of the 68th celebration of our Plebiscite day, some of the last survivors who actually participated in the 1951 event will give their testimony to the gathering at Chedma Peace Camp at 10:am. This may be one last chance for the present generation to listen to their accounts from their own mouths.
Kaka D Iralu