Tributre to late Scato Swu
Former President of Federal Government of Nagaland, at the public Funeral accorded to him. April 9, 2014, Satakha, Nagaland.
General Thinoselie M Keyho, Retd
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or the family of the departed leader Scato Swu and for the Naga people this occasion today is a moment of grievous loss and pain and shedding of tears. But for my elder brother Scato Swu, it is the beginning of his eternal rest and peace.
I am deeply touched and honoured the family has asked me also to be with them and the public on this occasion and to say something as a colleague who had toiled and fought beside him. At the prime of his life the leader whose passing we have come to mourn, gave all that was dearest to him for the cause of his people. I have come to bid farewell and pay my respectful tributes to Scato Swu with a profound reverence for his sacrifice for what he deeply longed to achieve when he held the top position of responsibility and leadership of our people and right through to the end of his life. One point I want to say to all gathered here and to Naga people everywhere is this – If the Naga National Movement for a free and independent Nagaland had not been launched with correct understanding of our history, vision, faith in God, and courage and unity, the Nagas would have been doomed. But because the Naga pioneer-fighters boldly stepped out of the familiar and safe path before them and dared to assert and claim what they knew their history had given them, the Nagas have become what they are today. On this occasion I call upon the Nagas to understand this assessment of the heroic struggle which became a reality because of men like Scato Swu.
After being a loosely connected people for centuries the Nagas have today acquired their National identity that is clearly defined and increasingly recognized by the world. The further consolidation of the costly identity is a political, historical process that cannot be reversed by anyone. The journey has never been easy. It will become more difficult and more complicated as all human struggles become. But we need have no doubt that our pioneers did the right thing in clearly declaring what they believed to be right and important for the Nagas as a people.
The Naga National Council conceptualized and brought to birth the political and historical right of the Nagas. And the Federal Government of Nagaland nurtured the growth of that right which is essential for the building of nations. At a time like this when we take stock of ourselves and our history Nagas must ask ourselves what is required from each one of us if the right we have claimed and sacrificed for will not perish because of our failure to be a responsible people.
Khrisanisa Seyietsu was the first President of the Federal Government of Nagaland. The leader who took over as successor after Khrisanisa’s resignation and managed our highly demanding political struggle was Scato Swu. Under his skillful leadership a crushing defeat of the Nagas by the enemy was prevented. During his tenure of leadership some vitally significant decisions were taken. They were –
1. Naga goodwill missions were sent to nations like Pakistan and China which resulted not only in procurement assistance, but also in the story of the Naga struggle becoming more widely known in the world outside.
2. The most notable achievement under his leadership that stands out above all others was the historic Indo- Naga Cease Fire of 1964. From point zero at the start Nagas reached the point where an honourable Cease Fire with a foreign power whose invasion we justly resisted was signed.
For all these achievements today, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Naga people I pay heartfelt tribute of thanks and appreciation to our departed leader with humility as an individual but with just pride as a Naga who participated in the same struggle for our people.
I have often felt it was possible that the intentions of some Angami comrades in the struggle, as perceived by him, caused him hurt and unhappiness. I stand here with disappointment that due to my own limitations I failed to go far enough to help restore what might have gone wrong. In his book “Hails and Blames” Angamis are specifically charged with devising schemes that caused his downfall and that of other Sumis. If the allegations directed at some Angamis are true, personally I am sorry and I condemn whatever may have been wrong.
I regret that before I could call on him to hear and understand with him what he had seen and felt, so that misunderstanding may give way to understanding, he has left us. My own investigation into what went wrong at the time he referred to had revealed additional facts on how mistakes had been committed with the situation rapidly changing and more people coming into the pursuit of the Naga struggle. I believe an honest discussion would very likely have lessened the distrust that had naturally accumulated.
There is a Tenimyie wisdom inherited from our past which I hold dear. It says, “The future that is yet to come is more important than the past that has gone.” What is meant in this is clear. The lessons from the past are important for us to learn to use to build the future. I want those of us still alive and especially the younger generation that are emerging to take responsibility to give fullest attention to this wisdom.
The main points I want to make on this occasion come down to the following.
1. Let us be honest with one another about the Shillong Accord and help one another to wipe it off and consign it to where it rightly belongs. It will then cease to damage us further. Then it will become possible to restore the position Nagas held together prior to the Accord. Nagas will come back to the original position of One Government, One Tax. This will restore the Naga struggle and it will be honourable and acceptable to all who have come to hold the different positions. This will be the restoration of the Naga struggle and the Naga people that we now need.
2. Will the leadership of the different Naga factions rise to the urgent need to be united again and receive the gratitude and support of the Naga people as well as the blessings of God without which we cannot achieve anything? Or by failing to rise above the limitations of your agendas will you be condemned and rejected by the people and in the process earn the displeasure of God Almighty?
3. If for reasons that are selfish the Nagas were to fail to unite and reduce their great struggle to its own destruction and the destruction of the people, the confusion and evil we will bring upon ourselves will be far worse than what we have experienced already. It will be beyond our power to bring back what we will have lost.
4. If Nagas can show greater maturity and restore their unity through finding mutual understanding of one another’s mistakes and shortcomings, for all have done wrongs in our different ways, the coming generations can be trusted to take our people forward according to their best wisdom and united capacity. If we will not strike out together in this direction at this stage the judgment of history will judge us we each deserve.
Once again I express my appreciation for the opportunity given to me to pay my tribute to my elder brother and our leader Scato Swu. I have shared my thoughts with the conviction and certainty that I have said what he would want me to say as I bid him farewell,
May his soul rest in eternal peace. KUKNALIM.