Will Not Fail the Naga People
The majestic mountains and hills, sandwiched between India and Myanmar, the home of indigenous Nagas for thousands of years is purposefully created by Almighty God and given to Nagas. No power on earth can usurp or deprive the Naga people of the historical and political right over their ancestral Land. There is no ambiguity in this truth!
On 14th of August, 1947, we Nagas under the political roof of NNC declared our Independence from the British, a day ahead of India. This was a political necessity because despite rendering great service with utmost loyalty to Great Britain in both the first and the second World Wars, Nagas realised that the Britishers were leaving occupied Nagas homeland at the mercy of chaotic Indian subcontinent which was struggling to stand on its own feet; that Great Britain left the occupied Naga areas to fend for themselves with no political future or structure was unacceptable and unthinkable to the politically conscious Nagas.
The nationalists under the leadership of NNC merged both British occupied areas and free Naga areas to become one political entity. Thus, the spirit and essence of Naga nationhood was complete. On this auspicious day, I remember the thousands of Naga freedom fighters, the pioneering visionary leaders and followers over the decades, many of whom are buried in unmarked graves in foreign lands. I salute them all. We will recommit ourselves to the task of fulfilling their vision.
Today, every Naga knows who we are and how our people sacrificed and suffered in the bitter past for more than seven decades. Past must help the Nagas move forward not drag the Nagas into abyss. It is time to collectively plan a better future for our younger generation. Let us be practical and lay the first bricks for future Nagas. Naga generations must be given a space to grow and compete with the best in the world. We cannot burden our young men and women with monotonous fairytale stories that satisfies one’s ego only. We must equip them with practical lessons to help them shape their own future with appropriate political structure in place. Honourable and acceptable Indo-Naga political solution is the only answer.
On the 17th of Nov. 2017, the WC, NNPGs and GOI, to which the GPRN/NSCN is an integral partner, signed the ‘Agreed Position’ which entrenched the political and historical rights of the Nagas to self determine their future in consonance with their distinct identity. It was agreed that the Nagas and Indians would work out the details of a relationship based on inclusive, enduring peaceful co-existence with due regard to contemporary political realities. Based on this “Agreed principle” all contentious issues have been negotiated and resolved in principle. WC, NNPGs and GOI talks was never kept inside a cold storage at any point of time. With utmost confidence and trust, all apex Naga tribal bodies, GBs, Legislators, intellectual groups were on board and proved to be a constant source of strength. The status paper is with our apex Naga civil societies and it will exist for a thousand years. WC had the courage to listen to the people and pursue practical approach to resolve the Indo-Naga issue. The solidarity and people’s participation in the entire process allowed the WC to focus on every fiber and thread of Indo- Naga issue. We have touched, negotiated, sorted out and documented all negotiated points for posterity. With great humility and gratefulness to our merciful Almighty God, we are confident and prepared to sign the Indo-Naga Agreement anyday and anytime. Our people’s solidarity is deeply felt.
I acknowledge the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi, who showed genuine commitment and urgency to resolve the protracted political conflict and entrusted GOI interlocutor in the Indo-Naga political talks, Mr. R.N Ravi to sign the historic ‘Agreed Position’ with WC, NNPGs, representing the Nagas on 17th Nov. 2017. After more than fifty rounds in three years, negotiations have concluded with unresolved matters to be pursued and settled through democratic political process. With this clear positive direction taking place, the Naga people look forward to entering a new era of enduring peaceful co-existence.
In His supreme wisdom, just like the tribes of Israel, Almighty Jehovah planted each Naga tribe in a well defined landscape to call its own, to nurture, dwell upon, progress and strengthen the fabric of Naga brotherhood. This helped the Nagas to pursue our common political aspiration, understanding and respecting the dynamics of each tribe’s culture, tradition and ownership of lands among brothers. Nagas were divided through political instruments into different states in Burma and India, this is a historical fact. Each Naga tribe has a demarcated territory; this is also a historical truth. To forego and deviate from these simple yet complex unwritten rules will be disturbing the traditional and customary equilibrium amongst us. As we defend our land from occupational forces, the same principle is applicable in respect of each other’s inheritance within the Naga family. This is our unique history.
I thank the leadership of all Naga Tribal Hohos, Gaon Buras, Churches and Naga public at large, for the unwavering solidarity towards the common cause. I also congratulate the decisive leadership of Naga political groups namely, NSCN (Reformation), NNC/FGN, NNC (Parent Body), NNC/NPGN, NNC/GDRN, NSCN/GPRN (Khango/Isak), and the Co-Conveners of WC for upholding the covenant of the Naga people through co-operation and comradeship. I am confident that Almighty God will take us all through the perilous journey. We will not fail the Naga people this time. If God is for us, who can be against us?
God Bless Nagaland!
N Kitovi Zhimomi,
Ato Kilonser GPRN/NSCN.