An open letter to Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, Convener, FNR
The very thought of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) today has overwhelmed me with a profound sense of gratitude to God. Through His infinite grace and wisdom, God has sent the FNR to the rescue of the Nagas. When the Naga National Movement was passing through its darkest phase of history, when factional killings among the Naga Political Groups (NPGs) was the order of the day, when the Naga National movement was facing its greatest threat from within and was on the threshold of self-destruction, God acted through the FNR. And because of the relentless efforts and initiatives of the FNR, Naga National leaders from different groups found a platform to meet without suspicion and threat. It eventually resulted in bringing about the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR) in 2009 between the NSCN/GPRN, GPRN/NSCN and the NNC/FGN.
It is with a mixed feeling of nostalgia, awe and wonder that I recollect this historic event today, realizing how 10 years had quickly elapsed. It seemed only yesterday when we were having our summits in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The memories of our stay at the YMCA Hotel and the food there are still very fresh in my mind. And how can one forget the feeling of euphoria and exhilaration that accompanied the signing of the CoR! It is tragic to think that despite the potentials the CoR has offered us, we failed to keep our commitment because of our own inherent weaknesses and sectarian interests. We have failed to uphold and carry forward the true spirit of reconciliation, the very thing that is required and expected from each one of us. The same happened to the latter agreements like the Naga Concordant and the Lenten Agreement. The euphoric moment was soon accompanied by a sense of betrayal. Instead of taking responsibilities for the failures of the agreements, some of us even felt that the FNR was responsible for the setbacks thinking that they should have come out with the names of the non-cooperating individuals or groups and confronted them openly. Perhaps, wisdom and good sense prevailed over the judgement of the FNR keeping in mind the things that were at stake then, including the general concerns for the Nagas.
Right from its inception through the Divine Revelation to the Naga Shisha Hoho in 2008, the FNR has worked tirelessly and selflessly to bring together all the NPGs on the same page. Umpteen numbers of discussions with various leaders were planned and organized by them.
All this led to the many Summit -Talks in Chiang Mai, and finally to the Highest Level Leaders Meeting which culminated in the signing of the historic Covenant of Reconciliation on 13th June 2009 by Isak Chishi Swu, SS Khaplang and Brig. (Retd) S. Singnya, wherein the Naga leaders committed before God to offer themselves to the Naga Reconciliation based on the Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas. The relative peace in Nagaland and the ability of the Naga National workers, like me to move freely, for instance, or to be able to reside under one roof with our family members, are the fruits of the CoR that we all are enjoying today.
Of the three Naga Political Groups, the NNC/FGN due to the fact of being the weakest and most vulnerable in terms of its organizational power had the maximum privilege of being in the company of the FNR. Personally, I have shared many memorable occasions with them. I believe that the FNR was able to achieve many milestones through God’s providence and guidance. Mention must be made of amazing personalities who have steered the functioning of the FNR: Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, the Convener who is composed in any situation, approachable and down to earth, always full of enthusiasm and whose presence gives the impression that all problems can be solved; Rev. Dr. V. K. Nuh who provided the fatherly figure, solid and stable whose presence was able to generate trust and confidence amongst us; Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho who played the role of Chaplain and whose sermons has the ability to inspire and touch every heart; Dr. Akum Longchari, Mr. Neingulo Krome, Dr. N. Venuh, Mrs. Khesheli Chishi, Mrs. Grace Shatsang, Rev. Dr. Phughoto Aye, Rev. Puduhu Khusoh, Pastor Vezokho Vero, Pastor Vezalhu, Somipam Lungleng, Nepuni Piku and many other leaders.
The CoR was a commendable achievement of the FNR, the selfless and tireless effort of its members who made numerous sacrifices, forgetting their own personal comforts, not putting into accounts their material expenditures and placing Reconciliation above everything else made it a reality. As we retrospect on this noble achievement of the FNR, I wish to put on record the indebtedness of all the Nagas to all those who played significant roles in bringing about the CoR: the active contributions and commitment of all the members of the FNR; the commitment to peace and love of humanity of the Quaker, the American Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America; the Naga Civil Societies, the Churches and the prayer groups; the support and timely help of Mr. Neiphiu Rio, the Chief Minister of Nagaland.
Nagas are also indebted to the three signatories of the CoR, two of who are unfortunately no more with us today namely, late Isak Chishi Swu and late SS Khaplang, and Brig. (Retd) S. Singnya and the contributions of visionary leaders like uncle Th. Muivah and Mr. Kitovi Zhimomi whose concern for the Naga Nation and consent enabled the signing of the CoR. I pray that God will continue bless and empower the FNR to overcome many more hurdles that lie ahead and to create more milestones to celebrate as Naga people.