Kaka D. Iralu
No, no! I am not talking about the normal and conventional Generals who zips across our cities bedecked with medals and escorted by blaring sirens. Far from such Generals, I am talking about our Naga Army Generals whose passage through our war torn lands were hardly noticed by the general public. They were however keenly observed with awe and admiration by their own soldiers who served under their commands. These Naga Generals were not National Defense Academy graduates but ordinary villagers who joined the Naga Army as privates and graduated from the fiery battlefields of Nagaland. In fact their only qualifications to general hood were their determined patriotic sense and duty to their country.
These Generals never had any General Headquarters from where they could direct battles with assortments of satellite guided communication systems. Their ever temporary headquarters were wherever they were in their endless guerrilla warfare of hit and run tactics. They did not pass out orders and waited for others to carry them out. They gave the orders, and then themselves, went out to carry out those orders. To do so, they had to lead their troops from the front into many enemy occupied territories and even beyond- into foreign countries. Yes, they were there in the front, when enemy ambushes were suddenly sprung on their battle weary, starving soldiers. Many a soldier under their commands told me that when their muscles cramped and their tendons stiffened from fear-the rallying voices of their Generals always brought back life to their temporarily paralyzed bodies.
These generals did not leave behind images of blaring sirens and escort parties as they passed through our lands. They left behind only images of unsung heroism’s floating in our memories. But for them and the sacrifices of their soldiers, Nagaland would have ended only as a District in the former Assam of the British period. They indeed showed Assam, India and the rest of the world- the stuff Nagas are made of.
Adieu General Kholi. A grateful nation salutes you as you pass by on your final journey across our lands.