We are gathered here today, September 8, 2018, as a Naga nation representing our collective desire and resolve to be unified as one people demonstrating our defence of an inherited legacy which is vital for our future progress.
We are in solidarity as one people on the issue of Naga Political and Historical Rights. When our elders made known their choice to take the path of nationhood before the British left their Empire in South and South-East Asia, the Naga people did not violate any agreement for union made with any nation in our history. This establishes the legitimacy and integrity of Naga rights. And, in asserting the Naga political position, we do not oppose any of our neighbours. The historical fact that the Naga struggle started before India’s independence strengthens our moral authority.
We recognize that while pursuing Naga rights and charting our own destiny in accordance with our own creative and natural ability, we have been violently tossed between our inherent rights and the contemporary realities of geopolitical integration and sweeping economic and cultural changes.
Nagas cannot deny that our present state of affairs is not acceptable and is unbearable. The more the world seems to change, the more things remain the same for the Nagas.
Amidst these contemporary realities, we are determined to engage each other in finding meaningful ways to respond to challenges and explore ways forward. We draw inspiration from Confucius who reminds us that, “When it is obvious that goals cannot be achieved, don’t adjust the goals, but adjust the steps.”
Harnessing the deepest impulses in our consciousness that have drawn us together down the centuries culminating in what we are today, we make this declaration as a “Peoples” and a Nation based on the facts of our history. Furthermore, we look at what is required from us if we are to survive and grow in a fast changing and highly competitive world.
We hereby declare in one accord:
1. The Naga Historical and Political Rights are the manifestation of our common hopes and dreams. They provide the creative impetus to engage with our present challenges and prepare for our future. When we truly embrace our Historical and Political Rights we will step out of our confinements and rise above the politics of fear and resentment to move forward. It helps us acknowledge and respect the various distinct regional identities, aspirations and differences existing within the broader Naga consciousness.
2. To embrace the common humanity we share with the various neighbours who border our Naga ancestral homeland. Honouring the Naga Historical and Political Rights is not at the expense of our neighbours’ rights. Similarly, upholding our neighbours’ rights cannot be at the expense of Naga rights. This requires both Nagas and our neighbours to form relationships based on trust that breaks down the domestic walls and other boundaries that divide us. Today, we urge our neighbours to partner with us in bringing positive changes to transform this region for the collective interest, security, and well-being of all people. Our future is indeed intertwined, interconnected and interdependent.
3. To demonstrate statesmanship that teaches us to step away from sectarian and divisive politics and embody a new vision for shared humanity. This idea is based on the principle of self-determination, and inclusive good governance that embraces a democratic vision, values of human rights, the rule of law and the inherent dignity of every human being, as well as, the collective dignity of all Nagas.
4. To continue pursuing the path of Reconciliation and JustPeace through nonviolent means with greater resolve and commitment.
Nagaland Joint Christian Forum
CM Chang on behalf of PDA legislators
Dr Ngangshi K Ao on behalf of NPF legislators
Naga Mothers Association
Naga Women Union Manipur
Nagaland Students Federation
United Naga Council
All Nagaland Students Association Manipur
Rengma Naga Peoples Council Assam
Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights
Consultative Committee on Just Peace
Naga Shisha Hoho
Forum for Naga Reconciliation