Rev. Fr. G. L. Khing, Kohima
Human right can be called as ‘right which is believed to belong to every person.’ It is inalienable and fundamental. The atrocities and tragedies of Second World War pushed the United Nations General Assembly to adopt ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ in Paris (1948). Human rights cannot be bought or sold. It is inherent and inborn. How a person nurtures it in his life is a matter of choice. All the same, the country/state can protect the rights of its citizens by implementing positive laws and regulations.
There is a missing link between Nagas and Human right. Nagas are also human beings, yet the so called ‘rights’ are too far away from the reach of the Nagas. It hangs just above the head, but it is like biting chocolates tied on a string. The higher you jump, the higher the string goes. Are Nagas aware of their rights? Did the State of Nagaland ever deny rights to the Nagas? Or any factions disturb/curtail the rights of the Nagas? How far has Nagas understood each other well as brothers and sisters of the same soil? These few interrogations may lead us to grasp the meaning of human rights in the context of Nagaland. The fate of Nagas swings up and down with enhanced right or denied right. The sad tidings that distort Nagas beyond recognition are its continuous internal conflict. The wounded marks that still exist can be well understood as the stigmata of the Nagas by Nagas. The techniques of wounding each other inside our own hometown have become daily affairs. Down through the history; from the cruel treatment of the Indian Armies till the present day pain caused by different factions, the story of Nagas are that of teardrops on the sand. It falls only to disappear without being noticed by the world. The pain of Nagas is caused by its own people. The Nagas tear each other into pieces and giggle at its deformation. Sad to say, but true to proclaim.
Nagas may go to the United Nation to express its unhappiness with regard to AFSPA or with denial of right by the central government, over ground or underground factions. They may even give the best appearance in the search for their rights and privileges. Yet, what happens every day is never re-told to people outside in detail. There is fear in us to recount the bloody events. In Nagaland, to dig out some truth would mean digging your own grave. (You have no right to speak or stand for truth, your only right is to keep silent and die a happy death. Heaven belongs to such people). For many decades the Nagas suffered under the cruel hands of the Indian Armies. The Nagas were treated like non-living beings. Many men and women were tortured for fun. Churches were burnt, fields destroyed, houses gutted, women raped, and men slaughtered like beasts in front of the wife and children. The Nagas went through this purgatory stage with closed mouth. They suffered without complain so that their posterity may see the rising sun in one’s own land. The Indians regarded themselves as more human than the fair skin Nagas. The common villagers shivered at the sight of the Indian armies. The fear of meeting the Indian armies remained till the year 2000 or so. The darker the skin, the more cruel they seem to be. This is how the Indian armies appeared in Naga soil. And living under such terror is no freedom or right.
With the dawn of 21st century, new outlook emerged. The stressed on the motto, “Friends of the Hill people” became more evident and they tried to live likewise. The Indian armies try their best to make themselves available to Nagas in whatever ways and means possible. Today, the works of charity and other selfless service are in one way to diminish the past horror events committed by their predecessors. With the entry of many Naga youth into the Indian troops, there came about a cordial relationship.
To protect the rights of the Nagas, the Mother Nagaland gave birth to NNC at the right time. Yet, the numerous differences among its members brought many divisions. Their difference made them equal opponents. The war within took its heights when one life was revenged with ten lives. Instead of protecting the rights of the Nagas, they begin to kill each other in the name of ‘my right.’ Indeed, they have curtailed the many rights of the people. From taxation to taxi stand, fear to threats, red blood letters to bullets, the national workers have killed many Nagas like the Indian Armies of the past. The one born to protect has become a murderer! If we count the number of Nagas killed in factional clashes, it would be equal to the number of stars in the sky. The number of innocent public whose lives were cut short by the bullets of the national workers will be equivalent to the sand on the sea shore. This is how we treat each other in Nagaland. In Nagaland, all are right, no one is wrong. Yes, this right is ‘the greatest wrong’. Self-acclaimed rights and laws are becoming more important than the basic rights. This is why ‘Rights’ are alien to many of us.
How many Nagas really live in freedom? Few. The rest of the Nagas live in fear and insecurity; fear of another Nagas, fear of losing one’s life, sense of insecurity in one’s homes and offices, etc. A man once commented, “muri bole mon nai to, etu nimite upai nai.” We have come to a situation where even the birds and ants that carry their food to their nest need to pay some share to the factions. Which animal would happily reside in Nagaland? Which Saviour will redeem Nagas from the clutches of this self- inflicted suffering? Do the national workers protect the rights of the Nagas or try to kill even the tiniest rights that belong to the Nagas? I still wonder. My wonder will be your wonder as well. As we continue to wonder together, there are wonderful tragedies happening in Nagaland.
I am sure that Nagas can feed national workers (factions) with the best homemade bread if they are true to their call. If the national workers truly protect the rights of the Nagas, I believe there will be metanoia. Change of attitude towards each other will grow and trust will be deepened and widened. But the present scenario shows that Nagas are forced to feed them from the sweat of the brow. Nagas are giving birth to numerous virus and groups. The virus has become so invisible and dark. They appear at night as ‘night super’ and roam about the day with the latest stolen vehicles. That is why many Nagas are turning against them. Most of their works are not accepted by the Nagas. They have failed to give Nagas the right to live as Nagas. The atrocities committed by them are beyond recall. The rights of the Nagas are cut to the ground.
I pray that true national workers come to the fore front of Nagas to brighten the darkness of life. Nagas have seen more shadows than the reality. It is the shadow who creates havoc in the society. In addition to this, there are many self-styled criminals under the guise of some factions. Such people must be silenced before they become dragons. The intellectuals of every factions need to come together to weave the best clothes for Nagas. The Nagas are tired and wearied with the shabby old stingy clothes stained with blood and tears.
If we do not reconcile with each other, we will be the cause of our own downfall. Allow good sense to prevail over emotional imbalance. Let not emotions overtake our common sense. Encourage individuals to protect and respect their own rights as well as others for the larger interest of Nagaland. We must allow Nagas to grow in freedom of thought and speech. If we fail in this aspect, we will appear like punctured football in front of other states/country.
May God bless those who work for peace and justice in Nagaland. Respect each other’s rights. By this, you will be right in your ‘Right.’