Tali Longkumer (IAS retd)
It is indeed a privilege for me to personally know Dr. S.C Jamir, the seasoned politician and a statesman blended together and still stands tall at the age of nearly 90 years old. His eventful public life that has cruised through the various ecstasies and the agonies of life spans beyond sixty years, beginning from his appointment as the Joint Secretary of the Naga Peoples Convention held at Ungma Village during May 1958 till the completion of his tenure as the Governor of Odisha on the 21st of March 2019 during which period he served the people in different capacities as Parliamentary Secretary, Central Minister, Chief Minister and Governors of various States. He is a unique specimen that has providentially survived four assassination attempts on his life yet continues to pursue life undeterred. He has seen and experienced the various events and upheavals that gradually shaped the history of Nagaland to the present State. He himself constitutes a record book. During my recent meeting with him, at his farm house, Chumukedima, he shared some of his visions about Nagaland. He said though Nagas constitute a small community, we should not hide under its cocoon but instead come out of it and look at the bigger picture of the World around us as we have so much to give. We need to keep abrest with the realities of the changing world instead of always looking back to the past. We need a World Vision but much less a localized vision. Nagas should be connecting agency in bridging our country to the countries of the South East Asia. We should have the will to survive as the Isralites today and also imbibe the spirit of discipline as we see in Singapore.
He regretted that presently our society has landed in confusion and groping in darkness without a vision. These shattered dreams have affected all the departments. Even leaders do not know where they are leading their people. It is a sorry state of affairs. There is therefore a dire need to have a clear vision for our future.
Speaking about the Ao’s, he said that the backbone of Ao leadership which was build up through Christianity and Education has been considerably eroded lately. Nevertheless there is still hope to rebuild our society. People specially the younger generation should realise that Christianity which was embraced by the Ao pioneers was the greatest gift to the Aos. It gave us not only a sense of responsibilities but blessings as well. The Aos should learn that they have Obligation towards God to continue the spirit of Christianity. They should also imbibe the spirit of Competitiveness. Even Geographically Ao area is centrally located that favours to play a vital role to the different neighbouring Districts.
On the issue of Development, there seem to have virtually no developmental works worth mentioning in the Sate and people are busy organising Thanksgiving Services, Celebration of Jubilees and centenaries of different Associations whereas the real developmental works are pushed to the backseat though the Central Government is providing huge amount for the State. Central aids instead of investing are currently shared among various organisations so much so that the real developmental works are not visible on the ground. The innumerable structures that are coming up at Dimapur and elsewhere in the State are mostly private buildings.
Speaking about the 16 Point Agreement specially with references to the provision under article 371(A) of the constitution of India, the Naga Delegation where he was a member, have invested much time in examining other relevant provisions including the Simon Commission, the Akbar Hydari Agreement before they have painstakingly drafted the 16 Point Agreement that gave birth to the State of Nagaland. While leaving his farm house after our meeting, I have realised that this incredible man still occupies an important place in society that cannot be written off yet.
Tali Longkumer (IAS retd)