Niketu Iralu addressing the 73rd Naga Independence Day organized by the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) at the Naga Solidarity Park, Kohima. (Morung Photo)
Morung Express News
Kohima | August 14
The 73rd Naga Independence Day organized by the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) was held at the Naga Solidarity Park, Kohima.
Niketu Iralu, Former Director and Chairman, Asia Plateau, Panchgani, Centre for Initiatives of Change (Iofc) & NBCC in his address to the gathering, "August 14 —The Importance of History," took the audience back to why August 14 came to be and its importance, while acclaiming his responsibility to address the young people "as one from his departing generation." He reminded that it very important to understand that “the Naga journey or the Naga struggle is simply the response of the Nagas to the challenges that changes in the world brought to them. The Naga tribes whose lands the British trespassed fiercely fought them. The resistance was sporadic and uncoordinated.”
Out of this initial response to the crisis, came the Memorandum to the British Parliamentary Commission in 1929 which became the first written document of the Naga struggle. “On August 14, 1947, the NNC on behalf of all Nagas reaffirmed what the pioneers had declared 18 years earlier. They were simply staying authentic and true to what they had understood about their history up to that time, and staking their right for the future justified by their history as understood by them,” he added.
“August 14 which produced ‘Kuknalim’ is about the aspiration of the Naga people. It is about their identity their history entitled them to claim and nurture.”
Iralu while recalling the maiden visit of PM Narendra Modi to Nagaland on December 2014 in Kisama where his address to a full capacity audience ended with a solemn Kuknalim- three times, he expressed how the new PM at that time was truly interested in understanding the Naga people and why Kuknalim has played such a powerful part in shaping them and their history thus far. “It was obvious uttering Kuknalim came from much thought between him and the Governor beforehand. They were the first three words he said to the Naga public on his first visit to their homeland,” Iralu noted.
He further added that although Nagas today do believe the journey is right and important for the Nagas, many are rightly confused and plainly angry which has become so divided and destructive to itself and the people for whom it was launched in the first place. “Unhappy questioning of the legacy of the journey, meaning the struggle, is becoming stronger than appreciation for it. The cynicism and outrage in the anger must not be ignored or treated lightly by all of us, especially the leaders of the different factions of the Naga struggle,” he posed.
While lamenting that compulsions and obsessions of personal or tribal agendas of the leaders damaged the unity, mutual trust and goodwill needed for the journey the Naga pioneers started, he also placed that India cannot be blamed for the stand the GoI took at that time where the primary responsibility of the first Prime Minister of India was to defend the territorial integrity of the country. At the same time, he said India cannot blame the Nagas and treat the struggle as secessionist troublemaking. Iralu instead said that the British were to blame for the clash between India and the Nagas that started.
Also calling the Federation's effort as an enduring symbol for keeping the emerging Naga family together, he said, "By its representative composition and existence NSF plays a natural, powerful role in nurturing the fragile struggling family."
Earlier, President NSF Ninoto Awomi in his presidential address affirmed the commitment of the Federation to take on the responsibilities of its pioneers and stated that it will sacrifice everything to walk the extra mile, to achieve its vision for a better Naga future.