Brigadier (Retd) S Singnya
Federal Government of Nagaland
My dear Countrymen,
On this historic day, the 14th August 2019, as the nation celebrates the 73rd Naga Independence Day, it is a privilege and an honour to address you on behalf of the Federal Government of Nagaland. It is a matter of pride for all of us that on this very day in 1947 we raised our voice and claimed our birth right to be free from the domination of any foreign power and embarked on a journey to establish ourselves as a distinct people and as a nation under God. It was on this day we proclaimed our historical and political rights and took the giant step to declare our freedom and independence to the world. Our forerunners lived with pride and in full freedom knowing that they are free, free as a people and as a nation.
We are profoundly grateful to our Almighty God for the protection and sustenance and being with us, never forsaking us despite our shortcomings throughout the long years of our journey. The journey has been a long and tedious one but we have stood firm on our uniqueness as a people whose rights is God given. In the course of our journey, we have waged against the tides of division and conflict amongst ourselves. We have been manipulated and used as tools by our enemy to fight our own brethren. This has become a big challenge today but we should not allow this to take over the destiny of our nation. We do not ask for what do not belong to us. We ask only for what is rightfully ours which were snatched away from us. Naga Nationalism is not a secession movement. It is a movement for restoration of our political and historical rights. The time has now come to learn to speak our mind and we must learn to speak Naga political language and not be led to confusion. Nagas are Nagas not only in our culture and land, not by choice but by birth and destiny, we are what we are and we can never become any other. Human arguments and wisdom can never alter the fact that Nagas never wished at any point of time to be part of India. India, in order to continue its illegitimate domination has time and again manipulated and sought to divide us and shamelessly continues to do so even today.
Today, I take the opportunity to remind everyone that we stand at a very crucial moment in our history. The making of history needs wisdom and concerted effort and cannot be ruled by emotion. We cannot afford to make any mistakes which may unnecessarily prolong our journey. We have endured for so long and it is essential that we do not stumble because we are weary. We should not be dictated by what people think is good for us but we must seek God’s given wisdom to be able to identify what can be formulated that will be best for us.
We must not lose sight of our history. Our political foundation rests on the will and mandate of the people based on the Naga system of democracy. Our past and present must lead us to a future that is secure, prestigious and honourable. If we fail to do so, “we will all perish as fools”. The sacrifices made by those who had given their lives for what they believe to be true and honourable should not go in vain. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We have to tread the path charted by the wisdom that comes from the Almighty God. We cannot put the future of the Nagas at stake because of any thoughtless mistake. Collective wisdom must be sought at all times. We must work for wholesome solution in a unified and concerted effort. We believe that Naga solution lies in our unity though we also believe that unity does not imply uniformity. But we are opposed to any vice that is against our political foundation and vision.
Our political issue has come of age and the cause of the Nation and the people is our priority. Learning to act is an art but we must also learn to listen. For this, my Government will continue to listen to the voice of the people as we work for our nation’s future. We are guided by principles and follow the path of inclusiveness. We seek to gain the confidence of the Naga people by seeking to listen to their hearts to strengthen the Naga Cause for which this Government has so long stood for. We have to learn to speak the same political language and command respect as one nation, one people with one political agenda.
As we celebrate this day, let us renew our spirit, our commitment and our dedication to the service of the Nation. Much has been sacrificed but much is still demanded from us. We are what we are today for the many who selflessly gave their lives for our cause. We honour and celebrate their contributions and we will always cherish their sacrifice. I also congratulate everyone in the national service for standing steadfast to our National Cause. My special salute goes to the recipients of the awards and commendations for their dedication and sacrifice made to our National Cause. As the Torch Bearers you must hand it down with courage and pride until our dreams and vision are realized and our Nation finds its rightful place among the Nations of the world.
God bless you all and KUKNALIM