Naga Day belongs to all

Aheli Moitra

The night before Naga Day, held on January 10, 2018, two teams remained on Khuochiezie, the Kohima Local Ground, after all the artists had done their sound checks, braving the Kohima night chill—the sound technicians and local security forces.

 

The sound systems and technicians came from the Music Task Force of the Government of Nagaland and a private enterprise, Life Pro Sound Solution. The labour they put in was on a voluntary, not paid, basis. As they perfected the music systems on stage, into the night, a large group of local security personnel sat around the fire behind the stage. They made sure the equipment remained undisturbed through the night, as did the neatly laid out chairs, with water bottle cartons placed at strategic locations throughout the Ground.

 

On Naga Day, more such collaborations came to light. The Little Village, a private design firm in Dimapur, had designed the Naga Day logo, advertisements, banners, tee shirts, wrist bands and book covers that created the requisite enthusiasm and memory merchandise for Naga Day. Heritage Publishing House published the Naga Day books, consisted of contributions from several Naga intellectuals. Naga Day tote bags were produced by the Sisterhood Network, an organization that has been working with women from struggling families for many years now. CAN Youth, an organization run by motivated youth, brought out Naga Day paper carry bags—it has been imparting this skill to local self help groups and youth groups to promote eco friendly livelihoods in Nagaland.

 

All these concerns, and only a few are named here, were brought together for ONE CAUSE of ONE PEOPLE by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), itself a congregation of eclectic minds and hands from all Naga areas, that came together to produce an independent event almost extinct in today’s government/private sponsored world.

 

The FNR managed to pull together able minds from the East (Myanmar), West (Assam), North (Arunachal Pradesh), South (Manipur) and Central (Nagaland) Naga lands to give perceptive messages on Naga Day—no one made a hate speech, calling only for humility of the strong and strength for the weak. The FNR brought the finest of Naga artists together in creative ways, even getting them to produce original performances for a common cause!

 

Naga Day was not bereft of skepticism. Many raised their eyebrows at the contours and designs of the FNR. Some watched with cold hearts, some stayed away, others were asked to stay away. As Naga people transcending their borders made a declaration to seek forgiveness from each other, engage in self-examination, overcome trust deficit, commit to an honest political discourse, truth and transparency, call for de-militarization, build the nation based on respect, dignity and indigenous values, staying away, embittered, made little sense.

 

Time and again, the FNR has maintained that Naga Day—the dignity of being a people, a nation—belongs to all Nagas, as it does to its neighbours. Let us hope that this space for reconciliation and collaboration, of sisterhood and dissolving arbitrary lines, of states and hearts, goes on (and grows) with vigour and energy, its independence intact—a gift for generations to come.

 

Naga Day notes may be shared at moitramail@yahoo.com