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“Will you be my friend?”

The Naga Blog is a forum on facebook where Nagas from Nagaland and around the world network, share ideas and discuss a wide range of topics from politics and philosophy to music and current events in Nagaland and beyond. The blog is not owned by any individual, nor is it affiliated to or associated with any political party or religion. The only movement it hopes to stir is the one raised by the voices of the Nagas every step of the way, amassing perhaps to mass consciousness one day.

Robert N. Solo: This is written by one of my close friends.

I come from Mainland India, the only time I use this identity is when I am in the north east and I question why.I get some answers and I think it would have been much better if we could have left it to be just a geographical identity, if at all we needed to use it.

This is my 4th visit to the North East of India and 2nd time to Nagaland and each time, I am overwhelmed by the love and care I receive. I am here for a wedding and never before have I seen friends and family helping so much; I had never seen people in cars calling out to people standing on the streets asking if they wanted a lift. And also, I had never met anyone who felt as strongly about their identity as people here do.

Feeling that “I do not belong” is one of the worst feelings ever, be it in the family, at school, or the place we live in. During my last visit to Nagaland, I saw the pain, the hurt you still carry in your hearts. I felt responsible. Since that day more than a year ago, my heart is full of acknowledgement and apology for all the hurt you carry against India, a country you feel you do not belong to. My deepest wish is to help you come out of the hurt and bitterness.
I am sincerely and deeply sorry.

But here, I want to share one more thing. I am a 25 year old woman and I love travelling. Many times, I am looked at as an alien or an object in my own country. People from different states laugh at my way of speaking. I often get into an argument with the rickshaw wallas in Delhi because they never charge the same price and I feel so angry. But, what I don’t want “is to feel like a victim”. Yes, there are people who are indifferent, who taunt me because I am fat. Who make me want to run away but I know that I am not the only one who feels that way just as I am sure you too feel in the rest of India.

There is indifference in the world but we need to remember that everyone is fighting a battle.

I agree that the way some of us from mainland India behave with people from the North East is just not right. But at the same time, there is injustice against some of us the moment we step out of our houses.

I am beginning to understand what you must feel coming from your traditional backgrounds trying to develop your relation with a very ancient civilization like India. I also understand that you have a very deep rooted history. I still do not know much about it but I understand that it is underlined with blood, pain and loss. But should we let the past ruin the present and the future of our children? My uncle here says “Hurts not transformed are always transferred”. Are we unknowingly doing the same?

I just want to say that you are not alone especially when facing difficulties, the intensity and context I am sure are different but we face it too, I face it too. We are fighting against humans when we should be fighting for humanity, for ALL of us and with love!

No one can make you feel like a victim, like you do not belong, till you let them. We need to hold hands and work towards creating love and peace in the world. It is in the shelter of each other that we survive.

Please help me, I love you and belong to you as much as I belong to my own brother.
“What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for others?”
Will you be my friend?Yours, most sincerely, Zooni

Naga Heritage for SALE?

Nukshi Alice: Today came across this website selling few doors and gates from Nagaland. Think this one looks like village gates from Kohima and there are other from Mon area. Really saddens me how we are getting rid of our heritage knowingly and unknowingly. Once it is gone, who is going to buy and bring them back to Nagaland. If there are any departments or organisations looking into preservations of out heritage please check into these trades.

Rozelle Mero: I have seen a number of them too.. The Ista Hotel In Hyderabad has them hanging on their walls and I was astounded with the price that Delhi antique showrooms were charging for things from home. I hope our original owners got even a quarter of what is being retailed.

Peter Rutsa: Our present economy and future is in shambles under the present govt (not that it was SHINING during the tenure of the previous govt's and parties). Can't blame village folks from selling them items, its all for economic hardships. They not only need to eat like us urban nagas, but need cash for health care, education and other niceties of life.
One thing is clear, it is 'rumoured' that some famous Naga personalities (besides foreigners and mainlanders) are helping others in this 'smuggling' business.

John Jimo: By every possible we should not sell our ancients items but we have to preserve our forefathers traditional properties, so in order to preserve the ancient properties the current Government should take the initiative of setting up the museum in our own state so that we could be able to keep it safe and store carefully away all those objects and could be displayed in the museum as an historical cultural of the Nagas. Although every people around the world can visit our place for exhibition to see things of historical significance of the Nagas.

(The Naga Blog was  created in 2008  by Yanpvuo Kikon. This  column in The Morung  Express will be a weekly feature  every Saturday)