Independence Day Speech delivered by Brig.(retd) S. Singnya,Kedahge, Federal Government of Nagaland at the 66th Naga Independence Day, August 14, 2012

My dear Countrymen,
On this historic day, the 14th of August 2012, as the nation celebrates the 66th years of Naga declaration of independence, I take the privilege to once again address you on behalf of the Federal Government of Nagaland. It is on this day that we raised our voice and claim our birthright to be free from the dominion of those who forced us against our will to be part of their design. It is on this day that we embarked on becoming a people, a nation to the world under God. It is on this day that we stumped our feet to the ground and say no power, no gun and no alien force and culture shall rule over us. It is on this day we say we reckon our uniqueness and proclaimed our historical right as a distinct people and that no forces on earth can hold us captives. It is on this day 66 years ago we took the giant leap to declare our freedom and independence to the world that we will not be part of India for we were never part of it. Our forerunners never doubted it rather they lived with it in pride and full freedom knowing that they are indeed free, free as a people and free as a nation. Therefore, we must hold on to this pride until such day, where the world will know that we are indeed free from the constitution of suppression. 

In these long years, our patience and tolerance, our intelligence and wisdom, our unity and nationhood has been challenged, indeed, from all corners by the force that would never leave us alone to be what we are born to be. The long history of suffering is overcome time and again by the principles instilled in us by the leaders of yesteryears. God Almighty, in whom we trust, has been good in these long years of our journey. We may have given up on him but he has never given up on us. The journey has been no doubt a tedious one. Ours is a time tested struggle but we have stood firm and have never weaver for what we stood for. We stand on the principles and foundation of our uniqueness as a people whose rights are God’s given and hearts get weary but our souls never surrender to the design of time. We have stood our ground and have come thus far.   

In the process of our journey, we have wade against the tide of division and compromisation even amongst ourselves. We were fractured in fact, by the tempting promises and some were lured to work against our own nation. Modernism has tried to persuade us to abandon our cause because they say Sovereignty comes in different faces and packages. But, my dear countrymen: what we must know is this, sovereignty is a word, a vocabulary and most of all a political word and it can never and will never change. Sovereignty has no modern face, modernity and civilization cannot create sovereignty. Sovereignty by simple definition is to be what we desire and ought to be without the dictate of other people or forces outside of us. Beyond this definition it becomes a mere argument of convenience. 

On this auspicious day, I must take this opportunity to caution my fellow countrymen that we stand at a very crucial moment in our history. Curiosity and impatience move can bring disastrous consequences. The making of history needs wisdom and a concerted wisdom. It can not be ruled by emotion and accommodation ideology. Yes, we work towards the end and we pray that our struggles against the enemy will end and that the bell of freedom will ring on the hillocks of the Nagas and that the sound of it will echo deep into the valleys and the meadows where the souls of the Nagas dwell. May this be today, may this be now or else may be it near. However, my countrymen, my comrades, how long have we endured? Look at the wrinkled faces, the shackled backs, the weak knees and voices that have softened down. It is for this long we have endured. Can this be construed as weakness? Never, on the contrary, it speaks of endurance. How then can we afford to make a mistake at this juncture that our journey should be further prolonged?  We have endured for so long that we must not become weary of time and make a blunder of our nation’s destiny. We should not be dictated by what people think is good for us but we should be able to identify what is good and what can be formulated as destructive. We must seek God’s given wisdom and not only be ruled by the wisdom of wealth and accumulation.  Ask this question: did they shed their blood for our freedom? Did we ever suppress our enemy to be what they desire to be? Have we ever dictated their destiny? How, then should we allow them to wrap a gift for us? Our patience up to this stage is this, take everything that belong to you but give me my freedom and let me be free. Free at last will be our song, free from suppression, free from dictation and free to be ourselves. That is what it is! Therefore, my dear countrymen, do not loose heart, my Government, the NNC-FGN will never betray you. 

Once again let me remind those who are marking my words: Naga Nationalism is not a secession movement, I repeat, it is not a secession movement. It is a movement of political and historical rights. We cannot be sandwiched into the interest of other people for their security. In this modern day and age we cannot be enslaved against our will. What belong to us cannot be traded with convenience. The time has now come for us 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 culture and land but by birth they are and they can never become any other. How long must we seat around the table when nothing is served. Nagas cannot be treated as unwanted guest. In our own free will and power we must choose to go forward. 

At this juncture, we must not lose sight of our history be it past, present or future. Our past must generate in us the will to withstand anything against the principles embedded in us. 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” (sic., Martin Luther King Jr.).  This is the critical point of consideration at this moment of our history. Should we be pleased to be called fools? If our enemy wants to numb our hurts and suffering by pep talks should we succumb to that? I for one cannot betray the sacrifice made by those who had given their lives for what they believe to be true and honourable. I will not be able to look at the widows eye to eye nor can I bear to look at the orphaned kids who grew up without a father and a mother. There is therefore, no honourable settlement other than the recognition of the long cherished dream of the Nagas to be a free and independent nation. I cannot for one, accept any other package other than the one that they have taken away from me. In this regard, let it be known loud and clear that the NNC-FGN will never betray the peoples’ trust.

Let us be reminded that our rights are deeply instilled in historical declarations. Beginning with the declaration of independence on August 14th, 1947 a day before India declared her independence from the British rule. This is strategic because it speaks of our mind and our preparation knowing what may come upon us. This declaration of independence finds it attestation in the historic Voluntary National Plebiscite on 16th of May, 1951. Human arguments and wisdom can never alter these two facts that Nagas never wish to be part of India then and now.  

What followed thereafter was the formation of a federation of the then divided Nagaland under the British rule at the first historic Tatar Hoho, which was convened by the Naga National Council on 22nd of March 1956. The Tatar Hoho unanimously ratified the Articles enshrined in the constitution, enabling the Nagas, thereafter to act with legal authority. Therefore, accordingly, NNC representing the then Naga Hills District and the Hongking Government, representing Free Nagas, freely and willingly merged into a single Federal Republic, as a result the Federal Government of Nagaland was set up. This testifies that our political foundation is one that rests on the will and mandate of the people based on the Naga system of democracy.

But there is something that I must say to the Nagas, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the passage of full realization and acknowledgment of our freedom: 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 forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. We must not abandon the reconciliation move initiated by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation as long as the path is charted by wisdom that comes from God Almighty. The passed four years journey together has been at times a shipwrecking journey, braving the storm from different directions. At times my Government feel discouraged because we do not wish to further our fractured issues. We work for wholesome solution and we also believe in a unified, 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 would go against our political vision and foundation then and now, and we will continue to do so even in the future. Our patience and our tolerance are based on the fact that the damaged done to our political vision cannot be mended like we quick fix our broken tools. It cannot be quick fixed and therefore, we have restrained ourselves and shown tolerance but how far can we bend? 

Our political issue has come of age. But this is yet to be realized by those who seek to suppress us. We are tossed back and forth with this offer and that offer. With every passing year, we are given to talk about something other than what we stood for.But our intelligence cannot be bought and our cause for anything but sovereignty cannot be compromised. We cannot let the Nagas suffer because of our unmindful mistake be it today or tomorrow. Collective wisdom must be sought at all times. We should work toward minimizing suspicion on each other. We have to dissect from making selfish move for selfish gain. And above all, we must learn to put the cause of the nation and the people as our priority lest we hurt each other sentiments and blow the hard earned move of reconciliation further away from us. While learning to forgive and be forgiven let us not open new channel of hatred that might flush out more trouble waters. Learning to act is an art but we must also learn to listen which is the basic art of communication.  To this, my Government will continue to listen to the voice of the people as we sail in the work for our nation’s future.

The Naga national struggle has also put on the struggle ofwithin and without. Of within our national movement, we have seen selfishness and lack of political will taking the better over us. Leaders are tempted and lured sowing the seed of discord amongst us. We have been manipulated and used as tools by our enemy to fight our own brethrens. This has become an insurmountable challenge today. We should not allow this to take over the destiny of our nation. We must be clear of our political vision at every turn to watch out the designs that are outwardly very tempting lest we find ourselves been consumed by it. Of without, the power outside of us is seeking to destroy the fabric of our core existence and unity as a people and a nation. There is also a pulling of the wrong strings time and again as if our national-political movement is a movement like any other kind. They equate our movement with developments and facilities. As tempting as it may look, let us be reminded that we do not seek the sympathy of others to develop us as if we are incapable of doing it ourselves. What must be understood clearly at this juncture is that we ask not of the things that which do not belong to us but of our freedom and independence that were ours but were snatched away from us as though we were no people and no nation. As leaders, be it in any political organization let it be known, that, the NNC-FGN will never submit to the rhetoric of sweet talks and honey coded concerns sounded time and again.

My Government will continue to work for the reconciliation of the Naga political groups. We will continue to support the FNR and her work to unite the Nagas to one standing accord. We will work hard to gain the confidence of the Naga people by seeking to listen to their heart beat so as not to betray the cause of the Nagas for which this Government has stood for so long. At this point of our history, may I urge the other political parties 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 must also congratulate everyone in service to the nation 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. You are the bearers of the torch and you must hand it down with courage and pride until our dreams and vision are realized and our people live at ease and in harmony.
We must march forward with our heads lifted high until we find our rightful place in the history of the world.

God bless you all and KUKNALIM

Issued by:
Ministry of Rali-Wali Affairs,
Federal Government of Nagaland