Thepfulhouvi Solo, IFS (68) Retd
The Naga National Council [NNC] was formed at Wokha on 19 June 1946 and had no Flag then. Innocently, if ignorantly, someone wrote a small Book on the Naga Club said:
“In 1917 during the 1st World War between France and Germany about 4000 Nagas joined the Allied Force and won the battle. They earned good reputation and returned to Nagaland in 1918. They decided that all the Nagas should come together under one political umbrella. So they formed a Naga Elders Union.”
“In the meantime there was a British Club at Dimapur. Naga Elders’ asked the British Club, so British Club was given to them. So they shifted this building to Kohima Chotobosty under present Mission compound and called Naga Club. From the Naga Club yard a Naga shawl was hoisted as a Naga Club Flag with prayer, witnesses by CR Pawsey D.C, Rev George Supplee Chaha and A. Kevichüsa was with Naga Club members.”
“Just after prayer the hosting of the Flag, a Rainbow appeared over the Naga Club building. Therefore the Naga Club Flag was enshrined with Rainbow shape and colours.”
The story is imaginary and falsehood at best; however for the love of God let me not disclose the name of the Author. It is unworthy for the History the Naga: beautiful or ugly, historical account of a People has to be of facts and facts alone, nothing more nothing less.
In order to correct similar imaginary stories about Naga Club, this Writer, for years, personally collected information from responsible old elderly Eye witnesses originally involved in the Naga Club and from History of the Frontier Areas Bordering on Assam 1833-1941 by Sir Robert Reid, Governor of Assam.
Firstly, the Labor Corps of Naga Hills in 1917 numbered only 2000, not 4000. The Princely State of Manipur and Lushai Hills also sent 2000 each. After that, the Raja of Manipur Gumbir Singh [again] asked for additional 2000 more from the Villages, and 10 main Kuki Chiefs of Manipur complained against the Raja’s indent. This mainly caused the 1917 Kuki rebellion of Manipur.
None of the Elder generation, or the generation of the labor Corp, mentioned the labor corps members, on their return from Europe, formed a “Naga Elders Union” that morphed into Naga Club afterwards.
The author of the Book claimed the British Club at Dimapur was given to Naga Club and shifted to Chotobosti Kohima. “The Naga Club building at Chotobosti” was not in existence when the gifted materials were claimed to have been brought to Kohima in 1946; and the question of CR Pawsey DC, George W. Supplee, the Education Missionary at Mission Compound, Kohima attending the Naga National Council Flag hoisting in Chotobosti during 1946, is not imaginable.
The Cloth hoisted at Kevichüsa’s property at Mission Compound on a bamboo pole on 14 August 1947 was a small Angami ‘Shawl’ belonging to Sabu Meruno, brother-in-law of the Writer.
The question of a Deputy Commissioner of Naga Hills, an Officer of the British Colonial Authority of India and an American Baptist Education Missionary attending a Naga National Political Organization at its Independence Day celebration is unimaginable.
In the early 20th Century, the white Officers had a Club at Kohima Town exclusively for the White Officers only in the middle of the Town in the Stone Masonry house belonging to the Assam Rifles rented to the Doss & Co’s, the provision Supplier to the Government. The white Officers and their Ladies gathered, danced, drank, sang and spent their leisure there every night.
No other than the Whites, were allowed in the Club.
The Naga government employees of the DC Office Kohima got the cue from the White Club, and formed an indigenous Naga Club in 1926, it was the only a non-Political Organization of the Naga Government servants.
They got a plot of land at Chotobosti from the Government and built a House about 20ft X 40ft and Naga Elders would gather there in the evenings to talk, discuss things of interests and maintain contacts with their colleagues and share stories or while away their after-office time with their other members.
[Jasokie, from whom I personally and directly got the first information of Naga Club and Naga Lobour Corps said: “when I was a small boy, my father holding my hand, use to go to the Club Building often in the evenings, this building was destroyed during the battle of Kohima].
The Naga youths of the time also gathered in the Club’s courtyard to play Games and Sports like Badminton, Long jump, Shot put etc. The Club kept Boxing Gloves in the building and the boys would test their sinews with it. There are stories of the boys sometimes getting a bit too sanguine and too serious with each other to the great enjoyment of the crowd of the people standing on the roadside of the road above to and from the Kohima Village to the Town and back.
There were no political troubles then and there was no need of a political Organization of the Naga during the first quarter of the twentieth century.
The Naga Club did not participate in any political matters and remained dormant after destructions of its building during the WW2 battle at Kohima.
The Naga Club changed the History of the Naga.
Without the Past, the Present has no Future; the Present determines the Future: there is no Future without the Present; the Present speaks for the Future.
I. The Naga Club
Some Naga assumed, -the Naga Labor Corps that went to Europe in May-June of 1917, on their return home at the end of the World War1, 1914-1918-, organized the Naga Club.
Dr. Khosa Zinyü was the highest ranking Naga Officer that went with the Naga Labor Corp, Khosa’s younger son Late Jasokie Zinyü, former Chief Minister of Nagaland narrated personally to this Writer:
“The idea of forming a Naga Club was formed after seeing the European white Club at the Town Hall Kohima, where all the white People in the HQ in those bygone days used to gather every evening for Drinking, Dancing, Singing and spending their after Office leisure together in recreation”.
This building originally belonged to the Assam Rifles who had their Canteen in it. The erstwhile Doss & Co Supplier of Provisions to the Government rented the Building and plied their business which included supply of Drinks and Eatery Provisions the Government and the white Club indented.
“No Non-Whites, -Indians or Nagas- was ever allowed inside the Club. It was exclusively for the Europeans only. From this, the Native Government Servants took the cue to form a similar native Body”.
Rheichalie Pienyü Peshkar of Deputy Commissioner Court, [JH. Hutton wrote the name as Hrichalie, later Copiers as Hisale;) but not ever any Naga Labor Corps Returnee, formed the Club in 1926.
The Club was formed mostly by Government Employees from the Kohima Eleqa, on payment of Membership Fee of 4 annas [25 paises] for Clerks and the higher ups, and 2 annas for Office Peons and Chaukidars.
The non-Government Employees like the Village GB; Church leaders and Employees, Reverends and Pastors did not find Membership in the Naga Club. No Naga Labour Corps Returnees, except Dr. Khosa and Nikhriehu Peseyie of Jotsoma, was ever in the list of the signatories of the Naga Club Petition to the Simon Commission.
II. THE NAGA HILLS LABOR CORPS OF 1917
“In January 1917, Government of India enquired of the Assam Administration whether it could assist in raising 50,000 men wanted as laborers in France. The Government intended to enlist 2000 volunteers each from Manipur, Naga Hills, Lushai Hills and from Khasi and Garo Hills. The Government of India was very pleased with Assam which promised to raise 8000.
On 9 March 1917, orders were issued to raise Nos. 21 (Naga Hills) Labor Corps” to go to France for the duration of the world war I. Accordingly, Naga Hills drafted the followings volunteers:-
Semas 1000, Lothas, 400, Rengmas 200, Changs and trans-frontier Tribes 200, Aos 200, =2000. The Angamis, Kacha Nagas and Kukis would not volunteer; the reasons are outside the purview of this composition. In addition, the draftees protested against the duration of the Service, and the Government replied that men are not wanted unless they agree for the duration of the War.
As a result 60 Lothas, 90 Semas, 120 Aos, 120 Kuki, and Kacha Nagas and 480 Angamis, all together 817 were diverted to Kuki Rebelion in Manipur to assist the Government and only 73 in two groups of 38 and 35 alone from Naga Hills went to France and returned in June 1918”.
Manipur Corps No. 22 Corps sent 2000 composed mostly of Kukis and the Hill Tribes in May and in June; Gumbir Singh, the Raja again ordered to raise 2000 more but the Chiefs of the Kukis openly refused and Kuki Rebellion (Kuocie Rüwhuo) broke out in Manipur. The Government took most of the Nos. 21 Naga Hills Corps 817 to Manipur together with the Government armed Force to help the Manipur Government put down the Rebellion.
The reduced Naga Hills Labor Corp that went to Europe in support of the allied War affords, dug Trenches, collected left-over ammunitions, empty Shells, Arms, dead bodies, carried abandoned materials, Boots, Helmets etcetera and did all the works of cleaning the litters of the War in the battle field, than sight-seeing in France.
When Dr. Khosa Zinyü of Khonoma Village left, he had just immediately before, married his wife who arrived in their house a clean-shaven young girl in the tradition of the Angamis. In days of yore, the shrewd Angami did not live as husband and wife for a few months immediately after marriage to ensure production of his own pedigree!
After the War, Government took Dr. Khosa to England from Europe and employed him there for quite some time before he also returned home with a lot of Silver coins: in those days the Naga did not accept Paper Currency Note. When he reached Home, he found one young girl with long hairs doing various chores in the House. Khosa asked his mother who the young girl is and she said: “Well, she is your Wife!” emphatically.
III. SIMON COMMISSION PETITION
The Naga Club put up their Building first at Chotobosti on the eastern slope of the Mission Compound below the Road to Kohima Village and below Baptist High School (now Americanized ‘Baptist High’) on plot given by the Government at the site where the Tsütuonuomia Thinuo buildings stand today.
Some Years after its formation in 1926 -“exact date not known”, said Jasokie, for the first time on 10th January 1929, some 20 Interpreters [DB] and Employees of the Government at Kohima HQ submitted a formal Petition to the Simon Commission in the name of the Naga Club and on its Letterhead. None of the Labor Corps members is among the signatories except Dr. Khosa and Nikhriehu, the Government Doctor and Interpreter respectively.
The Absence of the labor corps member among the signatories of the Simon Commission Petition gives and vouches the Naga Club was composed of the Government Servants only, not much of other civilians, not even Gamburas of the village.
Once they returned, the Members of the Corps went to their villages and lived like Villagers as before a simple life of a cultivator without much contact with each other.
Sir Robert Reid, Governor of Assam, in his inimitable Chronicle of ‘History of the Frontier Areas Bordering on Assam’ 1883-1941 wrote:
“The money they brought home was soon spent. The Semas paid up their debts, Lothas purchased land. The smiths of Wanching and Wakching and the ornament-makers of Seromi made fortunes.”
Late Teacher Rüzhükhrie narrated to this Writer:
“One early morning, I saw some Dobashis coming one after another together in a line to my house (at Mission Compound, Kohima). I asked, Neihu the Head Dobashi: “What are you People together up to this Morning?”
“They said, ‘we are coming to request you to write something of what we would like to tell a very high Visitor said to be coming soon to Kohima from Outside. The ‘Borchaha’ (angami for the DC, JH, Hutton (1917–1935) has said a High Officer is coming soon to find out how the Naga would like to be governed in future.’
‘You are the only one at the moment in Kohima educated in the white man’s Language and therefore we have come to you to write in their language of how we would like us governed in future and give the Petition to the Officer when he comes.’”
Teacher Rüzhükhrie had just then done his Intermediate Arts from Saint Paul’s College Calcutta and taught as Assistant Teacher at the School in Kohima.
Neihu Rame, Head Dobashi, told the DC that he (Neihu) does not speak the language of the white man and therefore requested the DC may please tell the Visitor that the Naga would like to live as they were before the white man came to their land.
The DC replied:
“I am not a Naga Dobashi and you people tell or write in Paper what you would like to say, and give it to the Visitor.”
Teacher Rüzhükrie said:
“I drafted the Letter with a Pencil and together with the Draft we went up to the DC Bangalow.”
(Generations later Ramuni the Commissioner of Nagaland, took the original Draft copy from Rüzhükhrie and never returned it back) Professor Khriehutuo Sekhose, surviving son of Rüzhükhrie informed this Writer.
Rüzhükhrie said he greeted the DC:
“‘Good Morning Sir’, but the ‘Borchaha’ did not acknowledge my Greeting in English and only talked with the Dobashis in Assamese and said “itu ‘kukur yat ki kuri ase?”.
(The principle Policy of the colonial Officials in those days was to keep the White Men of the Sarkar to have the awe of the Natives. Every white Officer was to maintain himself properly aloof from familiarity with the Natives and guard the Natives from their propensity to imitate the Whites.
Nearly a generation after the WW2, a friend of mine Abong Imlong IAS whose father Imlong Chang was the main Dobashi for most of the trans-Dikhu unadministered Tribes and who went to America for Training and came back married to a young English girl, narrated to me how when he met Mr. Hutton in retirement at London, was a completely changed person, very friendly, civil and very nice).
Jasokie after he demitted from the Chief Ministership of Nagaland State, narrated to this Writer:
“a Khasi Officer, Hariblah, SDO at the DC Office Kohima also assisted in the drafting of the Petition to the Simon Commission.”
Many years after, in 1990s, Vilavor Liegise, the so-called Secretary of ‘Elders Naga Club’ said Teacher Rüzhükhrie also narrated to ‘him and his group’ of the drafting of the Simon commission Petition.
The 20 Government Servants that appended their Signature to the Naga Club Petition to the Simon Commission were [correct name in italic]:
1. Neihu, Head Interpreter, Angami. (Neihu Rame Kohima)
2. Rheichalie, Peshar, Angami. (Rheichalie Pienyü, Kohima)
3. Neisier, Master, Angami. (Niser Meru, Khonoma)
4. Khosa, Doctor, Angami. (Khosa Zinyü, Khonoma)
5. Gepo, Interpreter, Kacha Naga. (Irapeung Zeliang Nakama)
6. Vipunyu, Potdar, Angami. (Said to be Vipon Poda, Visema)
7. Goyapra, Treasurer, Angami. (Goyiepra Nakhro, Jotsoma)
8. Razhukrie, Master, Angami. (Rüzhükhrie Sekhose, Kohima)
9. Dikhrie, Sub-Overseer, Angami. (Dikhrie Sekhose, Kohima)
10. Zapuzhulie, Master, Angami. (Zapuzhülie Sekhose, Kohima)
11. Zepulie, Interpreter, Angami. (Zepulie Suokhrie, Kohima)
12. Khatsulo, Interpreter, Angami. (Khatsülo Khezakeno Village)
13. Levi, Clerk, Kacha Naga. (Levi Liegise, Kacha Naga,)
14. Nuolhoukielie, Clerk Angami. (Nuolhoukielie Pienyü Kohima)
15. Nizhuvi, Interpreter, Sema. (Nizhevi, Shenakusami)
16. Apomo, Interpreter, Lotha. (Apamo of Phiro)
17. Resilo, Interpreter, Rengma. (Resilo, of Tsemenyu)
18. Lengjang, Interpreter, Kuki. (Lenjang, Tening)
19. Neikhriehu, Interpreter, Angami. (Nikhriehu Peseyie, Jotsoma)
20. Miakra-o, Chaprasi, Angami. (Miakra-o,Kohima)
(The Original manuscript is lost and the Writer followed the names in the list from ‘REMINISCENCE’ by T. Aliba Imti, the First permanent President of Naga National Council 1946-1948, for the reason that the spellings of the Angami Signatures are surprisingly and tolerably correct –something of an unconscionable Mill Stone in the neck of every Ao, and hence taken as an authentic copy of the Original. Corrected name and Village in Italic under Bracket are by the Writer after extensive search under the whole sky for many years from reliable sources)
The Petition ran as follows:
The Indian Statutory Commission,
Camp India. 10.1.1929
We the undersigned Nagas of the Naga Club at Kohima, who are the only persons at present who can voice for our people have heard with great regret that our hills were included within the Reformed Scheme of India without our knowledge, but as the Administration of our Hills continued to be in the hands of the British Officers, we did not consider it necessary to raise any protest in the past. Now, we learnt that you have come to India as Representatives to the British Government to enquire into the system of working of Government and the growth of education, and we beg to submit below our view with the prayer that our Hills may be withdrawn from the Reformed Scheme and placed it outside the Reforms but directly under the British Government. We never asked for any reforms and we do not wish for any reforms.
Before the British Government conquered our country in 1879–1880, we were living in a state of intermittent warfare with the Assamese of the Assam Valley to North and West of our country and Manipuris to the South. They never conquered us, nor were we ever subjected to their rule. On the other hand we were always a terror to these people. Our country within the administered area consists of more than eight tribes, quite different from one another with quite different languages, which cannot be understood by each other, and there are more tribes outside the administered area, which are not known at the present. We have no unity among us and it is only the British Government that is holding us together now.
Our education at present is poor. The occupation of our country by the British Government being so recent as 1880, we had no chance or opportunity to improve in education and though we can boast of two or three graduates of an Indian University in our country, we have not got one yet who is able to represent all our different tribes or master our languages much less one to represent us in any council of a province. Moreover, our population of the plain numbering 102,000 is very small in comparison with the population of the plains districts in the province, and any representation that may be allotted to us in the Council will be negligible and will have no weight whatever. Our language is quite different from those of the plains and we have no social affinities with either Hindus or Muslims. We are being looked down upon by one for our ‘beef’ and the other for our ‘pork’ and both for our want in education which is not due to any fault of ours.
Our country is poor and it does not pay for its administration. Therefore, if it is continued to be placed under the reformed scheme, we are afraid that new and heavy taxes will have to be imposed on us and when we cannot pay them all our land will have to be sold and in the long run we shall have no share in the land of our birth and life will not be worth living then. Though our land at present is within the British territory, Government have always recognised our private rights in it, but if we are forced to enter the Council of the majority, unsymphathic council may extinguish all these rights, the majority of whose member is sure to belong to other districts. We also have much fear the introduction of foreign laws and customs to supersede our own customary laws to which we now enjoy.
For the above reasons, we pray that the British Government will continue to safeguard our rights against all encroachment from other people who are more advanced than us by withdrawing our country from the Reformed Scheme and placing it directly under its own protection. If the British Government however, want to throw us away, we pray that we should not be thrust to the mercy of the people who could never have conquered us themselves and to whom we are never subjected; but to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times. We claim (Not only the members of the Naga Club) to represent all those tribes to which we belong: Angamis, Kacha Nagas, Semas, Lothas and Rengmas.”
III. THE First Naga Club BUILDING
The first Naga Club Building was at Chotobosti after its inception in 1926 and after the World War1 (1914-1918). During the World War2, the building was destroyed in the battle at Kohima, and Lhounyü, the Head GB of Tsütuonuomia Thinuo, the original Land Owners, got the site from the Government for construction of a Chapru -a roadside Rest House,- for unknown visitors to Kohima from the interior places with nobody to host them while at Kohima. Unknown illiterate Naga Villagers coming from the interior places to Kohima for Salt or other needs could cook, eat and sleep there at night while in Kohima.
According to Ziekro-o, Theünuo, Treasury Officer, DC Office and Treasurer of Naga Club, said in those days Rheichalie Peshkar in the DC Court, looked after the Club from its inception to 1942 as President, Secretary and Treasurer on contribution of 4 Annas [25 Paise] by Clerks and 2 Annas by Interpreters per Month of the Members.
On the death of Rheichalie in 1942, Krusiehu Belho, Peshkar was President and Ziekro-o, Treasurer of the Naga Club.
In 1944, the Government saw it undesirable to have the Army Assam Rifle Canteen in the middle of the public in the Town and therefore purchased it for the Naga Club in place of the one destroyed at Chotobosti in the battle of Kohima.
Let me quote Treasurer Ziekro-o:
“The Naga Club building which housed the now, used to be the Assam Rifles Canteen. During 1944 this building was purchased with Rs.10,000/- taken from fine fund for the Naga Club. At that time I was treasurer in the D.C’s Office Naga Hills Kohima. Mr. CR Pausey the D.C and Mr. Levi Head Clerk took the money from me and in my presence handed over the amount to the Commanding Officer of the Assam Rifles”.
The aspirations and sentiments of the Naga on the June 1947 Meeting with the Governor and the NNC representation to the Advisory Sub-Committee to the Constitution Assembly of India, did not quite satisfy an impressive section of the NNC which met on July 23/24 at Mokokchung and it met in Kohima on 14 of August in Kohima.
The stone building was then given to the NNC probably because the Naga Club was then not active alive and functioning and the NNC conducted its meeting in the Town Committee Building Kohima on 14th August 1947. Rüzhükhrie Sekhose was made the Sessional Chaiman and Kumbho Angami, the Sessional Secretary. Jasokie then Jt Secretary Publicity NNC, took the stormy decision of the NNC to the Post Office and sent it in a Telegram costing less than 3 rupee to:
i. Governor of Assam; (Sir Akbar Hydari)
ii. Premier of Assam; (Gopinath Bordoloi)
iii. Prime Minister of India; Jawaharlal Nehru
iv. President of Constitution Assembly Sardar Patel.
The telegram read:
‘“Naga Hills cannot be considered part of the Indian Union until heads of proposed agreement between the Governor of Assam and the Naga National Council is accepted to the letter for execution, with No. 9 modified as ‘at the end of this period the Nagas will be free to decide their own future’”.
The War torn old DC Office building was being built anew; One Judho Singh, a Punjabi got the Contract to build the DC Office; Philip Adams the ADC requested him to build the Naga Club building free of charge.
The Education Missionary George William Supplee, returned from America to Kohima again after the war and started the High School again. In view of the paucity of buildings in the site, Government requested the NNC to allow it to use the building till the High School building at Dzienuobadze is completed and in place gave the present plot to the Naga Club in 1945.
Kevichüsa got the dismantled White Club building at Dimapur free from the Army Officer whose wife contributed the Screens for windows. Kevichüsa brought the materials to Kohima in Government truck and gave them for the construction of the Naga Club building above the local ground at Kohima.
The Kohima battle was fought between the UK and its Allies against the invading Nippon Army; it was not a war between the Naga and the Nippons, but Kohima was heavily bombarded and Kohima Village completely burned black mostly by Allied Guns and Bombs to prevent the Japanese from taking shelters in the Thatched houses. Therefore the Allied Governments helped the Villagers with Tarpaulins and latter with CGI Sheets to construct their houses.
Then the British Parliament made decisions to grant Dominion Status to India and hectic discussions and Talks were held with the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League of India.
Before the colonial power left the Naga Hills, the DC Kohima Charles Ridley Pausey and Philip Adams constituted NAGA HILLS TRIBAL COUNCIL in 1945 for Nagas to manage themselves according to their Customs and Traditions.
The Lotha Tribal Council was the first to form the Tribal Council Meeting at Wokha in 1945 the next year at Wokha School Class 6 Room, the second meeting of Naga Hills Tribal Council was convened on 19 June 1946.
The UK trained Dr Limhathung Murry, the only surviving person who was in the Meeting at his Class Room 6, remembers some 50 Members from all Naga Hills Tribes attended the Meeting which he says was quite stormy.
Kevichüsa, an eminent member of the Tribal Council dropped a bombshell in the Meeting by proposing the Naga Tribal Council be named NAGA NATIONAL COUNCIL, in view of many other people also in divers places of the world were pursuing their own National Independence, and that the Naga are also a People and a NATION.
Some eminent Members present in the meeting, P Shilu, Sentsi, Kezehol, Longri, sought some clarification in the proposal, and Mayangnokcha and Kevichüsa explained the matter in detail in Assamese.
The whole congregation in the meeting unanimously and jubilantly adopted the Proposals: the Naga Monthly ‘Kohima Times’ was renamed “THE NAGA NATION” from October 1946 onwards.
After the battle of Kohima, George William Supplee, Education Missionary, a huge and tall person was the Head Master and unmistakably short and small AGO Zeliang the School Peon, of the Baptist Church revived the Mission English School and raised it to High School in the Buildings given to Naga Club. The Government authority requested the NNC to allow them the use the building in view of the acute shortage of Rooms till the Government High School building at Dzienuobadze is completed. The NNC agreed.
But even after the Government High School building was completed, the School continued to use the Town Committee and adjoining buildings and the NNC agreed in exchange of the place: the Government allotted the site present plot above and South of the Football Ground.
Then after the Naga Walked-out en mass of Nehrus’ first public Meeting with the Naga on 30 March 1953; the same night, Armed Soldiers from the Assam rifles in Kohima and Police began to search for the NNC Leaders who went ‘Underground’.
Jasokie, Jt Secretary Publicity, NNC told this Writer, the NNC Leaders were hounded so much by the Police that for some time he slept in the middle of the Local Football Ground at night and had sound sleep without any fear of anybody locating him! Since then Naga Club Building became highly stigmatized with the name NNC and people were hesitant to use it, and the Government used the building as its own.
Then the State Government of Nagaland occupied the Building for the New Office of the Director of Forests in 1964: Who gave the building on Rent was not a matter of any difficulty for the State Government of the time particularly when the Office of the HQ of the Oking Government of the Naga National Council has become so mobile hiding here and there in unknown places of the Jungle.
Lt. PD Stracey IFS of the former Imperial Forest Service, the first Director ’63-65’ of the Forest Department, used the Building for 20 years from 1963 to 16th April 1983. Moreover, during the gradual expansion and up gradation of the Department, the Forest Department slowly cannibalized all available surrounding spaces unethically “in Public Interest” and according to the need of the available spaces around.
During 1983 the Government decided to take over the Building for the establishment of the more emphasized Education Directorate of the State and pushed the junglee Department towards the Puliebadze jungle into some Agriculture Department has some of their dishonourable Offices.
As soon as the Forest vacates their Office, they are to inform the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima, who will send the Police to close the Door of the Office and then the exalted Education Department would take over the Building.
The site was given to the Naga Club by the British Government and it was perhaps not very right for the Government to snatch it away from the hapless Public. The writer had joined the forest Service and was to shift the Office to the present site.
This information was ungentlemanly conveyed to old Peselie whose elderly Group had won the Case against the so-called Naga Football Association, the Opponent Group for the possession of the Naga Club in the Court of the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima. I considered the powerful Government not being fair to the Naga Club.
The Officer therefore requested suddenly met white haired Peselie, released from Jail outside the State, just some time ago, for political reasons, to immediately collect two Taxi loads of local Youths, get an oversized Lock, and then lock up the entrance to the Naga Club Building before the Police arrived and see what would come up.
Old Peselie -all white haired and equally white haired Azüto- did as what was secretly told them. When the DC’s Police came, they found the building already closed with a large Lock barring entrance to the Building and saying: “Oh, it is already locked”, they left.
The Naga Club finally returned to its long dead Owners.
Then in 1983 the so-called Nagaland Football Association, under the Chairmanship of a Mr. Gentleman whose son much later once became the President, and Secretary Mr. N Belho, claimed ownership of the Naga Club on behalf of the Football Association. But a big group of Naga Elders under the Chairmanship of Peselie Suokhrie met at Kohima Village Panchayat Building and in no uncertain terms dismissed the claim of the so-called Association.
The so-called Naga Football Association was first coined sometime in 1977 to obtain Entry Tickets for a few of us from Nagaland including T. Ao, Z. Obed, Thepfulhouvi, the Writer’s Father, Neilakuolie and another Ao Football player with only one Eye, from Kohima Secretariat went to see legendary Pele play a Football match at Calcutta against Mohan Bagan at the Eden Garden Calcutta.
When the news of Pele’s of Cosmos Club of America coming to play a match with Mohan Bagan reached the India, it was as if the end of the world has come; every Bengalee from entire Bengal went insane with excitement.
N. Belho went to the Mohan Bagan Office to buy the Tickets but was rejected on the ground the Tickets are issued only to recognized State Football Associations, and Nagaland was not!
N. Belho returned to Nagaland House at Shakespeare Sarani and got a chit from T. Ao, the famous former Captain of Mohan Bagan and India’s bare foot London Olympic Captain in 1948: immediately tickets were issued more than what TAFAM Association [Talimeren Ao’s Football Association Members] required and the idea of Nagaland Football Association in Paper dawned on some Naga Football players!.
The Case went to the Court of the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima and the Peselie Group won the Case.
On 30 April 1990, NNC President Zapuphizo passed away in London; and from 1 May to 12 May the Naga Club Building became the Centre of entire Naga humanity; from daybreak to midnight everyday, two Phone receiving sets rang ceaselessly for enquiries: the Bill came to `18,000/- for one set alone for the Week.
In the year 1982 Peselie Suokhrie convened a meeting of concerned Naga Elders at Kohima Village Panchayat and revived the Naga Club with:
Azüto as President.
Vilavor as Secretary and some others as Office Bearers to Re-Establish Naga Club.
They called themselves Naga Club and carried on its name to date.
(The Writer acknowledges with Thanks the corrections contributed by the followings:
1. Dr SC Jamir, Governor of Odisha for the date of Nehru and Unu’s visit to Kohima and the date of Nagaland State inauguration.
2. H.K. Sema, Retired Supreme Court Justice, for giving the correct name of his Uncle Nizhevi Interpreter of Senakusami, a signatory to the Simon Commission Petition.
3. The Grandson of Azüto for providing the correct name of his Grandfather.
4. Lhouvitsü Speaker Tatar Hoho NNC for reminding the forgetful Homo the time of the death of President Zapuphizo; where the Homo was made the Treasurer of the Funeral Organizing Committee for the President of the NNC.
5. The Vice Chairman, the Secretary of Jotsoma Village Council and the Head GB of Jotsoma Village, for their additional inputs.
6. Tikhe Koza, Khezhakeno for providing the identity of long sought Khatsülo Interpreter a signatory of the Simon Commission Petition.
**On the Question of who seeded the Idea of Naga Club first, It is perhaps more probable and plausible to give weightage to the version Jasokie Zinyü gave, ‘mentioning the European Club in the 19th century at Kohima Town as the incentive provider.
(Some anecdotes may appear very detail, personal and intimate observations or personal statements, they were purposely done to help the younger generations imagine the conditions that prevailed at the time, because once lost to the Writer, 86 years running, may lose to the Naga forever. The personal information may also add a little of Naga Spices to the Curry and make it a little more tasty hopefully!)