Nagaland: ‘A movement that came to give us our identity’

A father and daughter take part in a Naga Independence Day project in the outskirt of Dimapur on August 13. (Photo Courtesy: Betoka Swu)
A father and daughter take part in a Naga Independence Day project in the outskirt of Dimapur on August 13. (Photo Courtesy: Betoka Swu)

GNF organizes 74th Naga Independence Day 

Morung Express news 
Kohima | August 14 

Dr Visier Sanyü today reflected the journey of the Naga political movement as one that was embarked in order to protect Naga identity. 

The President, Overseas Naga Association and member Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) was delivering a speech on the ‘Historical perspective of the Naga Political struggle,’ during the observation of the 74th Naga Independence Day organized by the Global Naga Forum (GNF) today. 

Referring to important landmarks of the Naga political movement, Dr Visier said that “there are many factors that have made us who we are and what we have become.” 

Post the 1950s experience he shared about his native village, Khonoma when the British left India, the newly independent India had mounted a military campaign against Naga nationalists. 

“The Indian troops had burnt down the village in 1956. This forced them to take refuge in the jungle for three years and live in the outskirt of the village for a decade, only returning to Khonoma proper in 1970,” he said. 

Dr Visier stated that the new way of life which was a long period of displacement and struggle brought about a “cultural renaissance.” 

“New songs were written; new legends were created; traditions were altered; taboos were broken out of desperation; festivals, weddings and funeral began to change as a result of the deep search for being. The physical hardship forced us to look at the world in a different perspective.”

He further added that deprivation led Nagas to change their food, belief system, superstition melted away and it was during this period that many converted to Christianity due to factors known and unknown. 

He later called for unity stating, “search our soul and regain our soul and prepare ourselves with anything and everything to face our future.” 

Just Peace for Nagas

Speaking on the topic on ‘Towards a Just Peace, respecting Naga rights and dignity,’ Prof Paul Pimomo, Central Washington University said that the Naga issue is a “political issue and not a law and order situation.” 

“Just Peace for Nagas in a fractured political relationship with India has been so long coming and never arriving that we have not to expect its arrival at all,” he said while adding that Nagas are stuck here again and with Nagas consistently kept in the dark about what is being decided about their future. 

He stated that ‘Just Peace’ is “the freedom to determine our political future without colonial rule or new colonial imposition; to practice and to preserve the best in our culture and tradition; to grow and prosper as a people.” 

Noting that Nagas have been denied their political rights for a prolonged period, Prof Pimomo underscored that the Government of India categorically set a baseline for settlement of the Naga political question, one that is without sovereignty and no greater Nagaland. 

However, the Professor affirmed that the Naga public has learned from the experience of history and evolved from the past over 74 years. “We have grown to appreciate the changes of the fast changes world,” he later added. 

The programme was chaired by Rosemary Dzuvichü and Chuba Ozukum, Global Naga Forum members.