‘Nagas must reach out to neighbors, reconcile within’

Pfutsero (Phek) | April 27:  The 24th general conference of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) held under the theme “Reaching out,” commenced Wednesday evening at public ground Pfutsero town, the highest town in Nagaland. Resource person of the evening, former PCCF Nagaland, DK Zeliang (Retd. IFS), who spoke on the theme of the conference, dwelled on two aspects of reaching out; reaching out to neighbours and reaching within.
Zeliang said that in the course of the Naga political struggle and the need to project Nagas’ rights, Nagas have inadvertently alienated their neighbours and who all have found a rallying point to resist the Naga movement. “Their onslaughts perhaps with patronage from the Centre has been vehement, making our movement seem unenviable. Today, this seems to be one of our biggest roadblocks,” he said.
24th General Conference of NSF underway at Pfutsero
The former bureaucrat said after six decades of proclaiming Naga political rights and fighting for these at tremendous cost, a “landmark credible achievement” was formal recognition from both the International forum like the UN and Government of India about the “legitimacy” of the Naga struggle.
Zeliang said that from this position of “recognition,” Nagas must further progress to “fulfilment” of their quest without compromising their stand, adding that in the evolvement of the Naga political
struggle, the time has come to depart from a confrontational stance and embark on a path of co-operation.
“To reach out to our neighbours, it will serve no purpose if we go to them and harp about our rights alone. It is indeed an uphill task, but can we conjure a proposition that benefits all stakeholders without
compromising our rights?” Zeliang asked.
On the other hand, the senior citizen said that the need to solve the Naga issue in a “unique” manner could pave the way for the GoI to view the aspirations of the neighbourhood region in an accommodative manner.
“To achieve such a goal, there is ample room for manoeuvring in the North East. Intricate ingenious arrangements like special political creations, elevation of status with special prescribed social and
economic guarantees, special specific budget allocations etc., would bring about realization of the aspirations of the neighbourhood region,” he said.
Zeliang said that if GoI has the vision and political will, then the Naga issue may provide the opportunity and justification to “transform” the whole North East to a win-win situation for all.
As far as “reaching within” is concerned, he said that the “Reconciliation movements” are doing a commendable job. Managing director of the Morung Express, Akum Longchari, the moderator
of the interactive session, in his opening remarks said that the concept of “Reaching out” suggests a shift from the present position and implies a deliberate movement towards a common purpose with
clarity of mind and vision. He also said that for Nagas, reaching out represents a paradigm shift
in their thinking, attitude, behaviour and way of life.
Later, in his closing remarks, Akum said that “reaching out” is the responsibility of each Naga man and woman and that Nagas cannot wait for others to take the first step as the Naga future is at stake.
He also said that the NSF is placed at a very distinctive position at present opportune time to undertake very practical and culturally relevant steps to reach out to Nagas and to other communities as well.
“Indeed, the NSF can become a unifying point for all struggling peoples of this region if the NSF can truly reach out to all in the spirit of critical solidarity,” he added.
NSF general secretary O Wati Jamir in his general secretary’s report (2009-11) highlighted on some of the major programmes and issues the federation had taken up in the past two years, including rejoining of NSF to North Eastern Students’ Organization, NPSC answer script scam, ethnic conflict in NC Hills, Mao incident relating to debarring of NSF team to enter a Naga village in Manipur in 2010 and redeployment of teachers and bogus appointments under the Education department.
Other highlight of the introduction session were welcome address by Chakhesang Students’ Union president Esther Rhakho, introduction of dignitaries, NSF officials past and present and presidents of
federating and subordinate units by NSF Federal Assembly speaker Kelhouneizo Yhome.
The conference band presented special numbers and  Angami Students’ Union presented a traditional song.
Earlier, in the afternoon, the Kikruma villagers hosted dinner for the dignitaries, NSF officials and other student’s leaders as a sign of solidarity to the NSF. Among others, former Home minister Thenucho attended the dinner party.