Col (Retd) Isak Sumi, Ato Kilonser, GPRN. (Photo released to media)
Col. (Retd) Isak Sumi
Ato Kilonser, GPRN
Glory be to God Almighty for His unfailing love and providence and once again let us all owe our existence and well being to Him alone. Dear Naga brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, every year on this historic day, the 14 August, Nagas from every walk of life are reminded of our solem oath to uphold the proud legacy that has been passed unto us. The legacy sanctified by the precious blood and priceless scarifies of thousands of lives. Today, in fond memories of all the Naga martyrs, pioneers, patriots and Nagas across length and breadth I greet you all with 77th Naga Independence day salute. Our struggle for independence isn't just a myth or legend that can be supplanted by any other alternative, it has been founded on the deep rooted truth of our history, culture and identity and we celebrate our independence day today not because we are already independent but we were once independent, we also celebrate this occasion not because we merely long to be independent but because we have always been free, independent people since ancient days and rightfully so.
Our struggle for freedom spanning for almost a century now is not a war against any people or nation because of our ambition to conquer, occupy and to rule others but the just struggle to defend our birthright. We don't demand freedom from any but only asks to be left free and undisturbed as we had ever been. Like any free nations across the globe, the Naga people desires and also deserves to live free, manage our own affairs and determine our own destiny and to live happy and free among the world communities.
But quite tragically when the world of cololianism came to an end especially post-WW-2, the Nagas became forcefully and illegally colonised by the same people who were once a colonised people themselves. The neo-colonial forces like India and Myanmar having themselves experienced the bitter and costly struggle for independence must understand the futility of forceful occupational rule. They ought to acknowledge that no forces on earth can extinguish the ' flames of freedom'. Subjection can never be perpetual and sooner the better to end colonisation peacefully and through cessation of forceful occupational rule.
If the small ancient Greek city states could defend their freedom with their lives to remain independent, if small countries with territories of few hundred square kilometres can maintain their independence, the Nagas with sufficient territory, natural resources and blessed with several million brave men and women patriots there is nothing lacking for Nagas to restore our freedom and independence.
However, beside the acts of attrition by India and Myanmar, unlike our great forefathers who were truly independent in almost every aspects of life, the new generation Nagas have imprisoned ourselves with our own mindset. We have not only failed to develop independent mindset but miserably have became completely dependent on the occupational governments to suplly even our basic needs. A nation will naturally lose independence when her population develops subservient mindset. The new generation Nagas are gradually losing their pride of independence and sense of our own culture, identity and history as free people. We can only reverse this unfortunate course by imbuing ourselves with patriotic spirit, the love for our land and the respect and preservation of our culture, customs and traditions. Moreover, the Nagas inherent nature of being honest, jovial and hardworking has grown very weak and prone to the powerful global economic and political forces being unleashed every day in every aspects of life. The shrinking of international frontiers aided by modem technologies, global economics, trade and commerce etc has indeed become an overwhelming threat to the otherwise dormant and independent tribal communities. Therefore, unless we harness our abundant resources both natural and human to stand on our own feet and fend for ourselves, we will all be absorbed into global mass ruled by dominant political and economic forces.
Also the most emerging potent threat from within is the greed for power, position and easy wealth particularly among the Naga National workers thereby causing split of political groups into many factions wantonly. Recent happenings has shown how shameless and unrestrained the leaders and workers of the Naga political groups have become. Without vision, political roadmaps or pronounced political agenda and goals for the people several groups are being created simply to run extortion industries and benefit only themselves. Making mockery of the Naga struggle by the ignorant and soulless section of Nagas has become so foul and nauseating. The use of money and gun to secure position for themselves in a faction in the same manner the crime syndicates operates is portraying the Naga struggle in a very poor light before the world. The Nagas may therefore segregate such gangsters misusing political platforms from the genuine Naga groups urging to bring honourable political solution. We must never forget our solemn commitment 'Nagaland for Christ' despite all our weaknesses and must strive towards to make our land befitting our pledge. Without strong morality and sound ideological conviction our struggle will be doomed and we will become a lost people in our own land. As Christians, our first loyalty should be to Christ first and comma the rest unto Him.
Taking into account all the decay and decline in our present society, the only hope of our people is the peaceful resolution of Indo-Naga-Myanmar political conflict at an earliest possible time. It has thus become very crucial and imminent to sustain our Identity, culture and history and most importantly to ensure the security and prosperity of the future generations. To this end, the political and economic roadmaps prepared by the NNPGs with the GOI basing on the historical and political rights of the Nagas and more precisely the assurance that 'the Nagas have every right to self-determine their our own future in consonance with our distinct identity' as inscribed in the 'Agreed Position' and agreed to in principle between the GOI and the Nagas represented by the W/C,NNPG is the only window of opportunity to restore the rightful legacy of the Nagas as free, independent people.
The Naga struggle belongs to the people and the people therefore must decide the destiny. Prolonging the conflict only to prolong 'reign of exploitation' over the Naga people should no longer be tolerated. Even/concerned Nagas must come out in the open and fight against the menace of terror and socio-eco-political exploitation in the garb of Naga nationalism. The forces that neither comes from the people nor belonging to the people shall never be for the people and Nagas are clearly and abundantly certain of such forces that have been ravaging the land for several decades altogether. Together we must unite in our purpose to assail this threat both from within and without lest we consign ourselves into the abyss of slavery.
May God save our land and our people.