Dr Nelson Vashum, MD
CHSRC, Hamleikhong Hungpung - Ukhrul District Manipur
In the 1960’s when the Indo-Naga peace was seemingly going directionless or not making any progress in 3 years, late R Suisa - a real visionary put forth his proposal to Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India and K Sukhai, Prime Minister, Federal government of Nagaland – unwelcomed and unqualified as he could be considered but for political expediency and to make the best use of time, he ventured his proposal to be placed on the table of Indo-Naga talk. In fact, his proposal was very practical and the best for both – India and Nagaland. Indira Gandhi was all for it and with approval of NNC/FGN, Suisa and Vizol were sent to London to meet Phizo. Suisa’s proposal was given scant respect by late A Z Phizo and downright rejected, that was a historical and political blunder and thereafter opening the door for endless divisions within Naga society till today. The national struggle for independence became more confusing and more of conflicts within the Nagas. Our Sema brethren set up Revolutionary Government in 1968 and having no foundation based on political conviction, it collapsed within 2 years. Most of the arms brought from abroad were surrendered to the government of India with the then C-in-C. The revolutionary government ended up with rehabilitative employments. The last and most lasting breakaway group NSCN (IM) under Isaac Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. Under the leadership of these two leaders to consolidate their grip over the Naga affairs, they killed more than 1600 Nagas since 31st January 1980, pathetically Indian Army killed was less than 10%.
In February of 1980 one morning, Ukhrul Town was flooded with pamphlets and a small booklet – manifesto of NSCN and quoted Luke 3:17, “The winnowing fan is in His hand and this will thoroughly clean His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn and burn the chaff”. In the same month i.e. February 1980, I was conducting a medical camp at Ngainga village, 20 km to the West of Ukhrul town. Many soldiers of Assam Rifles were around in the village. In the midst I was asked to come to the house of a relative to meet VS Atem – my younger brother whom I never expected to be around and hence a little jolted. After rounding up my works, I went and met him. I being the elder, my faith in Christ pushed me so – to make a straight charge and talk. The Tangkhul Naga who did not participate on the declaration Naga independence on 14th August 1947 and also were not there on 16th May 1951 plebiscite day and joining only in 1958-60 – how dare you usurp the leadership of Naga Movement? Everything else besides how dare you assume the role of Messiah?! (Lk 3:17) – daring to hold the winnowing fan of the Messiah and do political cleansing?! How dare you condemn AZ Phizo, the founder of Naga Freedom Movement. If Phizo had not laid the foundation, how you all could be around as freedom fighters? Examine prayerfully that you are free from the sins of pride and self-righteousness. My faith is in the life of humility and patience. After all these rattling, Atem whipped out his revolver and pointed towards me and I tore my shirt and bared my chest to have the shot! Two village elders jumped in between us. But I said I’ll not die – rather my blood splattering will bounce on Atem and he’ll die. Well sometimes, even the sons of a pastor, do come to such showdown. Fighting for the truth for the glory of God, has no sense of fear or shame; even a small prophet shouted at the king (II Chr 26:18, I Kings 21:20 etc).
There is no reason for Indo-Naga peace talk to go for such long period. My faith tells me there are primarily three possible reasons: i) pride, ii) thoughtless bloodsheds and iii) lack of seriousness. Let me dilate on the last. In tribal folklore when one goes for hunting – once a big game is on the track, no small game is allowed for digression/waste of time. But in the conduct of NSCN (IM), loss of time seems not worth bothering unlike late R Suisa. So many digressions like involvements in petty village feuds, social problems and especially Indian elections. In the process, committed many human right abuses and dared losing the love and well wishes of the people and above everything else, the blessing of God. If people like late R Suisa were alive today he would literally speak up with no fear – the word of admonition and biblical curses on the wayward ways of NSCN (IM) leaderships.
After all the high talk almost touching the sky, Narendra Modi in his last visit to USA – peace, prosperity driven by DNA of democracy in India was all going at its best. However, coming back home the events in Manipur must have shaken him to his full senses. In spite of all the mismanagement of the conflicts, GoI is inviting NSCN (IM) for early settlement. There seems to be hectic activities going within GoI and of course it is overdue. The dialogue between NSCN (IM) and GoI already a record breaker in terms of time taken. However, imitating late R Suisa, let me propose a word of caution uninvited as could be for Thuingaleng Muivah that the solution should match the Independence of Nagas declared by NNC under AZ Phizo on 14th August 1947. In diplomatic jargon late R Suisa’s “My proposal” – two equal Sovereign States sharing certain commonality/commonalities which are mutually acceptable to both. Solution of this nature would be acceptable and honourable or else Thuingaleng Muivah should know with certainty that any solution less than this/Suisa’s proposal would likely incur the curse he has pronounced in R Suisa’s Legacy part II, chapter I, 14th clause -----“the one/ones/group/party who proposes (bring solution) less than what I have proposed should be considered as fanatics.” This is the language of curse. Thuingaleng Muivah, late R Suisa was your mentor. To incur this curse or not to, is your choice! All the same wishing all the Nagas the best from what God has ordained for the Nagas? To conclude, unworthy as I am, let me remind even Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and his government that you are wrongly occupying the land with its independence which late Jawaharlal Nehru on 19th June 1946 said, “The Tribal Areas which are defined as being those long frontier of India which are neither part of India nor Burma, nor of any foreign power."