The making of Naga Nation

Recognition a condition precedent for a new Indo -Nagalim relations  

Moa Aso

Hisory tells us that prior to 1947 -1950 there was no recognized Indian nation as such. The name ‘India’ is also of recent origin. British colonial rule gave birth to the modern Indian nation -state. Before that it was all about infighting between one Maharaj to another Maharaj one caste to another caste from age to age. It is also equally true that the arrival of the Britishers and Christianity in Nagalim had tremendously awaken the then sleeping Naga tribes who were led to the great realisation of their oneness by blood, culture, history & polity. Unlike the Indians, Nagas could give befitting and very forceful resistance against the British - colonial aggressors that ultimately resulted into only a partial British rule in few parts of Nagalim. It was in the year 1929 A.D the making of Naga nation formally took place when the first Naga national memorandum for independence was submitted before the British Simon Commission by Naga Club.

The 14th day of August, 1947 became historic when Nagalim through NNC/FGN declared complete independence from the British colonial rule. In re-affirmation of their national independence from the British yoke or the newly born India, a clear cut Naga peoples’ mandates was spelled out during the famous “1950 Naga plebiscite “wherein 99.9 percent opted for independent Nagalim. Uncle A.Z..Phizo who gave his everything for the Naga nation shall continue to be an inspiring force to every Naga nationalists - young and old alike in the course of their struggle to make a Naga nation a recognized nation in the world. On the other side of the story of making  a Naga nation , no Naga will easily forget the persecution  and hardships they have encountered with in defending the Naga nation against the illegal Indian aggressors after the end of the British colonial rule .Every intelligent Naga will not forget to remember how the powerful Angami tribe was gradually marginalised from within and without by the evil design of the aggressors who maliciously believed that the foundation of Naga nation will be completely crushed out if the Angami tribe whom A.Z. Phizo, the then Naga leader belonged to were crushed. This philosophy has proved to be wrong. At that material point of time most of the Nagas could not even realise that India was using the Nagas to defeat the Nagas from within. The Angamis who in fact played a dominant role in defending Naga nation could not stand their ground for too long due to constant discrimination met out against this tribe by the aggressors and more importantly as a reason of the internal crisis of the Naga leaders being engineered by alien forces.

The making of Naga nation took a new turn with the dawning of a new era of a new leadership under the dynamic and committed Naga nationalists like Isak Chishi Swu, S.S Khaplang and Th. Muivah who then formed the NSCN after the fall of NNC. NSCN brought a renewed hope for the salvation of Naga nation from its doom. It defended the nation from the onslaught of Indianisation processes. It is NSCN which has actively internationalised the Naga cause and struggle. The year of 1993 is a landmark in the history of Naga national struggle as Nagalim became a member of Unrespresentation Nations and Peoples’ Organisation, UNPO. This is one important milestone Nagalim has achieved through the NSCN / GPRN in their national struggle for recognition in the past more than 60 years .UNPO menbers like Taiwan, East Timorese (now recognised as a member state of UNO) Palestine, Nagalim etc have got the opportunity to collectively pressurize U.N body and its member states to recognise their nations. UNO must pro -actively endeavour so as to institutionalise the process of the recognition of UNPO members into its fold. UN must necessarily have the courage to venture into this new global dynamism for the whole cause of world peace and order. The legitimate right of the unrecognised nations should not be trampled down for too long in this knowledge age.

Today, Naga society is also dogged down with confusion as regard to the Naga unity & unification of NSCN factions. Naga unity and factional unification are two different things which many Nagas cannot differentiate the two with clarity. To me, Nagas are united if their beliefs, principles and idealogy on Naga national issue are found similar and identical to each other. For sure, they will stand united in spirit, in principle and in responsibility when it comes to doing business with the matters of Naga national importance whether or not they are in the same party. Meaning the concept of Naga unity is to be understood in a composite manner. However, it is unfortunate that some of the factions could not standardize such national principles and ideals under testing times and difficult circumstances. They were found to have easily succumbed to tribalism, an evil element antithesis to nationalism. It is also true that Nagas have a genuine desire for unification of NSCN factions etc. The critical question is can such factional unification be durable? Can such unification really bring permanent Naga solution? To forge a genuine and tangible unification of NSCN, the principal causes of disunification and defections needs to be identified. It is understood that idealogical differences, lack of principle and vulnerability to alien forces and its evil designs are common causes for disunification in the Naga case. Nagas must effectively address this element (problem) before a genuine and tangible unification is achieved. Imposed unification of Naga factions having different idealogies coupled with proneness to tribalism and evil design during testing time would rather bring more defections, disunity, and misery to the cause of the Naga nation . Defection is defection, it is not unification. Defection and unification are parrallel to each other both in meaning and purpose. To have a genuine unification, it cannot be done by defection, it cannot be done overnight either. Properly established democratic norms and procedures are to be duly resorted by concerned parties to resolve the differences in working out a “Naga national consensus” for genuine unification based on national principles and ideals. Peaceful democratic practises and due process of law must be encouraged in pursuing genuine unification.Then only a durable, tangible and genuine unification can be acheived. 

During the past 10years of Indo-Nagalim political (peace) talk, it is believed, NSCN has clearly told India that Nagas are a nation and India needs to recognize this nationhood for the purpose of establishing a new and lawful relation between the two .NSCN’s serious and critical political talk with India resulted to India’s official recognition of the uniqueness of Naga history and situation. However, it is painful to note that Indo-Nagalim peace process has not come to a logical conclusion thus far. Who should be blamed for this dead lock? India? Nagas have equally failed in various aspects. No scientific measures to educate, propagate, promote and foster “Naga nationalism” in the entire Nagalim was carried out in a tangible way. For instance, peaceful and democratic debate, workshop, symposium or seminars on the issues related to the concept of Naga nationality could have been carried out especially during the last 10 years of peace process. This was not done. Naga MLA(s) and MP(s) may have fewer roles when it comes to Naga national agendas. They have already paid solemn oath and allegiance to the Indian constitution. They cannot give what they don’t have. Meaning, it is the Naga national workers and Naga people who have the given mandate to decide on the future of Naga nation. Interestingly, the making of Naga nation has surpassed many ups and downs in the past 60 years. It cannot be destroyed any more. Naga Hohos (including its units), NPMHR, NMA, NSF, and other Naga organisations have relentlessly and selflessly sacrificed for the cause of the Nagas. Nagas are proud of them.

The present Indo-Nagalim political talk must positively continue. It will be of great mutual benefit to find a political solution out of this ongoing bilateral negotiation. India should not lose this opportunity at all. India may need to formally recognize the Naga nation and her independence declared on 14/7/1947 as a condition precedent for establishing a new and lawfull relation with Nagalim under the purview of “Article 260 of the Indian constitution”. Under such scheme, both the nations can have interdependent jurisdiction on certain specified subjects of common importance and common interests.