Today, 14th August 2020 is the 74th Independence Day of Nagaland. As the Naga National Council (NNC) declared the age-old independence of Nagaland at the right time, before India and Burma became independent nations, the Nagas are proudly and joyously observing this Independence Day in the entire Nagaland. These historical facts of Nagaland are well known by all Nagaland students since all these are written in their Textbooks and teaching them.
But it would be a wonder to all young people of today that why the Naga people could not achieve our national goal till today (74 yrs). The young people of today, therefore, have to analyze and research as to why we could not achieve or what had gone wrong in pursuance of our goal. Our history is unique and clear. Nothing wrong was done when the Naga nation was founded by the NNC. Some basic facts I would provide for the researchers are as follow:
At first, despite the declaration of Nagaland independence by the NNC, some educated Naga people signed the 16-Point agreement with the Government of India (GoI) on June 27, 1960 in the name of Naga people’s Convention and accepted the Statehood under the Indian Union. Their nefarious vision was to develop Nagaland in education and economy as a Puppet State under the Indian Union, without foreseeing the development of Nagaland as an independent nation. Also, none of them have enough wisdom to consider they are selling the Naga national right to be an independent nation.
In those days, the NNC President Dr. A.Z. Phizo reached London already and made an extensive tour in Europe and the USA. He informed the world the plight of Naga people in the hands of the Indian Army and spoke of the National right as a sovereign and independent nation. Moreover,he submitted a memorandum to the UN with a request to intervene in the war and solve the Indo-Naga conflict. His efforts achieved the support of Western countries. But when the GoI declared that the Nagas have accepted a statehood under the Indian Union, his work suffered a severe setback.
If they did not hamper the achievement of NNC President, the Naga might have achieved the recognition of our independence by the world in those days of 1960s, then the Naga might have developed like other independent nations of the world. Singapore became an independent nation only on August 9, 1965, but now, its highest development in Southeast Asia is incomparable with the development of the puppet Nagaland State under the Indian Union.
Secondly, in1980, some of NNC leaders defected from the NNC and formed the so-called National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) against Phizo’s national stand and turned the Naga nationalism into factionalism and the Indo-Naga conflict, a case of aggression, into an internal affair of India by demanding a political solution from India, such as shared sovereignty and Pan-Naga Hoho. In addition, the NSCN was formed while the western countries bitterly went on against socialism/communism, which destroyed the support of Western countries as well.
Even if the Nagas have a setback by accepting a State under the Indian Union, still the Nagas have a chance to achieve our national objective even after 1980 if all leaders jointly worked with the NNC President, Phizo without any idea to form a parallel organization against the NNC.
The young generation of today have to understand the above mentioned wrong commitment of some leaders in history, that is; they did not stand as a nation, like Phizo. Realizing misdeed of the past leaders, the young people should uphold steadfastly the declaration of independence and Plebiscite of 1951 and proudly stand as a nation, but not that of demanding a political solution from India. I, therefore, urge the young generation of today from all walks of life to speak in one voice for one issue only, i.e., “Nagas are a nation”under the banner of NNC and march forward for the recognition of Nagaland as a sovereign and independent nation by the world.
74th Nagaland Independence Day Speech by W Shapwon, Joint Secretary, Naga National Council