I thank the Lord almighty from the depth of my heart for bringing me and my team members to “Free Nagalim” here in Tuensang district. I am deeply touched by the warm welcome given to us. This is the seventh leg of our journey for “Peace and Reconciliation” and we have come to your homeland because we have to understand each other. We are one and united in our common aspiration and I will be failing you my Naga people if I had not come to you. We too will be in great danger if many of the problems created by the Nagas cannot be solved by us.
From my early life when I began to understand the world around me, I had heard about the Nagas in “Free Nagalim” including all of you. You have a proud history because you were the master of your land and destiny. On the other hand your brothers in other parts of Nagalim faced wave after waves of onslaught from the imperialist forces and were forcibly occupied for a period of time by the British. Yet, when the time came, unlike other ill-fated nationalities they took the right decision at the right time. They exercised their right of self-determination and declared their independence on 14th August 1947, one day prior to India’s independence and subsequently took several steps in affirmation to that stand – 1951 plebiscite wherein 99.9 % voted for free Nagalim and the boycott of India’s general election in the year 1952 and 1957.
One of the central points in all the struggles around the world is the attempt of all nations to reshape their history although in many cases the wrongs and humiliation inflicted on them could not be undone. Let me tell you that the Nagas in “Free Nagalim” were also a victim of an intentional distortion campaign when your land was termed as “No man’s land” by Jawaharlal Nehru. It legitimized the states to posses your beloved land through such fictitious history. I see the precedence that has happened to many other indigenous peoples around the globe when the imperialist forces created a legal fiction termed as “Discovery” or “terra nullius” that means “legally unoccupied empty-land “. Such imaginary concepts justified the free grapping or claim over territories by the so called conquerors.
What will be your stand? Have you examined how we must decolonize the imposition of ideas on us by the imperialist forces? It is our bounden duty to reclaim our history by exercising our right to self-determination. You must know that the affairs of the suppressed nation’s vis-à-vis the international communities
are changing to accommodate the rights of all the oppressed nations. You should not be left behind in ignorance and imprudence. Arise!!!
We must remember that the states in order to crush our right for freedom had invented many ingenious ways to divide and weaken the Nagas. Our homeland was fragmented and placed under various states within India and also in Myanmar (erstwhile Burma). They had also effectively wielded the policy of dividing the Nagas through the various Accords and Agreements that had weakened our people’s historical aspiration. Thus, our national movement witnessed systematic divisive policies orchestrated by the states.
God has given us our land and it is our duty and right to protect it. The defense of our homeland is a serious matter. I tell you my Naga people the plan and purpose of God for the Nagas is diametrically opposed to the policies of the imperialist. The bigger issue is do we understand our rights or should we linger and wait for others to come and teach us our freedom? We must be the master of our situation but it will be a great mistake if we believe that others will decide our fate.
At the right time the Naga National Council (NNC) and its leaders including AZ. Phizo, Imkongmeren, Whenha, Kughato Sukhai, Khodao Yanthan, T. Sakhrei and others had given us the right direction. They taught us our rights and freedom. However, the states concerned played their role effectively and our freedom struggle was disturbed with the signing of the Shillong Accord in 1975. It has been the root cause of division amongst the Nagas. Afterwards in the later part of eighties the states played their card well again and the worst massacre happened in the East when S.S. Khaplang and the Indian Agencies organized and accused Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah of collecting arms and surrendering to India and butchered nearly 200 of our precious cadres.
Yet, despite the deep wounds that have been inflicted on us the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) under the spiritual counsel of our Excellency, Isak Chishi Swu decided to go ahead with “Reconciliation”. After three days of national fasting and repentance we issued the declaration of reconciliation on 13th January 2007. Therefore, we are totally committed to this process but it must be unambiguous to us that the Naga people will have the final say bearing in mind our historical decisions, that is, “Nagalim for Christ” and “Unique history and situation of the Nagas”.
The declaration of cease-fire on August 1, 1997 between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim came about subsequent to both the entities agreeing that the political negotiation will be initiated on three foundations – At the highest level, without pre-condition and outside India in a third country. The opening point of this political negotiation highlights the fact that Indo-Naga issue is; first, not India’s “Internal law and order issue” but a “political issue”, second, between “two entities” and third, a “Fresh political settlement” on the Nagas will be arrived at only through an honourable and negotiated political negotiation.
The Indo-Naga conflict has dragged on for more than six decades. No Agreements or Accords had been accepted by the Nagas who love their rights. Today, the current political dialogue with the GOI bears testimony of our commitment to all the historical decisions taken by the Naga people and the NNC. Only after five years and six months of tough negotiation the GOI recognized the “Unique history and situation of the Nagas”. It is an official recognition of all the past historical decisions taken by the Naga people. Therefore, the Naga people must judge whether the current political dialogue is a surrender negotiation or otherwise.
Let me remind you that the best defining moment has arrived once again in our time and it is our bounden duty to grasp this historic moment. While continuing the journey of “Peace and reconciliation” we will not allow any other undesirable approach to hinder the process because this golden moment in our history must be safeguarded at all cost. We continue to urge the Naga people not to be simply misled by the divisive policy of the self-seeking Nagas and also our opponents. All of us must be clear on this.
We will not fail you our Naga people and we reassure you that we will come back to you when the right time comes for us to decide the final political settlement with India. We will not betray God, the Naga people and our historical decision. We will continue to stand for the truth we know.
May the almighty
God bless you. Kuknalim.