Friday, January 27, 2023

‘What Will Unite The Naga?’

(From previous issue)
Part –II.
The question of Naga Unity is somewhat like the European Unity today. On the issue of Free Democracy and on dissent at Communism, all the 30 members of the European Union commonly profess unanimity. The Eastern Partners in the European Union particularly know themselves of the differences in the two Systems of Governance better than others because some of them were overtaken by Communism before in their recent past history and had experienced tremendous political difficulties to get Free from Communism, remain free and join NATO for what they know why!
The European Union is comfortably as free as any other free democratic Society can become, while the 15 Russian Republics are bound together by ‘Repressive Democracy’ of powerful autocratic ‘big brother’ State of Slavic Russia under Putin or in the case of the Chinese under the tight grip of Xi Jingpin.
The pressing difficulty in the European Union today is mostly on the issue of Immigrations from war torn Middle East and African countries and the EU policy of Trade sanctions laden on Russia.
Hungary is a member of the European Union but has a strongly independent Policy on Immigration from outside the Union particularly from war torn Middle East. Hungary is not racist; but rejects the Quota System of sharing Immigrants the EURO proposes, and say they don’t feel embarrassed to decide for what is good for its own Society.
Hungary also follows an independent policy different from the EURO in its Relations with Russia. Some other smaller members of the EURO also disavow unregulated entry of immigrants to their country and finds it difficult to follow in Toto the entire circumference of the EURO Trade Sanctions, almost under the impulsion of the USA against Russia, that benefits USA and not as much the small countries of the EURO.
No independent country can be expected to follow a policy detrimental to its own national interest and the question of accepting Quota of Immigrants from the EURO appears to be one of the main factors for the differences in the European Union.
There is no country in the world that favours Immigrants to freely enter its country: Myanmar does not want immigrants from Bangladesh, so too is India; China does not entertain any immigrants, America is wary of accepting Muslim immigrants and Fiji does not favour immigrants from India. Perhaps Israel is the only country in the world that welcomes immigrants, but that is only for the Jews and not for others!
The Immigration of people from one country to another, from one Nation State to another and from one place to another is always a problematic matter even universally.
In the case of the Naga, the powerful structure of the colonial British Administration unified the Naga in the nineteenth century by requiring the burial of the dead under the ground, not in raised platform exposed to the processes of natural decay; the colonial Government relentlessly prevented the Naga’s ‘historical habit’ of head hunting.
The peaceful progressive Gospel of Christianity and fair British Justice were two of the greatest ‘Soft Forces’; that made the hitherto stiff-necked turbulent Naga Tribes into ‘a united NAGA People’ of hope.
If the Naga is to be united; we must ourselves know what has divided us. There are many things that divided us; mental division makes physical divisions; the foremost in my mind is: the political Hegemony of the NNPG with the most dominant barrel of the Gun: -no malice, no hatred intended, except the interest on Facts for the hope of the common good.
I. The hegemony of the barrel of the Gun has become the political hegemony of the Naga National Political Group most dominant in fire-arms and it has affected the lack of Unity in the Naga over-grounds, under-grounds, from outside and inside the State of Nagaland.
Many Suns and Moons have come and not yet gone completely today in the Naga National Group that has created political hegemony over all the silent Naga over-grounds, under-grounds, inside and outside the Nagaland State, and that has created a climate of fear, suspicion and division from the Ministers down to the lowest Office Sweeper.
This apprehension has adversely long affected unhealthy political clout not conducive to Peace, Serenity and Unity in the Naga Society and others in the State today.
This umbrella of political hegemony affected even the decisions of the august house of the State Assembly of Nagland and adversely affected the administrative purity and the lack of cleanliness in the Governance. It affected even the decisions of the august house detrimental to its own State!
The 16 Point Agreement with the Government of India demanded that the Naga Areas adjacent to the Nagaland State be united with Nagaland.
After the State became full flagged, the Assembly of Nagaland, passed Resolutions six times at different times requesting the Government of India to honour the Resolution.
The Government of India, in principle of universal democracy, has not agreed to the ‘Naga Demand’ of amalgamation of Naga Areas of other States with the State of Nagaland, because of the great majority of the population of the States to be dismembered: Arunachal, Assam and Manipur, wouldn’t accept the dismemberment of their State Area to be added to the neighbouring State of Nagaland, a no easy State!
More than once, the Naga of Manipur became its Chief Minister for more than once and there were Naga Ministers and MLAs in Manipur Assembly, but not a single Naga MLA raised any voice in the State for the amalgamation of the Naga Areas of Manipur to Nagaland. It is in record that a Naga Chief Minister of Manipur, in ringing voice in Manipur Assembly said, “not a single inch of Manipur Territory will be given to Other State.”
The NSCN[IM] with dominant fire-Arms controls the political hegemony over all the Naga in Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal and Assam; it wants to share Nagaland Special constitutional provisions by all the Naga of all the other States.
If the Areas inhabited by the Naga in the other States are integrated with Nagaland, all reasonable privileges of the State, before and after the integration, may be equitably shared by all, but before the Union, there is no secular reason for Nagaland to share its State with the Naga of all other Northeast States.
The Constitution of India allows Re-arrangement of State boundary; and it is constitutionally possible to create new States; India has done that; but it is done only on the free¬-will consent of the majority population of the State.
Nagaland has vehemently refused the transfer Dimapur Area of Naga Hills to Assam, during the Constituent Assembly; and demanded the Return of the Reserved Forests lands transferred to Assam. Nobody likes to dismember his or her State to increase the area of a neighbouring State!
In the case of Nagaland, it wants all the 16 Tribes –including the recently named Tikhir Tribe- that created the STATE OF NAGALAND in 1963 to live together in the State of Nagaland; (9 Principal Anghs, on behalf of All Konyaks with Mon Angh as their Spokesman, swore a most solemn traditional customary Oath saying: “if the NNC is Land Animal, the Konyak is Land Animal: if NNC is Water Animal, Konyaks is also Water Animal,” however, the majority of the Naga of the Nagaland would perhaps not raise any objection to the formation of a separate ‘EASTERN NAGALAND STATE’ carved out of Nagaland: the Authority of assenting and dissenting lies with the Union Government.
The issues mentioned above are complicated and not easily settled; it has taken the Naga a long time to come to such a pass and it needs Great Souls, Time and magnanimity for the solutions of the complicated problems; but Great Souls are as rare as Halley’s Comet these days! May God help!
Part –III.
II. Kuki Migration to Manipur and intrusion into Naga Hills.
People usually migrate from lands of difficulty to lands of plenty; migration of People from place to place has always created difficulties between the old and the new populations.
Prior to the First World War, in the last decades of the 18th century and during the first quarter of the 19th Century, the Kukis under pressure from the Burmese in the south began to migrate north into Manipur and intrude into Naga Hills.
They did not settle in the fertile Manipur valley of the Meitei with much stronger Army than the martial Kukis who were at best equipped only with primitive Muzzle Loading Guns and Guns made out of dried hardened Buffalo Skins! The migrating Kukis overcame quite some Rongmei Villages in the hills. The Kukis pressed the Rongmeis season after season. This seeded the conflict between the Kuki and the Rongmei Naga communities in Manipur.
At this time there arose Jadoanang, a returnee of the Manipur Labour Corps to Europe and who took the leadership of the Rongmeis. With a few Magic Tricks learned while abroad, Jadoanang claimed himself the Mesiah of the superstitious Rongmeis and talked of driving out all foreign rulers and to introduce new dispensation principally against the Kukis.
There arose great social unrest among the Rongmeis; and Jadoanang introduced new practices of worship not known indigenous.
Jadoanang made secret programs to eliminate all the Kukis from the Rongmei areas; this caused a lot of fear in the Kukis and some of them started to flee from the hill Villages to Imphal valley for security.
The Government sought to arrest Jadoanang for the social unrest. He fled to Cachar from where he was brought to Manipur and charged for inciting mob lynching and Murder of four Manipuris Traders in his village of Kambirong and was hanged in 1930.
The Kukis did not like to be drafted for the Labour Corps from Manipur and when the Raja’s Sarkar sought to contribute a second lot of Labour Corps, all the Kuki Chiefs met at Jampi on 17/03/1917 and raised rebellion for 3 years till the winter of 1919 known as the Kuki Rebellion of Manipur.
It was put down ultimately and 10 of the principal Kuki Chiefs were exiled to Pasighat in North East Frontier Agency and pardoned years after.
With the colonial Government’s tacit understanding, some 10 Kuki Villages, some jointly with Zeliangs: Tening, Paona, Tesangki, Kandung, Chamcha, Tolbung, Thenjol, Jolpi and Holkang in Naga Hill adjoining the North Kachar Area as a Buffer Zone to stop the Angami’s restless intrusion to the Company’s Territory of North Kachar in Assam.
Lenjang Kuki’s elder brother Lhoukhosei was the Mouzadar/ Hd GB of Henima/Tening for collection of House Tax and after him in 1908 Lenjang was made the Dobashi, later Hd. DB in 1926 till his retirement in 1946.
It was reported to the DC Kohima that Seirhima Village lies in abandonment and the DC askedNeisier [Niser] of Khonoma to go to the Area and see whether the Village is actually abandoned or not.
Nisier reported back to the DC that the Village is completely abandoned and vacant, and the other Chakhroma Villages have no objection in populating it again.
The Village is to be known as Seirhima and the boundary of it was set on the original Seirhima Village.
Seirhima-Kuki Village was perhaps one of the first Christian Villages in the Naga Hills! A small group of first Christian Angamis [NiserMeruno, of Khonoma, Sieliezhü and Kumbho of Kohima] Villages and a few other early Christians helped construct a small first Christian Church Hut of Thatch in one Week in the Village.
III. Kuki Settlement in South eastern Naga Hills.
Part of the Kuki Migration to Manipur from Burma penetrated into Naga Hills through the controversial contested South East corner of the Naga Hills, known as ‘Cross Hatch Area’ North East of Somra Tract, now Puchuri Area and caused trouble with the indigenous inhabitants.
The Government decided to push the Kukis back to Burma and did so to the then “recent Kuki Emigrants” but a few small Kuki Villages like Kangjang, Akhen were there before also and allowed to stay. These few “Old Kukis” Villages were allowed to stay but the other “Resent Kukis” were all pushed back to Somra Tract of Burma.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Naga Tribes of Nagaland is that every Tribe has a Territory of its own and the people of one Tribe do not migrates to other territory without the consent of the original Tribe!
People do not migrate carrying their land to other places but the Naga of Nagaland doesn’t accept emigration of people from other States, be he or she a Naga or not, into the State of Nagaland without the emigrants sharing their land with Nagaland.
This is a strong traditional political stand of the Naga of Nagaland State; its violation is taken a grave violation of the Traditional Customary practice unacceptable in the Naga custom.
From time immemorial, primal Forest lands were traditionally regarded as belonging to the Tribe nearest it, to the Village, to its Thinuo/ Khel, the Clan and the Family in descending order that actually owns the Land. The Government does not own Land in Nagaland. Every Tribe, Village, Khel and Clan respectively has the full authority over its traditional territory.
The colonial Government from the beginning respected this Land holding System of the Naga Hill Tribes and enacted Jhumland Act of Naga Hills that prevents the transfer of land from one Village to another, even within the tribe. The Right in the Village is rooted in the indigenous Membership of the Village of the Territory.
The colonial Government’s acceptance of this Naga Tribal Land Holding System during their administration affected the paucity of ‘conflict over Tribal Jurisdictions’ in the Naga Hills.
The inviolable Land holding System of the Naga of Nagaland was evolved naturally over time immemorial in the life of the People.
The Colonial Government rarely occupied land it needed for Government purposes but never appropriated the area it has not compensated and seized land only over War.
[The present famous WWII Memorial Cemetery at Kohima is the only Area the Colonial Power seized from Tsütuonuomia Khel of Kohima Village, for joining the Khonoma Siege of the Colonial Post at Kohima in the 1879]
(To be continued..)
Thepfulhouvi Solo.

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