Post Mortem

August 14 – The Importance of History

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/24/2019 12:29:14 PM IST

 The presence of today’s Nagas in such impressive strength here this morningreveals your conviction as well as your concern and even anxietiesabout the present and what may lie ahead. 

I want to thank President of Naga Students Federation Ninoto Awomi and his colleagues for inviting me to be here with you today. The Naga Solidarity Park created by NSF is an enduring symbol for keeping the emerging Naga family together.  By its representative composition and existence NSF plays a natural, powerful role in nurturing the fragile struggling family.Prompted by a sense of responsibility I cannot ignore I decided to say YES to your invitation as one from my departing generation to say as honestly as I can what August 14 has meant to the Naga people.  What I want to say today is that the facts of our history fully justify us to be at peace and confident about the stand the Nagas have taken thus far. My talk is about understanding the facts and learning to care for the aspirations of others also in order to survive and progress together, given the ground realities of our changing region.Difficult to work out,but no other way.

While preparing for this talk I recalled what Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Governor PB Acharya said while inaugurating the Hornbill Festival on December 1, 2014 in Kisama; and Modi’s intense examination and assessment of what he was seeing in the people thronged in front of him.  The Governor welcomed the PM to Nagaland with a solemn KUKNALIM!  The Prime Minister ended his fervent oration saying Kuknalim three times to the capacity audience.  What did the audience think?

To me Modi was sizing up the people and trying to understand the part Kuknalim has played in shaping them and their history thus far.  His three Kuknalims to the Naga public on his first visit to Nagaland, following the Governor’s,showed their thinking. 

I believe most Nagas have come to believe the Naga journey into the modern world, meaning the struggle, is right and important for the Nagas.But many of the present generation are now asking difficult, honest questions about it. You know this crisis better than I do.They are rightly confused and plainly angry it has become so divided and destructive to itself and the people.  Questioning the journey is becoming stronger than appreciation for it.  The cynicism and outrage in the anger must not be ignored or treated lightly, especially by the leaders of the different factions.  

Is something wrong with the Naga journey?  Or have compulsions and obsessions of personal or tribal agendas of the leaders damaged the unity, mutual trust and goodwill needed for the tough journey? If the journey or the struggle was and is right, as I believe it is, are we  Nagas in danger of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”as an English saying puts it? Are we forgetting the baby?

An old African proverb says:  “He, who wakes me up in the middle of the night to go on a long journey, I will thank him only after I have travelled very far.”

August 14 which produced Kuknalim is about the aspiration of the Naga people.  It is about their identity theirhistory entitled them to claim and nurture.  I believe Modi went out of his way to understand it while he was our distinguished guest in Kohima.  

NSF is doing the right thing to get the present generation to understand our history afresh after all theconfusion the internal conflicts within the Naga family have created. You know the demanding responsibility of the attempt you are making.  

George Orwell a British police officer of the Empire in Burma and acute observer of what was happening wrote, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their understanding of their history”. Are we also doing the obliterating?

Now the facts of our history as I have understood them, including August 14. Because of our homeland’s location very far away from history’s great land and sea trade routes, for centuries the Nagas remained unseen and unheard of by the outside world. No one was interested in us.We also showed no interest in anyone.

Peoples and nations form and grow by responding to the challenges that changes in the world bring to them.   The quality of a society is determined by the quality of the people’s response to the challenges. Weshould knowour people’s response to the changing world produced the Naga journey or struggle.

(To be Concluded)

Niketu Iralu 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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