Post Mortem

Half truths, evasions and outright lies

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/13/2020 12:30:43 PM IST

 The article, “The Naga National Movement: Beginning and conclusion” by Z.K.Pahru Pou, (Nagaland Post:-12-3-20) seems to be nothing but another lame attempt to hijack the genesis of Naga Awareness and Naga Nationalism by Nagas alien to the State of Nagaland. Using a mixture of some facts, clumsy evasions and blatant lies, the author has tried to to establish that:-

(a) Haipou Jadonang and Gaidinliu started Naga Nationalism, that the former was hanged and the latter jailed for the Naga cause, and that they gain legitimacy because of their sacrifices and for halting the Kuki intrusion into their territory.

I agree that Jadonang asked the Zeliangrong people not to pay taxes to the British, but I cannot comment on the claim that he and Gaidinliu raised an army of 4000 to overthrow the British Raj and, presumably, to stop the Kuki intrusion, for I have never heard of it, nor come across any such record.

What is fact is that Jadonang was the founder of a religious cult which had nothing to do with Naga Nationalism; that he was hanged for murder, (for British Colonial Law, no matter how unjust, did not carry a sentence of death for evading taxes) and not for Naga Nationalism, as the author cunningly implies ; and that Gaidinliu was spared the death penalty because she was a minor (and, supposedly, pregnant), was jailed, but her sentence was later commuted to exile to the Naga Hills, Tuensang Area (something which the author has evaded).

That the “messianic” movement of Jadonang and Gaidinliu was the first people’s movement by any Naga group/tribe in Manipur is true; but that it served as a wake-up call for unity among the Naga ethnic group against the Kukis and British as “common enemies” is an outright lie. Any tribal friction between Nagas and Kukis was confined to the Naga and Kuki Tribes who bordered each other and did not affect the other Nagas or Kukis; furthermore, for the first time in our history, Naga tribes of then Naga Hills, lived in peace and security, free from headhunting, under British rule. 

Only the followers of the Heraka cult saw the British as enemies. And the claim that the founding of the Heraka cult was the seed which germinated into the Naga National Movement is so utterly ridiculous that I won’t waste any time on it.

(b) That the Nagas sent to France as the Labour Corps were led by a certain Raichumho, a Tangkhul from Manipur, that the Nagas were kept together thus fostering oneness and that he formed the Naga Club on his return, are lies so staggering in their shameless distortion of historical facts that one wonders if the author was in his right mind, was under the influence of some intoxicant or is just an outright habitual liar.

The 2,000 men of the 21st. Naga Labour Corps, consisting of 1,000 Sumis, 400 Lothas, 200 Aos, 200 Rengmas and 200 Changs and trans frontier tribes, were led by Mr. Kuhoi Zhimomi, of Sukhai Village with Mr. Hekiqhe Awomi, of Surumi Village, as his assistant. Whereas the 2,000 men of the 22nd. Manipur Labour Corps consisted of 750 Tangkhuls, 750 Kukis and 500 mixture of tribes from Mao-Senapati Areas led by interpreters like, Kanrei Shaiza, Porom Singh, Ruichumhao Rungsung, Teba Kurong and Thomsong Ngulhao and not by ‘Raichumho” alone, as the author claims. And I have not been able to unearth any evidence that the 21st. Naga Labour Corpsmen and the 22nd. Manipur Labour Corpsmen were ever stationed together in France or Belgium. The Naga Club was formed in October 1918, not by the ordinary Naga Labour Corpsmen, who were simple villagers, but by Dr. Krosa, of Khonoma Village, (father of the late Mr. J.B. Jasokie, former Chief Minister of Nagaland), who, as a Medical Officer, would have been exposed to the British Clubs and understood the purpose behind their formation. 

It was the Naga Club, formed by Dr. Krosa and his colleagues, which first fostered awareness of a common Naga Identity. There was never any Tangkhul involved in its formation or functioning. It is true that the Memorandum to the Simon Commission was submitted by members of the Naga Club, but present day Manipuri Nagas had nothing to do with the memorandum, whereas, the signature of Mr. Lengjang Kuki stands testament to the fact that rather than being enemies, Nagas and Kukis shared a common vision.

(c) The author is accurate when he states that Mr. A. Phizo’s vision gave birth to Naga Nationalism and that the future Indian Government would impose taxation and dietary controls were the major planks by which he got his message of Nationalism through to the Naga Villagers.

But the author evades the topic of the Naga Plebiscite of 1951 wherein Naga Tribal Leaders were canvassed for their support to Naga Independence from India. He totally ignores the fact that the Nagas and Kukis of present day Nagaland voted in favour of Independence, whereas the Manipuri Nagas were more interested in joining the Indian Union. This is witnessed by the Mao gate uprising of 1948, which was not an uprising against the Indian Government, but an uprising against the Maharaja of Manipur, to join the Union of India. Furthermore he fails to explain why Gaidinliu, who he claims founded Naga Nationalism, murdered 9 N.N.C. cadres who had been sent to enlist her support for the Naga Independence struggle, and why she was granted ministerial status till her death, by the Government of India.

There have been successive steps in the Naga search for and assertion of our identity. The formation of the Naga Club and its Memorandum of 1929 was when Nagas first asserted our Ethnic Identity. The formation of the N.N.C. and the Plebiscite of 1951 was when Nagas first asserted our Political Identity. The war that we waged for Independence from India was when we asserted our Military Prowess. The fires of our struggle for independence gave birth to the State of Nagaland, wherein, for the first time in Naga history, we had a recognised territory over which we ruled ourselves and our fellow Nagas. It is vital to understand that the State of Nagaland was carved out of the territories of all the Naga tribes who participated in the Plebiscite of 1951 and took part in the subsequent war, no more and no less. Whether Naga Tribes took part in each or some of these momentous events does not matter, for our story is still being written. What matters is the deliberate attempt, on the part of some Manipuri Nagas, to rewrite Naga History featuring themselves as the beginning of all things Naga and as the bearers of the burden of Naga Nationalism. Learn to acknowledge and accept the truth, for every miserable attempt of yours to rewrite history only widens the gulf between us and reinforces the impression that you are pathological liars.

 Kahuto Chishi Sumi

Akukau, Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range

Kahuto107@gmail.com

 

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