Post Mortem

Naga Plebiscite Day speech by Senka Ao (vice president, NNC/FGN)

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/15/2019 11:36:19 AM IST

 My dear Naga brothers and sisters,

I greet you all in the name of our Almighty God. Today is a historic day for the Naga people for it was on this day in 1951 that the Nagas under the aegis of the Naga National Council boldly stated, openly expressed and exhibited to the world the desire and aspiration of the Naga people to live as a free and sovereign nation; made a solemn and irrevocable pledge of the desire and the right to determine our own future, popularly known as the PLEBISCITE of May 16, 1951. A remarkable feature of the PLEBISCITE was the overwhelming 99.9% in favour of Naga Independence which today stands as a testimony of the unity of the Nagas and the Nagas’ affirmation of the Memorandum to the Simon Commission of 1929 and the declaration of Naga Independence on 14th August, 1947. It conveys a strong twin-message: the spirit and aspirations of the Naga people and the resentment against the forceful occupation by India and the territorial division of the Naga inhabited areas without the knowledge and consent of our people. We celebrate this historic day to contemplate as to why we have a sense of pride and think ourselves fortunate to be Nagas and also to rededicate ourselves to pursue the Naga National Cause with renewed vigour and vitality.

Nagas from the very beginning have always been fierce lovers of equality and freedom. Our ancestors believed that equality and freedom are unquestionable values and principles by which people should live by and live for. Each village was a sovereign republic and enjoyed unquestionable freedom and no matter how powerful a village was, it did not have the intention or desire to conquer other villages,threaten other villages into submission or to rule or dominate over other villages. 

We lack even the colonial-imperial vocabularies like “submission” or “surrender”. It is no doubt true that powerful or mother villages were recognised in terms of certain nominal tax or tribute, however, the practice was more of recognition either of their political leadership or for customary roles rather than surrender of their autonomy. The autonomy and freedom of any Naga village was non-negotiable and inalienable.

The commemoration of the Plebiscite Day gives an opportunity for our people to ponder on our foundational and fundamental belief and principle, the legitimate right of the Nagas to choose our own destiny and also bring to the attention of the world that the Nagas still continue to suffer against her will in the imperialistic hands of occupational forces, viz., India and Myanmar.

Modern civilization with its values, including democratic values have unfortunately till date failed to truly educate these occupational forces that no people group, big or small, can be forced to live under the domination of another against her desire. In spite of our unfulfilled dream and aspiration to live as a free nation, we still remain proud and continue to live with dignity because on this day, about Seven Decades ago, the Naga people boldly stood up to express our resentment against the dehumanizing practice of imperialism.

Let this occasion remind us that we are a group of people resolutely determined and committed to live as free people, free to be who we are and who we want to be. Let us all remember that a great event in our history took place on this day, where the citizens of Nagaland, from the mountain tops to the valleys, courageously registered themselves to live as a free and independent nation. The Naga Plebiscite of 16th

May, 1951 is a pillar on which our rights and aspirations are embedded, a foundational pillar which cannot be undone and which will not perish so long as heaven and earth exist.

May the Almighty God who guided our people in the past and gave us courage to so boldly declare to the world that we are a free and sovereign nation continue to guide our path and instill the same desire in each one of us today as we celebrate and commemorate the Naga Plebiscite Day.


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