Post Mortem

Who convened Naga people convention?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/24/2020 12:30:17 PM IST

 Almost everyone elderly Naga and all the 60 Members of the august Legislative Assembly of the State of Nagaland knows the NAGA PEOPLE CONVENTION [NPC] of 26 August 1957 brought the 16-Point  Agreement that brought the creation of the blessed State of Nagaland,  but less people knows how the NAGA PEOPLE CONVENTION originated. 

The NAGA PEOPLE CONVENTION was not in existence before it came into existence, and an Organization cannot call a meeting of the Organization before it came into existence.     

This thought occurred to me and while talking one day with Mr. Jasokie  Zinyü, a former Chief Minister of Nagaland, after he left active Politics, I asked him who called the NAGA PEOPLE CONVENTION AT KOHIMA.    

He told me the main points in the following words of how the historic Body first came into existence:  Jasokie Zinyü, a man enthusiastic and as bubbling as Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister today, left his Science study at Shillong’s S’t Edmunds College, to attend the funeral of his elder brother High School Teacher Zasinihu Zinyü, -a nicer man I have not known- died in Kohima in 1951 if my recollection is still with me. Jasokie did not go back to Shillong for his study and taught in the Government High School, now Rüzhükhrie Government High School Kohima for a very brief period before he joined the NNC as the Jt. Secretary, Information & Publicity. 

The ending of the tumultuous WW II was poignant to the civilized world and dramatically palpable to the people of Naga Hills particularly in the Capital Town of Kohima, charred and devastated beyond recognition as a result of perhaps the fiercest battles of WW II. 

The war leaved not only unimaginable material devastation of the land but also charred the attitude and views of the People: Everybody thought anew and looked for a new life. 

The need of new Agricultural Crops, of cultivation of Education and knowledge of the outside World, was felt in the Naga. 

The political climate of Indian sub-continent was fast changing, and in view of the vast political changes expected in the future life of the Naga whose loyalty to the British Administration proved invaluable in the success of the Allied Forces, in  stemming down of the flame of the Japanese conquest of the Southeast Asia and in consideration for the preservation of the Naga unique way of life, the last Deputy Commissioner  of the Naga Hills, Sir CR Pawsey, ICS, constituted an Administrative Council called Naga Hills Tribal Council [NHTC] for self Administration of the Naga by themselves in post Independent India. 

The latent political breeze of the Naga started to blow fondly over the mute mountains of the Naga Hills not very long time after the Japanese left Kohima Battle in 1944. 

In a meeting of Naga Hills Tribal Council at Wokha in 1946, the members decided to form a political Body of the Naga Hills called NAGA NATIONAL COUNCIL [NNC] and renamed the monthly KOHIMA TIMES as ‘THE NAGA NATION’ from the October Issue of 1946.

Jasokie worked as the Joint Secretary of Publicity & Information of the Naga National Council and he told me: 

“I knew about the workings of the NNC more than field worker Mr. [Such & Such, an old Field Worker of the NNC from Jotsoma], because I was the Jt. Secretary of the Council and knew all the discussions, decisions planning of the Council.” “You must have failings and Phizo also must have his: How did the differences between you and Phizo come up?” I asked him.  

Jasokie said: “It was not big thing: ‘I said, let us first become a little better economically, after that we would continue the movement’. 

Phizo said: ‘If we discontinue the movement now, the people will loose interest in it afterwards in the future, so we must continue the movement’. Phizo called a meeting of the Khonoma Villagers, Phizo was an accomplished Orathor, but I am not and most of the Villagers turned o his side. 

I was sitting in the midst of his Clansman and they were all deadly serious did not take me well. I was afraid of them and so I left the meeting and that was the last I saw him.  It is mainly on this issue that we parted Ways”, Jasokie said 

Theyiechüthie Sakhrie, Secretary NNC and Jasokie were the first persons in the NNC who “differed a little” with Zapuphizo, the President of NNC. Sashimeren Ao, at that time was the Development Commissioner Tribal Affairs in the Assam Secretariat Shillong; “Sashimeren came to Kohima and requested me to convene a Naga Meeting.” 

“Rather, You should make the Call”, Jasokie replied him. “After some time, Sashi again came and requested me to call the Meeting. And so I called the Meeting” Jasokie said. “Kepethau, [Sir]”, I said, “at that time if the Nagas of outside Nagaland were also invited to the Meeting, it would have been easy for those Naga Areas to have been included in the Naga Hills. Did you send Invitation to the Nagas of NEFA also?” the Writer enquired.

“Yes, I sent Invitations to all Nagas through Naga Officers working in the Areas. I sent the Invitations to Mhondamo Kithan, Aliba Imti, Officers working in Nefa”, Jasokie said. 

But Nagas from other States did not come and only Nagas of Naga Hills and Nagas of Mon-Tuensang Areas of NEFA attended the Meeting.

After Naga Hills District and Tuensang-Mon Area of NEFA [North East Frontier Area] together became a separate ‘Administrative Unit’ called NHTA [Naga Hills-Tuensang Area], the first Chief Minister P. Shilu sent personal envoy Minister Chiten Jamir, to enquire whether Nagas of Manipur would like to join Nagaland or not. 

Mr. M.L. Kampani, a great friend of Nagaland, was the Chief Commissioner of Manipur by then. He collected the Nagas of Manipur at Ukhrul and Chiten Jamir enquired whether they would like to join Nagaland or not. 

Manipur was then already a Princely State, different in political status from that a State and the Nagas gathered there replied they would prefer to remain in Manipur.

Nagas of Nagaland in its 9-Point Agreement in 1947 with Sir Akbar Hydari Governor of Assam kept the door open for Nagas of other Areas to join Nagaland, then in the 16-Point Agreement also implored the GoI to Integrate adjacent Naga Areas to Nagaland and even today the Assembly continues to pass Resolutions after resolutions asking Integration of Naga Areas with Nagaland. Nagaland Assembly has passed at least 4 Resolutions over the past more than half-Century to get Naga Areas of outside Nagaland into Nagaland. 

Patriotic Nagas of outside Nagaland have not raised even their little finger to voice for democratic Integration even once in their State Assemblies to get the Naga area integrated with Nagaland. 

Four times Tangkhul Nagas have even been Chief Minister of Manipur one after the other and all they said was that “not a square inch of Manipur will be disintegrated”! 

Instead of struggling to integrate all Naga areas with Nagaland, Muivah and his Tangkhul dominated NSCN Group is trying to control Nagaland State by political trickery.   I would not like to say more than this here today. 

Thepfulhouvi Solo

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