KOHIMA, Jan 11, 2018: A disappointingly very low turn-out marked the observance of the first “Naga Day” celebration held at Khuochiezie (Kohima Local Ground) here on Wednesday under the aegis of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR).
The highlight of the day was the declaration by the delegates to affirm and uphold the Naga Hills Memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929 by the Naga Club on behalf of the Naga people. The event held under the theme “Nagas Without Borders” was hosted by the Angami Public Organisation (APO). More than 15 speakers delivered speeches harping on oneness and togetherness.
Speaking on “Why Naga Day?”, peace activist, Niketu Iralu, said it was a day that took Nagas back to what had happened 89 years ago, to assess the distance Nagas had covered and what was achieved.
He said many may not be thankful to the pioneers in 1929 who, by their declaration woke up the Nagas to go on long journey and because of whom today, Nagas have reached this far.
Iralu said time has come to reject the errors of hate, fears and selfishness of the past and take Naga society forward. He said Nagas must appreciate and thank one another for what was achieved and also asked them to stop blaming each other for what was not achieved as the blame game only weakened unity.
Niketu urged upon Naga people to lift each other up to do what was good for common goal instead of pulling down one another. “By making others great no one becomes smaller,” Iralu said.
In his address on “Calling Home”, FNR convener, Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, said the soul of Naga history was alive and “Naga Day” was a testament that Nagas have victoriously emerged from the storms of the past as tragedies have taught Nagas to be a better and fit people.
He said the day was like a great piece of art that was handed to the Nagas, a unique kaleidoscope of socio-cultural art, a collective and constructive art, created by the brushes of many painters.
Stating that “Naga Day” was to reaffirm the past, Rev. Aier said it was also a day to consolidates a culture of belonging and would continue to spread influences that Nagas were without borders.
Dr. Aier asserted that Nagas today wanted to make a resolute shift from the myth of a timeless and unchanging past towards a right to dignity and an unsealed identity that was not at the expense of others. “Naga Day is a paradigm shift from our perpetual mindset of clinging on and looking backwards,” FNR convenor said.
Nagaland Joint Christian Forum (NJCF) president and NBCC general secretary, Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho, in his address on “Celebrating Oneness”, said Nagas were a big family and the bigness transcended the demarcation of the border lines.
He said over the years in Naga struggle, Nagas have, however, become selfish in trying to build and emerge in the smaller world, fencing oneself from common brotherhood rather than extending hands to lift up the weak and the suffering who cry for understanding and recognition. “The gathering today must kill this spirit only then true celebration will emerge in full bloom,” he said.
He suggested three points needed for the celebration — to create positive history for tomorrow by going back to the past glory of oneness and come out strong by asserting that unity was a must for true celebration of oneness to take place in one’s mind.
Naga Club chairman, Krurovi Peseyie, in his address recalled the first Naga Political representation submitted to Simon Commission on January 10, 1929 and said the formation of Naga Platform acted as the political platform. He said it was a wonder how the idea of forming a common platform those days was conceptualized. Peseyie, however, said that Almighty God had been with the Nagas despite Nagas backwardness and ignorance of His existence and all those events happened for good as designed by God.
Peseyie said when Naga Club was informed about the visit of Simon Commission from British Parliament, Naga Club had entrusted Ruzhükhrie Angami to draft a memorandum. Accordingly, he said Angami Ruzhükhrie efficiently drafted, which contained wisdom, vision and political ingredients. He also asserted that time has come to erase hatred and selfishness with the ink of goodwill.
Former president of United Naga Council (UNC), L Adani, said Naga birth land was placed in different countries and states, different administrative rules and systems. He said the once independent and isolated Nagas over the years of struggle for the historical rights have been labelled as ethnocentric and exclusivist by others.
Adani advocated that tribes and regions should not be the cause of the division but allow the enlighten spirit to find the collective belongingness in the many tribes and regions that Nagas were.
FNR member Dr. P. Ngulie, Athikho Liriite, Shwisho Lorin, Jawang Sumpa, Dr. Chingmak Chang, Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa, Athong Makury, Dr. Akum Longchari, Theyiesinuo Keditsu also spoke on the occasion.
Nagaland Chamber Choir, Naga Choir, Pfuchazhunuo, Eastern Naga team, Tali Angh, Nagageneous, Angam Khong, Alobo Naga and Tetseo sisters, Featherheads and others presented songs on the occasion.
Earlier, tribal warriors from Konyak tribe opened the event by beating of “Kong”, gun-firing followed by songs by the Naga choir.
Host of the event, APO president, Dr. Vilhousa Seleyi, delivered welcome address while Rev. Y Chingang Konyak gave invocation.
Source: Nagaland Post