To mark the 8th Death anniversary of Isak Chishi Swu, a memorial talk was organized under the initiative of Green Club Zunheboto at Multipurpose hall Zunheboto. In his introductory remark, Tavinto K Sumi, President (GCZ) said that Asu Isak’s death anniversary should be celebrated by the Nagas and not by Sumis alone and that for all the sacrifices and dedication for the nation, this is not how Sumis in particular and Nagas in general should repay him back by even forgetting to observe his death anniversary.

Zunheboto Isak Swu
The 8th death anniversary of Isak Chishi Swu was held on 28 June 2024 at the Multipurpose Hall in Zunheboto, organized by the Green Club Zunheboto.

He said that Sumi elders need to take up this initiative and ensure that it is observed by the Nagas as a whole in the coming years. He further said that it is about time Sumi wake up from the sleep and think about making his graveyard through trust since it has already been 8 years without much progress on his graveyard.

In the first episode of the memorial talk, Ino Jacob Chishi Swu and Ino Qhevihe Chishi Swu, member, Collective Leadership NSCN/GPRN were the speakers.

The speakers recollected the early days and adult days of Asu Isak. Even as a child, Asu Isak was a good craftsman, a good sportsman and peace loving person. The speakers said that Asu Isak passed class 6 from Satakha and studied at Government High School Kohima till class 10. He then went to Shillong for further studies and joined Naga Youth Club during his college days, represented Nagas at Assam Sport Tournament and even broke a record in high jump.

One speaker said that as a child, when Asu Kushe, father of Asu Isak brought him to Kohima, some people asked Asu Kushe whether they can “buy” Asu Isak as he seemed such a lovely child.

Ino Qhevihe Chishi Swu also talked about what made Asu Isak to serve the nation, about his appointment as foreign secretary and how he was able to establish contacts with the outside world. The harvest of the hard labor of Asu Isak can be reaped by the Nagas only if the Nagas connect with God and work hard, he said.

Ino Jacob also urged the gathering to continue to pray for the Sumi people to become one while Ino Qhevihe urged the youths to voice out and stand for Sumis and that Asu Isak’s 57 years of  service to the nation should never go in vain.

In his thanksgiving note, Ino Ikato Chishi Swu, the eldest son of Asu Isak, talked about the three vision of Asu Isak – Nagaland for Christ, Nagaland will spread the word of God, and Nagaland will be the peace centre. He further said that his father always said that the basic principle of life is to do the will of God.

The memorial talk was moderated by L Holuto Ayemi and started with a moment of silence in remembrance of Asu Isak Chishi Swu. Rev. Inakhu Sumi, Pastor ZTSBC prayed for Asu Isak Chishi Swu’s family with special presentations from Hope Messengers and GHQ Naga Army. Welcome note was delivered by Ino Shikaho N Achumi, CAO, Sumi Region NSCN/GPRN, invocation was done by Associate pastor (S) SBCZ Ino Kabo Achumi while the benediction was pronounced by Ino Hokaito V Achumi, Sumi Region Pastor NSCN/GPRN. Around 500 people attended the memorial talk.

The organizers further extended gratitude to Photography Club Zunheboto as photo and videography partner for the event and Infinity Events for the stage decorations and to everyone who responded to the invite and attended the memorial talk of Asu Isak Chishi Swu.

Why Green Club Zunheboto initiated to observe Lt Isak Chishi’s death anniversary

Tavinto K Sumi, President of the Green Club Zunheboto (GCZ), emphasized the importance of remembering Isak Chishi Swu’s contributions and sacrifices during a conversation with Mokokchung Times on the occasion of Swu’s 8th death anniversary.

“Grandfather Isak did not know us personally, yet he dedicated his life to the people. Now that he is no longer with us, it is our responsibility to ensure that his hard work and sacrifices are not forgotten. If we forget him, international bodies like the UNPO will also forget him. Then, all his hard work and sacrifices will go down the drain,” Sumi stated.

Sumi explained the GCZ’s motivations for commemorating Swu’s death anniversary. He noted that from the year Swu died (2016) until 2021, no formal observances were held on his death anniversary. In response, the Green Club initiated simple memorials, involving prayers and wreath-laying at Swu’s grave. In 2021, they held a small gathering to remind the community of Swu’s legacy.

“Our main motive was that Grandfather Isak should not be forgotten by the Sumis as well as the Nagas. Another reason why we went out was that his graveyard was not developed at all. There was just no progress. So, we thought that if the IM government is not going to make his graveyard, then the Sumis will. We had a discussion with his family, but they said the IM government is in the process, so we stopped. The third motive was to have a book about him. We decided we would approach Sumi scholars and researchers to write a book about him, but it seems the family has already engaged some families to write about him. So that was the discussion, and we came back.”

“In 2022, we went down and observed the death anniversary. The graveyard was almost the same. There was no progress. In 2023, it was organized by Sumi Aphuyemi Hoho, so we went down and decided that in 2024 we would hold it in Zunheboto to spread awareness. Now, it has become more like awareness. People are forgetting Grandfather Isak. So, to let people know, we organized the memorial talk. The memorial talk was given by Dr Hotokhu Chishi last year, and this year, our focus was the youth. Elders, some know about him, some don’t, but it is the youths who are not aware of his life and dedication.”

Sumi lamented that many in the Sumi Naga community were unaware of the significance of the day. “Many Sumi Nagas do not know today is the death anniversary of Grandfather Isak. If the Sumi people do not care about observing it, we cannot expect the Nagas to do so,” he remarked. He stressed the importance of educating the younger generation, saying, “If the elders do not teach the juniors the right path, they will go astray.”

When asked whether he believes their initiative will have an impact, he said, “I think it will have an impact. I would want the Sumi elders to take up this initiative next year and then take this forward. We started this because no one was starting; we decided to open the eyes of the people. When we started it was just a few of us but today we have about 500 people in attendance. So, we are hoping it will have a positive impact.”

Mokokchung Times

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