· We do not have a single true pan-Naga Organization, CM Rio laments
· NLA passed six resolutions since 1964 for the unification of all Naga inhabited areas
· Nagas need new awakening to stoke the flame of Naga nationhood, patriotism, and oneness
· Need to clear the misconception that there are no Nagas in Tirap, Changlang and Longding
· Society is strongest when people uphold the equality of all people including women
Mokokchung, October 29 (MTNews): Speaking under the theme “Call to Oneness”, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio lamented how the division that began in the Naga society during the 1960s has become ‘unabated’ today. He said this while speaking as the special guest at the Platinum Jubilee of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) at Naga Solidarity Park, Kohima on Saturday.
Recollecting the history of the Naga movement and how NSF came into existence, Chief Minister Rio regretted that as of today, “We do not even have a single true pan-Naga organization, be it a civil society, a tribal body or a student organization.”
The Chief Minister further pointed out that tribalism is raising its ugly head in the Naga society and that many well-intended initiatives of the government and even law and order situations are often viewed and interpreted on tribal lines. Therefore, he said, the prime need of the Naga society at the moment is oneness, unity and harmony.
He also narrated how the Nagaland Legislative Assembly had already passed six resolutions starting from 1964 for the unification of all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella.
Further, recalling the formation of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), an opposition-less Government, Rio said that nothing was able to bring the elected representatives together except the agenda of the Naga political issue to demand for a solution and in the pursuit of Naga unity and oneness.
“Nagas need new awakening and concerted efforts to stoke the flame of Naga nationhood, patriotism, and oneness,” he stated.
He also reminded that “NSF was set up not just for student-related activities but to also preserve our rich identity, culture, customs and heritage.”
Stressing on the values of preserving cultures and customs, he reminded how the Government of India has recognized the “unique history of Nagas” although the Naga Movement has not found its conclusion and urged the youths to be “alert and forge ahead for unity and oneness.”
In conclusion, he hoped that the NSF would continue to remain strong and carry on its legacy of serving and unifying the Naga people even in the coming years as it had done for the past 75 years.
Speaking as the Guest of Honor, Lowangcha Wanglat, former Arunachal Home & Finance Minister said that NSF has produced outstanding people from all walks of life and hoped that it continued to play its exceptional role for the state and the country.
“Now is the time for NSF to walk the talk for geopolitical issues of the North East,” he said, and highlighted the need to clear the misconception that there are no Nagas in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
There is a need to reflect on and correct past mistakes, he said, and believed that the relationship between the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh and the Nagas of Nagaland can be one of the defining moments in Naga history. He further said that the unity among the Nagas everywhere is rooted in the values that they share.
Wanglat also said that Nagas are defined by countless dialects and customs and that they may have different histories and different dialects but they see a reflection of each other and asserted that “Nagas will always be Nagas.”
He further went on to state that a society is strongest when people uphold the equality of all people including women and girl children and strongly opined that women and girls must be treated equally and must have all the opportunity they deserve.
“Naga women have always been on the frontline working and helping in the upliftment of the common people. Communities are wealthier when young women are educated; therefore, there should be equality and respect for the dignity of women,” he said.
For a society to progress, people have to do away with the traditional, dogmatic laws, he said, and noted that there is a rise in poverty in the North East that needs to be resolved.
He concluded by saying that the NSF has an important role to play in empowering youths because they will ultimately help in breaking away from the stereotypes and assumptions of old traditions.
There will be many challenges ahead, but despite their imperfections, he believed the Naga people will band together in unity.
The event was attended by representatives from various North East student organizations, including All Assam Students’ Union, Khasi Students’ Union, and North East Students’ Organization, which is led by Dr. Samujjal Bhattacharjya.
K Temjen Jamir, Convenor of the Planning Committee, delivered a brief speech on “75 Years of NSF – Setting the Context,” while Kegwayhun Tep, President of NSF, delivered the welcome address.