The news of a fire accident in Chiu village under Lahe Township in the Naga Self-Administered Zone (NSAZ) of Myanmar on February 2 last was heartbreaking. The village, locally called Solo, is a Khiamniungan Naga village located adjacent to Noklak district on the Burmese side of the Indo-Myanmar border. At least 72 houses in the village were completely razed down in the fire accident caused by a faulty solar panel. The poor villagers helplessly looked on as the fire devoured their humble homes.
In the aftermath of the fire accident, many Nagas from Naga Land – both on the east as well as the west of the Indo-Myanmar border – extended support and solidarity to the victims of the unfortunate fire accident. Various organizations including the church came forward to contribute and send relief materials to the village. The Mokokchung Town Baptist Church also responded and contributed emergency and essential aid by undertaking crowdfunding to help the people who lost their homes and livelihoods. In fact, a relief team from the church travelled all the way to the village across the border with the relief materials. The Global Naga Forum is the latest organization that travelled to Chiu village with relief materials after the fire accident. The feeling of oneness and kinship exhibited by Nagas on both sides of the Indo-Myanmar border in the wake of the Chiu fire accident lifted one’s heart.
Those of us who happen to be on the west of the international border by chance have much to do for our brethren on the other side of the line. The Chiu fire incident, as unfortunate as it is, reminds us that we are one and that the spirit of kinship and camaraderie should not be allowed to wane out. We must refuse and resist. The modern geopolitical dynamics and the system of nation-states and the emergence of nationalities along with it should not be allowed to divide humanity, let alone divide a family.