In a compelling address at the 51st Biennial General Conference of All Sumi Students’ Union (SKK), MLA Achumbemo Kinkon emphasized the importance of breaking free from tribal confines and embracing change to propel the Sumi community forward. The conference, held at Multipurpose Hall, Zunheboto Town, echoed Kikon’s call for unity and intellectual transformation under the theme ‘Breaking Barriers.’
Kikon stated that Sumis were one tribe that proudly proclaims themselves as Sumi, which is one inherent quality in them. According to Kikon, this was possible because Sumis have courage and are brave. “But you’ll be prouder to say you’re a Sumi Naga. That completes the statement, and you’ll be more proud of it,” he added.
He acknowledged that Naga society today is confronted with many issues, and, therefore, he asked the students, the hohos, and the civil society leaders, “How do we start addressing these issues?” According to Kikon, it begins with the way we introduce ourselves.
“I am a Sumi. I am a Sumi Naga. I am a Lotha. I am a Lotha Naga. How we introduce ourselves will help us understand who we are,” said Kikon.
Warning against the repercussions of confining oneself to a limited scope, Kikon said, “If we only confine ourselves to our village, our range, and our tribe alone, we will be left behind.” Kikon passionately advocated for the Sumi community to march and sail in unison with the broader Naga community.
“You’re at the forefront leading the Naga people,” he told the conference. “Leading the Naga people means inclusivity, not exclusivity – not by a particular tribe; not by a particular geographical area but for the entire Nagas,” he added. He challenged the conference, asking whether they can play a role in bringing the Nagas together again.
Land of ‘intellectual’ warriors
Directing his attention to the realm of education, Kikon acknowledged Sumis as warriors, drawing attention to Zunheboto’s moniker as the “Land of Warriors.” He challenged the community to transform traditional spear and dao warriors into intellectual warriors, reflecting the evolving needs of society.
In a cautionary tale, Kikon drew parallels between the fate of Nokia and the potential consequences of missing out on change. “From a spear-dao warrior, you have to change it into an intellectual warrior. What happened to Nokia will happen to our society. We must ask, is the intellectual group lessening? Is it in a downturn?”
Turning the spotlight on education in Zunheboto, Kinkon addressed concerns about the high dropout rates and lower enrollment in Zunheboto prompting the conference to reflect on its ability to keep pace with the times. He challenged the gathering to identify and overcome obstacles hindering Sumi progress, asserting that anything impeding progress must be discovered.
Reinventing Naga patriotism
Kikon, asserting that Naga nationalism is a core part of life, asked how to reinvent and redefine the Naga National movement. “Let’s reinvent our Naga patriotism,” he said, adding that hard work, honesty, inclusivity, and not exclusivity, along with regarding each other as one Naga community, should be how we reinvent ourselves.
Kikon challenged the conference attendees to discover and address factors preventing progress, leaving them with a resonant reminder, “There is no free lunch.”
Rahul Bhanudas Mali, IAS Deputy Commissioner Zunheboto, delivered the welcome speech where he encouraged the students to stay away from drugs, alcohol and rather focus in developing oneself for the society. Mali also thanked the SKK for helping in maintaining peace during the State Assembly election and hoped that same cooperation will be extended by them during the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
The three-day 51st Biennial General Conference of All Sumi Students Union (SKK) commenced with Kikon as the guest of honor.
The event began with an invocation by Reverend Inakhu Sumi, Pastor of Zunheboto Town Sumi Baptist Church. The opening song was performed by Zunheboto Range Students’ Union and chaired by Anato Yeptho. The welcome address was delivered by Shihoto Jimo, Convenor of the Local Organizing Committee. The introduction was pronounced by Hukaito H Zhimomi, Vice President of SKK. Meanwhile, Hekato Achumi gave his secretary’s report, followed by the benediction delivered by Enos Kiba, Pastor of Shena New Baptist Church.