By Oken Jeet Sandham
Citizens took up arms for certain causes and goals. History has shown us many great freedom fighters who took up arms to liberate from the occupational forces. Great leaders of India like Mahatama Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, etc. fought vigorously against the British and many of them were put behind the bars for fighting against them (British occupational forces).
All Indians had a common “dream” and that was a “Free India.” Every one of them fought against the British Raj in one way or the other to end the British imperialism in India. After a century of revolutions, struggle, blood shedding, battles and sacrifices, India finally achieved independence on August 15, 1947.
But the country lost many men and women who were filled with undaunted courage and spirit of patriotism. Today, they are known as freedom fighters because they sacrificed their lives for their motherland. There are endless number of men and women other than the above list who daringly fought for India’s freedom.
Similarly many leaders in the region including Bir Tikendrajit, Thangal General, Rani Gaidinliu, Haipo Jodonang, Gopinath Bordoloi, Piyoli Phukan, Phulguri Dhewa, Maniram Dewan, etc. too joined fighting against the British Raj. Many of them were hanged to death for revolting against the British administration, while many had to languish in various jails in India. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru when he became PM of free India ordered Rani Gaidinliu’s release from Tura jail on October 10, 1947.
Unfortunately, the British left this Indian sub-continent without settling many political issues and the Naga issue was one of it. This unresolved Naga political issue has been dragged on and on till today. Talks are going on between the representatives of the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India (GOI), while ceasefires are maintained with other groups—NSCN/GPRN (K), GPRN/NSCN.
In spite of all these issues, the Nagas under the banner of NNC had boldly declared their “Independence” on August 14, 1947. The Naga leaders of the NNC had done this after they failed to convince Indian leaders about the Nagas’s wanting to live as a free Nation. Whether one likes it or not, the decision of NNC leaders at that point of time in declaring the “Naga Independence” on August 14, 1947 became “historic and landmark.” Till today, various Naga groups are observing the “Naga Independence Day” with great pride and honor. And the Government of India or for that matter the State Government of Nagaland has not prevented them so far from observing the “Naga Independence Day” in various Naga places.
One should also respect the understanding of the leaders of the Government of India towards Naga people and truly the country’s democracy has the liberal attitudes towards others.
Wanting freedom is not a crime. There is dignity in fighting for freedom and there is no any other dignified life other than being a freedom fighter. Here we have many leaders who are fighting to liberate from the so-called “Indian occupational forces” and this has been succinctly justified from the pages of history.
Regrettably, those who took up arms to liberate from the so-called “occupational forces” turned their guns against themselves or fraternal groups. They indulged in many activities including extortions, kidnappings, harassments, etc. of their own citizens. Because of all these factors, the spirit of “nationalism” has vanished, besides overground politicians started meshing up the whole issues for their petty and narrow political mileage, compounding the process. Fear psychosis is prevalent and citizens are afraid to speak up the truth. And so long this fear exists, reality cannot be measured.
As far as the current status of the Naga political negotiation is concerned, solution to the extremely complicated Naga issue might come in anytime. The Government of India through its various agencies who are closely or directly involved in the process have already expressed “optimism” that solution to Naga issue could be found by the end of the year (2011). The incumbent interlocutor RS Pandey was, somehow, cautious on any time-bound for the Naga solution.
The Government of India has, however, indicated that to realize this “dream (solution to Naga issue by the end of the year),” the Naga people (read civil societies) needed to do a lot of homework. Regrettably, sharp division in the powerful NSCN led by SS Khaplang has further compounded in the labyrinth of the Naga goal. The good part is the Government of India has tactfully announced that the ceasefire with the undivided NSCN (K) would be applied to the two groups, thus virtually preventing them from clashing each other.
Despite New Delhi’s statement of settling the Naga issue by year end and NSCN (IM) General Secretary Th Muivah’s informing to the media upon their arrival at Dimapur airport on August 13 about the possibility of solution of Naga issue in shortest possible time, there is still confusion in the minds of the people as the contents of the talks are still kept in the “dark.” Of course, New Delhi said the other groups in ceasefires would be incorporated while State Government of Nagaland would also be fully in picture before striking into any final deal.
It seems things are still not really clear, though Naga leaders today appear to be “tolerant enough.” It’s a sign of maturity indeed as they cannot take any decision without seeing pros and cons, because the issue is seriously interlinked with many complicated issues.
If the words of the leaders of the Government of India are taken into account, would the “2011 Naga Independence Day” be the last of Naga people to “celebrate?”