KNO bats for Kuki State

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IMPHAL, Sep 11: Categorically stating that the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) set its objective for Statehood with a view to ensuring due development for each and every member of the Kuki community in Manipur, the KNO has asserted that Statehood for the Kuki people is pitched in the historical ownership of their ancestral lands.
A statement issued by KNO president PS Haokip asserted that territory and identity are intrinsically linked to their indigenous identity. According to the Pooyas, the traditional literature of the Meitei people, Kuki dates back to 33 AD. Therefore, Kukis are indigenous people, and that ownership of ‘our ancestral’ lands is inalienable and incontrovertible.
The forthcoming year 2017 marks the first centenary of the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919 1 , also referred to as the Anglo-Kuki War by late Dr TS Gangte or the Kuki Rebellion by Col Shakespear.
“This centennial occasion is a testimony of our forefathers’ shared identity as Kukis, their noble sacrifice and tenacity to preserve people and territory against the mighty British imperial power.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate our shared heritage in a manner befitting our forebears’ sacrifice. Let us not dishonour those who lived and died as Kukis. A change in identity severs our blood ties with them, which is sacrilege. Such illustrious history at our disposal, if duly taken on board by our people, should secure our political rights and establish a desired future. It would also dispel any external threat”, PS Haokip said.
No Bills, three or four or five etc would possibly deprive Kukis of their lands. However, an alternative nomenclature, e.g. Zomi, which is of nascent origin (1980s) with credit to late Pu T Gougin, idealistic as the terminology may appear, presents inherent risks of providing credence to the allegations made by some Nagas and some Meiteis that “we are foreigners”.
Pu Gougin conceptualised Zomi as an umbrella terminology to unite Kuki, Chin and Mizo. If Zomi is to form a separate community represented by a section of people extracted from Kuki, Chin and Mizo, which it is, under the circumstance, it would tantamount to political suicide.
“It would also raise eyebrows over suspicion of ‘the foreign hand that don the red blanket’ at play, stoking the flames of nomenclature to create division within us”, continued the KNO president.
Enough evidence exists of this vile effort being fuelled and entertained by certain elements. A neighbour divided cannot be a good neighbour for any entity. Peaceful co-existence is a reality; it is the result of a people at peace within their group, which enables them to live in peace with others, too. Therefore, receptivity to divisive scheming might benefit the few, but would be potentially detrimental to the ethnic community and their immediate neighbours. Such an eventuality ought to be prevented at any cost.
Under no other nomenclature, other than Kuki, do we have a stake in history to claim territory on the basis of unquestionable indigenity.
“Therefore, despite our glorious heritage, being sensitive to the feelings of those resistant to Kuki, and in the interest of the public at large, at the outset of KNO’s inception, I proposed the terminology Zal’en-gam (freedom land), which is impartial by not referring to a specific nomenclature. However, for the sake of unity, with regard to the naming of our State, the KNO offers this privilege to the UPF”, it added.

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