Naga Club foundation day observed at Kohima village

He said on the formation of the Naga Club, many people assume that the Naga Labor Corp that went to Europe in 1917 on their return at the end of World War 1 (1914-18) formed the Naga Club but that was not so.

Kohima: The Naga Club foundation day was observed today at Prasielie’s residence, P. Khel Kohima village.

Niketu Iralu spoke on the occasion as the resource person on the topic, ‘What the Naga struggle has achieved.’ With this, he said the topic sounded like a question at first, but it is not. It is an assertion of my conclusion or my assessment in answer to the question many, especially the younger generation of Nagas today are asking because they are disturb and insecure because of the society Naga struggle has previewed. 

What has the Naga struggle achieved? Has the Naga achieve anything after all the immense sacrifices? Unless we welcome these questions and answer them truthfully, the struggle though so important to us will gradually destroy us, I believe, said Iralu.

Those Naga leaders who stepped out and cooperated with the government of India and Prime Minister Pandit Nehru in creating the state of Nagaland, they were called traitors. They and the Naga who run the state political and administrative machinery financed by Delhi came to be called overground Nagas. Those who continued to struggle for Naga sovereignty were called underground Nagas, said Iralu.

Did the overground Nagas and those who started to vote in the election become anti-Naga? Did they stop being part of the Naga struggle? No they are not anti-naga struggle and they did not stop to be part of the Naga struggle. This is where I would like everyone to understand the possibility that is ahead of us, said Iralu.

He also said that those who continued to run the state find that all of them believe in the Naga struggle, love the Naga struggle and the Naga story. Nagas has become a people and a nation. I believe that is the greatest achievement of the Naga struggle, Iralu said.

Prasielie Pienyü delivering his greetings message greeted the gathering  on behalf of his Great Grandfather Lt. Rheichalie Pienyü’s Descendants. 

He said on the formation of the Naga Club, many people assume that the Naga Labor Corp that went to Europe in 1917 on their return at the end of World War 1 (1914-18) formed the Naga Club but that was not so. As told by great grandfather Rheichalie Pienyü (Peshkar, DC Office), the Naga Club was formed in 7th January, 1918 by some few like minded salaried people serving in DC’s office  Kohima comprising of Peshkar, Interpreter, Clerks, Potdar, Chaprasis, etc to work for the greater interest of the Naga people.  

The formation of the Naga Club was inspired by the European Club.  In those days they used to gather every evening to spend their leisure time feasting, discussing important issues, strategies for their government and never allowed non-whites to enter the club, it was under this impression that they (the Staffs of DC office) formed the Naga Club, not the Naga Labor Corps returnees who returned from Europe. 

Based on the Naga Club day on 7th January 1982, a public meeting was called by Peselie Suokhrie, President Naga Elders Forum and elected the new office bearers of the Naga Club. Naga Club’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated on 7th January, 1993 (Foundation Day) at the Naga Club building.

Naga Club foundation day

He also appreciated the Naga people who have come forward to defend and protect the true history of the Naga Club of which his great grandfather (Rheichalie Pienyü) played a role during its formation.  
He said his great grandfather was a mastermind and a signatory of the famous Naga Memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission. He was the longest serving President of the Naga Club from 1918 to 1942.

After the War the first batch of the Naga Labor Corps arrived from Europe in June 1918 and the second group arrived in October 1918. It is acknowledged that the returnees of the Naga Labor Corps also influenced the Naga Club and played an important part in the memorandum submitted to Simon, which was considered the Magna Carta of the Nagas.

Peselie Suokhrie was the last President of the Naga Elders Forum, The signatories of the memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission on 10 January 1929, mainly included the staffs of DC office, masters and three members (Returnees) of the Naga Labor Corps, Dr Khosa, Neikhriehu and Apamo Lotha. The memorandum was signed after 11 years of existence of the Naga Club, It is also indeed a privilege to see that out of the 20 signatories of the memorandum, 8 signatories were members’ of Kohima Village.

He also said the Naga Club belongs to you and me, it belongs to all the Nagas. Therefore it is the desire of the people and the descendants that should not distort the history of the Naga Club to suit their own interest but let historical fact remain as pure fact. 

He also informed the gathering that in order to resurrect the memories of their great grandfather, they have decided to construct a sort of memorial park on a hilltop at Phirtsakhie half way to Rüsoma Village. Kolachalie Seyie, president of Naga Club, said visionary forefathers like Rheichalie Pienyu and his fellow Naga pioneers founded the Naga Club 102 years ago on  January 7, 1918. The founders were some of the first Naga elders representing different tribes.  The British were the first ever foreign nation and power whose ruthless trespass into their homeland, the Nagas fiercely fought against to defend what was most important to them, their right of ownership of their homeland, their honor, and identity, as understood by them: some of the fiercest battles took place from 1832 -1880.  Then the British Government sought peace from the Nagas to end the lengthy wars. As such, a “no more fight agreement” was made in our Naga customary practice in our favor on 27 March at Mezoma in 1880.

However, this was unilaterally interpreted by the British as a small portion of western Nagas, known as Naga Hills District becoming a part of the eastern edges of British India empire thereby violating the said “no more fight agreement” It is important to point out that therefore it was the British who attempted to made the homeland of the Nagas parts of the India and Burma they had stealthily and illegally created simply by drawing the eastern boundary line of their Empire in South Asia without the consent of the Naga, the rightful owners of the land.  AS such, the Naga Club Nagaland submitted the historic memorandum to the British Statutory Commission headed by Sir John Simon in Kohima in 1927. 

The founders of Naga Club understood what the consequences of their decisions would be for the generations coming after them.  They faithfully and patiently upheld their time-tested virtues by remaining committed with integrity and unflinching courage to what they believed would be best for the Nagas as a whole.  We shall at all costs and always uphold their ‘”unique original stand”, namely, “leave us alone to determine for ourselves”, firmly claiming their right given to them by their history as a people and nation never ruled by any power earlier.  Our Minds and our “Naga National Soul” were never compromised or colonized by any nation earlier till date, he said.

If Delhi thinks that accepting the Indian Constitution by the Nagas under duress will make the Nagas Into Indians or accepting the Indian constitution under duřess been treated as so called “Naga solution” or “Indo-Naga Final Political Settlement”, then Delhi is very wrong but that would be Delhi’s own business, and thinking Indians have begun to understand how the Nagas understand their history.  Nagas are clear and justly proud that their struggle was not an act of secession, that unlawfully or treasonausly violated some solemn agreement or understanding made by them to be a part of the new independent India at any time.  Nor was it an anti-India reaction as they were acting on the basis of unquestionable facts of their history and their right to choose their own future as a good neighbor of India as justified by the facts of their history.  The recent massacre committed by the 21 Para Commandos of the India Army in Oting Village, Mon, Nagaland on 4 “Dec 2021 thereby murdering 14 innocent persons in shoot at sight methodology and injuring 35 other has sparked huge civil unrest among the Nagas bringing back the sad memories of decades of hardship of military barbaric violence and massacre, pain and humiliation endured by the Nagas on our defense for self-determination and continue to live as a free nation. 

The AFSPA is the symbol and face of India which gives the armed forces wide powers to shoot, to kill, to arrest, to conduct warrantless searches and to demolish structures in the name of “aiding civil power”. Equipped with this draconian special powers soldiers have raped, tortured and murdered the Nagas for seven decades without fear of being held accountable. The Act violates international hurman rights law including the right to life, the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest and detention and the right to be free  from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment.  It also denies the victim of abuse the right to seek remedy.  Such a draconian lavw insults our dignity as human beings for all these years, over and above Delhi has apartheid-like casteist attitude towards the Naga people, as such, these evil treatments have been going on for seven decades unabated.

Naga Club foundation day 2

The Oting killings have brought back to us what happened on March 5, 1995 killings in Kohima Town when the Rashtriya Rifles began shooting indiscriminately mistaking the sound of a tire busting in their own convoy for a bomb attack.  AFSPA simply means this kind of totally arbitrary use of military force by the Government of India to show that our land, its resources, and its strategic geo-political significance for India alone matter, not us the people of the land. 

The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared to AZ Phizo, President Naga National Council (NNC) and the NNC delegates at Delhi on 11 March 1952 “Whether the heaven falls or India goes to pieces and blood runs red in the country, I don ‘ t care.  Whether I am here or for that matter anybody else comes in, I don’t care.  Nagas will never be allowed to become independent.

The next Indian Prime Minister who talked in the same tone and manner was Morarji Desai.  After refusing to talk to A.Z.  Phizo, President of NNC in London, in June 1997 unless he said he was an Indian, he declared: “Yes, I will exterminate all rebels. There will be no mercy. I will exterminate all. I will certainly exterminate the rebel Nagas. I have no compunction about it.”

They said it all honestly, representing India to what was in their hearts for the Nagas.  However, Nagas are neither secessionists nor rebels, after every massacre of innocent people they would condemn them as rebels or mistaken identity as was In the recent massacre committed at Oting village on 4th December 2021, Mon, Nagaland. If Delhi treats us to be its enemy at all times then we shall remain to be so.

The programme was led by Y. Vandanshan Lotha, vice president Naga Club. Mankup, Pastor Konyak Baptist Church Kohima, pronounced invocation prayer. A special number was presented by Rheichalie’s descendants. Sashirenla Aier was  the moderator during the interaction session. The programme concludes with the benediction prayer by Khekavi Yeptho, Pastor Sumi Baptist Church, Kohima.

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