TODAY WE commemorate the 1947 proclamation of Independence of Nagalim meaning the entire Naga Homeland. Of Course this refers to an undivided Nagalim without an artificial India Myanmar borderline. The United Nations acknowledged the reception of the telegram sent by the Naga leaders but did not act on it.
I always wondered why India thought and acted upon that Nagas of their Nagalim, belonged to India. This is why I am starting this speech in 1929, when a delegation of Nagas met with the British Simon Commission about the idea of what Nagas wanted if the British would leave and thus Nagalim would no longer be under British rule; no longer a colony of Britain but free.
The Nagas considered it normal that once the British left the situation would be restored to the state of affairs before the colonization. The Naga chiefs therefore told the committee that they wanted to be left alone once the British left.
Of course Nagas had come to that perception because of two dominant factors: 1 the village state democracy as a strong cultural trait was rather opposite not only to the British system but even more so the Indian cultural system. That Nagas did not feel like either proved their resistance against being colonized. And yet Nagas were called to be with the British and fight the Germans in the first World War 1914-1918. When a fair number of Nagas were in Europe with the British at war in France therefore got acquainted with the British and French culture and law. So when back they formed the Naga Club, the first organization of Nagas. The Nagas of the Naga Homeland were rather worried the British would hand over the Homeland to India and therefore through recommendation of Mahatma Gandhi one day ahead of India they proclaimed independent Nagalim.
WHY? Before and during British colonization Nagas had no relations with British India whatsoever Nagas feared they would become Indians and so they made it internationally certain that they wanted to be independent.
Nagas rejected or refused to the sign the Panglong Agreement of February 12, 1947. In June 1947 and the Nine Point agreement was signed between the British Government of India and the Naga National Council, NNC. This agreement included a coexistence (which they claim that was temporary and experimental) with India. But Nagas disagreed at point 9 of the 9 point Agreement. Consequently the declaration of Naga independence was declared on August 14, 1947
Nagas then held a plebiscite, 1951, to show that Naga People did not fancy becoming Indian. The result was something like 99% voted for independence. India did not acknowledge the result. In 1953 Nehru after his meeting with U NU of Burma divided the Naga Homeland between India and then Burma. Although the Nagas told the Government of India should also consult the Nagas regarding this separation they were not entertained by Nehru. Instead he publicly addressed the crowd but Nagas walked out of the event and left the Prime Minister feeling insulted so much so that later he exclaimed: even if the rivers run with blood and heavens fall down I will never let the Nagas go. Shortly after that Nehru unleashed the invasion and an estimated 300.000 Nagas perished the Naga Homeland, houses burnt, torture rampant, women raped. You name it Indian soldiers did it!
The point I want to make is that Great Britain did not seem to be touched by the horror India inflicted on the Nagas. After India became independent Great Britain did not react. It did not react when Nagas proclaimed independence; it did not react when the result of the plebiscite was published, it did not react when India unleashed the war on the Naga people. And last but not least until now it has not reacted. One might come to the conclusion that Great Britain after more than a hundred years was happy to vacate the Naga Homeland.
And, this while implicitly not explicitly handing over 100% of the Naga Homeland to India it had actually only 25% colonized. I say implicitly because no papers are published to that effect and Great Britain did not intervene. India in turn handed approximately 30% to Burma. So, now more 70 years later we should question Great Britain, hold it accountable for what it did and ask them about the mistake they made. Due to this mistake Nagas have suffered greatly under the joke and politically divisive tactics of India to the point that now Nagas are divided. What makes it possible for the UK to apologize is that awareness about the wrongs committed by colonizing nations could be corrected. Therefore most likely it is a good time for the United Kingdom to take steps into the direction to recognize both East and West Nagalim, first to make a publicly apology. When in a letter we asked about this long running postcolonial matter, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom did not respond.
On letters with the same content either did the United Nations nor the Government of India. Great Britain should set the record straight.
Let’s call on the present Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to come forward like other nations and repair what has essentially gone wrong, this PM has an Indian background. Recognition is the first.
Frans Welman NISC
Special Guest &
Naga International Support Centre.