Proposal of ‘Naga Day’ on January 10 seeks to re-imagine and promote the idea of ‘Nagas without borders’
Dimapur, Oct. 17 (EMN): “If Naga identity is under threat in ways that we still don’t understand, my hunch is it will be at the community level that we either solve it or destroy it. Nagas must move on without departing from our belonging, enshrined in the ‘Simon Commission’ and therefore, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) envisage to observe January 10 of each year as ‘Naga Day’ – a social cultural event,” said the convenor of Forum for Naga Reconciliation, the Reverend Dr. Wati Aier at a press conference on Tuesday in Dimapur.
Other members of the FNR present at the press conference were Dr. Aküm Longchari, Dr. Pughato Aye and Sovenyi Nyekha.
The projected ‘Naga Day’ with the theme: ‘Nagas without borders’ comes with ‘unanimous endorsement’ from 30 parent organisations after a meeting held in Kohima on Sep.30 last, according to Dr. Aier.
The ‘Naga Day’ has been visualised with the objective of ‘Nagas as a people of common belonging and therefore, Nagas are one.’
According to Aier: “An organic bonding is a constructive approach of every race come of age, and this requires human imagination and creative application. That common socio-cultural and established identity of the Nagas call for nurturing in order to ensure dependable expectations of peaceful co-existence and growth among the Naga family, and respect others as Nagas would want others to do to us”.
The value of the Naga communication to the Simon Commission – and the collective gratitude of the Naga people to the 20 signatories – needs ‘periodic reminders and refinement’, according to Aier. This is why Jan. 10 – “which was and will be a significant day for all Nagas” – should be celebrated as ‘Naga Day’, he reasoned.
While recognising that Nagas are a community of institutions and practices, it was suggested that common socio-cultural ethos must be addressed and resolved through a process of peaceful change. The inherent non-violent principles contained in the Naga communication to the Simon Commission ought to be conceived as positive, resisting the forces of violence in any form.
“The Nagas must allow our neighbours to remain true to the moral and religious fabric of civilisation while the Nagas must re-examine our own, and change. We believe that such an approach is an effective means for the Nagas to ensure our rights and resonate with the sentiments of major constituencies within the Naga community.
“Nagahood is organised and carved around the idea of belonging – a universal idea. The idea that ‘you are alone’ and that there is no common ethos of trying to nurture something shared is the embodiment of ‘every tribe for itself.’ Such an ethos of ‘each tribe for itself’ is a culture ‘turned inward’ against others,” according to Aier.
He said: “Nagas must come to an urgent realisation and act that we are basically at war with ourselves. The ultimate betrayal of Naga identity is not in acting competitively – that should be discouraged – but in the search for exclusion and exclusivity”.
FNR member Dr. Aküm Longchari, who is also the Editor of The Morung Express, identified that the reconciliation process demands involvement of the entire society which, he remarked, is essential. Through the commemoration of ‘Naga Day’ which will take us to our roots, he hoped, ‘a new imagination is emerged through this process’.
The FNR members conveyed hope that the ‘Naga Day’ is celebrated in every parts of the country inhabited by Nagas and for that reason the theme ‘Nagas without borders’ was conceptualised.