Thursday, April 02, 2020
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Poetry

Naga Day

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By EMN Updated: Jan 02, 2018 10:51 pm
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By Easterine Kire | EMN

This is our story:
In 1929
The Naga Club
Submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission
The first written record
That stated ‘Nagas are one’
They made it clear
They did not belong
To any other but the Naga race
Not to the Indian
Not to the Burman
But to themselves as decreed by their maker.
This is our story
We were free before the British came
And we set aside
The years of village wars
The hunts for heads
The joys of battlesport
And pitted our dormant oneness
Against a common enemy
This is our story.

We repeated that in the Fifties
We defended our borders
With no other weapon than unity
And Indian tanks rolled in this time
And armies tried to oppress
Our hills, our fields, our spirits
Yet so long as we wielded our unity
The invasions were held off.

But when we fell
Our defeat was self-made
We warred against ourselves
We should have known better
But people seldom learn from history
We abandoned solidarity and community
And embraced tribe, the individual, the self-centric
We exchanged integrity for deception
Substituted brotherhood for its opposite
And filled our streets with brother-blood
This is our song
A sad song of defeat, melancholy dirge
May others learn from it.
Yes, this was our song.

But the Naga story is not over yet.
We have another song to sing
We still have a destiny to step into
A legacy to inherit
When our created identity is restored.
At this crossroad
Of our shared walk as a people
Do we look back or
Do we look to the future?
Perhaps we should do both
For the answer lies in both directions.
The strength of the Naga past
Was in our oneness – unselfish,
Noble, sacrificing, unswerving – from
The common Naga good.
This was our strength
This can be our strength again
As we come together
Recognising each other
As part of the bigger Naga family
Embracing each other
With the love that politics had wiped out.
This is our strength now
We know the Son, He sets us free
From our inability to forgive
To set aside past hurts, and to love again

This is our strength now
He sets us free from ourselves
He makes unity possible, even Naga unity
He makes our story possible
When we step beyond ourselves
And become one in Him
To start our story anew through Him.

(Easterine Kire is an internationally renowned poet and author. Her writings are based on the lived realities of the Naga people.)

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By EMN Updated: Jan 02, 2018 10:51:52 pm