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Sun, 21 Jan 2018

Northeast Today

First Naga Day Reiterates Nagas’ Desire to Live Together

First Naga Day Reiterates Nagas’ Desire to Live Together
January 11
12:30 2018

Thousands of Nagas from Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere gathered at Kohima Local Ground in Kohima on Wednesday to participate in the Naga Day observation under the banner of “Nagas Without Borders” organized by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR). Naga patriotic songs and cultural programs were displayed on the occasion.

Marking the day a declaration “On this first Naga Day, 10 January, 2018, we affirm and uphold the Naga Hills Memorandum to the Simon Commission on 10 January, 1929, on behalf of the Naga people by the Naga Club, and we celebrate that Nagas are a people and a nation without borders.”

According to the Naga Day declaration, Nagas are a people comprised of many “nations (tribes)” living in their ancestral lands spread across the present state of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Burma (Myanmar). “By coming together in solidarity under the theme ‘Nagas Without Borders’ we demonstrate our collective desire to live as one people,” stated the declaration.

It also said that, at this point in the Naga history the Nagas come together to celebrate the journey taken so far and to examine themselves so that the path to a shared future is undertaken with responsibility, accountability and a sense of belonging with each other.

“On this historic Naga Day, we the people who have gathered together in one accord adopt this declaration,” it added.

On the Naga reconciliation process, the Naga Day declaration said that, “as Nagas we say ‘Sorry’ to each other for the hurts we have caused to one another in words, attitudes and actions thus provoking the worst in each other and damaging ourselves”. It added that, “We admit our failure for always demanding others to change, without first realizing the need to change ourselves”.

According to the Naga Day declaration, the Naga reconciliation process is a basic necessity to nurture and defend the right of the Nagas as one people. “As individuals and as Naga Nations (tribes), we agree to engage in a process of self-examination and to undertake a shared journey to wholeness through love, forgiveness, mutual understanding, compassion and healing so that Naga Reconciliation becomes a reality,” it added.

According to the declaration, to overcome the trust deficit and to strengthen the journey of healing, the Naga national groups, the State, the Churches, tribe organizations and civil society groups are encouraged to admit their failures and apologize to the people for the wrongs they have committed and to conduct themselves with honor, dignity and responsibility.

“The journey to wholeness involves ‘truth-telling’ which can be initiated at the public-level throughout Naga-Land. Churches across Naga-Land are invited to create safe and non-judgmental spaces for stories to be told without any fear whatsoever so that healing will be made possible,” it added.

On the Naga political struggle, the Naga Day declaration said that Naga Sovereignty lies with the people and on the basis of the right to self-determination freely determine our political status so that we can fully develop socially, economically, culturally and spiritually as a dignified nation.

“We impress upon the Government of India to honor its commitment to engage the Naga political rights that stem from the facts of our history with honesty, sincerity and through peaceful means. The Naga political struggle being one of the oldest running conflicts in the world, must be addressed with openness, political maturity and statesmanship, for bringing about an inclusive, just and lasting resolution without borders. This must be given paramount priority above all other issues and should be reached at the earliest,” it stated.

The Naga Day declaration also said that the Naga national groups, the Governments of India and Burma must truthfully engage the Naga political rights with utmost transparency, accountability and respect for peoples’ aspirations.

“In order to build confidence with the people and address collective trauma the Governments of India and Burma now need to go beyond militarization. In this spirit the Government of India should repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958) and all other anti-democratic legislations not worthy of a great democratic nation like India,” it stated.

For rebuilding relationships and peaceful co-existence, we encourage the Governments of India and Burma to admit to the gross human rights violations and to apologize for their wrong doings to the Naga people, the declaration also said.

On the ‘nation building’, the Naga Day declaration said, “We affirm that every Naga has a role to contribute in the process of nation building”.

“We pledge to work day by day towards recovering values of common good, nurturing indigenous wisdom, cultivating practices of honesty and integrity, dialogue, respect, sharing and giving, so that everyone benefits and lives with dignity today and in the future,” it also said.

“We commit ourselves towards intentionally upholding gender justice and creating space for young people to lead us in this 21st century,” it added.

According to the declaration, from this day forward we commit ourselves to working together and shouldering the responsibilities to overcome social, “systematic developmental aggression” and systemic corruption that are destroying the Naga way of life and undermining the ability of our institutions to nurture and fulfil our aspirations.

“In this time of difficult challenges, Nagas need to be led by women and men who are led by God. We pray that God will provide such leaders who will inspire us to walk in the path of justice and mercy,” it added.

On the Naga Day, the declaration paper said, as part of the Naga Day celebration we resolve to explore and evolve creative ways of educating and empowering ourselves about our history, our culture, our land, our rights and our responsibilities.

“On this day we agree to strive towards rapprochement with our neighbors in building better relationships based on mutual trust and respect. We urge all Nagas to celebrate Naga Day on the 10th day of January every year where ever Nagas may be in a manner that will deepen our relationships and enrich our understanding of each other as one people. Naga Day belongs to all Nagas and not to any organization,” the Naga Day declaration added.

-Newmai News Network

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